THE world, while thou anguishest, passeth away,
Abate both the woe and the weal of the day,
But if thou adventure the pathway of greed
The process of this world is longsome indeed
One view is - 'Tis well after greatness to seek
All be that it lurk mid the Dragon's own reek,
And servants of greed and provokers of strife
Will hear not commendment from any in life
The other - What reek if, since none can abide,
Our Hostel of Sojourn be narrow or wide ?
Whenas the tall Cypress is bent in the grove,
And darkened the light of the Lustre above,
When leafage is withered, when roots are unsound,
And top is beginning to nod toward the ground,
From dust having issued to dust it will go,
While all is dismayment and horror and woe.
Man's nature, when prudence and wisdom are his,
Accepteth untroubled the world as it is,
Yet travail of body, if long be thy stay,
Enforceth the need for thy passing away.
Life's ocean is deep, and no bottom we see ;
A hoard 'tis of secrets whose door bath no key.
Thy wants will but greaten what while thou remain,
And each day's provision prove provand for pain.
But three things are needful - food, raiment, and bed
For these no reproaches descend on thy head.
Content thee, for all else is travail and greed,
And greed is a torment no lighter than need.
Thou knowest that this world is fleeting, why let
Thy soul and thy spirit with covetise fret ?
Enjoy what thou bast, seek not more to possess,
For greed will but make thine own glory the less.
How Afrasiyab called together his Host
The Turkman monarch's heart, as I have heard,
Was ever vexed by greed. When he had quitted
The field where Rustam gloomed the world for him
He fared apace until he reached Khallukh,
Avoiding other kings in his disgrace,
And entered with a heart fulfilled with anguish
His palace with his prudent veterans -
Piran and Garsiwaz, his counsellor,
And Shida, Kurakhan and Karsiyun,
Human, Kulbad, Ruin son of Piran -
A warrior-crocodile - and Farshidward.
He spake with them at large of what had passed,
Recalling every circumstance, and said :-
"Since I assumed the crown of sovereignty,
And sun and moon bestowed on me their light,
I have held sway among the potentates,
And nobody hath turned aside my rein;
Thus ever since the war with Minuchihr
Iran hath not laid hand upon Turan.
Now from Iran they make a night-attack
Upon my life at mine own palace-door !
The craven hath become courageous,
The Stag hath ventured to the Lion's lair
We must be up and doing in this strife,
Or they will make our marches reek. 'Twere well
To scatter messengers about the realm,
And gather of the Turkmans and from Chin
A thousand thousand girded for the fray
To compass all the army of Iran,
And make a battlefield on every side."
Then all the priests advised him shrewdly, saying :-
Cross we Jihun and beat the royal tymbals
On yon wide plain, and, speeding night and day,
Camp at Amwi ; that is the place for battle,
For bloodshed, and for fighting Giv and Rustam -
Those haughty, city-taking warriors,
Who privily have dipped their hands in bane."
Thereat the monarch's face and fortune brightened,
And, as the great are wont, he praised the priests
And paladins, then called and charged a scribe.
He sent ambassadors to the Faghfur
And monarch of Khutan, sent through the realm,
Moreover, letters to all chiefs and nobles,
And summoned troops because he purposed war,
Enraged at Rustam's doings. Two weeks passed,
Then from the Turkman states, Chin, and Khutan,
A host assembled ; like a troubled sea
Earth heaved ; it was so that the waste was hidden.
Afrasiyab collected in the city
All horse-herds running wild, undid the sacks
Of treasures closely kept and handed on
For generations since the time of Tur,
And parted with dinars by night and day.
When all the army was equipped for war,
So that there was sufficiency for all,
He chose out fifty thousand warriors,
Arrayed for strife and eager to engage,
And said to Shida, his heroic son,
Exalted o'er the Lions of the fight :-
"I give to thee this well-appointed host
Prepare to march toward Kharazm; there guard
The borders and be ever girt for battle."
He bade Piran choose fifty thousand men
Of Chin, and said : "Go thou against Iran,
And set a throne above the young Shah's throne ;
Seek not in any wise the door of peace,
And speak no word unless of war and vengeance ;
To mingle fire and water spoileth both."
Those two illustrious, prudent paladins
Went at the bidding of Afrasiyab,
The old at leisure and the young in haste,
With iron mace and sword and golden gong,
And, like a cloud that thundered, roared along.
How Kai Khusrau sent Gudarz to fight the Turanians
Thereafter tidings reached the conquering Shah :-
"A Turkman host bath marched upon Iran.
Afrasiyab, that tyrant-miscreant,
Can neither rest nor slumber in his vengeance,
But fain would raise his head from its disgrace,
And from all sides hath sent forth troops to war ;
He rubbeth poison on his lance's point,
If so he may turn rein upon Iran.
Three hundred thousand warlike cavaliers
Will cross Jihun and thence send up the dust
In battle-time to heaven. The warriors
Can sleep not at his court for tymbal-din.
What with the blare of brass and clang of bell
Thou wouldst have said: 'Men's hearts are in their mouths !'
If that host cometh to Iran for battle
No lion, lusty though he be, will meet there.
Piran is posted by Afrasiyab
With no small army on the Iranian coasts,
While fifty thousand girded for the fight
Have marched toward the borders of Kharazm.
Their chief is Shida of the lion-heart,
Whose scimitar will pluck the core from fire.
The troops resemble maddened elephants,
Such as would level mountains in the strife."
The monarch at the news sat full of thought,
Then said: "Ye wise! the archimages say:-
The Turkman moon, when heaven's height is won,
Shall meet disaster from the Iranian sun.
Strike the black snake that cometh from its bed
Toward the cudgel with uplifted head.
The king that shall unjustly plant a tree
Will lose his fortune and his sovereignty."'
Then, having summoned all the archimages,
He laid before them that which he had heard.
The great men and the warlike sages sat
In secret with the monarch of Iran,
As Zal and Rustam, as Gudarz and Giv,
Shidush, Farhad, and brave Ruhham, Bizhan,
Ashkash and Gustaharn, Gurgin and Zanga,
And Gazhdaham, great Tus, son of Naudar,
And Fariburz, blest scion of Kaus,
With all the other nobles of the host,
Who were the worldlord's flock. He thus addressed
The paladins: "The Turkmans seek to war
Against my throne, so we too must prepare."
He gave command and at his palace-gate
The trumpets blared and brazen cymbals clashed.
He went forth from the palace to the plain.
They set his throne upon an elephant;
He mounted, dropped the ball within the cup,
And "smeared earth," thou hadst said, "with indigo,"
Such was earth's hue; the air was black with dust;
The brave troops of the host resembled leopards,
.With maces in their claws and war at heart;
The land heaved like a sea with warriors.
A proclamation went forth from the court:-
"Ye paladins of the Iranian host !
None that can ply the stirrup and the rein
May now abide at home in idleness."
The monarch gave command: "We need," he said,
"Three hundred thousand warlike cavaliers,
With warriors and mighty men from Rum
And Hind, and gallant Arabs of the desert,
Accoutred well-fierce Lions girdle-girt.
Those that reach not the presence of the Shah
In forty days shall not obtain a crown."
They sent out horsemen with the royal letters
On all sides. Two weeks passed; throughout the realm
Troops were in motion at the Shah's command,
And battle-cries went up from all the world.
One morn at cock-crow rose the tymbals' din
On all sides, and the chiefs of provinces
Arrayed their troops before the monarch's gate.
He oped his ancient treasures and bestowed
Such largess that all heads were crowned with gold,
While with horse-armour and men's coats of mail
The massed array looked like a hill of iron.
As soon as this equipment was complete
The Shah made choice among the cavaliers
Of thirty thousand armed with scimitars,
Put them in Rustam's charge, and said : "Famed hero
Lead these toward Sistan and Hindustan.
When at Ghaznin make for the upper road,'
So thou mayst win a signet, crown, and throne ;
But when thou hast achieved the sovereignty,
And pard and sheep are drinking at one trough,
Give Faramarz the signet and the crown
Together with such troops as he may choose;
Then sound the kettledrums, the horns, and pipes,
And stay not in Kashmir or in Kabul,
Because this war against Afrasiyab
Depriveth me of provand, rest, and sleep."
He gave the Alans and Gharcha to Luhrasp,
And said : "O hero of illustrious race !
Go with a mountain-like array. Select it
Out of the host, and lead thy seasoned horsemen
To rob the Turkmans of the breath of life."
He bade Ashkash march forth with thirty thousand -
Impetuous Lions, brandishers of spears,
An army that was like a ravening wolf -
Toward Kharazm with mighty kettledrums,
Set up his place hard by the entering in,
And challenge Shida to the battlefield.
He gave a fourth host to Gudarz and said :-
"O hero of a race of paladins
Go with the great men of Iran, with Zanga,
Gurgin and Gustaham, Shidush, Farhad,
Kharrad and Giv, the general Guraza,
And brave Ruhham."
He bade them arm for war,
And hasten to the marches of Turan.
Gudarz, son of Kishwad, the general,
The paladins and nobles, all obeyed
And mounted, and Gudarz assumed command.
The Shah then bade him : "Thou art bound for battle ;
See that thou do not aught injuriously:
Destroy no house that is inhabited,
And see that no non-combatant be harmed
Since God approveth not our evil deeds ;
Here we have no abiding but pass on.
In leading forth the host toward Turan
Keep head and heart both cool. Be not agog
Like Tus, mount not the drams on all occasions.
Be just to every one in every thing,
Remembering God - the Source of good. Dispatch
Some wise and heedful veteran to Piran,
Thus by much counsel gain that general's ear,
And clothe hire in the raiment of good will."
The captain of the host said to the Shah :-
"Thy hest is higher than the orbed moon.
I will go even as thou biddest me,
For thou art worldlord and I am a slave."
Then from the portal of the paladin
Shouts rose; the earth rocked with the din of drums;
The soldiers trooped to camp, and all the scene
Grew dark with horsemen's dust. Before the host
Three score fierce elephants weighed down the world,
And of those mighty elephants of war
Four were caparisoned for royal use
Upon their backs was placed a throne of gold
Whereon a Shah might sit encrowned in state,
But there the monarch bade Gudarz to sit,
And, as he urged the elephants, the dust
Suggested this conceit of happy presage :-
"Piran's soul will we make go up in smoke
As these beasts send the dust up with their feet."
Then by the Shah's command the host moved on
From stage to stage, inflicting harm on none.
How Giv was made the Bearer of Overtures from
Gudarz to Piran
Now when Gudarz was drawing near Raibad
He chose him captains out of all the host -
A thousand valiant wielders of the spear,
Exalted and renowned, and furthermore
Ten famous horsemen of the Iranians,
All ready speakers well beseen in fight.
The chief next summoned Giv, told what the Shah
Had said, and added this: "My prudent son,
Whose head is lifted over many a head
I have selected for thee worthy troops -
Men who are chieftains in the provinces -
That thou mayst make a journey to PIran
To speak to him and to receive his answer.
Thus say to him: 'I with a host have reached
Raibad according to the Shah's commands.
Thou knowest what thy words and deeds have been,
What peace and toil and trouble have been thine,
And how the country of Turan hath girt,
With its illustrious kings, its loins for ill.
The glorious Faridun had cause to weep,
While in this world, for pain and misery,
Iran was full of pain, the Shah of grief,
The moon shone not through mourning for Iraj.
Thou only of the people of Turan
Dost pride thyself on kindness and good faith,
Though that word kindness is a lie with thee ;
I see not peace and kindness in thy heart;
Howbeit that courteous Shah of ours said thus
Tome: "Address him with all gentleness,
For in the days of noble Siyawush
He built no ill, and hath a claim upon me
As being guiltless of my father's blood."
The Shah condoneth all thy past misdeeds,
And holdeth evil on thy part as good,
Since thou hast wronged not any of our Shahs.
Thou art not to be slaughtered by my hand
Because thy many faults are overlooked;
Else in this warfare with Afrasiyab
Thy destiny would make short work of thee.
The great men of Iran and this my son
Will tell thee mine advice. Hold parle with them:
Then, if thou art persuaded, thou art quit
Of care and sure of life, thy land and kindred
Will flourish, and thy neck escape my sword;
But if the fault be thine thy life will be
In danger from the Shah, and in this strife
We will not rest and sleep, my mace and I,
The field of battle and Afrasiyab,
To take revenge on whom our sovereign
Hath no need to array a mighty host;
But if thou wilt attend to mine advice,
And wilt give credit to my prudent words,
Then first: all those that brought about the feud,
Those that rolled up their sleeves for shedding blood,
Put forth their hands to murder Siyawush,
And wrecked the world by their unrighteousness,
Thou shalt dispatch to me in chains like dogs
That we may send them to the Shah, for him
To take their heads or to forgive their crimes.
My Shah, who is the warden of the world,
Hath given me a list of all their names.
Hast thou not heard that which the mighty lion
Said to the wolf - a pregnant utterance ?
"Fate hath no place except the dust in store
For him whose hand hath shed a monarch's gore.'
Moreover all the treasures that thou hast
Are but the enemies of thy dark soul;
So thou shalt send to me thy noble steeds,
Thy gems, dinars, brocade, crowns, scimitars,
Horse-armour, coats of mail, casques, Indian swords,
The equipment of thy troops, thy gold, and silver.
With that which thou hast gained by force or fraud
Thou mayst buy life and see the pathway opened
To safety. What is worthy of a king
Will I send to the monarch of the world,
And give the rest as booty to the troops
Instead of taking vengeance for wrong done
And furthermore when thou shalt have dispatched
Thy favourite son - the guardian of thy throne
And signet - with those leaders of thine army,
Thy brethren twain, who ever lift their necks
Above the moon - all three as hostages
That I may feel assured - to this famed host,
Then will thy tree of honesty bear fruit.
Consider now and choose between two courses.
By taking one thou wilt approach the Shah,
Wilt go with kith and kindred to Khusrau,
And rest beneath the shadow of his love,
Wilt put away that of Afrasiyab,
And never even dream of him again.
I will give pledges to thee that Khusrau
Will raise thy head above the shining sun;
Thou knowest best the kindness of his heart,
And that he will entreat thee royally.
Or if from terror of Afrasiyab
Thou art not willing to approach Iran,
Go from Turan and lead thy troops to Chaeh,
Take thy teak throne and set thy crown on high ;
But if thy heart is with Afrasiyab
Depart to him and battle not with us,
For in regard to those with whom I strive
I have a lion's heart, a leopard's claws,
And I will leave the Turkmans naught of throne
My bows are clouds that pour down showers of bane.
If thou wilt none of this but willest strife,
And thy head be all ill advice and guile,
Rise and come hither all equipped for war
If thou canst face the lion ravening.
When both the hosts shall be arrayed for battle
Will those in fault appear as innocent?
Nay, and unless thou hearken to my words
Thou wilt repent at last, but then repentance
Will profit naught, fate's sword have reaped thy head
The paladin with these words charged his son,
"Repeat them to Piran," he said, " each one."
How Giv visited Piran at Wisagird
Giv left his father's presence, and departed
To Balkh, with all those bitter words in mind.
Alighting there he sent a messenger
Before him as directed by Gudarz,
On that same night assembled all his troops,
And left the gates of Balkh for Wisagird,
The city where Pir.in was with his powers,
And menaced the frAnian crown and throne.
The messenger in audience of Piran
Said thus to him: "Giv bath arrived at Balkh
With nobles and with gallant warriors."
Piran pricked up his ears on hearing this,
While shouts rose from the warriors of the host.
He blew the trumpets and bound on the ty inbals
The horse-hoof's turned the earth to ebony
As five score and ten thousand cavaliers
Came forward dight for war from his array.
He left the more part, called his veterans,
Advanced to the Jihun and ranked them there,
Made by the stream a wall of spears, and held
An interview with Giv. Two weeks they parleyed
In order that they might not war unjustly;
The Iranians spake on all points, and Piran
Heard; but the Turkmans did injuriously,
For while the Iranian chiefs employed their tongues,
And grew more instant with their enemies
In speech, Piran dispatched a messenger
To hasten to Afrasiyab and say:-
"Gudarz, son of Kishwad, bath with his troops
Placed his own helmet o'er the Iranian throne.
And Giv, his favourite son - the shatterer
Of hosts - bath reached me with an embassage
But I attend to thy commands alone,
And stake my life upon my loyalty."
Now when this reached the monarch of Turan
He chose him thirty thousand mighty men
Among his troops who drew the scimitar,
And sent them to Plraan, the cavalier,
With these words: "Draw the scimitar of vengeance,
And rid the earth of them ; spare not Gudarz
Or Giv, Farhad, Gurgin or brave Ruhham,
For troops, whose object is the Iranian throne,
Flock from all sides. These will I lead, will snake
The whole land of Iran a stream of gore,
And by the counsels of the wise and brave
Send up this time the dust from Kai Khusrau."
Piran, when he beheld that mighty host,
Each man as thirsty as a wolf for blood,
Was, being reinforced, inclined to war.
He washed his heart of honour and chose ill
That heart so well disposed grew overbearing,
Grew full of thought and passionate for strife.
He said to Giv : "Arise and go thy ways
Back to the paladin and say to him:-
"Seek not from me what sages will condemn -
First to surrender to thy hands these chiefs
Of high renown! How is this possible?
And for thy next demand - the arms and troops,
The noble chargers and the throne and crown,
A brother who is my bright soul, a son -
My well-beloved and my paladin -
"These things," thou sayest, " put afar from thee!"
Can words so crude be uttered by the wise ?
Death would be better for me than such life
Shall I that am a prince do slavishly ?
In this regard the leopard coming near
To battle with the fearless lion said:-
"To have thee shed my blood and keep my fame
Is better than to live a life of shame."
Besides instructions from the king have come
To me, and troops, with orders to engage."'
Giv with his chiefs on this reply departed,
Whereon Piran, the captain of the host,
Prepared for fight, sent up the battle-shout,
Pushed on to Kanabad and set his ranks
In war-array upon the mountain-flanks.
The Arraying of the Hosts
Giv, when he reached the presence of his sire,
Informed him of the answer word for word,
And said: "Array the host upon the spot
Where thou wilt fight ; Piran hath no idea
Of peace, no room for justice in his heart.
I told him all thy words, appealed to him
In all ways. When the fault proved clearly theirs
He sent the king a camel-post to say:-
'Gudarz and Giv are come to fight, and troops
Must be dispatched to me forthwith.' Thereat
Came reinforcements from Afrasiyab,
And crossed the river while we were returning.
Now bind the drums upon the elephants
For battle since Piran forestalleth us."
Gudarz said: "He is sick of life. I thought
No other of the miscreant, and yet
By order of the monarch of the world
I had to send - there was no remedy -
And now the Shah hath proved him to the heart.
I spake to that effect before the Shah
When he gave orders for the troops to march
I said to him: 'Put from thy heart the love
Of one whose heart and tongue do not accord.
Piran's whole love is for the Turkmans ; let
The Shah wash hands of him."'
The brave Piran
Led in Giv's tracks his army lion-like,
And when Gudarz knew that the host approached
He beat the tymbals, marched out from Raibad,
And drew his army up on that broad plain
With mountains in the rear. The day's light failed
What time Piran marched forth from Kanabad.
A hundred thousand Turkman cavaliers
Went girt for battle, mailed, and carrying
Long spears and Indian swords. The embattled hosts
Looked like two mountains with their iron helms.
Then there arose the sound of clarions,
And thou hadst said: "The mountains are astir!"
The hosts stretched from Raibad to Kanabad
The vales and plains were black and blue with them.
The lances' heads were stars, the swords were suns,
The clouds were dust-clouds and the ground was iron.
The earth re-echoed with the warriors' shouts,
The sky was iron with the helms and spears.
Gudarz surveyed the army of Turan,
Then all in motion like a heaving sea,
Flag following flag and troop succeeding troop
Without a break till night rose from the hills.
Both hosts placed elephants to bar the way,
Lit up the watch-fires, and thou wouldst have said
At all the shouting of the eager chiefs:-
"The world is Âhriman's and full of foes
From skirt to sleeve ! " That darksome night the rocks
Were riven to their cores with tymbal-din !
The dawn ascended from the sombre mountains,
And then the leader of Iran bestrode
A fresh horse in the presence of the host,
And made his dispositions on all sides.
The army's right wing rested on a hill,
Undaunted mid the battles of the brave,
While to the left a river ran, as apt
As soul for body. In the front were ranged
The spearmen with the footmen in their rear
With coats of mail and iron-piercing shafts,
And bows flung o'er their arms. The soldiers' blood
Boiled in their veins. Arrear of these there came
The warlike cavaliers, whose falchions robbed
The fire of lustre, then the elephants
Like mountains; earth was wearied with tile tramp.
Full in the centre of the host and shining
Moon-like with jewels stood the glorious standard.
What with the flashing of the blue steel swords '
Beneath the shadow of the flag of Kawa
Thou wouldst have said: "The sky, this darksome night,
Is shedding stars!
