THE GREAT WAR OF KAI KHUSRAU WITH AFRASIYAB
No evil eye, no want unsatisfied !
I now resume mine old-world legendry
From true traditions. As time's course I see
I need none other to admonish me.
The combatings of Kai Khusrau arise
Before me: ye must hear my witcheries,
For I shall shower pearls as I descant,
And in among the rocks my tulips plant,
Now have I got a theme long known to me,
Such that the marrow of my speech 'twill be.
O thou who lookest on a bygone age
Joy sometimes filleth thee and sometimes rage,
And wondrous 'tis how many novel smarts
Yon turning sky reserveth for our hearts !
One's lot throughout his years is grief and fret,
And he must taste of sorrow and regret ;
Another's portion is all honey, sweet,
Indulgence, luxury, and lofty seat ;
Another hath to walk a treacherous way,
Whiles up, whiles down. Such fosterage we meet
From fortune, but the thorn-prick will out-stay
The blushing of its rose, and at three score
The hand should be withheld from grasping more,
While to survive to three score years and ten
'Neath heaven's vicissitudes is not for men,
Or if, worse hap ! one live so many years,
Existence then is but a cause for tears.
If three score years were but a fishing seine
A wise man would not seek escape in vain,
But through the turning sky or through the net
Spread by the sun a,nd moon I cannot get.
A king may labour and deny himself
The gust of vengeance and delight of pelf,
Yet must he pass hence to the other land,
And leave his toils behind just as they stand.
Think of Shah Kai Khusrau, for now thou hast
To treat as new the doings of the past.
He, having slain his grandsire, passed away ;
The world peruseth not his grants to-day.
This Wayside Inn doth ever treat us so ;
Use thine endeavours to escape its woe.
How Kai Khusrau arrayed his Host against Afrasiyab
The warfare of Gudarz and of Piran
Being ended, the victorious Shah prepared
For war again, and chiefs with countless troops
Flocked from all sides ; the sound of clarions
Arose. They pitched the camp upon the plain,
And set upon an elephant a throne
Of turquoise, and the world's face grew like Nile.
The Shah sat throned and crowned, from plain and court
Shouts rose, no room was left to move on waste
Or sleep in city. When the noble Shah,
Thus seated, dropped the ball within the cup,
And girt his loins, there was tarrying
Throughout the realm save at the great king's gate,
Such was his ordinance for all the kingdom.
Of those whom he had strictly charged, and sent
Out to the marches, with Luhrasp and Rustam,
The strong of hand, who could despoil the deep
Of crocodiles, and with far-famed Ashkash,
The paladin, approven, great, and ardent,
He bade the efficient to return to court.
He oped his treasury to pay the troops,
Spake often of the spirit of his sire,
Chose envoys fluent, shrewd, and well advised,
And sent this letter in the ancient tongue
To all the chiefs and nobles : "Kai Khusrau,
The victor, seated on his elephant,
Hath dropped the ball; the land is like the Nile.
Let there be neither rest nor sleep for you,
But only vengeance on Afrasiyab."
When all the men of leading in the realm
Had read the letter of the Shah a shout
Ascended from the warriors of the world,
The earth began to heave as 'twere the sea,
The chieftains out of all the provinces
Marched court-ward with their troops, and when a host
Had formed war-worthy he inspected it,
And drew it up as on the field of battle.
He chose out thirty thousand cavaliers,
Who drew the sword, among those famous troops
To occupy with him the army's centre,
And bathe their hands in blood in every fight.
He further chose three persons from the host,
Great men and prudent, having forms of brass ;
The three were Rustam, that great paladin,
Gudarz, the ancient, cunning Wolf, and Tus,
The paladin, who wore the golden boots,
And had the custody of Kawa's standard.
On his right hand the Shah placed Tus, with whom
Were Manushan and well advised Khuzan -
Both kings in Pars and helmed with helms of gold.
Beyond these were Arash - a Fire in fight -
And king Guran - the Lustre of the host -
The one the monarch of the Khuzians,
And fortunate in battle-time, the other
King of Kirman, impetuous in strife -
Sabbakh, the wary monarch of Yaman,
Iraj of lion-heart - an Elephant
For bulk - who was the ruler of Kabul,
A worldlord and a man both wise and holy,
Shammakh, who was the native king of Sur,
Girt for the fray, and, greater still, Karan,
The fighting-man, victorious everywhere,
The shatterer of hosts, who ruled Khawar,
A worldlord, wary, and imperious.
All those that held descent from Kai Kubad -
Great men of understanding and high birth -
The Shah set on his left with Dilafruz
To marshal them. The chiefs sprung from Gudarz,
Who plied the sword by night despite the gloom -
Bizhan, the son of Giv, and brave Ruhham,
Both reckoned by the Shah among the great -
Gurgin, Milad's son, and the troops from Rai,
All marched as bidden by the Shah. Moreover
The scions of Zarasp, who gave new lustre
To glorious Azargashasp, kept guard
Behind the Shah with cloud-transfixing spears.
He gave the right wing into Rustam's charge,
Where all the troops were one in heart and body,
For all those from Zabulistan - the chiefs,
And kin of Zal - he stationed on the right,
Retaining for himself the chief command.
Then for the left wing he selected troops,
Like Sol in Aries, led by Gudarz,
Son of Kishwad, Hajir, and by Farhad.
The chiefs from Barda' and from Ardabil,
When ranked before the ruler of the world,
Requested that Gudarz might be their leader,
And drew up on the left. The monarch bade
To hold the way before the central host
With elephants of war with towers thereon;
The earth was like the Nile. Within the towers
He stationed archers valiant in the fray,
And thousands strong, and round each elephant
Three hundred horse-famed fighting-men - as guards.
The warriors from Baghdad who were with Zanga,
The son of Shawaran, picked men of Karkh -
He ordered with their arbalists to take
Their place afoot before the elephants,
And had two miles of mountain fronted them
They would have pierced the rocks' hearts with their
No one was able to withstand their shots.
Behind the elephants he placed the footmen
With head-transfixing spears nine cubits long.
They held in front their bucklers of Gilan
The blood seethed in their livers. After these
Came foot in line with breastplate-piercing shafts
And shields, then warrior-horsemen with full quivers.
Out of the army of Khawar the Shah
Chose thirty thousand warriors and chiefs
Equipped with armour, shields, and Ruman helms,
And made that gallant horseman Fariburz
Their chief in consort with Tukhar, the king
Of Dahistan, who scorned all enemies,
And was by birth of noble Dashma's seed -
A family of puissance in those days.
Nastuh was at the side of Fariburz,
Supported by a crowd of warriors.
The great men and the war-experienced chiefs,
Brought from the desert of the Bedouins,
Were all commanded by Zahir, who used
To pluck gazelles away from lion's claws,
And bidden by Khusrau to join Nastuh,
Thus piling up the left wing of the Shah.
There was a host from Barbaristan and Rum,
Whereof the leader hight Kishwaristan.
These, thirty thousand strong in horse and foot,
Set forward likewise to the king's left wing.
There was another host from Khurasan,
Men of ambition and experience;
Their leader and their guardian in the quest
Of fame was Minuchihr, son of Arash.
There was a man of name too of the race
Of Gurukhan - a king and of the seed
Of Kai Kubad : his name was King Firuz -
A chief, the lustre both of heart and host.
There was the king of Gharcha too who used
To spring on elephants as lions do.
The Shah assigned them posts by Minuchihr,
And made the head of all their house their captain.
Moreover from Mount Kaf the mighty men -
The offspring of Jamshid and Faridun -
Advanced in all their pride with spear and mace,
Incensed against the offspring of Zadsham.