Gudarz arrayed the host
Like Paradise and planted in the garden
Of loyalty the cypress of revenge.
He gave the army's right to Fariburz
Hajir was with the baggage in the rear.
Guraza, chiefest scion of Givgan,
And that o'er-looker of the Kaian throne,
Zawara, went to aid, and ranked themselves
With, Fariburz. Gudarz then bade Ruhham :-
"O thou, the inspirer of crown, throne, and wisdom!
Go with the cavaliers toward the left.
Like Sol from Aries on New Year's Day
Illuminate the army by thy Grace,
And nurse it tenderly, but like a lion
Smite foemen with thy chief-consuming steel."
Ruhham went forth with his companions,
With Gustaham, and matchless Gazhdaham,
And Furuhil whose arrows pierced the sky.
Gudarz then bade ten thousand cavaliers
On barded steeds to go with Giv, committing
The rear to him, a post for men of war;
Gurgin and Zanga bare him company.
A banner and three hundred horse to guard
The army's river-flank, as many more
To guard the mountain-flank, Gudarz dispatched.
A watchman went upon the mountain-top,
And kept his neck outstretched both night and day
Above the army, with his eyes intent
To watch the movements of the Turkman troops,
And shout, if he perceived an ant's foot move,
To rouse Gudarz, who ordered so that field
That sun and moon were eager to enrage.
The valiant crocodile will not affright
The host whose leader is well seen in fight.
Gudarz then took the post of chief command
To guard the army from the enemy.
He raised the flag that gladdeneth the heart,
And gave the chiefs that battled at the centre
To each his station, summoning them all.
Behind him was Shidush, Farhad before.
Thus posted in their midst Gudarz, their leader,
Had Kawa's standard over-shadowing him,
And dimming sun and moon.
Piran from far
Looked forth upon that host, upon that pomp
Acid circumstance of war, and hearts whence care
And travail ebbed. Dale, desert, mount, and waste
Were full of spears, and rein was linked to rein.
The chieftain of Turan was sorely grieved,
And raged at fortune's gloomy sun. Thereafter,
Surveying his own host, the battlefield
Displeasured him; he saw not room to fight
Or rank his troops, and in his anger smote
His hands together, being forced to form
As best he might since he must charge the brave.
Then of his own chiefs and his men of war,
And of the warriors of Afrasiyab,
That longed for fight, he chose him thirty thousand,
Men fit for war and armed with scimitars.
He gave the centre to Human - a host
Of lion-flinging, battle-loving troops.
Andariman he summoned with Arjasp,
He gave Burjasp the chief command of both,
And put the army's left wing in their keeping
With thirty thousand gallant warriors.
The brave Lahhak and Farshidward drew up
With thirty thousand heroes of the fray
Upon the right, and earth turned black with iron.
He sent the brave Zangula and Kulbad,
Along with Sipahram, the good at need,
And spearmen twice five thousand, to support
The cavaliers, the wielders of the sword.
Then with ten thousand warriors of Khutan
Ruin in brazen panoply marched forth
To ambush like a lion in the wood,
With outposts on the river and the mountain
To threaten the Iranian general,
On whom, if he advanced beyond his lines
And ventured forward on Piran himself,
Ruin the chief should fall, as 'twere a lion,
And take him boldly in the rear. Piran
Placed likewise scouts upon the mountain-top
To watch by day and count the stars by night,
That if a horseman of the Iranians
Should turn his reins toward the Turkman chief,
The keeper of the watch should raise a cry,
And all the battlefield be roused thereby.
How Bizhan went to Giv to urge him to fight
Three days and nights the opposing hosts - all men
Of name and eager for the fight - remained
Embattled face to face: thou wouldst have said:-
"No one's lip moveth ! " Quoth Gudarz : "If I
Yield to the foe my station, and advance,
They will assail my rear; I shall but grasp
Both night and day before the host
He stood in quest of favourable signs
From sun and moon. " Which is the auspicious hour,"
He thought, "for action when the wind of battle
Will blow and blind the Turkman horse with dust?
Then haply I may get the upper hand,
And lead the army onward like a blast:'
Piran on his side waited anxiously
Until Gudarz should seethe at heart with rage,
And by advancing leave his rear exposed
To those in ambush.
Came Giv's son, Bizhan,
The fourth day, from the rearward to the centre,
Came to his father's presence with his clothes
Rent, flinging up the dust to heaven and crying:-
"Why tarriest thou thus indolently here,
My veteran sire ? The fifth day now approacheth,
Yet all is peace by day and night. The sun
Beholdeth not our warriors' scimitars,
And no dust riseth to obscure the sky.
Our cavaliers are in cuirass and helm,
And yet the blood hath stirred in no man's veins
Once, after famous Rustam, in Iran
No cavalier was equal to Gudarz ;
But ever since the battle of Pashan,
And all the carnage of that mighty field,
When at Ladan he saw so many sons
Slain and Iranian fortune overturned,
He hath been liver-stricken, all distraught,
And indisposed to see another fight.
We must consider that the man is old,
And that his head is turned toward heaven above,
As one who counteth not his followers,
But reckoneth the stars around the moon.
Know that he now is bloodless and hath grown
Too feeble for the battles of the brave.
I wonder not at veteran Gudarz,
Whose heart is no more set upon this world,
My wonder, O my father! is at thee,
From whom fierce Lions seek accomplishment.
Two hosts are looking at thee. Rouse a little
Thy brain to action and display thy wrath.
Now when the world is warm and air serene
The army should be ordered to engage,
For when this pleasant season shall be goine,
And earth's face bound as hard as steel with frost,
What time the hand is frozen to the spear,
With war in front of us and snow behind,
What warrior will come before the host.
To challenge combat on this battlefield ?
While if thou art afraid of ambushes,
Then of the soldiers and the men of war
Thou shouldst commit to me a thousand lhorse
Of mine own choosing, apt for fight, and we
Will raise our foemen's ambuscade in dust,
And send their heads cascading o'er the moon."
Giv smiled to hear Bizhan, praised his byrave son,
And said to God: "I give Thee thanks that Thou
Hast granted me a son so excellent,
And made him strong, God-serving, and discreet,
Versed in affairs and eager for the fray.
In this brave youth restored to me I have;
The typic offspring of a paladin.
Thus said the lion to the lioness:-
'Suppose our cub should prove a coward,
Will own no love or consanguinity,
His dam shall be the dust, his sire the sea.'
Yet, O my son, impetuous in thy speech!
Loose not thy tongue against thy grandsire thus,
For he is wiser and experienced,
And is the leader of this noble host.
The veteran needeth not in auoght a teacher.
If our own cavaliers have much to bear
The Turkmans are not very bright and fresh,
But luckless and dejected, with their eyes
Suffused with tears and livers full of blood.
This ancient veteran would have the Turkmans
Advance to battle. When they leave the hills
He will attack in force, and thou shah see
How he will ply the whole march with his mace.
He watcheth too the aspects of the sky,
And, when the auspicious tune shall come, will void
Earth's face of Turkmans."
"Chief of paladins!"
Bizhan said, " if my glorious grandsire's purpose
Be such we need not carry Ruman mail.
I will depart, put off my fighting-gear,
And make my shrunken face rose-red with wine,
But when the chief of paladins bath need
Of me I will return in battle-weed."
How Human asked Piran for Leave to fight
Within the Turkman army brave Huma n
Came like a lion to his brother, saying:-
"O paladin of great Afrasiyab
We long for fight. The fifth day is at hand
That all these cavaliers have borne their mail;
Their loins are chafed with iron, their hearts with vengeance,
Their eyes are on Iran. Why keep the hosts
Confrontina thus ? What is thy purpose? Speak!
If thou intendest to engage, engage,
And if thou meanest to retreat, retreat,
For 'tis a shame to thee, O paladin:,
And old and young will laugh at thy proceedings.
'Twas this same host that fled from us in battle,
Disgraced and pale; their slain filled all the field;
The whole earth ran with blood; but, as for us,
We lost not any cavalier of name;
Moreover Rustam is not in command.
If thou distastest fight and bloodshed choose
Some troops, give them to me, and be spectator."
PIran, on hearing, answered: "Be not hasty,
And harsh. Know, brother! that this man of war,
Who thus hath come against me with a host,
Is of the chiefs of Kai Khusrau the choicest,
The greatest noble, and a paladin.
Now in the first place Kai Khusrau is higher
Amidst all peoples than my sovereign;
Next, of the paladins of Kai Khusrau
I know not any equal to Gudarz
In dignity, position, manliness,
In prudent counsel and sagacity;
Then in the third place he is inly seared,
And full of anguish, for his many sons,
Whom with their heads dissevered from their trunks
We left, and laid the earth's dust with their blood;
So long as life is in him he will writhe
In serpent wise to compass his revenge;
And fourthly he hath brought and massed two hosts
Between two mountains. Seek where'er thou wilt
There is no way to him. Perpend, for this
Is no brief toil. We must induce the foe
To quit their station on yon walls of rock,
And haply they may make through weariness
Some weak manceuvre and attack us first;
Then, when the foes have left their vantage-ground,
We will pour showers of arrows on their heads,
Enclose them as with walls and, like fierce lions,
Prey on their lives, appease our lust on them,
And our renown shall go up to the sun.
Thou art the army's stay, our monarch's chief;
Thy crown is raised o'er Saturn and the sky,
Should one so famous hanker still for fame ?
Moreover none among their famous men
Will venture forth against the roaring Leopard:
Gudarz will send out from among his troops
Some one of small renown, and much ambition
To fight with warriors, to contend with thee;
And then if thou shouldst roll earth over him
'Twould not enhance thy fame, while to the Iranians
It would be no great loss, but should he shed
Thy blood the Turkman host would be dismayed."
Human gave heed to what Piran was saying,
Yet thought his conduct foolish and replied:-
"What cavalier among the Iranians
Will come to fight me ? Thou art bent on kindness,
But lust of fighting hath come over me.
If thou art not desirous to engage,
And hast no fire of battle in thy soul,
I will go saddle me my gallant gray,
And challenge combat at the break of day."
How Human challenged Ruhham
Human on reaching his encampment gnashed
His teeth as wild boars do. When morning came
He mounted on his steed, like some fierce lion,
And, taking with him an interpreter,
Approached the Iranian host. His heart was full
Of fight, his head of vengeance on Khusrau.
Grief made the world seem narrow to Piran
On learning that his brother had gone forth
To battle, and in deep distress of heart
He called to mind some sayings of his sire's:-
"The wise deliberateth every way,
And hasteth not to mingle in a fray;
The fool exhibiteth both dash and go
At first, but in the end thereof is woe.
Although the tongue within a brainless head
Should shower pearls none would be profited."
"I know not," said he, " what Human will gain
By showing so much temper in this fight.
May God, the Judge of all the world, assist him,
Because I see not any help besides."
Now when HLlmdn, the son of Wisa, bent
On challenging the brave, drew near to where
Gudarz, son of Kishwad, lay with his host,
The captain of the watch encountered him.
The outpost - Horsemen of Iran and all
Suspicious - came to the interpreter,
And asked: "Why doth this eager warrior
Display himself as freely on the plain
As he had been a herald and yet carry
A mace in hand and lasso at his saddle?"
He said: "The time for sword and mace and bow
Hath come, for this famed, lion-hearted man
Desireth to encounter you in fight.
He is the head of Wisa's sons, Human
By name; his scabbard is the lion's heart."
Now when the Ininians saw his mace, equipment,
And royal stature, all their spear-armed hands
Refrained from action through that chieftain's Grace.
All turned from him to the interpreter,
And said: "Go tell Human our words in Turkman :-
We have no purpose to contend with thee
For want of leave to combat from Gudarz ;
But to the famous leader of our host
The way is open if thou seekest battle."
They told Human at large about the chiefs
Of that proud host, told who the soldiers were,
And who commanded on the left and right.
The outpost sent a cameleer in haste
To tell Gudarz: "The leopard-like Human
Hath come to combat with the paladin."
Hflman passed by the outpost, came apace
Toward Ruhham, and shouted lustily:-
"Son of the chief whose fortune is discreet!
Ply now thy reins upon this battlefield
Between the hosts arrayed. Thou dost command
The left wing and thou art the Lions' Claws,
A guardian and a captain of Iran ;
Thou shouldest fight me. Be the where thy choice -
Stream, mountain, desert. If not, Gustaham
And Furuhil perchance will charge together.
Who will fight me with sword, spear, massive mace ?
WHower cometh, fortune will make earth
Reel under him. Pards' hides and lions' hearts
Burst in the battle when they see our sword."
Ruhham replied: "O famous warrior!
Among the Turkmans we considered thee
As wise; but thou art other than we thought,
For thou hast come alone upon this field
To brave a host, and weenest that no swordsman,
Nor any cavalier, can be thy match.
Recall to mind a saying of the Kaians,
And, being snared by wisdom, save thy neck :-
'No need for him who leadeth an attack
To settle by what road he will go back.'
All whom thou challengest by name are keen
For fight but, since the general of the Shah
Hath not so bidden, will not volunteer.
If thou art fain to combat warriors
Why dost thou not accost the paladin ?
Get licence for the combat from Gudarz,
And then ask us to prove our readiness."
Human said: "Ply me not with fond excuses,
But take a spindle and put down the spear;
Thou art not one for war, no cavalier."
How Human challenged Fariburz
Human, departing toward the centre, sped
To the other wing. With his interpreter
To Fariburz, like furious elephant,
He came and shouted: "Wretch, degraded one!
Erst horsemen, elephants, and golden boots
Were thine with Kawa'S flag, but on the day
Of battle thou didst yield them to the Turkmans.
Iranian chieftains hold thy manhood cheap.
Thou wast the leader; but hast been reduced,
And shouldest wear the girdle of a slave.
As brother of the noble Siyawush
Thou rankest o'er thy chief. I am from Tur,
King of Turan, perchance in composition
Thine equal. Since thou art of worth to challenge
Thou shouldst prepare for fight; so now for once
Come forth with me upon the battlefield
That we may wheel in presence of the hosts.
Thou wilt be famous to the shining sun
Through meeting me. If thou wilt not, so be it.
See where Zawara and Guraza are,
Bring to encounter me some warrior
That bath a name among the Iranians."
Then Fariburz replied: "Forbear to fight
The rending lion; days of battle end
For this in triumph, and for that in woe.
When thou hast conquered, fear calamity,
Because high heaven keepeth not one stay,
And angry men bring things to such a pass
As to lay desolate their own old home.
The king deprived me of the flag, 'tis well.
He gave to whom he would the elephants
And host. Since Kai Kubad, in Kaian wars,
If any one hath donned the crown of power,
And girt himself to make earth prosperous,
it is the chief Gudarz, son of Kishwad,
Who ever fighteth foremost. His forefathers
Have been the chiefs and champions of the Shahs,
And through his mace no doubt thy leader's day
Will end. 'Tis for Gudarz to give command.
If he shall bid me fight with thee, and leecheth
The sear upon my heart, thou shah behold
How I will raise my head from shame to heaven
Upon the battlefield."
"Enough! I see thee great in talk. What fighter
Hast thou e'er hurt when girded with that sword ?
Contend then with that despicable mace ;
On helm and breastplate it will leave no trace."
How Human challenged Gudarz
Human, returning thence triumphantly,
"A Lion," thou hadst said, "intent on mischief,"
And keen for vengeance on the noble chief's,
Approached Gudarz, son of Kishwad, and shouted:-
"U haughty chieftain, binder of the Div!
I heard about thy converse with the Shah,
And thereupon thy leading forth the host,
About the Shah's gifts and about thy pledge
And exhortations to Piran our leader.
An envoy reached the army of Turan -
Giv, thy dear son, the refuge of the troops -
And afterward thou swarest by the Shah,
By sun and moon and throne and diadem:-
'If e'er mine eyes shall light upon Piran
In battle I will take away his life.'
Vierce as a lion hast thou ranked thy powers
In thine anxiety to fight with us,
Then why sulk thus behind a mountain-range
As though thou wast a wretched mountain-sheep
Thus doth the quarry in its headlong course,
When fleeing from the lion's bold pursuit,
Make for some narrow covert in the wood,
Forgetting honour in its fear for life.
Lead just for once thine army to the plains.
Why keepest thou the host behind the heights ?
Was this thine understanding with Khusrau -
To make a hill thy stronghold in the war? "
Gudarz replied : "Attend to ale: 'tis right
That I should speak. That none took up thy challenge
Thou thoughtlessly imputest unto me.
Hear that I proffered oath and covenant
By order of the Shah, but. now that I
Have come with this great host - the pick of all
The valiant chieftains of Iran-ye lurk
Like old fox in a brake, frayed by the hunter
Ye practise cunning, artifice, and guile
To 'scape mace, spear, and lasso. Brag not thou,
Nor challenge us, for foxes meet not lions."
Human, on hearing what Gudarz replied,
Raged like a lion on that scene of strife,
And answered: "If thou comest not to fight
'Tis not that fight with me disgraceth they,
But ever since the battle of Pashan
Thou hast avoided Turkmans in the fray.
How Bizhan heard of the Doings of Human
Bizhan was told: "Human the lion-like
Came boldly to thy grandsire, having challenged
The chiefs of both the wings. Not one went forth ;
He then withdrew in anger and disdain,
First having slain four horsemen of the host,
And flung them to the ground despitefully."
Bizhan raged like a leopard; his hands itched
For combat with Human. He bade to saddle
His favourite elephantine charger, donned
His Ruman war-mail, quickly Birthed Shabrang,
And came, full of resource, before his father,
To whom he spake about his grandsire, saying :-
"My father ! said I not so, point by point ?
'Gudarz,' I said, 'is failing in his wits;
Dost thou not see the change in him ? His heart
Is full of fear, his liver full of blood
Through his exceeding grief for all his sons
Slain and beheaded on the battlefield.'
For proof - this Turkman boldly, lion-like,
Carne midst our warriors to Gudarz, with spear
In hand and shouting like a drunken man,
And yet no horseman of this noble host
Was fit to fight, to loft hiln on a spear,
And make him like a bird upon the spit!
Array, my loving and most prudent sire!
My shoulders in the mail of Siyawush,
For none but I may battle with Human,
And cause his manhood to go up in dust."
Giv said, " My prudent son! give ear a while.
I said to thee: 'Be not impetuous,
And say not aught untoward to Gudarz,
Because he hath experience and more wisdom,
And is the leader of this noble host.' '
His cavaliers would fight an elephant,
Yet bade he none to battle with Human ;
But youth, as it would seem, hath made thee rash;
Thou hast set up thy neck and come to me
With this request ; I am not of thy mind,
And therefore let me hear no more thereof."
Bizhan replied: ''If thou accedest not
To my desire thou wouldst not have me famous.
I will go girded to the general,
And smite my breast for leave to fight Human."
He wheeled his charger, hurried to Gudarz,
Saluted him, and told him all with sorrow:-
"O paladin of our world-ruling Shah,
Versed in affairs, thou glory of the throne !
I see this cause for wonderment in thee,
Though I am one of little wit, that thou
Hast made a pleasance of this battlefield,
And purged thy heart of warfare with the Turkmans !
The seventh day is hard at hand; but day
And night bring rest, not action, for the sun
Beholdeth not the warriors' scimitars,
And no dust riseth in the face of heaven !
More wonderful than that - from yonder host
One Turkman - one misguided wretch - came forth,
Whom God who giveth good, but bringeth ill
On evil men, led from TLiran in arms
In order to be slaughtered by thy hand,
And thou didst spare the netted onager !
I do not understand thy policy.
Supposest thou that, if Hulnan were slain
E'en now, Piran would not come forth to fight?
Think not that ever he will be the first
To move his army to the open field.
Behold now I have bathed my hands in blood,
And girded up my loins to fight Human,
Whom, if the paladin will give me leave,
I will encounter like a furious lion.
Now let the general order Giv to give me
The arms of valiant Siyawush, the helm
And Ruman mail, unbuckling them himself."
On hearing what Bizhan said and perceiving
His courage and his wise advice Gudarz,
Rejoicing, mightily applauded him,
And answered : "Fortune ever prosper thee.
Since thou bestrod'st the pardskin, crocodiles
Have held their breath and lions sheathed their claws.
Thou never restest but art first in fight
And in adventures, faring gallantly
And, like a lion, always conquering.
Still ere thou challengest Human think well
If thou canst meet him on the battlefield,
For he is a malignant.Ahriman,
And like a mail-clad mountain in the fray,
While thou art but a youth. Heaven scarce hath turned
Above thy head. Thou lovest not thyself.
Wait, and I will dispatch to fight with him
Some veteran Lion, like a thundering cloud,
To shower arrows down on him like hail,
And pin his steel casque to his head."
Said: "Paladin ! a gallant youth should have
Accomplishment. If thou saw'st not my fight
Against Farud now is the time to prove me.
I rolled up earth when fighting at Pashan.
None hath beheld my back upon the day
Of battle, and I am not fit to live
If I have not such prowess as the rest.
Now if thou dost deny me this, and say :-
'Adventure not thyself against Human,'
I will complain of thee before the ShAh,
And give up belt and helm from this time forth."
Gudarz smiled joyfully upon the youth,
So like a noble cypress-tree, and answered :-
"How fortunate is Giv in such a son!
And may I ne'er forget the glorious day
Whereon a virtuous mother gave thee birth.
Pards' claws have proven impotent since thou
Didst stretch thy hands to fight. Thou mayest meet
Human, and may good fortune be thy guide.
Now in the name of God who ruleth all,
And by the triumphs of our warriors' Shah,
Endeavour that destruction may o'erwhelm
This Ahriman, God willing, by thy hand.
Now will I say to Giv : 'Give to Bizhan
The suit of armour that he asketh for.'
If thou shalt vanquish thine antagonist
Thou shalt receive addition at my hands,
And shalt be greater than Farhad and Giv
In treasure and in troops, in throne and crown."
Thus spake the grandsire to the grandson - one
Full of resource and ruse - who, lighting, kissed
The ground and praised him. Then the paladin
Called Giv. Talk passed about the youth and how
He fain would combat in that royal mail.
"Chief paladin ! " said to the sire the son,
'This one is mind and soul and world to me
His life is not so worthless in mine eyes ;
I would not lose him down the Dragon's maw."
"Fond one ! " Gudarz said, " think not thus of him,
Bizhan, though young and fresh, is led by wisdom
In all things, and besides we should fight here,
And purify the world of Ahrimans.
We, whom the Shah commanded to take vengeance
For Siyawush, may not heed kin or spare
Our lives although the clouds rain swords of steel.
We must not break Bizhan's heart for the fight,
Or veil his hopes of fame. A youth if slothful
Will prove but mean of spirit, dull of soul."
Giv, left without resource by such reply,
Made yet one more endeavour to persuade
His son, if haply he would shun the strife.
The son replied: "Thou wilt disgrace my name."
Then Giv said to Gudarz : - Chief-paladin
When our own lives are put in jeopardy
We cease to care about son, host, and treasure,
Respect for, and command of, chief and Shah.
I have a rugged time in front of me;
Why should I sacrifice my life for him?
Where are his own arms if he fain would fight?
He hath his mail: why should he ask for mine?"
The champion said: "I do not want thy mail.
Think'st thou that all the warriors of the world
Will seek for fame in thine accoutrements,
And no chief aim at glory and renown
Unless he hath the arms of Siyawush ? "
He spurred his charger from the troops around
That he might quit them for the battleground.
How Giv gave the Mail of Siyawush to Bizhan
Now when Bizhan had vanished from the host
Giv's heart swelled up with sorrow, and repenting
He wept blood in his anguish. See what grief
And love a son may cause! He raised his head
To heaven with full heart and with liver stricken,
And said to God: "O Judge of all the world!
Vouchsafe to look upon this wounded heart.
Oh ! burn it not with anguish for Bizhan,
My feet are in the mire made by my tears!
O Thou, the Omnipotent ! restore me him
He went in sorrow for the youth,
His son, and thought: "I pained him wantonly
Why did I thwart his wishes? Should ill come
Upon him from Humln, what good to me
Are armour, sword, and belt ? I shall be left
All anguish, care, and wrath; on his account
My heart will ache, mine eyes will weep."
Like dust, approached his son upon the field,
And said: "Why dost thou grieve us thus and haste
When thou shouldst tarry? Doth the black snake rage
So greatly on the battle-day that so
The crocodile may issue from the deep ?
And is the shining of the moon so bright
As to eclipse the radiance of the sun ?
Now thou art rushing on Human and turnest
Thy head from my behest, adopting thus
Thine own course, knowing not the task before thee!
Bizhan replied: "Turn not, my valiant sire
My heart from its revenge for Siyawush.
Human is not of brass or iron, not
A mighty elephant or Ahriman.
He is a man of war. I challenge him,
And backed by thy good fortune will not shrink.
My fortune may be written otherwise
Than I desire, the Judge disposeth all
Since what must be will be grieve not nor trouble
On mine account."
Giv, hearing his brave son
Whose loins were girt for battle like a lion,
Dismounted, gave to him the steed and mail
Of Siyawush, and said: "If thou art bent
On fight, and self-will lordeth thus o'er wisdom,
Mount on this rapid charger, which will roll
Earth under thee. My mail too will be useful,
Since thou wilt have to fight an Ahriman."
When he beheld his father's steed before him
Bizhan alighted from his own like wind,
Put on the mail and made the buckles fast
Then, having mounted on that royal charger,
Bound tight his girdle, took his mace in hand,
Chose from the army an interpreter -
One well acquainted with the Turkman tongue -
And went, like some huge lion, with his loins
Girt up to take revenge for Siyawush.
Bizhan, or ever he approached Human,
Beheld an Iron Mountain - one that moved -
The desert all a-gleam with the cuirass,
And under the cuirass an Elephant.
He bade the interpreter shout to his foe :-
"Turn back if thou art eager for the fray,
Bizhan is ready to contend with thee,
And thus he saith : 'O veteran cavalier
Why urgest thou thy steed about the field,
Sent by Afrasiyab to come to ill?
Thou shouldest have the curses of Turan ;
Thou art the miscreant that made the feud,
And art the guiltiest in all the land;
I look to God for succour and I thank Him
For bringing thee to meet me on this field.
Draw in the reins of thine impetuous steed
My blood is boiling for revenge upon thee;
Select a spot whereon we may engage,
And wheel with me on desert, dale, or mountain,
Or else between the hosts' embattled lines,
For name and fame, where friend and foe alike
May look upon thee and of all the chiefs
Approve thee most."'
Human laughed long and loud,
And answered: "Luckless one! thou trustest much
Thy body haply weary of its head!
'Twill dispatch thee to the host so mauled
That Giv shall be in pain and grief for thee,
Soon will I separate thy head and trunk
Like those of many of thy gallant kin.
Thou wilt be in my clutches as a pheasant,
When borne with shrieks and weeping tears of blood
Above the cypress-branches by a hawk,
Which sucketh at the gore and teareth out
The plumes; but what availeth ? Night is near.
Go sheltered by its murk and I will go
Awhile to mine own host, present myself
At daybreak to the chief, and hurry back
With head erect and Bight to counter thee."
"Begone," Bizhan replied, "and may a ditch
Be in thy rear and Ahriman in front!
To-morrow, if thou comest to the field,
Thy king and host shall ne'er behold thee more,
And I will bear thy head so far away
That thou shah cease to trouble for thy troops."
They wheeled and sought their camps and paladins,
Then passed in troubled, vexed repose that night
With hearts that were impatient for the fight.
How Human came to Battle with Bizhan
When morning breathed above the mountain-tops,
And dark night's shirt was no more seen, Human
Equipped himself, and told Piran : "I challenged
Bizhan, the son of Giv, and spent the night
Calling an interpreter,
He mounted on his wind-swift bay and reached
The appointed place, expectant of Bizhan,
Who with his own interpreter anon
Came Bight for combat, riding Shabahang,
Girt tightly, and advancing haughtily
Like warrior-pard to battle. He was mailed
Withal on his heroic breast, his head
Shone with his royal casque. He thus addressed
Human : "O light of wit ! but yesternight
Thou didst bear off a souvenir from me -
Thy head! To-day my hope is that my sword
Will part it from its body in such wise
As with thy blood to turn the dust to clay.
Thou mayest take to heart an apologue
The mountain-sheep once said to the gazelle:-
'Though all the plain were silk no more again
The snare once 'scaped for me ! Be thine the plain.'
Human replied: "To-day Giv's heart shall break
For his bold son. Wilt thou contend with me
Upon Mount Kanabad, or make the scene
Raibad, and far from aid on either side?"
Bizhan said: "Why this talk? Fight where thou wilt."
They left Mount Kanabad, rode toward the waste,
And reached a desert-spot where they beheld
No footprints left by man, where vultures flew not,
And lions trod not, far from host and help.
There they agreed: "Whichever shall survive
Shall spare the fallen man's interpreter
To bear his king the news of what befell."
This done, they lighted from their steeds, made fast
The divers straps and buckles of their mail,
And fixed their saddles firmly; then the twain -
Those wrathful warriors with vengeful hearts -
Next gat their bows in order for the fray,
And hurried forward to the battleground.
They strained their bows until the notches touched,
Discharged their poplar arrows tipped with steel,
Then took their spears, and wheeled to left and right
While bits of armour flew and spearheads gleamed.
Watch how the fortune of the day inclined!
Their mouths gaped like a lion's with the heat;
Both longed for rest and water; presently
They damped their burning rage and stayed to breathe,
Then took their shields and trenchant scimitars
Thou wouldst have said: "The Day of Doom hath come ! "
But steel was foiled by steel, though in the fight
The flashing sword-strokes showered down like fire;
Each hero failed to shed the other's blood,
And both their hearts were still insatiate.
They took their maces, having done with swords,
And passed all measure in their combating;
Thereafter they essayed each other's strength;
Each grasped his foeman's girdle and endeavoured
To drag him from his steed and fling hire down.
The stirrup-leathers in the violent strain
Snapped, but each rider still retained his seat,
And neither of them had the mastery.
Then both the warriors lighted from their chargers,
And breathed themselves a while. The interpreters
Held the two steeds. Anon the combatants
Rose like fierce lions, wearied as they were,
And gat them ready for a wrestling-bout.
Thus from the morning till the shadows lengthened
These champions, on the poise of hope and fear,
Contended with each other; neither turned
His head away; their mouths were parched, their bodies
A-sweat with toil and with the blazing sun
Then by consent they hastened to a pool.
Bizhan, when he had drunk, arose in anguish,
All shaking like a willow in a gale,
And, in his heart despairing of sweet life,
Called upon God and said: "Omnipotent!
Thou knowest all within me and without.
If thou perceivest justice in my cause,
Both in my challenge and my purposes,
The strength which I possess take not away,
And give me self-possession in the fray."
How Human was slain by Bizhan
Human, distressed and raven-black with pain,
Advanced. All wounded as they were both came
Like pards to fight again, strove mightily,
And first one, then the other, touched the ground.
They put forth all their strength and artifice
Until high heaven's own artifice was seen,
For, though Human was mightier, all prowess
Is but defect in him whose sun is set.
Bizhan put forth his hands like leopard's claws
To catch upon Human where'er he could;
His left hand gripped his foeman's neck, the right
His foeman's thigh, he bent that mighty Carrel,
Raised him aloft, and flung him to the ground;
Then holding down Human, and drawing forth
A dagger, swift as wind beheaded him,
And flung away his carcase like a dragon's.
Human lay rolled in dust, the waste ran blood.
Bizhan surveyed that elephantine form,
Fall'n like a stately cypress in a meadow,
With great amazement, turned away, looked up
To Him who ruleth o'er the world, and said :-
"O Thou that art above both place and tune,
Above the revolution of the sky !
Thou and Thou only rulest o'er the world -
A matter which no wisdom can gainsay.
I have no portion in this doughty deed,
Not having pluck to fight an elephant,
Yet have cut off Human's head in revenge
For Siyawush, and my sire's seventy brothers.
Now may his spirit be in thrall to mine,
His body rent to pieces by the lions."
He bound Human's head to the saddle-straps
Upon Shabrang and flung the trunk to dust,
With armour shattered and with girdle snapped,
His head in this place and his trunk in that.
The world is all imposture, nothing more,
It will not help thee when distress is sore
It showeth fairly, but it doth not so,
And therefore let thy heart its love forego.
Human, the son of Wisa, being slain,
The two interpreters ran to Bizhan
To worship him as Brahmans do an image
In Chin. He looked around the battlefield,
And saw no way save past the Turkman Lost,
And fearing lest that murderous multitude,
When they perceived the upshot of the fight,
Should come forth in a mountain-mass to battle
While he was not prepared to fight alone,
He put from him the mail of Siyawush,
And donned instead the armour of Human;
Then mounted on the elephantine steed,
And took in hand the banner, of that prince.
He went his way with blessings on the place,
His wakeful fortunes, and the glorious field.
Human's interpreter, when he beheld
His master's fate, was fearful of Bizhan,
Who said: "Fear not, I will observe the pact.
Go tell thy host what thou hast seen me do."
He went what while Bizhan with bended bow
Rode rapidly toward Mount Kanabad.
Now when the Turkman outposts saw afar
The lance and standard of that chief of Tur,
They sprang up cheering in their joy and sped
A cameleer like smoke to tell Piran :-
"Human, such is our king's victorious fortune
Is hasting from the place of combating,
The standard of the Iranian chief is down,
His corpse defiled in dust and drenched in gore."
The whole host shouted and their leader listened
To hear Human's approach - a short-lived joy,
And then the hail descended on their heads!
Anon the interpreter returned and told
What he had seen, and tidings reached Piran :-
"The glory of the empire is bedimmed."
From the Turanian army rose a cry,
The warriors unhelmed themselves; the world
Grew overcast; there was no brightness left,
And all their frantic words availed them not.
Now when Bizhan in crossing 'twixt the hosts
Approached the shadow of the great king's throne,
At once that warrior of lion-heart,
The army's refuge, dipped the sable standard.
The watchmen of the Iranian host, perceiving
The sable banner thus inverted, turned
Their faces toward the paladin and raised
A shouting from the watch-tower. They dispatched
Post haste a cameleer to tell Gudarz :-
"Bizhan is come in triumph, lionlike,
And carrieth the sable flag reversed."
Giv bare himself meanwhile like those distraught,
All clamorous and restless everywhere,
In quest of news of his heroic son,
And sorrowed greatly at a time of joy.
Then tidings came. He hurried forth. He saw
The well-loved face. He lighted from his steed -
His fitting course - and wallowed, head in dust,
Returning thanks to God, then clasped his son
Upon his breast, that youth so wise and brave.
Thence, still returning thanks, they sought Gudarz,
Whose grandson lighting from his steed, which bare
Human's head in its saddle-straps, presented,
With mail besmirched with blood and head with dust,
The armour, steed, and head of brave Huiman.
"The paladin," thou wouldst have said, " will pour
His soul out," he rejoiced so o'er Bizhan,
And then began to praise the Judge of all
For that good omen and unsleeping fortune.
He next gave orders to the treasurer,
Arid said: "Bring forth a crown and royal robe
With patterns jewelled on a golden grounld,
The crown and belt with pendent pearls like suns."
He likewise brought ten chargers with gold bridles,
And ten boy-slaves fay-faced and girt with gold,
Bestowed them on Bizhan, and said: "Brave Lion!
None else had laid this Dragon low. Our host
Hast thou delivered by thy sword and hand,
And broken too the Turkman monarch's heart,
While our own warriors like lions ride
On steeds which plunge and caracole in pride."
How Nastihan made a Night-attack and was slain
On the other side Piran all pain and wrath,
With heart grief-stricken and with eyes all tears,
Dispatched a messenger to Nastihan
To say: "O famous warrior, good at need!
Make ready to engage and dally not
O'er this our brother's blood, attack the Iranians
By night and make earth a Jihun with gore.
Lead forth ten thousand cavaliers of proof,
Armed for the fray. Thou mayst avenge Human,
And bring our foemen's heads between the shears."
Then Nastihan : "So will I do for I
Will make earth like Jihun."
Two-thirds of night
Passed, then the plain shook with the tramp of horse-men -
The Turkmans eager to exalt their necks
By that emprise. As Nastihan led on
His vengeful powers toward the Iranian host
He came, as dawn was breaking, to a place
Where from the look-out the Iranian watchman
Saw him, and shouted to the scouts: "A force
Is on us from Turan ! "
They lightly sped
Toward Gudarz to say: "A host approacheth
As 'twere a gliding stream; thou wouldest say:-
'They have not speaking tongues.' The general knoweth
How men are wont to make a night-attack."
Gudarz said, to the troops: "Be vigilant
And bright of heart, let every ear be open
To any indication of the foe."
With that he called the son of Giv - Bizhan,
The swordsman and heroic paladin -
And said: « Success and fortune are thine own,
The hearts of foes are shivered at thy name.
Take whom thou needest of my famous troops,
Go lion-like, receive the foemen's charge,
And by thy courage bring the heavens down."
Bizhan chose out a thousand cavaliers,
And, when the two hosts met, they drew their maces;
Murk gathered overhead wherefrom dark dust
Descending veiled the Turkman soldiers' eyes.
Bizhan, when he perceived the Turkman host
Thus hidden, bade his warriors string their bows.
The war-din rose. Encountering Nastihan
He saw the flag of Wisa's family
Borne by that chief whose steed an arrow reached
Sent from the broad breast of Bizhan. The charger
Fell in its anguish, then Bizhan came up,
And with his mace smote Nastihan's helmed head,
Brained it, and there an end. Then cried Bizhan :-
"If any soldier handle aught but mace
And scimitar, then will I break his bow
Across his head because although the Turkmans
Have fairy faces they are naught in fight."
His warriors took courago at his words,
And every one unsheathed his glittering glaive;
The air seemed rusty, earth a sea of blood.
Most of the Turkman troops blood-boltered fell
Beneath the chargers' feet, the others fled
Toward their host, the Iranians in pursuit.
PIran missed Nastihan, the earth turned black
To him, he bade the scouts: "Dispatch at once
A cameleer to the Iranian host
That he may get me news of Nastihan,
Or if not I will pluck out both his eyes."
They instantly dispatched a cameleer,
Who went, beheld, returned to them in haste,
And said: "Lo ! Nastihan is on the field
With other chieftains of the Turkman host,
Beheaded, lying like an elephant,
His body blue with bruises from the mace ! "
Piran swooned at the news, then tore his hair
And wept, rejecting food, repose, and sleep.
He rent his Ruman vest, and wailings rose.
He said: "Almighty Ruler of the world !
In sooth I must unwittingly have sinned
Against Thee, for Thou hast deprived mine arms
Of might, so darkened are my star and sun
Alas! that lion-quelling hero-taker,
That cavalier so young and brave and goodly -
My brother dearer to me than my life -
The head of Wisa's race, my brave Human,
And Nastihan, that Lion fierce in fight,
To whose claws any leopard was a fox!
Whom have I left upon the field? My course
Is to lead out the host."
He blew the trumpets,
Bound on the drums, and with the heaven murky,
The earth like ebon, sun and moon obscured,
Marched from Mount Kanabad. Gudarz too sounded
His clarions, marched, and took up his position.
Full in the centre, guarded by blue falchions,
Was Kawa's flag, while chiefs intent on strife
Stood ready with the lance and ox-head mace.
As morning dawned the hosts advanced, and battled
Till daylight failed, then both, still fit for fight
And eager for revenge, returned to camp.
The Iranian general occupied Rafbad,
And could not rest for his anxiety.
"A mighty battle have we fought to-day,
He said, " and slain the leaders of the foe,
And now methinketh that Piran will send
His king a cameleer and ask for succours
In this campaign against me, and I now
Will send intelligence to Kai Khusrau."
How Gudarz asked Aid of Khusrau
Gudarz then called to him a letter-writer,
And said: "I have some secrets to impart,
And if thou openest thy lips thereon
Thy tongue will bring disaster on thy head."
He had a letter written to the Shah
About the host, the parley with Piran,
The ambassage of Giv to proffer league
And love, and show Piran heaven's purposes,
The answer that Piran had made to Giv,
And to the wise and valiant chiefs, and how
A Turkman host had pard-like followed him
Up to Mount Kanabad to battle there;
Then how they had prepared a battlefield,
And had relieved their hearts by combating.
Gudarz gave to the Shah a full report
About Human and valiant Nastihan,
And how Bizhan upon the day of fight
Had served the mace-men of Turan; that done,
Gudarz spake thus about Afrasiyab :-
"He hath approached the river; should he cross
Thou knowest that we cannot stand against him,
O monarch of Iran, lord of the world !
Unless Khusrau shall come to our support,
And set a crown upon his warriors' heads;
But if Piran shall come alone the troops
Will need no help; Khusrau shall learn how I -
His slave - have by his fortune used Piran ;
And furthermore the conquering Shah perchance
Will condescend to let his servant know
What Rustam - binder of the Div - hath done,
And what Luhrasp hath done, and wise Ashkash.°'
The letter being tied and sealed, Gudarz
Bade bring out many rapid courier-steeds
With royal saddles. Then he called Hajir,
Who though a youth was prudent as an elder,
And said: "Wise son! give all thy heart hereto,
For thou, if ever thou desire my favour,
Canst win it now. Charged with this missive speed
Forth like a blast, repose not night and day,
Nor pausing e'en to scratch thy head, and bear
The Shah my letter."