Khusrau selected thirty thousand swordsmen -
Men of ambition and of royal seed -
And gave that force to Giv, son of Gudarz,
In whom the marches joyed. Supporting him,
With troops in single and in double file,
Was Awa, son of Samkunan ; his warriors
Were brave and wary. To the right the Shah
Dispatched ten thousand sworders - gallant horsemen -
And to the rear of Giv, son of Gudarz,
Ten thousand more brave troops. The swordsman Barta
Marched with his mountaineers amid that throng -
A noble band and gallant combatants -
In Giv's support. The Shah sent thirty thousand
Picked cavaliers of battle to the left,
All warlike youths commanded by Zawara,
And next selected from among the troops
Ten thousand well equipped, and made their head
Karan the fighting man that he might urge
His steed between the embattled hosts as champion.
To Gustaham, the son of Gazhdaham,
The Shah said: "Be Karan the fighter's comrade,"
And bade the son of Tus to make the rounds
Throughout the host with trump and kettledrum
To stay from unjust deeds the hand of him
That did not worship God, to see that none
Among the soldiers was in want of food,
And also that no person was oppressed.
He was to ask the Shah for what was needful,
And be in all the mouthpiece of the host.
The world was full of wains and buffalos
Sent forward with provisions by the king;
His scouts were visible on every side,
He roused the heads of sleepers from their slumbers,
Appointed watchmen's stations on the mountains,
And left behind no stragglers from the army.
To every quarter he sent spies and sought
With diligence to know how matters stood.
Caves, deserts, hills, and plains on every side
Were filled with dust raised by the troops, while rein
Was linked to rein, all necks were craned for fight,
And none was either fearful or distressed;
The Shah took treasure with him on the march.
On this wise when he had arrayed the host
He sky-ward raised his Kaian diadem,
And friend and foe alike forbore to have
A purpose save the battles of the brave.
How Afrasiyab heard that Piran was slain and that Kai
Khusrau had arrayed his Host
The Turkman king reposed upon his throne
Of ivory on the further side of Jaj,
And of his myriads of troops meanwhile
The more part were in arms, prepared for war.
Whate'er existed on that hilly march,
Upon the trees or growing on the ground,
The troops consumed it all - both fruit and leaf.
The world was bent on death. The Turkman king
Was at Baigand, surrounded by his kindred
And his allies, for all the chiefs of Chin
And of Machin were present there. Pavilions
And camp-enclosures occupied the world;
No room remained. Afrasiyab; that wise,
Ambitious man, was at Kunduz and there
He feasted and reposed, selecting it
Because it had been built by Faridun,
Who had erected there a Fane of Fire
With all the Zandavasta limned thereon
In gold. The name Kunduz is ancient Persian;
Thou hast may be some knowledge of that tongue,
But now the name is altered to Baigand,
So light and fickle is this age of ours!
Afrasiyab was sprung from Faridun,
And was unwilling to desert Kunduz,
But with his meiny camped upon the plain,
Confounding with his host the heavenly sphere.
His camp-enclosure, thronged with multitudes
Of servitors, was of brocade of Chin;
The tents within it were of leopard-skin -
A usage of the Turkman king Pashang.
The royal tent contained a throne of gold
Adorned with gems and golden ornaments;
There sat the monarch of the Turkman host
With mace in hand and diadem on head.
Outside stood many standards of the chiefs,
And at the monarch's portal were the tents
Of those whom most he honoured - brethren, sons,
And others not akin. 'Twas his desire
To reinforce Piran, but with the dawn
A cavalier came swift as dust with tidings
About him, and the wounded straggled in,
Withal lamenting, dust upon their heads,
Each with his own account of injuries
Inflicted by Iran upon Turan,
Told of Piran, Lahhak, and Farshidward,
And of the nobles on the day of battle,
How they had fared both in the van and rear,
And how they had been worsted on the field,
How also Kai Khusrau arrived one day,
And with his host filled earth from hill to hill.
"Our troops all asked for quarter," thus they said;
"The flock was frightened being shepherdless."
The monarch, when he heard it, was aghast,
His face was gloomy as his heart was dark,
He came down wailing from the ivory throne,
And cast his crown down in the magnates' presence,
A wail of anguish went up from the troops,
The nobles' cheeks were wan with misery.
They cleared the place of strangers and assembled
The monarch's kin. Afrasiyab in anguish
Wept, rent his locks, and wailed: "Ye Eyes of mine,
My noble cavalier Ruin, Human,
Lahhak, and Farshidward, horsemen and Lions
Upon the battle-day ! no son or brother,
No chief or leader, hath survived the fight!"
He thus lamented. Then his humour changed,
He sorrowed for the soldiers, then he sware
A mighty oath and cried in grief and anguish:-
"By God, I will have none of ivory throne,
My head shall have no commerce with the crown,
My tunic shall be mail, my throne a steed,
My crown a helmet and my tree a spear.
Henceforth I wish not feast and banqueting,
Or e'en provision for the crown itself;
I want but vengeance for my famous men,
My swordsmen and my men of high emprise,
On base-born Kai Khusrau, and may the seed
Of Siyawush be lacking to the world."
While he bewailed those tidings news arrived
Of Kai Khusrau : "A host is near Jihun,
And all the realm's face is o'erspread with troops."
In grief and wretchedness he called his powers,
Spake of Piran at large and of the slaying
Of Farshidward, his brother, of Ruin
And other heroes of the fight, and said:-
"Ensue not slumber and repose henceforth;
Our foes have mustered and have come sharp-clawed.
This is no time for dallying and debate,
But for revenge, for bloodshed, and a struggle
For very life. Our task is love and vengeance,
This for Piran and that on Kai Khusrau."
With tearful eyes the chieftains of Turan
Replied: "We all are servants of the king,
And will not quit this vengeance while we live.
None bath borne children like Piran, Ruin,
And Farshidward - the seed of Faridun.
We, great and small, are at the king's disposal,
And though the hills and dales become a sea
Of blood, we have our bodies' length of earth,
Not one of us will quit the battlefield
If He who is the moon's Lord aideth us:'
Thereat the Turkman monarch's heart revived;
His humour changed; he was himself again.
He oped his treasury's door, he paid his troops,
His heart all wreak, his head vainglorious,
And gave up to his soldiers all the herds
That he possessed upon the hills and plains.
He chose him thirty thousand Turkman sworders,
Equipped for war, and sent them to patrol
Jihun in boats that none might cross the river
By night and make a foray unopposed.
He sent his forces out on every side,
Employing much resourceful stratagem,
But 'twas the ordinance of holy God
That that unrighteous king should be destroyed.
At night he sat in conclave with the wise,
With world-experienced, prudent archimages
They bandied earth's affairs about among them,
And settled that the king should send his host
Across Jihun. The king, who sought a means
To counteract the mischief of the foe,
Then parted all his army into two,
And ordered KurakhAn, his eldest son,
To come to him. For valour and for state,
For mien, for looks, for prudence and for counsel,
Thou hadst declared the son to be the sire.
The monarch gave him half of that great host -
Experienced men of name and warriors -
And sent him to Bukhara, there to be
Behind his father like a mount of flint.
The king kept on dispatching arms and men,
Provision trains ne'er ceased. He left Baigand
And hastened to Jihun. The army lined
The bank throughout. Above a thousand boats
Were ferrying for a week until the hills
And plains were naught but warriors. The crowd
Of elephants and troops of Lions made
The passage of the stream a busy one.
Boats covered all the water and the host
Marched toward the desert of Amwi. The king
Brought up the rear and crossed intent on war.
He sent on all sides speedy cavaliers -
Men shrewd and ardent - and commanded them:-
"Survey the country both to right and left
For some spot large enough to hold the host."
Whenas the scouts returned from every side
They thus reported to the exalted king
"The many troops engaged in this campaign
Will need supplies and grass and halting-places.
There is beside the river of Gilan
A route with fodder and encamping-grounds
Where men of vigilance may bring provisions
By water to the army. On the way
Are sands and ample room for pitching tents
With palace-like enclosures."
His heart. He heightened on the imperial throne,
A general was he expert in war,
And went not by the words of any teacher.