He embraced Hajir,
Who came out from his glorious father's presence
And, calling from the host two of his kindred,
And mounting them upon swift-footed steeds,
Left his sire's camp-enclosure. With relays
Of horses for each stage they ate, reposed,
And slept upon their steeds both day and night,
And on the seventh day approached the Shah.
One went to tell Khusrau, who sent Shammakh
With many haughty chiefs to welcome them.
"O lion-taking son of paladins!"
Shammakh said, " what hath chanced that thou hast
Thus all unlooked for to the worldlord's court?"
Then at the Shah's command they raised the curtain,
And let Hajir ride through, who, when the Shah
Perceived him, rubbed his visage in the dust.
Khusrau much greeted him, then made him sit
Beside the throne, and asked about Gudarz,
The leaders, and the rest. The prudent youth
Of ardent sbul gave him the great men's greetings,
Informed him fully of the host's affairs,
Then gave the letter of the paladin.
The monarch called a scribe and had it read,
Then filled Hajir's mouth with bright gems and ordered
The treasurer, " Bring Dinars forth and brocade,"
Who, when he heard the order, brought forth sacks
Of coin and emptied them upon Hajir
Until his head was hidden; then produced
A suit of king's apparel-cloth of gold -
And crown inlaid with jewels. Furthermore
They led before Hajir ten noble steeds
With golden saddles, while Hajir's companions
Were clad in robes of honour and received
Dinars and drachms and goods of every kind.
They left the throne-room with the Shah and sat
A night and day with wine and revelry.
Khusrau considered every circumstance,
And, having bathed his head and body, went
First, freshly garmented in robes of service,
While both his eyes were raining like a cloud,
At dawn before the Ruler of the world;
Then, stooping lowly with his head abased,
He offered praises to the righteous Judge,
To whom he prayed for Grace and victory,
And pleaded for the crown and throne of might.
He plained to God about Afrasiyab,
And in his grief poured water from his eyes;
Then, like a stately cypress, left the place,
And sat upon the throne in all his Grace.
The Answer of Khusrau to the Letter of Gudarz
The Shah then called a wise scribe and dispatched
A fair reply yet harsh in some regards.
He lauded first the paladin and said:-
"Live evermore and may thy soul be bright!
Blest be the prudent captain of the host,
The heedful and discerning warrior,
Lord of the iron mace and blue steel sword,
Who brighteneth Kawa's flag. Praise be to God,
The Worldlord, that our troops have been triumphant.
When fortune shone on thee it quickly raised
Smoke from the foe. Thou sayest first: 'I sent
Some noble, prudent warriors with Giv
As envoys to PIran. What good advice
I gave him ! But his ill-conditioned mind
Rejected all. He would not league with me !'
A king whose officer made war on him
Gave utterance to a saw in this regard:-
'When subjects turn from right, and do instead
Such ill as this, their lives are forfeited.'
PIran, I knew, would not give up the struggle;
Still for past kindness' sake I did not seek
War to the death with him. Now time hath shown
That all his sympathies are with Turan ;
Afrasiyab is all the world to him,
So strive no longer to divert his love,
For he preferreth sentiment to wisdom,
And no endeavour will bring grass from flint.
That thou didst speak the foeman fair is good;
Fair speech befitteth well the noble race.
And next, from thy description of the encounter
Between the warriors with their massive maces,
Of our good fortune, of the favouring sun
And moon, and efforts made, I am persuaded
That thy might will secure the victory;
But know that strength and courage are from God;
Acknowledge this and give Him all the praise.
And thirdly, thou hast said: 'Afrasiyab
Will cross the river, having marched thereto
Because Piran hath sent to ask for aid.'
The matter is so, and we thus reply:-
'Know, O my thoughtful sage, mine officer
Approved in all things ! that Afrasiyab
Abideth not by the Jihan to fight
With us; the Khan is marching forth from Chin
Upon him; he is ambushed on both flanks,
Or rather, through the innumerable host,
Whose chiefs are now disposed around Turan,
As Rustam - refuge of the warriors
On battle-days - Luhrasp and deft Ashkash,
AfrasiyAb is threatened on all sides,
And therefore marcheth to the river-bank.
If he advanceth from his present ground
He will resign his country to the foe.
And fifthly, since thou askest me for tidings
About the chieftains whom thou lovest well,
Know, and may fortune ever go with thee,
That on the road that lion Rustam took
The dust hath risen from Kashmir and Hind,
While from Kharazm, whereto the shrewd Ashkash
Went, hath gone up the battle-cry, and Shida
Defeated sought Gurganj ; and where Luhrasp
Marched all the chieftains gave him passage, yielding
The Alans as well as Ghuz which now are ours.
So if Afrasiyab shall cross Jihun
These noble chiefs will take him in the rear,
And leave him nothing but the wind to grasp.
He will not then advance, be well assured,
And leave to foes the towns and broad champaign,
His fair support, whate'er Piran may urge.
He openeth not his lips by day or night
Unknown to me. May that day ne'er be blest
When he shall lead his host across the river,
And may none see the day of gloom and. straitness
When he shall get the upper-hand of us.
Now will I order Tus, that ardent chief,
To mount the drums, seize Dahistan, Gurgan,
And lands around, and thus exalt his head
High as the sun; ourself will follow Tus
With throne and host and elephants to aid thee.
Meanwhile confront Piran, array thy troops,
And offer fight; Human and Nastihan
Are gone; regard his hands as full of grief,
And if he challengeth our chiefs to combat
Decline not thou. If he should ofler battle
Be of good courage, meet him like a lion.
Dread not a conflict with Afrasiyab ;
Take heart and turn not from him; thou wilt win
If thou hast confidence, and God, I trust,
Will favour me. Methinketh that when I
March to support you ye will have your will
Upon your foes and raise your own names sunward."
He sent the host much greeting from Kaus
And Tus. The letter with his seal imprest
He handed to Hajir whom too he blest.
How Khusrau arrayed the host
Now, when Hajir had left the presence, Khusrau
Took counsel with a scribe. The Shah's great love
Toward his troops turned all his thoughts to war.
He said thus: "If Afrasiyab bestir
Himself and cross the river he will drive
My troops back; my course is to go myself."
Thereat he called to him the head of all
The scions of Naudar, commanded him
To lead a host to Dahistan forthwith,
To occupy the whole waste of Kharazm,
Watch o'er Ashkash upon the day of battle,
And enter into combat like a pard.
Then from the court of Tus the tymbals, trumpets,
And kettledrums resounded, chief and host
Marched forth, and earth was hidden by the horse-hoofs.
"The circling sun," thou wouldst have said, " stood still,
Frayed by those cavaliers !" Tus marched two weeks,
And light departed from the sun and moon,
While news about the Shah's own movements spread,
For, when Tus left, Khusrau prepared to march,
With five score thousand of the chosen chieftains,
Toward Gudarz with elephants and drums,
The Grace and crown and throne of king of kings.
Hajir sped proudly on before Khusrau,
Glad, with a robe of honour, and in favour;
Thou wouldst have said : "He rolleth up the earth."
As he approached the camp the clarions blared,
And all the golden-girdled chiefs went out
To welcome him. In presence of Gudarz
He told of his reception by the Shah,
What graciousness and interest were shown,
What magnanimity and statesmanship,
Spake of the Shah's affection for his troops,
And how his face cleared when he heard the message.
Hajir then gave the letter of Khusrau,
With greetings from the nobles, to Gudarz,
Who, hearing of the monarch's graciousness,
And having pressed to his own eyes and face
The letter, broke its seal and handed it
When open to a scribe to read to him.
The chieftain called down blessings on the Shah,
And kissed the ground on hearing his commands,
Spent all the night consulting with his son,
And took his seat at dawn for audience.
Then all the men of name throughout the host
Came helmed before the throne, anon Hajir
Produced the letter of the glorious Shah,
And gave it to a scribe who read it out.
Gudarz brought into camp all steeds at grass,
And bade the quarter-masters do their office,
Allowing them the keys of all his hoard
Of mail, dinars, gold casques, swords, crowns, and girdles ;
For since the moment for revenge had come
He poured that wealth out on the host till horse
And foot were furnished ; thus an army gathered
As 'twere a mountain ; earth shook at the tramp
Of wind-foot steeds, the hearts of lions quaked
At troops so whelmed with iron, gold, and silver.
He bade them to prepare for strife and give
Their hearts and ears to compassing revenge.
They marched past their brave chief by companies -
A mountain-mass of men - while he reviewed them,
Saw earth obscured and heaven azure-dim,
And said thus : "From Jamshid's days until now
None hath arrayed the like with steeds and arms,
Gold, silver, elephants of war, and Lions.
Hence with God's aidance will I ride to Chin."
This said he called the noble and the wise
fo entertain them at a drinking-bout
With harp and pipe, and with the men of might
Discussed the manner of the corning fight.
Hom Piran wrote to Gudarz Son of Kishwad
News of the Shah's proceedings reached Piran
And filled his heart with terror ; he took refugo
In knavery, deceit, and artifice,
And then - his sole resource - he bade a scribe
Indite a letter to the paladin,
Wherein he proffered first great praise to God -
His refuge from the potent Div - then said :-
"In public and in private my one prayer
To God, the All-ruler of the world, is this -
To ban this scene of strife between our hosts.
If it be thou, Gudarz ! that hast desired
Thus to fulfil the world with thy revenge,
Thy lust is sated. Say, what wouldst thou more ?
Behold how many of my gallant Hearts,
Of mine own nearest kindred and my Lions,
Hast thou flung - headless trunks - upon the dust
Hast thou no reverence, no fear of God ?
From love and wisdom thou hast turned thy face,
And now that thou hast gained thine end 'tis time
For thee to sicken of revenge and be not
Henceforward bold in bloodshed. Do thou mark
How many of the horsemen of Iran,
And of Turan, have perished in this war !
It is high time that ruth should come to thee,
With some remission in the quest of strife.
In seeking vengeance for one dead and gone
How many living ones wilt thou behead ?
Now, since the past will not return to us,
Sow not fresh seed of vengeance in the world,
Vex not thy spirit nor expend thy body,
But cease from bloodshed, for the dead are cursed
That leave a long-enduring name for ill,
And whensoever sable locks turn white
Small hope of life is left. If our two armies
Again encounter on this field I fear
That thou wilt see none left on either side ;
Lives will be lost, but vengeance will survive,
While after all who knoweth which will win,
Which be the luckless, which the illustrious ?
But if thy resolution to shed blood,
And make a fight of lions with me here,
Is all to win advantage for Iran,
So say and I will send a messenger
To ask Afrasiyab for his commands
That so we may divide earth, and lay by
The strife as in the days of Minuchihr
When every one observed the settlement.
Declare what lands thou claimest for Iran
That we may move the Turkmans out of them,
From settlement and desert, field and fell,
As Kai Khusrau, the righteous judge, shall order.
First will I draw toward the hills, and quit
Iran from Gharcha to the land of Bust,
Quit Talikan as far as Fariyab
Including Andarab, and cities five
As far as Bamiyan, and all the coasts,
And Kaian dwelling-places, of Iran,
The country of Gurkan, that favoured spot,
Thus titled by the master of the world,
With all from Balkh as far as Badakhshan
That beareth indications of his sway ;
While, lower down, the desert of Amwi
And Zam shall be included with Khatlan,
Besides Shingan, Tirmid, and Wisagird,
Bukhara and the cities round about.
Proceed moreover to the land of Sughd ;
None will claim aught thereof. To valiant Rustam
I yield Nimruz and will withdraw the troops,
Allowing him free access to the East,
And all as far as Hind ungrudgingly.
Kashmir, Kabul, and Kandahar with all
That fronteth Sind shall likewise be included.
The Alans and parts invaded by Luhrasp,
And all between them and Mount Kaf, I yield,
Without strife or contention to Khusrau,
With all the region threatened by Ashkash.
This done I will recall from every side
My troops, and swear to be thy foe no longer.
Thou knowest that I have been friendly, true,
And upright. I will send Afrasiyab
Intelligence that we have ceased from strife;
Do thou moreover look on us with favour,
And in thy kindness write Khusrau a letter
To say that I have made thee overtures,
And vie with thee no more in shedding blood.
When we have ratified the covenant
I will dispatch the treasures which Khusrau
Demanded, and he too perchance will stop
His warlike operations. Afterward
I will send hostages with goods of all sorts,
And by a friendly, just, and sacred treaty
Will sew the eye of feud up with the hand
Of good faith, broken in the great Shah's time
By evil-natured Tur and savage Salm,
When Faridun was well-nigh crazed with grief
Because the illustrious Iraj was slain.
What thou requirest else be good enough
To state, then write and tell the Shah of all.
Think not because I speak thee fair: 'These people
Are giving way,' I only speak in love;
Mine object is to make a happy ending.
My treasures, troops, and military fame
Surpass thine own, but this persistent strife,
And impious bloodshed, cause my heart to burn
Upon the troops' account, and I would stop
The feud: besides I stand in awe of God
Both in my public and my private life,
Who as the Judge will not approve ill deeds,
But utterly destroy our fields and fells.
Now if thou turnest from these words of mine,
And seekest war against me to the death,
Condemning me though I am innocent,
And not regarding aught that I can say,
Since justice and injustice are all one
To thee, and thou wouldst further spread the feud,
Choose out some chiefs that wield the massive mace,
And I too will select among my troops
Such warriors as are needful for the strife.
These will we pair for combat. Let us twain
Encounter likewise on the battlefield.
Those innocent of bloodshed then perchance
Will find repose from strife. Those whom thou boldest
As guilty, those that grieve thy heart, will I
Bring forth to thee upon the day of battle.
Moreover thou shalt make a covenant
That if thou shalt prevail to shed our blood,
And if the Turkman warriors' fortune sinketh,
Thou wilt in no wise harm my host or burn
My country and my throne, but give my troops
Free passage home and ambuscade them not.
If I prevail, my good star bear me fruit,
I will not ambuscade the Iranians
We will not be injurious or vindictive,
But give them access to their king and country
Without the loss of property or life.
If thou consentest not, but wouldst prefer
A general engagement, set thy host
In order and the blood shed in the fight
Shall rest upon thee in the other world."
He tied the letter and then called his son,
A chief of brazen body bight Ruin,
To whom he said: "Go to Gudarz ; address him
In prudent words and list to his reply."
Ruin, when he had left the chieftain's door,
Came with ten horsemen and inspired by wisdom
In haste to where the paladin was camped,
And, when he saw Gudarz, drew near to him
With folded arms and head inclined. That chief
Rose, clasped Ruin, and asked about Piran,
The host, the mighty men, the king and realm.
Ruin then told his message and delivered
The letter, which a scribe approached and read
With all its goodly language and advice,
And wise Piran's proposals for a peace.
Then said Gudarz : "Son of the general,
And happy youth ! first thou must be our guest,
And then thou mayest ask for my reply."
They cleared a camp-enclosure for his use,
Providing him a lodging fit for kings.
Gudarz, filled with anxiety of heart,
Sat with his counsellor - the twain, no more -
While they prepared an answer, picking out
The fairest words. A sennight thus elapsed
While minstrels, wine, and harp were in request,
And daily when the sun sank in the sky
Ruin was called to share the revelry.
The Answer of Gudarz to the Letter of Piran
Gudarz upon the eighth day called a scribe,
And bade him write the answer, planting thus
Another tree of feud. He offered praise
To God, then point by point made this response :-
"Thy letter I have read and understand
Thy purposes. Ruin too hath delivered
Thy message, but I wonder at thy writing
Such goodly words, because thy tongue and heart
Accord not, and thy soul is poor in wisdom.
In all affairs thou speakest courteously,
And usest phrases so instinct with grace
That any one that is not really wise
Would rest with confidence on thy good will ;
Yet art thou like those salt-marsh tracts which look
Afar like water when the sun is on them ;
But lies and trickery are no avail
When it is time for mace and spear and lasso.
I will have naught with thee but war and strife,
This is no time for parley and rejoinder,
For glozing, league, and love, but to discern
The aspect of the sky, and mark to whom
God will give strength, the sun, and conquering fortune.
Still hear me, and let wisdom be thy guide ;
First for thy saying : 'I, through loving kindness,
Through fear of God, and recent happenings,
Wish not for war; my heart is strait and darkened
By all this coil.' Thy tongue and heart agreed not
What time these words were passing through thy lips,
Because if justice had possessed thy heart
ThOll hadst not been the foremost to shed blood.
When Giv first came to thee with prudent nobles,
Brave ofñcers, and other clear-brained chieftains,
With fair discourse and prudent counsellings,
Thou didst array thine army for this fight,
And leave thine own land to invade another.
In every conflict thou hast been aggressor.
This tardy wisdom should have come before,
And peace been thy beginning not thine end ;
But Chine ill disposition and ill strain
Are forcing thee to quit the path of wisdom,
Because the nature of thy race is evil -
A race that is inured to treachery.
Thou knowest how high-born Iraj was used
By Tur in envy of the crown and throne ;
How ill came on the earth through Tur and Salm,
How vengeance and injustice spread around ;
How Faridun in agony of heart
Had open lips to curse them night and day ;
And how by help of God who giveth good,
Who tendered and supported Minuchihr
In seeking vengeance and in justifying
The world by Grace of his supremacy,
Tur was requited for his wickedness.
Thus much time passed until the evil strain
Had reached Afrasiyab through men of name
But little wit; he sought a new revenge
On Minuchihr, Naudar, and Kai Kubad,
Did that whereof we wot to Kai Kaus,
Sent dust up from the homesteads of Iran,
And lastly with the blood of Siyawush
Prepared the base of new and lengthy strife.
Thou hadst no thought of justice at the time
When Siyawush though guiltless yielded up
Sweet life. How many great men of Inin
With crown and state have perished in this feud
Thou sayest next : 'O thou with hoary hair !
How long wilt thou be girded to shed blood ?'
Know, veteran deceiver who hast witnessed
The ups and downs of life ! that God hath given me
A length of days and an illustrious fortune
That I, in vengeance on the day of battle,
Might send the dust up sunw and from Turan ;
And all mine apprehension is that God
May end my life ere I have been revenged,
And trodden underfoot your fields and fells.
Thou sayest thirdly : 'I see not in thee
The heart-felt fear and awe of holy God.
Dost thou not realise that wanton bloodshed
Will be thine own undoing in the end ?'
If for thy gentle words I turn from fight
Almighty God will ask at Question-time
About the days that I have spent on earth,
And say : 'I gave thee leadership and strength,
With manhood, wealth, and skill ; why didst not thou
Gird in the presence of the Ininians
Thy loins in wreak for Siyawush ?' And when
The just Judge asketh me about the blood
Of all those seventy noble sons of mine,
How shall I tell the Maker of the world
The motives that seduced me from revenge ?
And fourthly as to wreak for Siyawush
Thou sayest, ancient prince ! 'For one now dust
'Tis wrong to take the lives of living men.'
Remember all the foul deeds which have been
Most grievous to the heart in every way,
The deeds which ye have wrought upon Iran,
What numbers of our monarchs ye have wronged,
What treaties have been broken, feuds begun,
And your eternal instancy in ill !
How can I think of these things and make peace,
For all along thou hast held evil good ?
Thou sayest fifthly : 'I will covenant
With thee, will give the chiefs as hostages,
Send treasure to Khusrau and end my travail.'
Know then, O chieftain of the Turkman host !
That we have no such orders from the Shah.
He bade me fight, avenging Siyawush
With blood for blood, and if I disobey
My soul will shame before him. If thou hopest
That he will look with favour on thy words
Send him Lahha.k and that stanch liege Ruin
As hostages, with treasures such as may be,
At once ; the road is open to Iran.
And sixthly for the lands, the populous
And fertile provinces, of which thou said'st :-
' We will evacuate and surrender them,'
God hath forestalled thee ; if thou knowest not
I will explain. Luhrasp hath all the west
As far as to the marches of Khazar ;
Toward the south, and all the way to Sind,
The world is like a glittering Ruman glaive,
For gallant Rustam with his trenchant sword
Hath raised therefrom a Resurrection-blast,
And hath despatched the prince of Hindustan,
Together with his black flag, to the Shah.
In Dahistan, Kharazm, and in those parts
Where Turkmans ruled, the plains are cleared of those
Who made the raids; Ashkash hath hailed on Shida,
Hath brought him down nigh unto death, and sent
Khusrau withal the captives and much spoil.
Now here the contest is betwixt us twain.
Thou hast beheld these famous Lions' prowess
And mine; if thou wilt meet me face to face
I will release thee from all further parley,
For by God's power and at the Shah's command
Will I submerge this battlefield in blood.
Observe, O famous leader of the host
The revolutions of the sun and moon,
For heaven hath nigh enthralled thee and the head
Of Turkman fortune is within the shears.
Mark what the Maker will bring down upon thee
For thine ill deeds; time hath uncloaked thy crimes,
And ill is manifest, requiting ill.
Be very heedful, ope thine ears and hearken
To wise men's words. Know that this host so famed,
These hundred thousand horsemen drawing swords,
And all in quest of honour and revenge,
Will not be charmed off from this battlefield.
I reach the seventh point. Thou 'stablishest
Thine honesty by oath. 'Twixt me and thee
There is no talk of league; no dealings hath
Thy soul with wisdom since in all thy compacts
Thou leavest honesty in tears. Thine oath
Wrecked Siyawush. May no one trust thy words.
Thou didst not save him in his evil day,
Much as he called on thee in his distress
The eighth point is, thou say'st : 'My crown and throne,
My valour and my fortune, are more great
Than thine, and I possess more men and treasure,
But out of love for thee my soul is sad.'
Methinketh that thou hast without a doubt
Proved me in war ere this. Thou know'st if thou
Hast found me wanting in the day of battle.
Now scan me well again: in wealth and crown,
In throne and prowess, haply I exceed thee
At every point. And lastly thou hast said:-
'Choose champions for the fray; I too will bring
Exalted horsemen from the Turkman host,
For, out of tenderness toward my troops,
I would not spread injustice and revenge.'
Thou dose not proffer this in tenderness,
Because thou knowest thine own heart and purpose.
The Shah, the world-lord, will be wroth with me
If I shall cause our armies thus to part,
Before me is a guilty host wherewith
My people are aggrieved, the Shah will never
Allow me to shun fight on such a plea.
First in full force our armies like two mountains
Must shock in battle. Let them be arrayed
In line upon the space which is between them,
And haply victory may declare itself;
But if not, we will choose a ground and champions,
And my word shall be kept though thine be broken.
But if thou wilt not with thy present force
Encounter me, then ask thy king for more,
And carefully consider thy position.
As for the wounded absent from the ranks,
Among thy kith and kindred and allies,
Wait till the leeches make them whole, for now
To gain time is of consequence to thee.
If thou wouldst have of me delay or respite
Well - but if battle set thy host in order.
I speak thus that upon the day of fight
Thou mayst not dare excuse thyself and say:-
'Thou tamest on us unexpectedly,
Didst lie in wait, and gayest us no time.'
If I shall seek revenge a hundred years,
Or now at once, 'tis all the same to me.
There is no hope that I shall leave this feud;
'Tis ever present to me night and day."
Whenas the letter of reply was done
The envoy fairy-like appeared therefor
With girded loins upon a rapid steed,
Escorted by a band of cavaliers.
Ruin the warrior lighted from his horse,
And introduced his escort to Gudarz.
The chieftain ordered that the archimages,
And all the famous sages of the host -
Wise men and shrewd - should come to him forthwith.
The paladin bade read to them his answer.
The, great men, having heard that cogent letter
Recited by the well-graced scribe, ignored
The sense and counsel of Piran, and thought
His rede but shallow, while they praised Gudarz,
And hailed him as the paladin of earth.
He sealed and gave the letter to Rain,
Son of Piran of Wisa's race, and bade,
What time they rose to go, prepare a robe
Of honour - Arab steeds with golden trappings"
And crowns and scimitars with golden sheaths.
He gave Ruin's companions gold and silver,
With crowns and belts to those of rank for them.
Ruin departed with his little troop
Back to his host. Arrived, he came before
His sire, as was his duty, and bent low
Before the throne. The veteran Piran
Embraced him. When Ruin had given the answer,
Sent by the general of the Shah, he told
What he himself had witnessed. Then a scribe
Read out the letter to the paladin,
Whose cheek upon the instant grew like pitch.
His heart became all pain, his soul all dread;
He recognised that his decline was near,
But took it patiently and silently,
And kept it from his troops whom afterward
He thus harangued: "Gudarz is obstinate;
His heart is instant with him to avenge
The slaughter of his seventy sons beloved.
If on the past he base revenge anew
Shall I not gird me to avenge forthwith
My brothers and nine hundred famous heads
Lost to their bodies on the day of battle,
For in Turan there is no cavalier
To gird him like Humdn and Nastihan -
That shadowing cypress-tree which in a breath
Evanished from the copse? And now to arms !
I will not leave the Iranians field or fell,
But, by God's strength and our sharp scimitars,
Bring down upon that folk the Day of Doom."
Such in the herds of horses as were fit
He brought at once to camp from every side.
He mounted all the infantry and gave
To each of them two chargers fit for service.
Then, opening a hoard laid up of yore,
Began to make disbursements from his store.
How Piran asked Succour from Afrasiyab
This done, Piran, about the hour of sleep,
Sent to Afrasiyab a messenger,
Shrewd, well advised, and old, of ready speech,
A warrior, a cavalier, and brave,
Thus saying: "Go, say to the Turkinan king :-
O righteous king who seeketh diadems!
Since first the vault of yonder lofty sky
Revolved above the sad, dark dust of earth
No king like thee hath sat upon the state;
The name of king hath not pertained to any;
None else is worthy of the throne, to bind
The girdle on, and compass crown and fortune.
The Ruler of the world will send up dust
From those that meet thee on the day of battle.
A slave am I and guilty in thy sight
In that I did not follow thy shrewd counsels.
The Shah hath been much plagued by Kai Khusrau,
And all through me, but yet I am not conscious
That I did wrong; it was the will of God;
What hath been hath been, much talk will not profit.
The monarch, if he seeketh good in me,
Will spare and pardon. Now I send him tidings
How heaven hath been dealing with his slave.
I led mine army to Mount Kanabad,
And checked the progress of the Iranians;
Upon their side a mighty host advanced,
Led by Gudarz and other generals;
No greater host since Minuchihr was Shah
Hath issued from fnin against Turan.
They took up their position at Raibad
Upon the mountains. For three days and nights
The hosts faced one another like two leopards.
We did not take the offensive for we thought:-
'Perchance the foe will march out on the plain.'
Gudarz however was content to wait,
And would not leave the mountains; then Human,
My brother, that world-conqueror, longed for fight,
And went to challenge the Iranians ;
I know not what possessed that lion-man.
The son of Giv came out, encountered him,
And having slain him turned my head with sorrow.
Who ever knew a lofty cypress-tree
Killed by a blade of grass? This broke the hearts
Of our chief men, and happiness was dashed
By grief; moreover noble Nastihan,
With twice five thousand proven cavaliers,
Departed from me at the break of day,
And perished by the mace-blows of Bizhan.
Grieved to the heart I led the army on,
And went forth shouting to the battlefield.
We fought in force till night rose o'er the hills,
But when nine hundred of the king's great men
Were headless on the field, and of the rest
The more part had been wounded to the heart
With grief, their bodies by the scimitar,'
The Iranians gat the upper hand of us.
Their purpose of revenge is absolute,
And I am fearful that the turning sky
Will wholly cease to favour us. Since then
Ill news have reached me and perturbed me more,
That Kai Khusrau is coming with a host
To aid his general in this campaign.
If this prove true the king is ware that I
Can not encounter them unless he set,
With his fierce troops, his face toward Iran,
Take part in this campaign, avert this evil,
And make revenge the girdle of his loins,
For if we perish by the Iranians' hands
None will be left to take revenge for us!"
The messenger on this went like a blast.
He mounted swift as fire upon a courser -
A mighty beast whose feet were like the wind -
And journeyed, till he reached Afrasiyab,
Without a halt for breathing, rest, or sleep.
He came swift as a blast before the king,
First kissed the throne, then told his tale. The monarch,
On hearing from Piran such woeful tidings,
Ggrew sorely troubled and his colour changed.
He was heart-broken, grieving for the slain,
Whose hap became to him a lasting sorrow;
He grieved too that his army had been worsted,
And country harried. War pressed everywhere,
The world was strait to him in his distress;
Still, having heard the message of Piran,
And seeing that his troops maintained their ground,
He blessed the general and showed joy. His heart
Grew brighter. Then he called the messenger,
Bestirred himself, took counsel all that night,
And when at dawn he donned the crown anew
He gave the messenger an interview.
The Answer of Afrasiyab to the Letter of Piran
The monarch bade the messenger return
To brave Piran, that man of prosperous counsels,
With this reply: "O warrior famed and true!
Since thy pure mother bare thee thou hast made
Thyself my shield. Thou standest first with me,
And rankest o'er the other paladins,
Still choosing toil in all affairs with all
Thy wealth for me, conducting hosts Iranward
From Chin, and blackening foes' hearts and fortunes.
Prince and the paladin of earth art thou;
A thousand blessings be upon thy soul
Thy friendship dateth from Pashang and Tur ;
The heaven raiseth not a paladin,
The army seeth not a general,
And no sage girdeth up his loins, like thee.
First for thy saying: 'I was most to blame
For Kai Khusrau's escape and his revenge.'
Know thou that I, the king, am not aggrieved,
And never laid the matter to my heart,
So let not thine be straitened for this cause
Or fear disgrace. God will accomplish what
He hath decreed, and needeth not a teacher.
Call not Khusrau my grandson : it is false,
Because his Grace deriveth not from me.
I will not ever be a grandsire to him,
Or take advantage of our hinsmanship.
In this affair of his none is to blame;
Nor do I strive against the Omnipotent
What happened was according to His will;
Why then should my heart be aggrieved at thee?
And secondly thou speakest of the army,
And of the bias of sky, sun, and moon ;
But heaven's bias is not all one way,
It giveth sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy;
Be not heart-broken then on this account,
Impose not chains like these upon thy soul.
Thus is it written in respect of warfare
The sky abandoneth all sides in turn,
It raiseth to the sun and casteth down.
To talk about the slain is but to dream;
Forgo not to take vengeance for thy brother;
The heart in anguish for a brother's loss
Will not be cured by leeches' remedies.
Thou sayest thirdly: 'Kai Khusrau hath left
His throne and cometh with his army hither.'
The tidings that have reached thee: 'Kai Khusrau
Is coming from his kingdom,' are not true,
For it is Tus, the general, with his troops
That is upon the march to Dahistan ;
May no one ever look upon the day
When he shall outstrip us, for I myself
Will lead the host o'er the Jihun at dawn.
I will not spare Gudarz, Khusrau, or Tus,
Or throne, or crown, or troops, or kettledrums,
But so attack Iran that none shall see
The Shah's throne more. I will not leave the world
For Kai Khusrau, but take him unawares,
And let his mother mourn a headless son,
Unless the will of heaven be otherwise.
Oh noble veteran ! God hath suffered thee
To lack for naught ; all that thou wouldst is thine
Of men, of treasure, and of might of hand.
A splendid force of thirty thousand men -
Intrepid, shrewd, and gallant cavaliers -
Behold ! I have dispatched to reinforce thee,
And brighten thy dark mind, for ten Iranians
Would look but small compared with one of these.
On their arrival tarry not a day,
Deprive Gudarz of both his head and crown,
Drag off with thine own steeds the very mountains
Whereon he hath entrenched his host, and when
Thou hast the victory be not slack in bloodshed."
The envoy, having heard the monarch's message,
Came to the captain of the host. PIran,
On hearing, called the troops. The messenger
Repeated all the words, which gave good heart
To all and freed them from their griefs, albeit
PIran was inly sorrowful of soul,
His heart was full, his fortune soiled, he saw
His king's host shrunk by battle everywhere,
He feared withal an onslaught by Khusrau,
And thus he prayed : "O Thou, the Omnipotent !
What marvels happen in this life of ours !
No outcast he whom Thou hast set on high !
Save Thee there is no world-lord, none abiding.
Khusrau for instance ! Who supposed till now
That he would be a king ? How turning fortune
Hath helped a self-made man ! From withered thorns
He bringeth forth fresh roses, and for him
His sleepless fortune turneth dust to musk !
Do one more marvel: let that noble man
Possess his soul in sorrow evermore !
Between two kings - a grandsire and a grandson -
I know not why this battlefield is needed.
What with two warlike monarchs of two realms,
What with two armies serried face to face,
How can I tell the issue of this strife
And fortune's trend ? "
Then wailing bitterly
He prayed : "O glorious and almighty Judge
If on this battlefield Afrasiyab,
With other nobles of the Turkman host,
Shall perish in the struggle, and the head
Of all our fortunes shall be overthrown
When Kai Khusrau shall come forth from Iran
For vengeance, and the world be turned to him,
I am content to have my breastplate pierced,
And that the Omnipotent should take my soul.
Ne'er may these eyes of mine behold the man
That followeth the course that I have followed,
For unto him whose daily course is run
In disappointment life and death are one."
How the Iranians and Turanians fought a pitched Battle
Now when the sun spread out its gold brocade
The ocean of the plain of battle heaved,
A war-cry rose from both contending hosts,
And earth shook underneath the horses' hoofs ;
On every side the troops advanced in force,
And all the plains and hills were clad in mail.
Both chieftains, both like leopards, mustered all
Their powers for that encounter. Arrows showered
Like rain descending from a darksome cloud.
The world was like a winter's night for murk,
But what a murk! Its rain was shafts and swords !
The earth was iron with the horses' hoofs,
The warriors' breasts and hands were red with gore.
So many headless corpses strewed the field,
That there remained no longer room to turn,
Or passage for the horses' feet; the earth
Was tulip-hued, the air like indigo,
And waves ran high upon that sea of blood.
Both chiefs said: "If our warriors thus maintain
The fight by nightfall nothing will be left
Save heaven, the world, and God!"
Now when PIran
Saw how the battle went he bade Lahhak
And Farshidward : "Dispose in three divisions
What troops ye have efficient to restore
The fight, and let the shrewdest of the three
Compose our rear while ye march to our flanks."
He bade Lahhak to lead his troops in mass
Toward the heights, and Farshidward withal
His toward the stream, and raise dust o'er the sun.
As those Turanian chiefs led on their men,
Intent on fight, a watchman of Iran
Sent forth a messenger to tell Gudarz,
But he was with his army, on the watch,
And when, along the route whereby they came
To fall upon their foemen unawares,
Lahhak and Farshidward sent up the dust
From both the flanks the Iranian cavaliers
Closed with the foe and mixed the dust with blood,
While messengers from all sides came in haste
To tell the paladin, who looked to see
What warriors he had still keen for fight.
His noble son, Hajir, that angry Lion,
Was in reserve with shaft and sword; Gudarz
Bade him to go to Giv, the army's Stay,
Bid him send reinforcements toward the mountain
And river, and withal leave in his stead
Some valiant man and hurry to the front.
Thereat the brave Hajir girt up his loins,
And sped forth to his brother with that charge.
Giv chose at once a man of high renown -
A warrior named Farhad - and having called him
Committed to his hands the chief command;
Then ordered Zanga, son of Shawaran,
With ten score valiant veterans to fall
On Farshidward and raise the dust from stream
And mountain. Swift as wind he gave Gurgfn,
Son of Milad, two hundred with a standard,
And said: "Lead hence thy glittering spears and maces,
Display thy prowess and assail the foe,
For their supports are broken and their chiefs
Downhearted in the strife."
Then to Bizhan
He said: "O lion-man! a rending Tiger
Art thou upon the battle-day, and now
Thy lion-manhood will bestead thee well,
For thou must fight the foe. Our army's hopes
Are set on thee and thou must take the field.
Spare not the enemy, expose thyself;
The time for battle and revenge hath come.
Go to the centre and engage Piran,
For all his country hath its stay in him,
And he will burst his skin at sight of thee.
If thou shalt conquer him our work is done;
May God and thy good fortune be thine aid.
Then will our soldiers rest from toil and stress,
Our world-possessing Shah will be rejoiced,
Thou wilt obtain much treasure and much goods,
And thy prosperity will be assured;
'Twill break the backbone of Afrasiyab,
And fill his heart with blood, his eyes with tears."
When Giv had ceased, his son girt up his loins,
And urged his steed on like Azargashasp.
Those heroes fell upon the foemen's centre,
As they were lions on a hunting-day,
Bestriding windfoot steeds with outstretched necks,
And satisfied the vengeance of their hearts.
The horsemen and mailed chargers of Turan
Were scattered by the onset o'er the plain.
What numbers fell beneath the horses' feet,
Their grave the lion, mail their winding-sheet!
How Giv fought with Piran and how Giv's Horse jibbed
When, from the rear, Ruin, son of Piran,
Observed the onset with its cloud of dust
He issued from the mighty Turkman host
With other nobles, as they had been wolves,
And like a stout pard grappled with the foe.
He struggled but prevailed not in the strife;
Then flung away his Indian scimitar,
And showed his back despairing of the battle.
Piran the chief with none of his own kin
Stayed at his post amazed. Giv, seeing him,
Wheeled to attack, and of the body-guard
Speared four and flung them vilely to the ground.
Plraan, the son of Wisa, strung his bow,
And showered arrows on his enemy,
While bold Giv held his shield above his head,
And with his spear came charging like a wolf,
But, when he sought to fall upon Piran,
His charger jibbed. Enraged he lashed his steed,
And seethed, and cursed the foul, malicious Div ;
Then with his shield of wolf-skin o'er his head,
He dropped his spear, strung up his bow and drew it
In hope to pin Piran's hand to his shield.
Four times he hit Piran's breast, thrice his steed,
But neither horse nor rider suffered aught.
Piran, on Giv's companions drawing near,
Fought yet more fiercely, charging him like smoke,
To wound him and defeat his valiant troops.
Giv too rushed forward and dishelmed Piran,
But hurt him not, and Giv was vexed at heart.
Bizhan approached and said: "My glorious sire
I heard our monarch say: 'Piran will fight
In many a fierce engagement and escape
The clutch of sharp-clawed Dragons, but Gudarz
Will take his life at last.' Strive not so fiercely
With him, my sire! His time hath not yet come."
Giv's troops, brave men and full of wrath, came up
Whereat Piran turned toward his own array
With groans, in dudgeon, and with livid face,
And, when he reached Lahha,k and Farshidward,
Said: "O my men of name, brave Hearts, and swordsmen!
It was because of moments such as these
That erst I fostered you upon my breast.
Now when the host hath come forth to the fight,
And when the world is black to us with foes,
I have not seen one come before the host,
And battle there for glory!"
At his words
The chieftains' hearts breathed vengeance. As they fared
They said: "If we have not unsullied souls
We need not be in terror for our bodies.
Bind we our skirts together,' ne'er must we
Relax our girdles from this strife."
Lahhak and Farshidward, to challenge Giv,
And brave Lahhak thrust at his girdle, hoping
To bring him from his saddle headlong down.
The coat of mail was shivered by the shock
Yet Giv lost not his stirrups, and his spear
Pierced the swift charger of Lahhak. It fell
In agony. Lahhak regained his feet
While Farshidward rode up and with his sword
Struck at the spear of Giv as quick as wind,
Clave it in twain and gloried in the stroke.
Giv, when he saw the blow of Farshidward,
Drew from his girdle his huge mace and bellowed
Like some fierce-breathing dragon. With one blow
He sent the falchion from his foeman's hand,
Struck him another blow upon the neck,
And rained a fiery shower upon his body,
Which made his blood from mouth to liver tingle,
Took all his strength away and dazed his head.
While Giv was thus engaged Lahhak bestrode
As rapidly as smoke a wind-foot steed,
And those two warriors with mace and spear
All lion-like attacked Giv, many a blow
Rained on him from those valiant chieftains' maces,
Yet sat he firmly on his pard-skin saddle,
And that contention frayed him not a whit.
Now when Lahhak and Farshidward encountered
Such stout resistance from that lion-man
They said to one another in fierce wrath :-
"Ill hath descended on us from the stars !
He on yon saddle hath a brain of brass,"
Thou wouldest say, " on chest but lion's hide ! "
Giv called to his companions for a spear,
And wheeled to right and left in his attack,
But neither of the twain was overthrown.
He thought : "A novel task confronteth me !
The chiefs have come not from Turan, but divs
Out of Mazandaran ! "
Upon Giv's right
Guraza with a mace of Ruman steel
Came dust-swift to encounter Farshidward.
He rode a charger camel-like in bulk,
And aimed a blow; the wary Turkman ducked,
And with his spear struck at Guraza's belt,
But failed to pierce the mail. Then sword in hand
Bizhan came lion-like to help Guraza,
And smote upon the helmet Farshidward,
Whose prowess rent the earth. Bizhan then sought
To clutch his foeman's helm with his right hand ;
His foeman stooped ; Bizhan's attempt was foiled.
Behind Bizhan came Gustaham in haste,
And other nobles of Iran withal
Nigh the Turanian host, with anxious hearts
And eager for the fight. Andariman
Came rushing dust-like to encounter them,
And let fly with the mace at Gustaham
To break his ribs ; he parried with his sword,
Which snapped in twain and filled his heart with fear.
Hajir came up to aid those warriors,
And showered arrows on Andariman,
Whereof one struck the saddle, piercing through
The horse's mail, and horse and life grew strangers.
The rider disengaged himself, held up
His shield above his head, and rose crestfallen.
The Turkmans shouted, and their cavaliers,
Who charged like divs, made shift to bear him off
In presence of the foe. From morn, till night
Rose o'er the hills, the horsemen on both sides
Kept sending up the dust of war, and mixed
The earth with blood until all spirit went
From steeds and cavaliers, and mouths gave o'er,
For they could raise the battle-cry no more.