He ranged the centre and the wings thereof,
The outposts to observe the enemy,
The rear, and station for the baggage-train,
He ranged the left and right. He made a camp
In royal wise, with five score thousand swordsmen
To form the centre, making that his station
Because he took the chief command himself.
Pashang, whose hands were strong as leopard's claws,
Commanded on the left, in all the host
A peerless noble, and unequalled horseman
In any land. His sire surnamed him Shida,
For he was like bright Sol, would urge his steed,
Seize, and pluck out by force, a leopard's tail;
He wont to use an iron spear and pierce
A mountain in the fight. To him the king
Committed five score thousand troops and chiefs
For that campaign. He had a younger brother -
His glorious peer, a warrior Jahn by name,
A potent prince, his father's counsellor,
Raised by his understanding o'er the throng.
His sire gave him a hundred thousand horsemen
Equipped for battle - Turkmans of Chigil -
To guard the rear of Shida and not turn
Their heads away though stones rained from the clouds.
The king chose of his grandsons one who used
To cut his collops out of lions' backs
As leader of the right wing of the host,
Which hid the sun itself in clouds of dust.
The cavaliers of Tartary, Khallukh,
And Balkh, all paladins who used the sword,
Had for their chief Afrasiyab's fifth son -
A famous warrior eager for the fight,
One whom they used to call Gurdgfr the valiant -
A man whose sword and shafts would pierce a mountain.
With him went thirty thousand warriors -
Men of the fray and armed with swords for battle.
Damur and Jaranjas were his companions
In rendering support to noble Jahn.
Their leader was the veteran Nastuh,
Whose own superior was valiant Shida.
Of Turkman warriors thirty thousand men
Marched forth with maces and artillery,
Led by brave Ighriras who counted blood
As water. Next the king chose forty thousand
Whose chief was elephantine Garsiwaz -
A leader of ambition midst that folk,
The chief of nobles, and the army's stay;
The exalted king entrusted to his charge
The elephants. He next chose from the troops
Ten thousand men insatiate of fight,
And bade them place themselves with lips afoam
Between the lines upon the battlefield
To charge the foe dispersedly and break
The hearts and backs of the Iranians.
The rear was toward the east. At night they barred
The road with elephants. Afrasiyab,
The world-illuming monarch, kept before
His soldiers' eyes Nfmruz as Cynosure.
How Kai Khusrau had Tidings that Afrasiyab advanced
to fight with him
Now when Khusrau heard from his watchful spies
About the Turkmans and Afrasiyab :-
"He bath conveyed such hosts across Jihan
That neither sands nor rocks are visible!"
He called his warriors and declared to them
What he had heard, chose from among his troops
The fittest of the mighty of Iran,
Men that had tasted this world's salts and sours,
To succour Gustaham, son of Naudar,
At Balkh, and bade Ashkash to lead to Zam
A host with treasure, elephants, and drachms
That none might take him in the rear and frustrate
The purpose of the Lions of Iran;
He ordered next his warriors to horse,
Struck up the tymbals and led on the host,
But marched with counsel, prudence, and no haste,
For that in warfare leadeth to repentance.
The Shah, when he had reached the waste, inspected
The bearing and equipment of his men.
The army's route was toward Kharazm, where sands
And plains were fit for strife, with DahistAn
To left, the stream to right, the sands between,
Afrasiyab in front. The Shah in person,
With Rustam, Tus, Gudarz, Giv, and a staff
Of noble warriors, went round the field
To view the approaches and the pathless waste;
Then, having heard about his grandsire's force,
He made his dispositions craftily,
And, having not expected such a host,
So many elephants and men of war,
He strengthened his position with a fosse,
And spread his scouts about on every side.
He filled the fosse with water when night came
Upon the side toward Afrasiyab,
And scattered caltrops all about the plain
So that the foemen should not traverse it.
When Sol was shining out of Aries,
And gracing all the surface of the world,
The Turkman general reviewed his host,
Struck up the tymbals and arrayed his ranks.
The world was filled with din of trump and troops,
The warriors put on their iron helms.
Thou wouldst have said: "Earth's face is iron, and air
Empanoplied with spears ! "
Three days and nights
The hosts abode thus and none stirred a lip.
The cavalry were mounted on both sides,
The footmen stood in front. Thou wouldst have said:-
Earth Earth is an iron mountain, heaven is mailed."
Before the two kings the astrologers,
Much musing and with tables on their breasts,
Sought out the secret purposes of heaven
With astrolabes to find the favoured side,
But heaven looked on with a spectator's eye,
And left the gazers in perplexity.
How Shida came before his Father Afrasiyab
Upon the fourth day when the strain was great
The valiant Shida came before his sire,
And said to him: "O famed throughout the world,
And most exalted of all potentates !
No monarch under heaven hath Grace like thine,
And neither sun nor moon opposeth thee;
An iron mount would run as 'twere a river
If it should hear the name Afrasiyab.
Earth is not able to sustain thy host,
Or yon resplendent sun thy casque. Of all
The kings none fronteth thee save Kai Khusrau,
Thy kinsman but a base-born miscreant.
Thou didst hold Siyawush as son, didst bear
A father's pains and love for him, beteeming
No noxious blast from heaven to visit him.
Thou didst distaste him when assured that he
Aimed at thy crown, thy throne, and diadem,
And if the king of earth had spared his life
The crown and signet both would have been his.
The man that now hath come to fight with thee
Shall not have long of this world. Father-like
Thou didst encourage this black reprobate,
Forbearing to consign him to the dust;
Thou didst support him till he spread his wings,
Fit through thy favour for the throne of gold,
And bird-like flew Iranward from Turan ;
Thou wouldst have said: 'He never saw his grandsire.'
Look at Piran's own deeds of kindliness
Toward that faithless and unworthy man;
Yet he forgot Piran's love and fulfilled
His heart with vengeance and his head with strife,
And when he caught Piran as he desired
He put that kindly paladin to death.
Now hath he issued from Iran with troops
To make a fierce attack upon his grandsire.
He seeketh not dinars or diadem,
Not treasures, horses, scimitars, or soldiers,
But aimeth at the lives of his own kindred,
And that is all the burden of his talk.
My father is a king, a most wise monarch,
And will bear witness that my words are true.
What need have armies for astrologers?
The brave seek honour with their scimitars.
The horsemen on the right are all for battle,
And, if the king permitteth, I will leave
The foe no cavaliers, but pin their helmets
Upon their heads with shafts in spite of fosse
"Be not impetuous. What thou say'st is true,
And never should one listen save to truth;
Yet, as thou know'st,the warrior Piran
In this world trod the path of excellence;
There was no fraud or falsehood in his heart,
He sought for nothing but the good and right,
He was an elephant in strength in battle,
He had a sea-like heart and sunny face
Hu man his brother was a warrior-leopard,
So was the brave Lahhak, so Farshidward.
A hundred thousand Turkman cavaliers,
Ambitious men accoutred for the fight,
Departed hence all seething for the fray,
Though I in secret sorrowed and bewailed.
They perished on the battlefield; the ground
Whereon they lay was puddled with their gore.
The marches of Turan are broken-hearted
With sorrow, all men dream of dead Piran,
And no one speaketh of Afrasiyab ;
So let us tarry till our men of name,
Our great men of the host, our cavaliers.
Have gazed awhile upon the Iranians
And have not hearts impassioned, grieved, and sore.
The iranians too will see this mighty host
With all its treasures, thrones, and diadems.
It is not good for us to fight in force;
Defeat will come and we shall grasp the wind,
But warriors will I send dispersedly,
And fill the wastes with our foes' blood."
Then Shida :-
"Sire! fight not thus. First of our warriors
Am I - a brazen-bodied cavalier -
And have seen none who in the battle-day
Could scatter wind-borne dust upon my steed.