How Gudarz and Piran arranged a Battle of Eleven Rukhs
Now, when earth's face turned ebon, from both hosts
The drums and trumpets sounded, and the drummers
Upon their elephants made haste to leave
The scene of action. Both the hosts agreed :-
"Since night hath fallen we will quit the field,
And in the morning choose us valiant men,
Men that would send dust from the ocean's depths,
Men of renown and eager for the fray,.
To meet in single combat; thus our troops
Will be relieved and shed no more the blood
Of guiltless folk."
This settled, they withdrew,
And thought that they had made the long road short.
The two chiefs, both perturbed at that last fight,
Turned from the strife, one toward Mount Kanabad,
' The other toward Raibad. Gudarz sent out
His scouts. The troops were galled by mail and helm,
Their hands and falchions were adrip with blood;
They loosed the fastenings, put off mail and casque,
And, with their bodies freed from iron burdens,
Began to feast and drink. Then young and old
Alert went to the paladin for counsel.
Giv said: "My father! what strange hap was mine
When I had broken through the foemen's ranks,
And come upon Piran, my charger jibbed,
And would not stir a foot. Thou wouldst have said
That in my wrath I should behead my friend.
Then was it that Bizhan recalled to mind,
And told me of, a presage of the Shah's
That by thy hand Piran will die."
Gudarz replied, " my hand will take his life
Assuredly, and in God's strength shall I
Avenge on him my seventy sons beloved."
Gudarz then viewed the host and saw it worn
With bloodshed, stress of war, and combating,
And, grieved to see his noble folk thus wan,
Dismissed them to recruit. They event their ways,
And at the dawn returned equipped and vengeful.
They greeted him: "Famed paladin of earth !
Hast risen refreshed by sleep? Dost purpose fight?"
He answered: "Noble and illustrious chiefs
Be instant, all of you! by night and day
In blessings on the Maker, for till now
The war hath met our wishes. Many a marvel
Have I experienced, and known this world
As one of changes. Many men like us
The sky hath fashioned, reaping what itself
Sowed with delight. I instance first Zahhak,
The unjust, who rose to kingship. How he straitened
The world and yet its Maker suffered him!
Vile as he was, and noted as a tyrant,
The breezes wafted him supremacy!
Thus many years passed over his ill-doings;
Then God sent evil on the miscreant,
The Judge endured no longer his injustice,
And raised a just man to dispose of him.
The glorious Faridun, that righteous Shah,
Girt up his loins to win the empiry,
Unloosened all the coil of Ahriman,
And decked the earth throughout with righteousness.
From miscreant and ill-disposed Zahhak,
A man vituperated by our Shahs,
The taint descended to Afrasiyab,
Who looketh not upon the face of good.
When he enlarged his vengeance on Iran
He left the path of justice, law, and Faith;
At last he slew the noble Siyawush,
And robbed our country of the breath of life.
When Giv came to Turan how many hardships
Awaited him! his bed was dust, his pillow
A stone, he lived on game, wore leopard-skin,
And wandered like a madman till he found
The traces of Khusrau and did him homage.
When they had set their faces toward Iran,
And news reached fierce Piran, he with his host
Sped after to destroy them by the way,
And did what harm he could, but God's protection
Sufficed. Then in revenge for Siyawush
Our army marched toward the Kasa rud,
And at Ladan, when mighty hosts had gathered,
And at the camisado of Pashan,
How many of my sons were slain before me
While all our chiefs lost heart! Piran again
Hath come to fight and now confronteth us,
But feeling weak he will procrastinate
By ruse and parle till reinforcements come.
Now he is challenging our chiefs to combat,
And we must be prepared, for if we show
Unreadiness or weakness he will find
Excuse of some sort to avoid a battle.
If they will fight us let us send the dust
Out of their men of name; and if Piran
Will keep his word and meet us on the field
I swear to you that I will fight and give,
White-headed as I am, my body up
For slaughter in the presence of our troops.
I and the brave Piran, Ruin, and Giv,
Will quit ourselves like men, for none abideth
For ever here, our fame alone will stay,
And best it is to leave a lofty name,
Since death will fling its lasso at us all;
The end is one to die or to be slain,
We can but little trust the turning sky;
And by the self-same token do ye likewise,
Armed with your lances and man-slaying swords,
Gird, all of you of any name, your loins
For vengeance, for our foemen's fortune falleth,
And we must strike at once. Hiumin who fought
With brave Bizhan had no peer in Turan ;
But since when fortune turned he was o'erthrown,
Beheaded wretchedly, and rolled in blood,
We need not fear them or withdraw ourselves.
If single combat pleaseth not Piran,
And he shall lead his army forth like dust,
We too must go forth like a mountain-mass,
And counter him for, since our foes are downcast
And fearful, sure am I that we shall gain
The mastery and make them reek to heaven."
The noble veterans blessed him, saying thus:-
O O chieftain, true of heart and pure of Faith!
Ne'er since God made the world hath man beheld
A paladin like thee. Yen Faridun -
The ruler of the world - had no such servant.
Thou art the army's stay, the Shah's chief captain,
Through thee the warriors exalt their helms.
Thou bast devoted children, life, and goods,
And what can Shahs ask more of their commanders?
All that the Shah required of Fariburz,
And Tus, he will behold achieved by thee.
We are thy slaves; our hearts are full of love
For thee. If now Piran shall bring a thousand
Against our ten, see which will turn from strife!
But should he come to fight on plain and mountain
In full force we are all heart-sore for vengeance,
Our loins are girt for war. Oh! may we give
Our lives for thee ! To that we all are pledged."
Gudarz was bright of heart at this, and cried:-
O O paladins of our earth-ruling Shah !
Such ever is the wont of warriors,
Of noble Lions and brave cavaliers."
He bade the troops to mount and gird themselves
For fight, dispatched sun-faced Farhad to lead
The left wing, where Ruhham had been, and sent
Katmara, a descendant of Karan's,
In haste to lead the right wing in the stead
Of Fariburz, and ordered thus Shidush :-
"My son and ready minister in all!
Be thy place in the rear with Kiwa's flag,
And troops to give support to all the rest."
He then commanded Gustaham : "Go to,
Lead for the nonce, assume the chief command,
Be watchful, prudent, and the army's stay."
He issued orders: "Let no man advance
Beyond his post, look ye to Gustaham,
And be both night and day upon the saddle."
A cry rose midst the host, the soldiers mourned,
And hastened. to Gudarz, dust on their heads,
Because their leader with his hoary hair
Had girt his loins, and went to fight in person.
Gudarz called Gustaham, gave him advice,
And said to him: "Be thou a trusty guard
Against the foe, be watchful night and day
In mail and ready for attack, unhelm not,
For, if thou shalt begin to be remiss,
Sleep will assail thee, and the sleepless foe
Will fall upon thee while thy head is nodding.
Maintain a watchman on the mountain-top,
And let the soldiers feel themselves secure.
If from Turin by night and unawares
They fall on us by way of ambuscade
Thou must display the valour of a man
And warrior's prowess. Should ill tidings come
About us from the army of Turan -
That they are slaying us upon the field,
And bearing to Turan our trunkless heads -
Avoid a battle and abide three days,
For on the fourth will come the famous Shah
To help with Grace and power."
Received the proffered counsels and, resolved
To act with loyalty, this answer gave:-
"I will obey thy bidding like a slave."
How Piran harangued his Men of Name
Since that last fight disastrous to Turan
The troops were sorry and dispirited,
Sons with wan cheeks lamented for their sires,
And brothers were in grief for brothers slain;
Thus were they full of mourning and in dudgeon
High heaven loured. above them. When Piran
Perceived that all his host was as a flock
Rent by a ravening wolf he called the chiefs,
And spake at large: "Experienced warriors,
Worn, young and old alike, with combating !
What majesty, what rank and dignity,
Are yours in presence of Afrasiyab !
Ye have a name for glory and success,
Ye had the world at will, but now, because
Defeated once, ye will not fight at all !
Know that if we retreat in cowardice
The lusty leaders of Iran will come
With massive maces in pursuit, and lord
And liege see none of us alive again.
Now put away these terrors from your hearts,
And bear your griefs with equanimity.
There is a saying current with archmages :-
It is the part of God to conquer always:
As for the world 'tis full of ups and downs,
And such that we walk fearfully therein.
This host that now attacketh fled from us
Erewhile. Let all of you that have regard
For country and for child, for life and kindred,
Gird them for vengeance on the Iranians.
Gudarz hath made a compact with me, saying:-
'I will make choice of chieftains from the host,
Then let us set our champions face to face,
Allowing both the armies to repose.'
If he shall keep his compact, and produce
His chieftains at their stations, be it so ;
Or if he shall advance to fight in force
We will go forth with eagerness to battle.
Then if we give our heads up to the sword
There is a day for birth, a day for death;
Or if not I will set their heads on stakes;
The turn of fortune maybe either way.
I will behead the man that disregardeth
These words of mine."
At once the warriors answered:-
O O paladin of great Afrasiyab !
Though from of old thou hast had throne and treasure
Still hast thou chosen travail for our sakes,
Girt up thy loins before us like a slave,
And givest son and brother to be slain.
Why then should we, thy slaves, avert our heads
They spake and left the presence of Piran,
And every one made ready for the fray.
They spent the livelong night in taking order
For all things as their prudent chief had bidden.
At dawn the sound of trump and pipe arose
Before his tent-enclosure, and the chiefs
Were in the saddle with their bows and arrows.
Thou wouldst have said: "Earth maketh for itself
An iron veil of horseshoes." Then Piran
Said to Lahhak and Farshidward : "Great chiefs!
The safety of the army of Turan
Must be your care upon this battlefield.
Set ye a watchman on the mountain-top
To watch by day and count the stars. If ill
Should come upon us from the turning sky,
And it shall wholly cease to favour us,
Be ye not hasty to engage in battle,
But fall back swift as smoke upon Turan,
Since none, or few, except yourselves are left
Of Wisa's seed, for all the rest are slain."
With bitter tears and heart-felt grief they clasped
Each other to the breast and then departed
With lamentations on their several ways.
Piran the chief, full of revenge, rode out
Upon the field and raised his battle-shout.
How Gudarz andprun chose the Warriors for the Battle
of the Eleven Rukhs
Piran perceived Gudarz and held a parley.
"Wise paladin," he said, " how many souls
Thou torturest ! But will it benefit
The soul of Siyawush to cause Turan
To reek? His soul is with the good in heaven;
Now that he resteth why not rest thyself?
Two armies hast thou flung upon each other
Like elephants beheaded. All the troops
Of two realms have been slaughtered, and 'tis time
For thee to quit the battlefield. The world
Is void of men. We battle coldly. Why
Must thou destroy the guiltless ? Let us make
A pact. If thou desirest so revenge
Advance thy soldiers from the mountain-foot,
And come thyself before them; then perchance
Thou wilt attain the vengeance that thou seekest.
We - thou and I - will wheel upon this field
Of battle and the others in like manner,
And those of us who gain the victory
Shall sit on thrones with every wish fulfilled.
If I shall perish by thy hand forbear
Revenge upon the soldiers of Turan,
Who shall submit to thy commands and give
Their chiefs as hostages for their good faith;
But shouldst thou perish by this hand of mine,
Together with the nobles of thy host,
I fight not with thy troops, and they have naught
To fear from me."
Gudarz, on hearing, marked
How fortune darkened all Piran's endeavours,
First offered praises to the Omnipotent,
Then, calling to his mind the noble Shah,
Made answer: "I have heard thee, famous chief!
Throughout. In that way did Afrasiyab
Get profit from the blood of Siyawush -
Speak out, turn not away - when they cut off
His head as 'twere a sheep's what time his heart
Was full, his liver pierced ? Afrasiyab
Thereafter sent a cry up from Iran
With all his slaying, raiding, strife, and turmoil.'
'Twas on thine oath that Siyawush relied,
And lightly didst thou give him to the wind;
Then when my son approached thee afterward
Thou didst reject my counsel, and make ready
In fiery haste for war. My prayer hath been,
Both publicly and privily, to Him,
Who ruleth o'er the world, that I some day
Might meet thee in the fight; and now that thou
Hast come there is no room for tarrying,
So let us twain, with our hoar heads, contend
Upon this battlefield. Do thou now choose
A band of champions to encounter mine,
Experienced chiefs with maces, swords, and lances,
And let them strive together till they bring
Their foemen's heads to dust."
The Turanian chief
Made ready and chose out ten cavaliers,
Who sped forth from the centre to the place
Of combat, where no eyes were watching them.
This was the compact made between the chiefs -
That every Turkman warrior should encounter
One from Iran. They matched Giv with Gurwf
As peers in strength and pluck - Gurwi, the son
Of Zira, whom of all the foe the Shah
Most loathed, Gurwi who, seizing by the beard
The spotless Siyawush, beheaded him.
With Fariburz, the son of Kai Kaus
Kulbad, the son of Wisa, hastened out,
Ruhham, son of Gudarz, went with Barman
In company but as antagonists,
Guraza went with Siyamak, fierce Lion
With snorting Crocodile. The old Gurgin,
A Lion too, went with Andariman.
Ruin the brave, who robbed the world of lustre
In fight, went with Bizhan, the son of Giv,
Akhast with Zanga, son of Shawaran,
And Barta with Kuhram, the good at need,
While Furuhil came forth with Zangula
With all speed from the centre of the host.
Hajir and Sipahram, as 'twere two divs,
Sent up the war-cry on the battlefield.
Gudarz, son of Kishwad, paired with Piran,
And all were ready for revenge and strife.
The generals, as much opposed by duty
As by religion, were athirst for blood,
And sware together not to quit the field
Till one of them had proved victorious.
Between the armies and commanding them
There were two hills, the one was toward Iran,
The other toward TAran, and to the plain
Betwixt them went the lucky and the luckless.
Gudarz said: "Let each warrior and man
Of blood that conquereth his Turkman foe
Bring from the spot his banner to this hill."
Piran, the chieftain, had his standard raised,
And gave like orders, on the other height.
Then they descended to the level ground,
With girdles tightly girt for shedding blood,
And with their lassos, falchions, bows, and arrows,
Essayed all modes of fight. As for the Turkmans -
Those gallant chieftains - had a mountain faced them
They would have levelled it anon, so well
They plied their heavy maces, swords, and shafts,
And yet their hands were slack, for God had barred
The door of might against them, they were trammelled
Within a net of bale for having shed
Much blood without just cause, their chargers jibbed,
And thou hadst said of them: "Their feet are hobbled."
Among the Turkmans everything went wrong
Because their day was over, and their blood
Quaked. Thus the Maker of the world ordained,
And thou hadst said: "Earth hath them in its grip."
With all the manhood that they had they strove
'Gainst fortune for the honour of their throne,
And in their fight for sovereignty surrendered
Their heads without reserve for fame and glory.
Both sides came rushing to the battlefield,
And strove together, yet Piran the chief
Knew inly that the evil day had come,
(Such is the process of high heaven above -
The source to thee of grief and happiness ! )
But saw that fighting was his only course;
The tyrant's turn it was to suffer force.
How Faraburz fought with Kulbad
First, Fariburz, that gallant warrior,
Came speeding lion-like and, having strung
His bow, attacked Kulbad, the son of Wisa.
He wheeled about but, since his arrows failed,
Unsheathed with his right hand his glittering sword,
And clave his foeman's body to the waist.
Alighting he undid his royal lasso,
Secured Kulbad upon his charger's back,
And, having loosed the fastenings of his mail,
Rode to the hill triumphantly, exclaiming:-
"Oh! may our leader be victorious,
And all our Shah's foes liver-stricken thus!"
How Giv fought with Gurwi
Next there went out Gurwi, the son of Zira -
A valiant div - with Giv, son of Gudarz.
They fought long with their spears and mixed the dust
With blood till with the horsemen's combating
Their spearheads dropped affrighted at the fray.
They took their bows and arrows and fought on.
Giv purposed to dismount his foe alive,
And carry him still living to Khusrau -
A novel present to him from the Turkmans.
Gurwf, when Giv was closing, dropped his bow
In terror and laid hold upon his sword,
But gallant Giv came charging furiously,
While grasping in his hand an ox-head mace,
And, roaring like a mighty leopard, struck
His foeman's casque and drenched his face with blood.
Giv, keeping his own seat, put forth his hand
And, seizing, strained Gurwi against his breast,
Who, fainting in the saddle, fell to earth
Insensible. The warrior-pard alighted,
Bound his foe's hands firm as a rock behind him,
Then, mounting, made his prisoner run in front,
And rode toward his comrades. Flag in hand
He scaled the hill; his shouts brought down the mountains.
The king of earth had given him grace to win
That triumph and he blessed the paladin,
How Guraza fought with Siyamak
Next Siyamak of the Turanian host
Went with Guraza to the battlefield,
Both spear in hand and both with cries like those
Of maddened elephants. The chiefs were all
Wrath, rancour, and revene. Anon they took
Their massive maces, raged" like warrior-lions,
And smote each other on the head. Their tongues
Were cracked with thirst, they closed in furious fight,
Alighted, clutched, and raised the dust of strife.
Guraza put his hands forth like a lion,
And as a storm-blast bent his foeman down;
Then dashed him to the ground with violence
That brake his bones; he yielded up the ghost.
Guraza in the same breath bound the corpse
Upon his steed, swift as Azargashasp
Remounted, took the horse of Siyamak,
And scaled the hill like one bemused with wine.
He held the glorious flag and proudly went
Rejoicing o'er his conquered enemy,
The victory of the Shah, and that high fortune
Achieved beneath the shadow of the throne.
Dismounting then he prayed to God to bless
The fortune of earth's monarch with success.
How Furuhil fought with Zangula
The fourth fight - Furuhil's with Zangula -
Was that of combatants like lions loose.
In truth there was no warrior in Inin
To match in archery with Furuhil,
Who, seeing that grim Turkman from afar,
Strung up his bow and, bending it, began
To shower shafts on Zangula, employing
The horsemen's ambuscade. One poplar arrow,
Which flew with wind-like swiftness, struck his thigh,
Transfixing horse and rider. The fleet steed
Came to the ground headforemost with the smart,
Unseating Zangula whose face was wan;
His head sank and he yielded up the ghost;
Full surely he was born for evil days.
Then Furuhil leaped down, beheaded him,
Stripped off the Ruman armour that he wore,
And made his head fast to the saddle-straps,
Then took with him the steed of Zangula,
And scaled the hill, as he had been a leopard,
With breast and hand and sword all drenched with gore.
He raised the glorious flag, glad-hearted he
At having gained his end triumphantly.
How Ruhham fought with Barman
It was Ruhham, son of Gudarz, that made
The fifth assay, and fought against Barman.
Both seized their bows and shafts of poplar-wood,
The war-cry as of valiant horsemen rose.
Their bows both shivered and they took in hand
Their spears and scimitars. Both warriors,
Both brave, both horsemen, shrewd and veteran,
Fought long till e'en the combative Ruhham
Quailed, yet by thrusting at his foeman's thigh
Dismounted him and had him at command.
Barman made off like dust, but from the reek
Of battle came Ruhham and from behind
Thrust yet again and pierced him through the liver.
Ruhham trailed him along, rubbed his own face
With his foe's blood in wreak for Siyawush,
Raised him upon the saddle and there bound him
Firm as a rock, with hanging head and feet
Below the girths, then mounting brought the corpse
Swift to the trysting-place. Ruhham thus won
High fortune through the Shah's victorious grace
And throne exalted, and began to call
Down praise upon him and his kin withal.
How Bizhan fought with Ruin
In the sixth fight - Bizhan, the son of Giv,
Against Ruin - the warriors rushed forth,
Strung up their bows and wheeled to left and right,
But shot in vain. Then, brazen mace in hand,
Bizhan manceuvred for the vantage-ground,
And, with a rush earth-rending, smote Ruin
Upon the head ; his helm ran brains and blood.
There on the saddle gave he up sweet life,
While calling on Piran, the son of Wisa,
And from the steed came headlong to the ground -
An iron body with a mouth all gore.
Ere he had had full joyance of his youth
He ventured all for gain and lost it all.
The world is full of cark and care, good sooth !
And after every rise there is a fall.
Bizhan dismounted lightly from his steed,
Like Ahriman upon his fallen foe,
And cut his head off with a scimitar;
For him was neither grave nor winding-sheet.
Bizhan next with his lasso bound the corpse
Upon the saddle: there was none to mourn;
Then, mounting like a furious elephant,
And seizing in his hand his foeman's reins,
Bizhan took up his own swift charger's bridle,
And hastened hill-ward with his lion-flag,
With rusty blue steel rings, in hand, and cried:-
"In every contest may our monarch win,
And crowned for ever be his paladin."