I passion for a combat with Khusrau
Because he is the new king of the world,
And if he shall encounter me, as I
Doubt not, withal he shall not scape my clutch,
The Iranians shall be broken-heart and baek -
And all their projects marred, while if another
Come forth I soon will lay his head in dust."
The king replied: "O inexperienced one!
How should the king of kings encounter thee?
If he would fight I am his opposite,
'Tis mine to trample on his name and person,
And if we meet thus on the field both hosts
Will rest from strife."
"Experienced one," said Shida,
"Inured to this world's heat and cold! thou hast
Five sons before thee still. We will not suffer
These thoughts of fight. No worshipper of God,
Nor army even, could approve that thou
Shouldst go in person to confront Khusrau."
How Afrasiyab sent an Embassage to Kai Khusrau
Then unto Shida said Afrasiyab :-
"Imperious son! ne'er be mishap thy lot.
Though thou wouldst fight with Kai Khusrau thyself
Take not this present matter in ill part
Go forth and be the Maker thine ally,
And may thy foemen's heads be overturned.
Convey a message unto Kai Khusrau
For me and say: 'The world is changed indeed!
The grandson waging war upon his grandsire
Must have a head all guile and wickedness.
Was it the Maker's aim to fill the world
With figh - , and feud? When Siyawush was slain
The fault was his for heeding not advisers ;
But if the blame was mine what had Piran,
What had Ruin, Lahhak, and Farshidward,
Done that they should be bound to horses' backs,
Blood-boltered, and like maddened elephants ?
Now if thou say'st : "Thou art a miscreant,
A villain of the seed of Ahriman,"
Behold thou art descended from my seed,
And casteat an aspersion on thyself.
Leave fighting to Gudarz and Kai Kaus,
And let them come against me with their troops.
I have not spoken thus as fearing thee,
Or as grown recreant in mine old age.
My troops are as the sand upon the shore,
Brave warriors and Lions all prepared
At my command upon the day of battle
To make Mount Gang an ocean, O my son
Still I am fearful of the Omnipotent,
Of bloods˝ed, and calamities to come,
For many an innocent and noble head
Will be dissevered on this battlefield.
If thou renouncest not this strife with me,
Good soooh, thine own disgrace will come of it ;
But if thou wilt agree with me by oath,
And keep it, I will point thee out a way
Whereby thy troops and treasure may be saved
When thou shalt have forgotten Siyawush,
And made another Siyawush of me,
Then Jahn and valiant Shida, who in battle
Turn Mount Gang to a sea, shall be thy brothers,
And I will bid the Turkmans to withdraw
From all tracts that thou claimest for Iran,
And such ancestral treasures as I have -
Dinars, crowns, horses, thrones, and battle-gear,
Left to me by my father's sire Zadsham,
Crowns for grandees, thrones, coronets, and all
That thou requirest to supply thy troops -
Will I dispatch just as they are to thee.
My son shall be thy paladin, his sire
Thy kinsman ; then both hosts shall rest from strife,
And this our fight shall issue in a feast
But now if Ahriman shall so pervert
Thy mind that thou wilt don thy winding-sheet,
Wilt make thine only object war and bloodshed,
My good advice not rooming in thy brain,
Come forth in presence of thy host, and I
Will likewise come forth from my station here ;
Let us encounter while our troops repose.
If I shall perish all the world is thine,
My soldiers are thy slaves, my sons thy kin,
While if I slay thee I will injure none
Among thy folk, thy soldiers shall have quarter,
And be my chiefs and comrades. Furthermore
If thou wilt not come forth but art unwilling
To struggle with the veteran Crocodile,
Then Shida shall oppose thee girt for fight,
So be no laggard when he challengeth.
The sire is old; his substitute is young -
A youth of prudence and of ardent soul.
He will contend with thee upon the field,
And bring a lion's heart and leopard's claws.
Then shall we see whom fortune fav oureth,
And whom it crowneth with a crown of love ;
While if thou wiliest not to fight with him,
Preferring action of another sort,
Wait that the troops may rest them for the night.
Then when the mountains don their golden crowns,
And when the dark night, drawing back its skirt,
Shall hide its head beneath a veil of hair,
Let us make choice of warriors from the host -
Men of exalted rank with massive maces -
Make earth the colour of brocade with blood,
And give our foes their bodies' length of earth.
The second day at cock-crow let us bind
The kettledrums upon the elephants,
Bring forth a reinforcement of the chiefs,
And make blood run like water down the streams.
The third day we will bring forth both the hosts,
In mass like mountains, for revenge and strife,
And find out who is loved and who rejected
By heaven above.' If he refuse to hear
My counsel given, challenge him thyself
To single combat in some distant spot
Beyond the sight of either of our hosts."
Then Shida chose him of the wise men four
Experienced much in this world's heat and cold,
Did reverence, and went forth. The father's heart
Was full, his eyelids overflowed with tears.
A thousand of the troops escorted Shida -
Men of discretion well equipped for fight -
And presently the iranian scouts descried
The flag and lances of the prince of Tar.
Anon the Turkmans that were in the van -
Young cavaliers and inexperiericed -
Fell on the iranian outposts and shed blood
In Shida's absence and against his wishes.
There were some wounded on the Iranian side,
And still the conflict was continuing,
When Shida came himself upon the spot,
And saw the Iranian outpost-guards. His heart
Was sorely grieved, he called his warriors back,
And said to the Iranians : "Dispatch
A horseman in due form to Kai Khusrau
To say: 'An ardent spirit, Shida hight,
Hath brought a message from the king of Chin -
The father of the mother of the Shah.'"
A horseman galloped from the Iranian outpost,
Approached Khusrau in haste, and said to him:-
"An envoy from the monarch of Turan -
A noble hero with a sable flag,
Who with: 'My name is Shida' - doth demand
Permission to discharge his embassage."
The Shah's heart filled with shame, and as he wept
Hot tears he said: "This is my mother's brother,
My peer in height and valour."
He saw none but Karan of Kawa's race,
And said: "Go thou to Shida with good cheer,
Greet him from us and hear the embassage."
Whenas Karan approached the company
He caught sight of the waving sable flag,
Came up to Shida and gave greeting, adding
That of the Shah and of the Iranians.
The young man's answer was in honied tones,
For he was shrewd of heart and bright of mind,
Delivering what Afrasiyab had said
Concerning peace and feast and war and strife,
And when Karan had heard the goodly words
He came and told the monarch of Iran,
For wisdom and that message were well paired.,
When Kai Khusrau heard this he called to mind
Old times and, laughing at his grandsire's action,
His machinations and diplomacy,
Exclaimed: "Afrasiyab repenteth crossing
The stream, and though dry-eyed hath much to say;
But my heart is fulfilled with ancient griefs.
May be he striveth to affect my mind,
And fright me with the greatness of his host,
Unwitting that high heaven turneth not
As we desire when evil days are toward.
Mine only course is to encounter him
With vengeful heart upon the battlefield,
And, when I should be striving, dally not."
The wise men and the captains of the host
All spake out, saying: "This must never be
Afrasiyab is wise and veteran,
And never dreameth but of stratagems;
He knoweth naught but sorcery, black arts,
Deceit, malignity, and wickedness.
Now he hath chosen Shida from the host
Because he saw therein the key to loose
The bonds of bale. He challengeth the Shah
To fight that he may fill our day with dust.
Adventure not thyself against his rage,
Or weary of iran and of the crown.
Engage not rashly in a fight with him,
And let us not be left in grief and anguish.
If Shida now shall perish by thy hand
Their host will merely lose one man of name,
But if thou perishest in some lone spot
The darksorne dust will go up from Iran,
And none among us will be left alive
Iran will perish - city, field, and fell.
We have none other of the Kaian race
To gird himself to execute revenge.
Thy grandsire is an old experienced man
Of high repute in both Turan and Chin,
Who offereth excuses for ill done,
And will not fight unless he be compelled;
He will, he saith, transfer the steeds, the treasure,
And drachms which Tur erst hoarded for Zadsham,
Besides the golden throne, the princes' crowns,
The golden girdles, and the massive maces,
To thee, if so he may avert this trouble.
He will abandon too all lands which thou
Lay'st claim to as belonging to Iran ;
Let us withdraw glad and victorious,
Dismissing bygones from our memory."
So spake both old and young, save famous Rustam,
Who wished revenge not peace in that he grieved
For Siyawush. The monarch bit his lip,
And turned a troubled look toward the speakers ;
Anon he said: "Tis not for us to quit
This battlefield and march back to Iran.
Where now are all the counsels and the oaths
Whereby we pledged ourselves to Kai Kaus?
What while Afrasiyab is on the throne
He will not cease to devastate Iran.
How can we look upon Kaus, and how
Excuse ourselves before him? Ye have heard
Of what befell illustrious Iraj
From Tur all for the sake of crown and state;
And how Afrasiyab dealt with Naudar
In murderous haste; and further how he slew
The noble Siyawush, though innocent,
And still because of treasure, throne, and crown.
A crafty Turkman out of yonder host
Hath formally approached and challenged me
To single combat. Why are ye so pale?
I marvel at it thus affecting you
While making me still keener after vengeance.
I never thought: 'The Iranians will unbind
The girdle of revenge.' I have not seen
One of Iran o'erthrown so that the rest
Should be so anxious to avoid the fight
For mere words spoken by Afrasiyab."
The Iranians, sorry for their fault, excused
Themselves and said to him: "We are but slaves
And speak as love dictateth. High renown
Is all the object of the king of kings,
The noble outcome of his enterprises
Let not the worldlord, the supreme, reproach us
Since no Iranian cavalier, they say,
Is able to contend against this man.
The troops are shouting on the battlefield
That none can do this brave deed save their Shah,
Who, as the archmages' king, will not consent
That we shall be disgraced for evermore."
Khusrau replied: "Know, counselling archmages !
That Shida on the day of battle holdeth
His father as no man. Afrasiyab
Made armour for his son by magic arts
Perversely, darkly, and malignantly.
'The arms which ye possess are not sufficient
To pierce that breastplate and that helm of steel.
The charger is of demon pedigree
With lion's action and the speed of wind.
A man that is not dowered with Grace from Cod
Would lose both head and feet in fighting Shida;
Besides he cometh not to fight with you,
For that would shame his Grace and birth. The scions
Of Faridun and of Kubad are twain
As warriors, but one in heart and habit,
And I will burn his father's gloomy soul
As he burnt Kai Kaus for Siyawush."
Those lion-horsemen of Iran 'gan call
Down blessings on their monarch, one and all.
How Kai Khusrau sent an Answer to Afrasiyab
Khusrau then bade Karan, his faithful liege,
To go back with this answer from the Shah :-
"'Our controversy hath grown long and stubborn
Till matters now have reached a pass indeed !
A man of honour and a warrior
Is not in war a laggard. I demand not
Thy treasures or the country of Turan,
For none abideth in this Wayside Inn.
Now mark to whom the Lord of sun and moon
Shall give success upon this battlefield,
For by the Maker's might, the Omnipotent,
And by the diadem of Kai Kaus,
Who cherished me, I grant you no more time
'than roses can withstand the autumnal blast.
We need not wealth acquired by tyranny
And wrong, for heart and fortune ever smile
On one that hath the warm support of God.
Thy land, thy treasures, and thy host are mine,
So are thy throne, thy cities, and thy crown.
Now Shida armed, with troops, in warlike wise,
Hath come to us and challenged us to fight.
Him will I entertain at break of day,
And he shall view my sword that streweth heads.
I see none in the Iranian host to wheel
With him upon the battlefield, and therefore
'Tis plain and scimitar for me and Shida
Until I bring on him the Day of Doom.
If I shall prove the victor in the fight
I will not rest upon my victory;
We will set champions shouting on both sides,
The plain shall shine and savour with their blood;
And afterward will we lead forth our hosts
In mass, as they were mountains; unto battle.'
When thou hast spoken thus, to Shida add:-
'O full of wisdom and aspiring chief !
Thou hast come here alone within the net,
Not come in quest of fame, or to deliver
Thy father's message, but by adverse fate
The Worldlord hath impelled thee from the host,
And here will be thy shroud and sepulchre;
Harm will befall thee for that harmless head,
Which they struck off as though it were a sheep's;
Thy sire will weep o'er thee as bitterly
As Kai Kaus is weeping for his son."'
Karan went from the presence of the Shah
In haste and, drawing near the sable flag,
Told all the message of Khusrau to Shida
With frankness, not concealing anything,
And he, with heart like roast before the fire,
Went to his father and reported all.
The monarch gloomed, grew sad, and heaved a sigh.
The dream which he had dreamed in days of yore,
And had preserved a secret of his own,'
Now turned his head and filled his heart with fear
He knew that his decline was close at hand.
Then Shida said: "To-morrow on this field
The ants shall find no way between the fallen."
The monarch answered: "Take no thought, my son!
Of fight for three days hence, because my heart
Is, as thou mayst say, broken by this war;
I am in case to pluck it from my body."
"O monarch of the Turkmans and of Chin ! "
The son replied, " fret not thy heart so much,
For when bright Sol shall raise its glittering standard,
And light the visage of the violet sky,
Upon the field shall meet Khusrau and I,
And from him will I make the dark dust fly."
How Kai Khusrau fought with Shida the Son of Afrasiyab
Whenas the azure Veil grew bright, and when
The world was like a topaz, Shida mounted
His battle-steed. Youth's vapours filled his head
With strife. He set upon his shining breast
A breastplate and a royal helm of iron
Upon his head. A Turkman warrior bare
His standard. Shida went forth like a leopard.
Now when he drew anear the Iranian host
one of the nobles went and told the Shah :-
"A cavalier hath come between the lines
With shouts and gestures and with sword in hand,
A noble bent on fight, who biddeth us
Inform the Shah that Shida hath arrived."
The monarch laughed, called for his coat of mail,
And set aloft the flag of majesty.
He put a Ruman helmet on his head,
And gave Ruhham, son of Gudarz, his flag,
But all his soldiers were distressed, and wept
As though they were consuming in fierce fire.
They cried: "O king! let not the iron gall
Thy sacred form; the wonted place for Shahs
Was on the throne. May he 'gainst whom thou girdest
Thy loins for fight be laid in darksome dust,
His purposes and efforts be confounded."
The monarch, armed with girdle, mace, and helmet,
Dispatched a message to the army thus:-
"Let no man quit his post on left or right,
Upon the centre or upon the wings ;
Let none attempt to bring on fight or skirmish,
But hearken to Ruhham, son of Gudarz.
By noontide ye shall see which will be worsted
If Shida then shall prove the conqueror
Look for instructions for the fight to Rustam,
Be all of you obedient to his word,
And keep in trouble near your remedy,
For troops beneath the eye of such a man
May face with calmness all the sleights of warfare.
Let not your hearts be straitened; first and last
War's wont is this - at whiles a rise or fall,
At whiles rejoicing and at whiles dismay."
He urged his charger on - night-hued Bihzad,
Who rolled the wind before him as he sped.
Khusrau was armed with breastplate, helm, and lance,
His steed's hoofs sent the dust up to the clouds,
While Shida, seeing him between the lines,
Heaved from his breast a deep drawn chilly sigh,
And said: "Thou art the son of Siyawush,
A man of prudence, wise, and self-controlled,
The grandson of the monarch of Turan,
Who grazeth with his helm the orbed moon;
But thou art not what one experienced,
A man whose food is wisdom, would expect,
For hadst thou brains thou wouldst not go about
To fight against thy mother's brother thus.
If thou desirest fight avoid the host,
And choose thy ground in some sequestered spot
Where no Iranian or Turanian
May look on us: we need no help from any."