How Hajir fought with Sipahram
Hajir rushed seventh from among the heroes -
A famous warrior and noble horseman -
While Sipahram, Afrasiyab's own kinsman,
A hero high in rank and estimation,
Essayed fight with the offspring of Gudarz -
A cavalier unequalled in the host.
They went upon the ground, dark dust-clouds rose,
They fought together with their scimitars,
And made sparks stream from iron. Lion-like
The brave Hajir confronted Sipahram
Right manfully and, in the Maker's name,
And by the fortune of the youthful monarch,
Struck with his sword the helmet of his foe
Upon the crest, and death came then and there.
The Turkman tumbled headlong from his steed
In miserable plight and drenched with blood.
The fortunate Hajir, alighting, bound
His foe's corpse firmly on the saddle, mounted
His own steed, led the other and departed.
He clomb the hill, he blessed his lucky star
And glorious country, but acknowledged still
In his bright fortune and his might God's will.
How Gurgin fought with Andariman
Gurgin was eighth and he went out to fight
Andariman, one of the Turkman host.
Experienced both and veteran they went
And chose a battlefield. They wheeled with spears.
When these broke down they took their bows, and arrows
Rained while the chiefs held up their wolf-skin shields
To save their faces. Arrows showered like hail
On wolf-skin buckler, helm, and casque. At length
Gurgin shot at Andariman a shaft
That pinned the Ruman helmet to his head,
And as the cavalier reeled with the smart,
Gurgin shot yet another, pierced his side,
And brought the blood-drops from his eyes with anguish.
Gurgin gat down like wind, took his foe's head,
And strapped it to the saddle. Having mounted
He led the Turkman's charger, and then scaled
In haste the hill, his bow slung on his arm,
By God's strength who had sheltered him from hurt,
And the victorious fortune of the Shah -
The world-lord. Thus returned triumphantly
He set the heart-illuming flag on high.
How Barta fought with Kuhram
The ninth fight was 'twixt Barta and Kuhram,
The swordsman: both were men of blood and chieftains.
When they had tried all other ways they took
Their Indian swords in hand. Then all at once ,
Kuhram turned face from Barta. Barta smote
Kuhram's helm-top and clave him to the chest
Fear filled foes' hearts at Barta, who, alighting,
Fast to his corken saddle bound Kuhram,
And mounted. Shouting up the hill he went
Like some fierce leopard. In one hand he grasped
His Indian sword, and in the other held
His conquering flag. Head-downward on his steed
Was flung Kuhram. He cried: "The Shah hath won.
His crown is ever higher than the sun."
How Zanya, Son of Shawaran, fought with Akhast
Tenth went forth Zanga, son of Shawaran,
Armed from the warriors and mighty men,
And his opponent chanced to be Akhast,
Whom none had ever worsted in the fight.
Both took their massive maces, and their strife
Surpassed all bounds. At length both were o'ercome
With their belabourings. Their Arabs jibbed;
Thou wouldst have said: "They have no pulses left."
The warriors when the sun began to sink,
And when the desert was a-glow like iron,
Were so exhausted that thou wouldst have said:-
"They cannot stir a step." " Our livers now,"
They said, " are scorching; let us stay to breathe
Awhile, and afterward renew the combat."
They went accordingly and led their chargers
Apart, and then securely hobbled them.
Thereafter, having taken rest, they rose
For fight again, and with their lances wheeled
Like fire about the centre of the ground,
Till Zanga got the better : rending earth
He charged and struck Akhast upon the waist,
Then flung him headlong from his steed face-downward,
And shouted like a rattling thunder-clap
Thou wouldst have said: "He split the battlefield!"
Alighting, Zanga went and dragged his foe
Face-downward through the dust, made shift to lift him,
And flung him prone across the saddle-back,
Then, mounting his own charger, led the other.
Strange! what misfortunes fell upon the Turkmans !
He left the plain and reached the glorious hill,
Wolf-blazoned flag in hand. He set it up
Before his mates with blessings therewithal
Upon the Shah and his chief general.
How Gudarz fought with Prian
Whenas the ninth hour of the day had passed
There was no Turkman left on that broad plain,
Their lives had been dissevered by the sword.
Thou wouldst have said: "The world is pitiless!
For one, whom it is tending with all care,
And dowering with days, it will prepare
A night-surprise amid his happiness,
And bring upon him obloquy and stress.
Both first and last we are the wind's possession,
We ask for justice and behold oppression! "
Whenas the Turkmans in those luckless combats
Had struggled fruitlessly Piran descried
None of his champions left upon the field;
The leaders of Iran and of Turan
Advanced together for their grim revenge,
And set earth's surface rolling as they came,
Grief in their hearts and vengeance in their heads.
The sun paused dust-stayed on that day of battle.
Those cavaliers tried every kind of sleight
With sword and brand, with lasso and with mace,
But Heaven's purposes were brought to pass,
Disaster came upon Piran from God;
Against that will he had no remedy -
The will that made his steed fail under him.
Piran saw well enough how matters stood,
And knew that God had caused that change of fortune,
Yet he acquitted him right manfully,
And strove against the purposes of fate.
The two chiefs of the host, those shrewd old men,
Then took their bows and arrows in their hands.
Gudarz chose out a poplar arrow - one
That would pierce iron - shot it mightily,
And pierced the armour of his foeman's steed,
Which shivered, gasped, and fell. Piran fell under;
His steed rolled o'er him; his right hand was broken.
He struggled out and rose upon his feet.
Though knowing well that his last hour had come,
And that he could not scape from that dark day,
Yet fled he from Gudarz toward the hill,
Distressed by running and his injured hand,
And gained the top if so the paladin
Might not pursue. Gudarz, perceiving this,
Wept bitterly. He feared a change of fortune,
Well knowing its'inconstancy and how
'Tis ever prone to tyranny. He shouted
"O famous paladin! what aileth thee
That thou dost foot it thus like game before me ?
Where are thy troops, O captain of the host !
Where all thy might and manhood, arms and heart,
Thy treasure and thy wisdom? Prop of heroes!
Afrasiyab's main stay! the sun is louring
Upon thy king, and fortune utterly
Hath turned its face from thee. No room is here
For guile, attempt it not. Since thus bestead
Ask quarter for thy life that I may bear thee
Still living to the Shah. That conquering one
Will pardon thee because, like me, thou art
A hoary paladin."
"Now God forbid! "
Piran replied, " God grant that no such ill
Befall my latter end and I survive.
To beg my life were heaviness indeed!
Born was I in the world for death, and I
Thus fighting put my neck within thy power.
A saying have I heard among the great:-
In In this fair world, though many days be past,
Inevitable death will come at last.'
Herein I have no reason to complain."
Gudarz rode round the hill and grieved to find
No road. He lighted, took his shield and went,
Like those in quest of quarry, up the mount,
His shield before him and a dart in hand.
Piran descried him, leaped up on the crest,
And, arrow-fashion, hurled a javelin
Which struck the ancient chieftain on the arm.
Gudarz thus wounded by Piran's hand raged
For vengeance and sped forth a dart. It hit
Piran upon the breast, crashed through his mail,
Transfixed his liver, and came out behind.
Piran reeled and his head became distraught;
His liver's blood came pouring from his mouth,
His soul departed to rejoin his comrades.
Thus fortune changeth sides from day to day,
It heareth not what counsellors may say,
But rendeth, having dipped its hands in bane,
The lion's heart and leopard's hide in twain.
Now when Gudarz had clambered to the summit
He saw Piran o'erthrown in sorry plight,
With broken arm and heart, his head in dust,
His armour riven and his girdle snapped.
"O Lion," said Gudarz, " chief paladin,
And warrior bold! the world hath looked on many
Like me and thee but will have peace with none!"
He stretched his hand out, horrible to tell,
Drank of his foeman's blood, smeared his own face
Therewith, lamenting bitterly the murder
Of Siyawush, then praised the Omnipotent,
And mourned before the just Judge for the death
Of his own seventy well-beloved sons.
He was about to take his foeman's head,
But deemed the act unworthy of himself,
So raised the banner of Piran beside him,
His head and body lying in its shade,
And went back to his warriors, while the blood
Poured from his wounded arm as 'twere a flood.
How Gudarz returned to the Warriors of Iran
Meanwhile the vengeful warriors of Iran
Descended from the hill toward the host,
Their slain opponents bound upon their saddles
According to the usages of war;
But since the paladin was not with them
A cry ascended both from old and young:-
"Perchance Gudarz bath steeped his head in blood,
And perished by Piran's hand, through old age."
The troops wept bitterly, beholding not
Their paladin, but soon amid the dust
They saw his flag come flaunting from the field.
The drums beat in the camp, dust kissed the sky,
The great men, smiling and rejoicing, went
To meet him. Said the troops: "The paladin
May be returning worsted by Piran,
Because he is a lion-hearted hero,
And hath been courting combat all his life."
Then, while both young and old gave ear, Gudarz
Spake, pointed with his finger to the field,
And told how fortune had entreated him,
Then bade Ruhham to mount and fetch Pfrdn.
"Bind him upon the saddle, bring him down,"
He said, " from yonder height ; and bring besides
His armour and his flag, just as they are,
But lay no hand upon his belt or loins."
Ruhham departed like a rushing wind,
Laid on the saddle that illustrious form,
Whose mail was drenched with gore, with lasso-coils
Bound it securely and conveyed it down.
Whenas the warriors and haughty chiefs
Beheld Piran's flag from the trysting-place
All of them blessed the chief of paladins,
And said: "Grand back-bone of the Iranians,
And servant of the Kaians' crown and throne
Thou hast made both thy body and thy soul
A ransom for the host in victory,
And in defeat."
Gudarz replied: "When war
Began to press methought : 'Afrasiyab
Will lead his host to this side of the river.
His troops have been at rest from strife and toil
While mine are spent with hurry.' So I sent
A prudent man and gave the Shah much counsel.
I said: 'If now the Turhman king shall bring
His host we cannot hold our ground.' Methought :-
'Khusrau will hasten to this battlefield,
And when we take the bodies of the slain
Upon this scene of vengeance to the Shah,
Just as ye have them now upon the saddles,
He will rejoice and we shall be advanced,
Because this feud of the Iranians
And Turkmans came from these now passed away.
All praised him: "Ne'er may earth and time lack thee.
Whate'er we gain we gain it from thy words,
And sun and moon take lustre from thy looks."
They went and bore the slain just as they were,
But forced Gurwi to walk, a lasso bound
His hands, a halter was about his neck.
As soon as they approached the main encampment
The troops turned out to meet their general
With Gustaham the Lion leading them.
He came before the gallant paladin,
Then kissed the ground and offered praise. He said:-
Behold Behold thine army safe and sound. As thou
Committed'st it to me so I restore it."
With that the watchman's shout came to their ears
From Mount Raibad : "The plain is dark as night
With dust. A wondrous din of kettledrum
And clarion ariseth ; thou wouldst say:-
'The desert is in motion!' Glittering,
As 'twere the azure sea, a throne of turquoise
Is borne on elephants, the air is glowing
With hues of yellow, red, and violet,
As 'twere a silken banner, while afar
A glorious standard like a cypress-tree
Appeareth, round it are mailed cavaliers,
And earth throughout is violet-hued with steel.
Flag followeth flag, and some are charged with dragons
And some with eagles. In another day
They will be here if thus they keep their way."
How Lahak and Farshidward bewailed Piran
The Turkman watch upon Mount Kanabad
Beheld that wonder and came in apace;
He said: "Unless mine eyes are dim, unless
This sight of mine be dazed exceedingly,
God hath wrought havoc on the Turkmans, all
Their toils have turned to dust. The Iranians
Have come down shouting from their height, and each
With flag in hand. That of Piran the chief,
I see, is down, his body drenched in gore,
While as for those ten warriors who went hence
With him, I see them far away o'erthrown,
And flung with bloody bodies o'er their steeds.
Toward Raibad a cloud of darksome dust
Appeareth and the plain is azure-dim.
Amidst the warriors is Kawa's standard,
While in the vanguard glitter blue-steel swords.
The standard of the king of kings appeareth
With trump and drum, and earth is ebon-hued."
Lahhak and Farshidward went to the look-out,
And saw with their own eyes Piran the world-lord,
Their chief and brother, slain, and with him those
Ten chosen cavaliers, the Turkman champions.
There, in the watch-tower, grievously distraught,
And wailing for their brother's blood, they cried
In their affliction: "O thou Lion, chief
Of Turkmans, and undaunted cavalier !
What do thy greatness and thine uprightness
Avail since thou hast willed to quit the world?
Our foes have everything for which they toiled;
The world hath ended for thee evilly.
Who is there to take vengeance for thy sake,
And who now will ensue thy precedents?
Calamity hath come upon Turan,
And on Afrasiyab, and all is lost.
We must behead ourselves and whelm in blood
Sword, hand, and body."
When they called to mind
Piran's last charge to them they acted not
Upon their own wild words, for he had said
To Farshidward, when challenging Gudarz :-
"If I am slain abide not with the host,
For earth will prove too narrow for our nobles
When I am gone, and none of wits be left
Of Wisa's race, and if the Iranians
Slay us and bring Iran our trunkless heads
Our army will ask quarter of Gudarz ;
But do not ye demean yourselves so much
Make for the waste and ye may yet survive."
They went back to their camp, their eyes all
Of blood, their bodies failing. All the host
Knew that the flock was wandering shepherdless.
All were exceeding sorrowful and wept;
They burned as though upon consuming fire.
They came before Lahha,k and Farshidward
With lips that breathed forth deep, cold sighs, and
"What shall we do now that our paladin,
The back-bone of our host, hath left the field ?
Whom will he hearten more to gird his loins,
And set an iron helmet on his head ? "
They answered: "Who hath limited God's will?
He brought it on Piran thus to be slain
In battle wretchedly and miserably,
To be beheaded by the scimitar,
And have no winding-sheet but grimy dust,
What while his foemen hale him here and there
With head and mail and raiment drenched in blood.
What was to be hath been - Piran hath gone,
And all his work and toil have turned to wind.
Alive he was the pillar of the host,
His soul full of affection for his troops;
He was their guardian from the enemy,
And under-prized that noble head of his.
The other world is his for good or ill,
But surely God hath set him with the just.
His care for us surviveth his departure
He made this compact with Gudarz, and said:-
'I am slain upon the battlefield
Thou shalt not punish the Turanian host,
But let them have free passage to Turan,
Not doing them a mischief in revenge.'
The Iranlans will respect the covenant,
We feel no apprehension on that score.
There are three courses open, only three,
So hearken all of you, both old and young!
If ye will ask for quarter so resolve
Forthwith; if ye will make for home set forward
For good or evil; but if ye propose
To fight, then let your spears be dipped in blood.
Discuss we these then from all points of view,
But God's will only can prevail at last.
If ye intend to fight delay a while
Because Piran asked succour, and the king
Hath raised an army which may come in sight
At any time, and we shall be avenged.
If ye are purposed to return to land,
And throne; the Iranlans surely will not hinder.
If ye would ask for quarter from the Shah
Ye must bestir yourselves and go at once;
Each man of you is master of his fate,
And if your hearts are set upon Iran
Be not enraged against us brethren twain,
For never will we purge our hearts of wrath,
And there hath ne'er been one of Wisa's race
Whose waist the girdle's buckle hath not galled.
Obedient to Piran's last words we go
To journey through the desert to Turin,
And if the Iranians occupy the road
We will contend with them while strength remaineth."
Mark what the Turkmans, hearing this, rejoined :-
OurOur leader and ten noble warriors
Have been slain vilely thus. On the other side
Khusrau is seen approaching! Who dare tarry?
We have not steeds or arms or feet or wings,
We have not treasure, leader, field or fell,
We have not strength for fight or road for flight,
And have no cause to spite ourselves. If we
Retreat, and if Gudarz and Kai Khusrau
Come after us with elephants and troops,
Not one among us will escape with life,
Or see again his home and family.
To ask for quarter is no shame for us,
Who, great as is our host, are leaderless.
Who now will fear the monarch of Turan ?
Afrasiyab is but a pinch of dust.
Why was he not like Kai Khusrau, who showed
What great affection to his troops he owed ? "
How Lahhak and Farshidward took the Road to Turan
Now, when the host thus answered, those two chiefs -
Lahhak and Farshidward arose. They knew:-
"'Tis not their time for war, the troops are right:-
A flock without a shepherd perisheth."
They bade the rest farewell and then they took
The longsome desert route, with flag in hand,
With hearts all grief and eyes all tears of blood.
They journeyed with ten noble cavaliers -
Brave warriors and ready for the fray.
Upon the road were horsemen of Iran -
An outpost-party and a gallant one.
The Turkmans charged, the outpost held its ground,
Strife rose unlooked for, earth grew tulip-like
With blood. Of those Iranians eight were slain -
Brave men and Lions on the day of battle -
While of the Turkmans none escaped with life
Except those two illustrious warriors,
Who went - a gallant pair - upon their way,
Like Lions, on their journey through the waste.
Then from the look-out cried the Iranian watch:-
"Ye nobles and ye gallant fighting men!
Two chieftains with ten noble cavaliers
Have issued from among the Turkman host;
They have engaged our outpost and have mixed
The earth with blood. Two Turkmans with their arms
Have ridden off, and eight of ours are slain."
Thereat Gudarz said: "These must be Lahhak
And Farshidward, gone with their necks unbent
And hearts as yet unbroken by the fight;
If from Iran they journey to Turan
Loss will assuredly befall our host;
Let him that seeketh honours from the Shah
Now set upon his head a Ruman helmet,
Pursue Lahhak and Farshidward, and send
The dust up from them with his scimitar."
Not one among the Iranians volunteered,
For they were spent, their reins were galled with iron,
Save Gustaham, in fight a lion grim,
Who said: "O thou who dost deserve a throne!
On going forth to combat with the Turkmans
Thou gavest me the drums, the camp-enclosure,
And chief command. While others sought renown
I had no share. Now will I compass fame
Herein, go forth, and take them in my toils."
Gudarz rejoiced and smiled on Gustaham;
His cheeks grew fresh, care left him and he said:-
"The sun hath given thee a happy fortune !
A Lion thou, thy prey the onager.
Go forth, God give to thee His help, and may
Three hundred like Lahhak become thy prey."
How Gustaham pursued Lahhak and Farshidward
Then Gustaham put on his mail, farewelled
Such warriors as he saw, and hurried forth
To fight those two proud Turkmans, while the troops
Among themselves said: "Evil will befall him."
Now, like a ship at sea, a Turkman host
Came from Afrasiyab to aid PIran,
But when they neared the desert of Daghwi,
And tidings came to them: "Piran is dead !
Thus went the combat of the champions,"
They all returned lamenting to their king.
Bizhan, informed that Gustaham had gone
To fight against Lahhak and Farshidward,
Thought: "If he reach Daghwi they must not send
The dust up from him on the day of battle."
Then with heart wrung with grief for Gustaham
He went, like lion grim, to seek his grandsire,
And, seeing him, spake loudly and at large:-
"O paladin! it sorteth ill with wisdom
Thus to surrender every man of name
In thy command to wanton massacre,
And make the turning sky responsible !
Two lusty warriors of the Turkman host
Have hurried on their way like lions. Both
Are braver than Piran or than Human,
And nobles of their land by native worth.
Now Gustaham hath gone to fight the two!
He must be defeated. All our joy
Will turn to grief if from our host we lose
On hearing this, Gudarz,
Perceiving his distress, mused much and long,
Took the same view and told the warriors:-
"Whower is in quest of name and rank,
Let him go after Gustaham with speed
To give him aid against his enemies."
None of the company returned an answer,
None cared for him and none was rested yet.
Said to Gudarz Bizhan : "Except myself
None of the warriors will succour him,
For no one is aweary of his life.
I must depart myself since at his case
My heart is full of grief, my face of tears."
Gudarz replied to him: "O lion-man,
Unused as yet to this world's heat and cold!
Dost not thou see that we are conquering?
Rush not upon this enterprise, my son!
For Gustaham will triumph and behead them.
Abide and I will send a cavalier,
Like lion grim, to help him in the fight,
And lay upon the dust his foemen's heads."
"O prudent, wise, and ardent paladin! "
Bizhan replied, "he must be helped while living,
Not when the foes are sending up his dust.
When he is slain, and all is over with him,
What profit will it be to send a horseman
To find him slaughtered and his head in blood?
So order me, who am concerned for him,
To gird my girdle tightly in this quest;
But if thou sayest : 'Go not,' I forthwith
Will cut my head off with this watered steel,
For if he dieth I will not survive;
So seek no pretext for refusing me."
Gudarz replied: "Go after him at once
If thou hast no regard for thine own life.
Since thou art still insatiate of fight
Gird thee and stay not e'en to scratch thy head.
Good Booth ! thy heart is cold toward thy sire
Though thou dost burn his liver constantly;
Thou wilt but cover thine own head with dust;
How much I dread thy passion for the fray! "
Bizhan bent, kissed the ground, and went his way.
How Bizhan followed after Gustaham
Bizhan girt up his loins, armed him for strife,
And put the saddle on his steed Shabrang.
News reached Giv of the doings of Bizhan,
How he had armed to fight with Farshidward.
Giv sprang up, mounted swift as smoke his Arab,
Went to Bizhan, seized on his bridle, dragged him
Aside, and said: "How often have I warned thee
In vain! Thou givest me no moment's pleasure.
Now whither wouldst thou hasten? Grieve me not
By every act. What wouldst thou have me do,
Hoar as I am? I have no son but thee,
And know no happiness when thou art sorry.
Ten days and nights hast thou been in the saddle,
And borne the vengeful sword against the foe;
Thou hast been galled by coat of mail and helm
Wilt thou be never satiate with blood ?
Since He that giveth good hath given us
The victory, we ought to rest with joy.
Why stake thy head before its time? Too much
Thou trustest to thy sword. None is successful
In this world save he seek his proper end.
Forestall not fate so fast, for even now
Its eye is on us; for thy father's sake
Abandon this; thou shouldst not vex my heart."
"O full of wisdom! " thus Bizhan replied,
"Men think not thus of thee. Hast thou forgotten
The past ? Why fondly turn away from justice ?
Know, father ! what thou sayest is unjust.
Hast thou forgot the battle of Ladan,
The deeds which Gustaham and I performed,
And our companionship in weal and woe?
If in God's providence the evil day
Is imminent no caution will avert
What is decreed, and further talk is useless.
So strive not to divert me from the fight,
For I have pledged my life to this emprise."
Then Giv : "If thou art fixed it will be best
For us to fare o'er hill and dale together,
And I will give thee aid in everything."
"Now God forbid that we three warriors,"
Bizhan said, " of the chiefs of royal race
Should chase two craven Turkmans all that way!
So by our bright-souled monarch's life and head,
By that famed paladin my grandsire's life,
And by the blood of Siyawush, return,
And let me go. I will not do thy bidding,
Because thou sayest : 'Turn away from fight.'"
Giv, hearing this, relented and bestowed
His blessing on his son, then left him, saying:-
"Go conquering and come again with joy,
Heart-eased, having bound the hands of evil."
Bizhan made haste to follow Gustaham
Lest ill should come upon him from Turan.
Now when Lahhak and Farshidward had passed
The river, speeding onward like the dust,
They journeyed in an hour seven leagues,
And felt in safety from the Iranian host.
They caught sight of a forest and a stream -
A shady resting-place for warriors.
Inside the wood were lions, fowl, and game,
Trees overhead with grass and stream below.
They halted there to hunt, and being thirsty
Went to the stream, but still they needed meat,
For grief and joy stay not the appetite.
They went among the pastures, dropped much game,
Then lit a fire and, having eaten kabab,
Went to the stream. There Farshidward kept watch,
Lahhak reposed. Bright is no warrior's day
Whene'er he hath been worsted in the fray.
How Lahhak and Farshidward were slain by Gustaham
Now Gustaham meanwhile was drawing nigh
The spot. His charger smelt the other steeds,
Began to neigh, and hurried on apace.
The charger of Lahhak by that same token
Neighed back again as though it had been mad,
While Farshidward came rushing to Lahhak,
And roused him from sweet slumber, saying thus:-
"Bestir thee from thy pleasant sleep and slay
The head of evil fortune like a man,
Because a sage once spake this weighty saw :-
'Whenas the lion from the wolf shall flee
Let not the wolf go in pursuit, for he
Will bring upon himself calamity.'
Ho! rouse thee, for an army from Iran
Hath cut us off! "
Both mounted, left the meadow,
And scanned the plain to see what course to take.
They sighted Gustaham far off alone,
And, having craned their heads and recognised
The foe, spake thus together: "° One approacheth.
It cannot be but Gustaham that cometh,
The banner of the brave in hand, to battle.
We need not flee unless to draw him on
Out to the open; there he shall not 'scape
Unless our evil fortune play the tyrant."
Thence turned they toward the plain with Gustaham,
The vengeful, in pursuit, who drawing nigh
Roared like a furious lion, raining arrows
Of poplar, and when Farshidward advanced
To combat smote him on the head - a sword - stroke
That mixed his brains with blood. He tumbled headlong,
And yielded up the ghost. So passed away
That famous warrior of Wisa's seed.
Whenas Lahhak beheld his brother's face,
And knew that he was then at peace from strife,
He trembled and became distraught with grief,
While all turned black to him. His ardent soul
Grew sick of life, he strung his bow, came on
With weeping eyes and shot at Gustaham.
First one shot, then the other. Not an arrow
Fell to the ground. Both cavaliers were wounded,
Then fought with scimitars, till suddenly
The advantage came to Gustaham, who twitched
His reins, charged, smote Lahhak upon the neck,
And brought upon him Doom's Day in a moment.
His head rolled under foot as 'twere a ball,
And all his battles and his warfare ended.
Such usage hath the turning sky above,
Withdrawing from its fosterlings its love!
Wouldst thou its head ? A foot will offered be!
Wouldst thou a foot ? The head affronteth thee!
So hurt was Gustaham, though not unhorsed,
That thou hadst said: "The man will break i in
Bent down upon his saddle he advanced,
And, as he urged his charger, dripped with blood.
He came anear a spring, saw stream and shade,
Alighted, tied his charger to a tree,
And, having drunken largely of the water
That he had chanced upon, gave thanks to God,
But thou hadst said: "The earth hath bound him down,"
So writhed he wallowing in the grimy dust,
His form all gashes with the scimitar,
And said: "Almighty Ruler of the world
Of all mine army and my family
Inspire affection for me in Bizhan,
Giv's son, or other famous warrior,
That he may carry me alive or dead
Hence to the host that they may know that I
Have died with glory, and I ask no more."
He moaned till morning and throughout the night
Writhed snake-like on the dust in painful plight.
How Bizhan beheld Gustahana in the Mead
Now when the world grew radiant with the sun
Bizhan arrived and roamed the mead to find
Some trace of his lost comrade. He descried
Far off a dun steed like one ridden post.
It pranced and grazed, like leopards at their ease,
With saddle underneath and broken reins.
Bizhan descried the saddle upside down,
The stirrups and the lasso drenched with blood,
A sight whereat his wits abandoned him,
And like a roaring lion's was his cry.
Thus said he: "O my comrade kind and good!
Where hast thou fallen in the pasturage ?
My back-bone hast thou broken, bruised my heart,
And as for dear life I have done with it.
What shall I say? Where shall I seek thee now?
What tricks hath yonder sky played off on thee?
He followed up the horse-tracks to the spring,
And there saw Gustaham upon the mead,
His mail and helmet smirched with dust and blood,
Himself flung headlong down - a mass of wounds.
Bizhan alighted swiftly from Shabrang,
And pressed his comrade in a close embrace,
Removed the Ruman breastplate that he wore,
And took the helmet from his wounded head,
Surveyed his body in its stricken plight,
Saw that the wounds, whence matter ran, were mortal
If left undressed, and that his heart and soul
Were filled with grief and anguish. Scanning well
These wounds Bizhan lamented o'er him saying :-
"O my good comrade ! thou hast gone, and I
Have striven but ill. I should have sought thee sooner,
And come upon the scene when thou vast fighting.
I might have helped thee at the time of need,
When thou vast combating with Ahriman,
But now the foe hath satisfied his lust
And done whate'er he would."
The wounded man
Was roused and breathing hard replied : "Good friend !
Grieve not for me; thy pain is worse to me
Than mine own death. Re-helm my wounded head,
And make some shift to bear me to the Shah.
God grant that I may live to look on him,
And then I shall not fear the approach of death,
For none of us may couch save in the dust.
The man who dieth having won his will,
And compassed all his purpose, is not dead.
Next as for these two cowards, craven foes,
Whom God hath slain through me, thou mayst perchance
Make shift to carry them upon a saddle,
Or, if not so, behead them, and convey
Their noble heads and weapons when thou goest
That men may understand about this combat;
Tell too the Shah, the ruler of the world,
That, not in vain, I gave my head to wind,
But roughed it everywhere in quest of fame."
He pointed out those Turkmans to Bizhan,
Far in the distance, slain, and cast away;
Then faintness seized his soul. Bizhan, distraught
With grief, went to his charger, loosed the girths,
Laid, wailing bitterly, the saddle-cloth
Beneath the wounded man, tore up his shirt
For bandages, and bound the wounds with care.
Grief-gloomed of soul he hurried to a hill,
Thence spied some scattered Turkman cavaliers
Upon the desert, came down swift as lightning,
Distraught by dread that Gustaham might die,
And all at once of those fear-stricken horsemen
Saw from afar two speeding on their way.
He loosed his lasso, noosed a Turkman's neck,
Flung him, but gave him quarter for his life,
And thus obtained a helper for himself.
Thence hasting on like dust before the wind
He went toward Lahhak and Farshidward,
And found them on the ground and drenched with blood,
While at their heads their chargers grazed at ease.
Bizhan saw all and lauded Gustaham
Because he had achieved complete revenge.
He bade the Turkman, who had begged his life,
To place those two commanders of the host
Upon a saddle, then like some fierce pard
Returned to Gustaham, raised him like wind
Upon the saddle gently with no pain,
And bade that Turkman mount upon the steed,
And clasp the wounded man about the waist.
The Turkinan travelled at an easy pace,
Invoking fervent blessings on Bizhan,
Who rode in pain and grief, all soul-distraught
For Gustaham - would he avail to bring
The wounded man still living to the king?
How Kai Khusrau built a Charnel-house for Piran and for
the other Chiefs of Turan, and how he slew Gurwi the
Son of Zira
The day was nine hours old, the sun was leaving
The vault of heaven, what time Khusrau, the world-lord,
Approached in state his army on the field.
The chiefs, the nobles, and the warriors
All went afoot to welcome him, the sages
Blessed him and said: "Hail, monarch and high priest! "
Khusrau was mounted that the troops might see him,
And in return saluted, saying thus:-
O May earth be ever peopled with the brave."
Behind the army like a mountain came
Gudarz, such was the custom, with his comrades -
These same ten champions, who upon the field
Of fight had sent the dust up from their foe -
And brought the slain whose heads were hanging down,
Whose bodies, arms, and mail were smirched with blood.
The champions followed thus behind the host,
And in their turn saluted Kai Khusrau.
Gudarz went on his way toward the Shah,
And lighted on beholding him far off;
Then, having drawn anigh, did reverence,
And wallowed in the dust before his lord,
Exhibited the corpses of the slain,
And told him how the champions had been paired.
Giv brought Gurwi, the son of Zira, running
Before the valiant leader of Iran ;
Khusrau beheld him, deeply sighed, dismounted,
And offered praises to the Almighty, saying:-
"Praise'be to God, to Him who is our refuge,
And gave to us both might and victory ! "
The Shah stood up while uttering his praise,
And lifted from his head the Kaian crown.
He called down blessings from the righteous Judge
Both on the paladin and on his troops,
And said: "O famous men and fortunate !
Ye are the fire, your foes are only reeds.
Gudarz the chieftain and his kin - those men
As fierce as fire - have given soul and body,
And ta'en the very life-breath from Turan.
Now will I share with you my royal treasures,
And will not grudge you e'en mine own right hand:'
He then surveyed the slain and, when he saw
The Turkman general, shed tears of sorrow,
Remembering Piran's good offices;
His heart burned so that thou hadst said: "It flameth ! "
With visage stained with blood-drops from his eyes
He made oration o'er that chieftain's death:-
"Ill fortune is a Dragon grim and snareth
Great lions with its breath; none may escape
Through valour, so this sharp-clawed Dragon came.
Thou hast been troubled for me all my life,
And hast for my sake laboured strenuously.
This man deplored the blood of Siyawush,
And in that matter gave offence to none.
So friendly was he yet became a foe,
And filled the country of Iran with fear,
For Ahriman seduced his heart and turned
His rede to other ends. Full many a time
I counselled him, but he misprized my words.
He would not leave Afrasiyab, and now
His sovereign hath thus requited him!
We wished for him another recompence,
Prepared for him a throne and diadem,
But matters have gone further than we purposed,
And heaven hath turned above him otherwise.
Wrong took the place of love within his heart,
So that his countenance was changed toward us.
He came to fight against you with his host,
And slaughtered many of the Iranians,
Rejected all the counsels of Gudarz,
Mine own injunctions, and my warriors' words,
Made havoc of his honest heart's affection,
Mixed up together bane and antidote,
And when he hasted from Turan to fight
His fate was on the javelin of Gudarz.
He gave up son and brother, crown and girdle,
Arms, men of war, and station, field and fell,
All in the quarrel of Afrasiyab,
And fate hath come upon him suddenly."
He ordered that the body should be washed
With musk, pure camphor, and rose-water mixed
With spices, and embalmed with musk and camphor,
And clad it stainless with brocade of Rum.
The mountain was Piran's grave, and Khusrau
In his affection had a charnel built,
And raised its summit to the turning sky.
Within it there were set up princes' thrones,
Such as befitted men of high degree.
They placed the Turkman paladins thereon
With belted waists and crowns upon their heads.
Such is the world in its perfidiousness!
It raiseth oft 'and bringeth down no less,
So that the sage's heart must ever be,
At this'world's process, in perplexity.
Khusrau then looked upon Gurwi, the son
Of Zira, cursing him as he deserved,
Looked on that loathly face wherefrom the hair
Hung down like divs', and said: "°0 God! Thou knowest
The manifest and hidden. Of a truth
Kaus had done amiss and grieved the Maker
In that He raised up such a div as this
'GainSt Siyawush. I wot not why Gurwi
Should hate that faultless one, but by His might
Who ruleth all and giveth good - the Guide -
I will have vengeance on Afrasiyab
For Siyawush and soon."
He bade disjoint
Gurwi with cords and fling into a stream,
First cutting off, as 'twere a sheep's, the head.
"So must I treat Afrasiyab," he said.
How the Turanians asked Quarter of Kai Khusrau
The Shah abode upon the battlefield
Awhile, employed upon the host's affairs,
Bestowing kingdoms, crowns, and robes of honour
On those that had deserved them; Ispahan,
The crown of greatness, and the throne of chiefs,
Was given to Gudarz, while those that shared
With him the toil and glory of revenge
Had robes of honour equal to their meed.
Then from the Turkman troops still on the field,
O'er whom Piran had held command, there came
A prudent envoy to the Shah, and said :-
"We are the slaves and servants of the Shah,
And take no step unless at his command.
None can escape the providence of God
E'en though he be within the Dragon's breath.
The monarch is aware what men we are,
And for what cause we girded up our loins.
The case of Siyawush was not our fault,
But Ahriman seduced our monarch's heart.
He is a headstrong man and ill-advised,
With no respect for chiefs or fear of God,
And we have suffered from that day till now,
And washed our cheeks in heart-felt tears. At home
Our kindred is all sorrowful, our wives
And children mourn us. Not through lust of fighting,
Not for field, fell, and throne, have we come hither,
Yet evil hath befallen us herein,
And sires have lost their sons, and sons their sires.
If thou wilt give us quarter we will gird
Our loins as slaves before thee. We are all
Within the gullet of the Crocodile
In that we are at warfare with thy host;
But in our army there are many chiefs
Well worthy of the service of the Shah.
We are in fault and he is sovereign;
Whate'er we suffer at his hands is well.
We will bring all our chiefs to him, but not
With any thought of strife or murmuring.
If in his heart he harboureth revenge
On us, use warranteth beheading foes,
While well it is if he shall pardon us:
Let him do that which seemeth good to him."
Whenas the Shah, that noble man, had heard
Their lamentable speech he pardoned them,
And bade them come before him. So they came
At his desire to seek to clear themselves,
And as they laid their heads upon the ground
Their hearts were full, their eyes shed vengeful tears.
Then looking up to heaven the monarch said:-
"Almighty Judge, our Help! these are the troops
That with their heads full of revenge desired
To bring the country of Iran to dust,
That scatter everywhere the bane that biteth,
And fling therein the heads of noble chiefs;
But now the Almighty hath so dealt with them
That they lack rede and knowledge, foot and head.
To Him I stretch my hands, for He sufficeth ;
I want no other helper in the world.
In this regard a wise man spake a saw,
When mounting on his saddle for the fight:-
This charger is a shining throne to me,
The rest is left to sleepless destiny.
In this campaign a crown and throne we seek,
Or else the customary bier of teak;
Or I may fall within the leopard's claws,
Or with my brain replenish vultures' maws.'
Your evil deeds recoil upon yourselves
As every man of wisdom is aware.
I have not washed my hands in blood of yours,
Nor will I aggravate your evil plight.
Ye are in my protection, one and all,
However hostile to my throne ye be.
Whower doth desire to stay can stay;
He shall experience neither gain nor loss;
And whosoever of you would return
To his own king, I will not hinder him,
For I have no occasion through God's strength
For more or less, for labour or for greed."
The Turkmans, having heard the Shah's harangue,
Removed their casques and owned themselves o'ercome;
Though warrior-leopards they became like deer.
The monarch of the world bade them surrender
Their armour, falchions, spears, and javelins.
Those haughty Turkmans piled up to the moon
Their armour for the steeds and Ruman helms,
And then they set up all around the heap
Their flags of yellow, red, and violet,
And sware great oaths: "We all through life will be
The servitors and bondslaves of the Shah,
And charge our hearts with love for him."
The watchful Shah forgave them their misdeeds
Completely, and dispersed them out of hand
In various settlements throughout the land.
How Bizhan returned with Gustaham
Thereafter from the look-out came a cry:-
"The dust of horse hath risen from the way;
I see afar three steeds, each with a corpse
Bound wretchedly upon it, and therewith
The Iranian chieftains all
Turned to the road their eyes in wonder, asking:-
"Who is this warrior of Inin that cometh
So hardily across the battlefield ? "
Anon Bizhan came riding up; his bow
Hung on his arm; Lahhak and Farshidward
Were flung across two steeds, all blood and dust,
While on another steed was Gustaham,
In pain and grief, borne in a Turkman's arms.
Bizhan drew nigher still. He laid his face
Upon the ground and kissed it when he saw
His monarch's head and crown and lofty throne.
Khusrau joyed at the sight of him and asked :-
"O lion-man ! how went it on the field?"
Bizhan then told the tale of Gustaham,
Lahhak, and valiant Farshidward, the plight
And wounds of Gustaham, the fight between
The cavaliers, and all things great and small.
He added: "Gustaham hath one desire,
And one not grievous for the Shah to grant
He hath a wish to look upon the Shah,
And then is ready to give up the ghost."
Thereat the Shah commanded in his kindness
That Gustaham should be produced before him.
Now Gustaham was hurt so grievously
That thou hadst said: "He barely draweth breath,"
Yet at the perfume of the king of kings
The warrior writhed and turned toward Khusrau
His eyes wherefrom he showered drops of love
The monarch bathed his countenance in tears
Of blood, the nobles wept as they had been
Consuming in fierce fire. Khusrau was grieved
To lose a chief whose head beneath his helm
Was battle's anvil. From Hushang, Jamshid,
And Tahmuras, the Shah inherited
An amulet - the hope of wounded men -
And ever bare it on his arm but, since
His heart was yearning upon Gustaham,
He took the precious jewel off and bound it
Upon the warrior's arm, and stroked his wounds.
He placed by Gustaham physicians brought
From Hind, Rum, Chin, Turan, and from Iran
By world-wide quest for such contingencies,
Recited over him all manner of spells,
And thence departing to the place of prayer
Much communed with the Maker of the world.
Two sennights thus passed o'er the wounded man,
Who was restored to health and happiness.
They carried him on horseback to the Shah ;
The monarch of the world, on seeing him,
Said to the Iranians : "Through the grace of God
We all are fortunate and happy now;
When we had gained the day did not our grief
For Gustaham subdue our mirthfulness?
This is in brief the All Provider's love,
And not man's knowledge or solicitude."
He called Bizhan, the son of Giv, and set
In his the hand of gallant Gustahaui,
And said: "Know that good fortune is of God;
So take not any credit to thyself,
Because He ever is the Succourer,
And only He can help us in our need.
If any dead man ever came to life
The World-lord hath so dealt with Gustaham."
To Gustaham he said: "In these our days
I have not seen a helper like Bizhan.
Had he not chosen toil on thine account
Who would have seen thanksgivings such as these?
The Shah stayed yet a sennight at Raibad,
Bestowing drachms, dintirs, and various gifts,
While sending messengers on every side
To great men and to nobles with commands
That they should come to court equipped for war,
"For we intend to fight the king of Gang."
Now that the battles of Pinin are told,
The combatings of Kai Khusrau unfold,
And marshal, poet! in thine expert brain
The choicest words to tell the vengeance ta'en
By that impetuous Shah - the wreak that he
Sought on Afrasiyab laboriously.
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