The Shah replied: "O Lion ravening
In fight! I am indeed the heart-seared son
Of blameless Siyawush, whom thy king slew,
And I have come for vengeance to this plain,
Not for the sake of throne and signet-ring.
Since thou hast moved this matter with thy sire,
And challenged me of all the host to battle,
I may not send a meaner opposite.
So now do thou select a battleground
That shall be far removed from both the hosts."
They made this compact: "None shall fight in aid
From either side, and for our standard-bearers
Day shall not darken with calamity."
The twain departed from the hosts afar,
Like merrymakers going to a feast,
And reached a barren spot and waterless,
Untrod by lion and pard, a waste within
The marches of Kharazm and fit for fight;
The soaring eagle flew not over it;
Part was hard, arid earth and part mirage.
There those two warriors like ravening wolves
Made for themselves an ample battlefield.
The cavaliers, as lions full of rage
Leap from the covert on a hunting-day.
Wheeled with their mighty lances round and round
Till, when the shining sun had passed its height,
There were no heads remaining to their spears,
And bridle and horse-armour reeked with sweat.
They then renewed the battle vehemently
With Ruman mace and trenchant scimitar
Until the air was darkened by the dust;
Howbeit neither wearied of the combat.
When Shida saw the valour and the might
Of Kai Khusrau the tears fell on his cheeks
He felt: "This Grace hath been bestowed by God,
And I have reason to bewail myself."
His steed moreover was distressed by thirst;
The man's own strength was failing. In his straits
He thought: "If I say thus to Kai Khusrau :-
'Come let us try a wrestling-bout afoot,
And make ourselves run down with blood and sweat,'
He will not for his honour's sake dismount;
His person as a Shah would be disgraced;
Yet if I 'scape not by this artifice
Good sooth I am within the Dragon's breath ! "
He said: "All warriors fight with sword and lance,
And wheel about, but let us fight, O Shah
Afoot and stretch our hands out lion-like."
Khusrau, the ruler of the world, perceived
That which was passing in his foeman's mind,
And thought thus: "If this Lion strong of hand,
This scion of Pashang and Faridun,
Shall once be rested he will scatter heads,
And cause full many a lion-heart to wail,
While if I shall contend with him afoot
It may go hard with the Ininians."
Then said Ruhham : "O wearer of the crown
Disgrace not thus thy birth. If Kai Khusrau
Must fight afoot in person to what end
Are all these cavaliers upon the field ?
If any must set foot upon the ground
Let me who am descended from Kishwad,
But thou art the exalted king of earth."
The Shah replied: "O loving paladin
And cavalier! brave Shida will not fight
With thee, he is the grandson of Pashang,
Nor hast thou prowess to contend with him
The Turkmans have not such another chief.
'Tis no disgrace for me to go to battle
Afoot, so let us strive like pards together."
Upon the other side the interpreter
Said thus to Shida : "Flee the foeman's danger.
Thou hast no other course but to withdraw
Because thou canst not stand against Khusrau.
To flee before the enemy in time
Is better than to do oneself despite."
Then Shida : "But the voices of mankind
Will not be hushed. Since first I girt myself
I have maintained my head sun-high, but never
Beheld a warrior of such strength, such Grace,
And mastery on any field, yet still
A grave is better for me than retreat
When once I am engaged in fight; moreover,
Though we may tread upon a dragon's eyes,
We cannot 'seaYe the process of the heavens.
If death is to befall me by his hand
'Twill not be let by friend or enemy.
I recognise this might and manliness;
This noble warrior hath the Grace divine,
Still I may be the better man afoot,
And as we struggle make him stream with blood."
Then spake the monarch of the world to Shida :-
"O famous offspring of a noble race
Of all the men of Kaian seed not one
In sooth hath e'er assayed to fight afoot,
But notwithstanding if thou wishest I
Hold it a wish that I shall ne'er deny."
How Shida was slain by Khusrau
The Shah dismounted from his night-hued steed,
Removed his royal helmet and, entrusting
The noble charger to Ruhham, advanced
As 'twere Azargashasp. When Shida saw
From far Khusrau approaching him on foot
That warlike Crocodile dismounted likewise,
And there upon the plain the champions closed
hike elephants, and puddled earth with blood.
When Shida saw the stature of the Shah,
The breast, the Grace divine, and mastery,
He sought some shift whereby he might escape;
Such is the purchase of a shifty heart
Khusrau, when ware of this, though not expressed
In words, reached out, strong in the strength of Him
By whom the world was made - the Omnipotent -
And, as a lion putteth forth its paws
Upon an onager and flingeth it,
Clutched with left hand the neck, with right the back
Of Shida, raised him, dashed him to the ground,
And brake his legs and back-bone like a reed.
Then, drawing forth his trenchant blade, Khusrau
Clave Shida's heart in twain and, having shivered
His breastplate and thrown dust upon his helmet,
Said to Ruhham : "This matchless miscreant,
Brave but unstable, was my mother's brother;
Entreat him kindly now that he is slain,
And fashion him a royal sepulchre;
Anoint his head with precious gums, rose-water,
And musk, his body with pure camphor; place
A golden torque about his neck, a casque
With ambergris therein upon his head."
The interpreter of Shida looking forth
Beheld the body of the famous prince,
Which they had raised blood-boltered from the sands
To carry toward the army of Khusrau.
The interpreter drew near and cried aloud:-
"O thou illustrious and just-dealing king !
I was no more than Shida's feeble slave,
No warrior, cavalier, or paladin
O Shah ! forgive me in thy clemency,
And may thy spirit be the joy of heaven."
"Tell my grandfather," thus the Shah replied,
"Before the troops what thou hast seen me do."
The nobles' hearts and eyes were on the road,
Awaiting Shida's coming from the field.
A cavalier sped o'er the yielding sand,
Bare-headed, weeping scalding tears of blood,
And told Afrasiyab, who in despair
Plucked out his locks all camphor-white and scattered
Dust on his head. His paladins drew nigh,
And all who saw the Turkman monarch's face
Rent hearts and garments for him; such a wail
Of lamentation went up from the troops
That sun and moon were moved to pity them.
Then said Afrasiyab in his distress:-
"Henceforth I seek not quiet or repose,
And be ye my companions in my sorrow;
Our sword's point shall not see the sheath, and I
Will ne'er know joy again. Bind we our skirts
Together,' leave Iran no field or fell.
Account him not a man but div or beast,
Whose heart shall not be pierced by agony;
Let shamefast tears be never in those eyes
That tears of hot blood fill not at our woe
For that moon-faced and warlike cavalier -
That Cypress-tree upon the streamlet's lip."
Afrasiyab wept tears of blood for grief
That leeches cannot cure. The men of name
All loosed their tongues before the king and answered
"May God, the just Judge, make this light for thee,
And fill thy foemen's hearts with sore dismay;
Not one of us will tarry day or night
In this our grief and our revenge for Shida,
But raise the war-cry in our soldiers' hearts,
And scatter heads upon the battlefield.
Khusrau, who hath not left an ill undone,
Now addeth feud to feud."
Were broken-hearted, grief possessed the king,
The field was filled with stir and clamouring.
How the Battle was joined between the Hosts
When Sol was rising in the Sign of Taurus,
And when the lark was singing o'er the plain,
A sound of kettledrums arose in camp,
A din of tymbals and of clarions,
As Jahn led forth ten thousand valiant swordsmen
Equipped for war. Khusrau, beholding them,
Commanded, and Karan of Kawa's race
Led like a mountain from the central host
Ten thousand veterans, while Gustaham,
Son of Naudar, rushed with his battle-flag
Like dust-cloud to the fray; the world grew dim
With horsemen's dust, troops filled the earth and banners
The air. Khusrau was instant in the centre,
Afrasiyab was active on the field,
Till heaven dusked and warriors' vision failed;
Then when the brave Karan had routed Jahn,
And when the moon set o'er the mountain-skirt,
The warriors came back from the field. Khusrau
Exulted over the Iranians
Because they had prevailed, yet they prepared
All night for war and neither slept nor feasted.
When Sol arose in Cancer, and the world
Was full of hostile sounds and purposes,
The armies of both realms arrayed themselves,
And every lip was foaming for the fight.
Khusrau, attended by one faithful liege,
Withdrew behind the rear, and there dismounted
To proffer much thanksgiving to the Maker.
He laid his face upon the tawny dust,
And spake thus: "O Thou justly dealing Judge !
If, as Thou know'st, I have experienced wrongs
And borne them patiently for many a day,
Requite the doer of the wrong with blood,
And be the Guide of him that was oppressed."
Thence with grieved heart, and head full of revenge
Against the offspring of Zadsham, he came
With shoutings to the centre of the host,
And set his glorious helm upon his head.
The battle-cry arose, the din of horn,
Of brazen trumpet and of kettledrum.
The opposing forces came on mountain-like,
Troop after troop astir - a sea-like host.
Jahn and Afrasiyab were at the centre.
As those two hosts advanced thou wouldst have said :-
"The valleys and the desert are afoot."
The sun was darkened by the armies' dust,
While at the flashing spear-heads, eagle's plumes,
The din of trumpets, shouting warriors,
And heroes' maces on the battlefield,
The crocodile in water and the pard
On land, the iron and the rocks and mountains,
Dissolved with fear. Earth heaved and air was full
Of shouts; the ears of savage lions split;
Thou wouldst have said: "The world is Ahriman's !
'Tis naught but enemies from sleeve to skirt !"
While everywhere lay slaughtered, heap on heap,
The warriors of Iran and of Turan.
The sands were naught but blood, heads, hands, and feet;
Earth's heart was shaken; underneath the hoofs
The fields and fells seemed linen stiff with gore.
Anon the warriors of Afrasiyab
Advanced like ships upon the sea, attacking
The archers' towers - defensive citadels -
Borne by the elephants before the centre.
Amid a rain of arrows from the towers
There rose the clamours of the battlefield,
As spearmen and the elephants came onward
With many a warrior from the central host.
Afrasiyab two miles away descried
That vast array and towered elephants,
And with his own huge elephants and troops
Advanced; the world grew dark, no light was left.
He shouted: "O ye famous men of war !
Why do ye cramp yourselves and crowd about
The elephants? The fight extendeth miles.
Draw from the centre and the towers, spread wide
To right and left."
He ordered Jahn, no novice,
To quit his post with mighty men and lead
Ten thousand cavaliers and veteran,
All lancers dight for combat, toward the left,
And thither sped that lion-warrior.
When Kai Khusrau perceived that Turkman battle,
And how it hid the sun, he turned toward
His own chiefs - heroes of the fray - and bade them
Shine on the left like Sol in Aries.
They set off with ten thousand noble troops,
Mailed and with ox-head maces. Next he bade
Shammakh of Sur : "Among our men of name
Select ten thousand youthful combatants,
Unsheathe your swords between the embattled lines,
And stoop your heads upon your saddle-bows."
The hosts so grappled that thou wouldst have said :-
"They are one mass! " From both sides rose a crash,
Blood ran down from the fight in streams; they led
The elephants with towers aside; the world
Became like Nile. When both to right and left
Dust rose, that refuge of the host - the worldlord -
Called for his armour and advanced with Rustam
With shouts and fury from the centre. Trump
And tymbal sounded. On one hand was Tus,
The chief, with Kawa's flag. The paladins,
That wore the golden boots, all left their stations
With smarting hearts and formed the Shah's left wing,
While battle-loving Rustam and Zawara,
His brother, set their faces toward the right.
The veteran Gudarz, son of Kishwad,
With many noble chiefs, supported Rustam,
As did Zarasp and prudent Manushan.
The din of war rose from the scene of strife.
None will behold a fight like that. The sand
Was strewn with killed and wounded - those whose day
Was done. Men saw not how to cross the field
For slain. The waste was as Jihun with blood,
One man lay headless and another headlong.
The cries of horse and rider rose above
The tymbals' din. " The mountains' hearts are split,"
Thou wouldst have said, " and earth is fledged with horsemen."
Here heads lay trunkless, there were headless trunk,
While massive maces clashed. The sun was faire
To flee before the flash of trenchant swords
And falchions. Thou hadst said: "A murky cloud
Hath risen raining blood upon the field."
Fartus was slain upon the Turkman left
By Fariburz, the son of Shah Kaus,
While on the right Kuhila, who himself
Was equal to a hundred elephants,
Fell by the hand of Minuchihr. With noon
Came storm and cloud. The world-illuming sun
Was veiled, earth darkened and the eyes of men
Were troubled. As the sun began to sink
The Turkman monarch's heart was moved by terror
As cavaliers from every kingdom, march,
Domain, and principality, pressed on,
While with the various mail and diverse flags
The world was yellow, red, and violet.
When Garsiwaz behind the king saw this
He brought his troops up; to the right he sent
A noble band - men one in soul and body -
Another to the left, and spread his chiefs
On all sides - forty thousand cavaliers,
And chosen mighty men, that drew the sword.
He hastened to Afrasiyab who, seeing
His brother's face, took courage and advanced.
Rose war-din, air was veiled with feathered shafts.
When darkness came in rearward of the sun,
And day was almost night, false Garsiwaz,
That miscreant,' hurried to his brother, saying:-
"Who of our warriors still desireth fight ?
The earth is full of blood, the air of dust.
Withdraw the army since the night hath come,
Bestir thee, for the troops will wail anon,
And soon thou wilt be fighting while they flee!
Do not thyself such wrong."
The king was wroth,
And would not hear a word, but urged his steed
Forth from the host; he rushed upon the field,
And slew some nobles of the Iranians.
Khusrau perceived this, went out in support,
And both kings of both realms, thus bent on battle,
Fared ill - attended by their cavaliers.
Howbeit Garsiwaz and Jahn allowed not
Afrasiyab to challenge Kai Khusrau ;
They seized their monarch's reins, turned round his
And hurried toward the desert of Amwi.
On his withdrawal Ustukila came
Like smoke to offer battle to the Shah.
King Ila too rushed forward like a leopard,
And Burzuyala eminent in fight.
The bodies of those three were rocks of flint,
They were all fierce and ruthless warriors.
The Shah, perceiving them, urged from the throng
His charger, came upon them mountain-like,
Smote with his lance the valiant Ustukila,
Unseated him and cast him on the earth.
King Ila rushed before the line and struck
Khusrau upon the girdle with a spear,
Which failed to pierce his breastplate or affray
His glorious heart. He saw his foeman's pluck
And strength, unsheathed forthwith his trenchant sword,
And clave the spear asunder with a blow,
Which Burzuyala seeing, and withal
The monarch's courage, might, and mastery,
Made off amid the gloom; thou wouldst have said:-
"He burst his skin." The Turkmans, when they saw
The prowess of the Shah, fled one and all.
As for Afrasiyab himself, the plight,
So bare and hopeless, was as death to him,
And when the Turkman horse were ware thereof
They charged no more. When they returned in shame
Afrasiyab commanded them to shout:-
"This lion-courage cometh of the night,
Which causeth our retreat but, though the wind
Sought thee to-day and gave a glimpse of joy,
Expect us with our banner, our heart's lustre,
When daylight cometh back; then will we turn
The surface of the desert to a sea,
And smash the bright sun into Pleiades."
Thereat the several monarchs of these two
Contending hosts each to his camp withdrew.
How Afrasiyab fled
When half dark night had passed, and heaven half turned
Above the hills,' the Turkman leader packed
His baggage, gave out helms and mail to all
His troops, and bade ten thousand Turkman horse
On barded chargers to be outpost-guards.
He spake thus to the host: "When I have passed
The river follow me, troop after troop,
Leave day and night unreckoned."
He crossed Jihun that night with all his host,
While all the country, road and waste alike,
Was naught but empty tents and tent-enclosures.
When dawn brake forth upon the mountain-tops
The outposts saw no soldiers on the plain,
And brought the joyful tidings to Khusrau:-
"The Shah hath no occasion for more strife
We see the tent-enclosures and the tents,
But not a horseman of the foe remaineth."
Khusrau forthwith fell prostrate on the ground
While giving praises to the All Just and Holy,
And saying: "O Thou glorious and almighty,
The Worldlord, the Provider, and the Judge,
Who gayest me Grace, strength, and diadem,
And now hast blinded my foes' hearts and souls !
Oh! banish this oppressor from our world,
And burden him with terror all his years."
Whenas the sun took up its golden shield,
And night assumed its hair of turquoise hue,
The world's lord sat upon the ivory throne,
And donned the crown that brighteneth the heart.
The army praised him: "May he live for ever,
This Shah who is so worthy of the state."
The soldiers lacked no booty; it was there,
Left by the army of Afrasiyab,
But all the people said: "We have been tricked;
He hath departed with host, trump, and drum;
The famous monarch hath escaped unhurt
At night-time from the clutches of the free ! "
The shrewd Shah said: "Chiefs of the Iranian host!
'Tis good whene'er the Shah's foe hath been slain,
And good when he retreateth in confusion.
Since God, the Arbiter, hath given us Grace,
Crown, majesty, and kingship over kings,
Give ye thanksgiving everywhere to Him
With benedictions offered day and night,
Because He maketh luckless whom He will,
And setteth up the worthless on the throne;
We cannot question or advise or move
Therein, for no slave can withstand His word.
Here shall I tarry for five days; the sixth
Is sacred to Urmuzd, the light of earth;
Upon the seventh we will march; the foe
Provoketh me and I desire revenge:'
Five days they searched for their Iranian slain,
And having washed the dust off gave them all,
As they deserved, a worthy burial.
How Kai Khusrau announced his Victory to Kaus
Khusrau then bade a scribe to come to him,
Supplied with paper, musk, and spicery.
They wrote a letter from the battlefield,
Couched in befitting terms, to Shah Kids.
The scribe began it with the praise of God,
Who is the Guide, and Object of all praise,
And then Khusrau dictated: "May the power
Of my great sovereign, fearful for my life
As though he were my sire, last like the hills,
And be his foes' hearts stricken. From Iran
I reached the sandy desert of Farab,
And fought three mighty battles in three nights.
The horsemen of Afrasiyab were more
Than sages dream oú I have sent the king
Three hundred of our noblest foemen's heads -
That of the brother of Afrasiyab,
His son, his honoured nobles, and his kin -
Together with two hundred men of name
In bonds, and each a hundred lions' match.
We fought upon the desert of Kharazm.
In that great conflict heaven blessed our efforts,
Afrasiyab hath fled and we have crossed
The river in pursuit, and wait the issue."
They sealed the letter with a seal of musk,
And after, as he marched across the waste,
"Be blessings on this battlefield," he cried,
"And be each year to prosperous stars allied."
How Afrasiyab went to Gang-biltisht
Now when Afrasiyab had fled the field
He crossed the river like a rushing wind;
His own troops joined the troops of Kurakhan,
And told their tale. How bitterly their monarch
Wept, with those still surviving of his race,
For his illustrious son, for his great men,
His kinsmen and allies! There rose a wail
Of anguish and thou wouldst have said: "The clouds
Are drawing tears of blood from lions' eyes."
He lingered in Bukhara for a while,
And wished his Lions to renew the struggle.
He called to him the great and haughty chiefs
Of those who still survived but, when they came,
The advisers of the army loosed their tongues,
And said, for they were left without resource
By that campaign: "The great men of our host
Have passed away; our hearts are wounded for them.
In sooth of every hundred there survive
Not twenty ! Those departed claim our tears.
Now for a while we have renounced our treasures,
Our children, and our kin, and fought beyond
Jihun as we were bidden by the king,
And what unwisdom brought on us thou knowest,
For thou art king and we perform thy hests.
If now the monarch will be well advised
He will withdraw the army hence to Chach,
And, if suggestions may be made to him,
Cross the Gulzaryun and wait a while
At Gang-bihisht, because it is a place
As fit for recreation as for fight."
No other plan was mooted, all agreed.
They marched to the Gulzaryun, with eyes
Wet and full hearts; there spent the Turkman king
Three days, recruiting with his hawks and cheetahs,
Thence on to Gang-bihisht where, though he had
But short repose, he thought it Paradise ;
To him its soil was musk, its bricks were gold ;
There he was happy, laughing in his sleep,
Thou hadst said: "Safety is his bedfellow."
He summoned countless troops from every side,
The great men, haughty chiefs, and potentates,
While he was drinking wine among the bowers
And roses with companions, harp, and rebeck.
He sent his spies abroad to every quarter,
And revelled with his chieftains day and night,
Awaiting what time's course should bring to light.
How Khusrau crossed the Jihun
As soon as Kai Khusrau had passed the river
He banished banqueting, repose, and sleep,
And, when he had transported all his troops
Across, he sent this proclamation forth:-
"Let no man be in terror at our coming,
But offer prayer for us to holy God:'
He gave great largess to the mendicants,
Especially to those who welcomed him.
He thence departed to the march of Sughd,
And saw a novel world - the home of owls.
Upon that country too he lavished treasure
In eagerness for its prosperity,
And, whereso'er he halted, cavaliers
Came seeking quarter. Tidings reached Khusrau
About the doings of Afrasiyab
And of his army: "Kakula is with him
With reinforcements like huge lions loose.
He is by race from Tur, revengeful, injured,
And seeketh all occasions for a fight.
Afrasiyab hath sent some troops to Chach,
For he would seek the Iranian throne and crown,
And many with Tawurg toward the desert,
Where all are hostile to the Shah, to hold
The road against the Iranians."
Was not perturbed, for wisdom ruled his thoughts.
The troops from Barda' and from Ardabil
He ordered to approach by companies,
To march before him, and return the number
Of leaders, frontier-chiefs, and archimages.
They marched; their general was Gustaham,
A man who never blenched where Lions fought.
Khusrau next bade the army of Nimruz
To march with Rustam, burner up of chiefs,
On fiery camels and to lead their chargers;
Then, changing from their camels to their steeds,
To make a joint and sudden night-attack
Upon the foe. So both these crown-adorners
Marched forth, one to the desert, one toward Chach.
The Shah continued for a month in Sughd -
A district well affected to himself -
Gave to his troops their pay and rested them,
And sought occasion both for fight and fame.
lie gathered all the warriors skilled in leaguers
To aid him and dismayed the evil-doers.
Thence proudly, girdle-girt, and dight for battle
He led a host from Sughd and from Kashan ;
The world was lost in wonderment at him,
And tidings reached the Turkmans : "Kai Khusrau,
The aspiring Shah, hath come in quest of vengeance."
Then all of them took refuge in their holds;
The world was full of bruit and turbulence.
Anon the Shah harangued his host and said:-
"In that our task is different to-day,
As for the Turkmans who submit themselves,
And in their hearts repent of making war,
Fight not against them, and shed not their blood.
Lead none the way to evil, but if any,
Whose vengeful heart remaineth recusant,
Shall seek to strive against you with a host,
Then bloodshed, harrying, and combating
In any quarter are permitted you."
A shout rose from the army of Iran,
And all obeyed the orders of the Shah ;
The warriors went up against the holds,
Against all holds held by ambitious chiefs,
And razed the walls. No dwelling-place was left,
No slaves or cattle, nothing good or bad.
He traversed in this way a hundred leagues,
Depopulating stronghold, hill, and plain.
He marched to the Gulzaryun, explored,
The land with guides, and saw a world like gardens
In spring, the dales, wastes, hills, and earth all fair,
Themountains stocked with game, the plains with trees -
A world for favoured folk. He sent. out scouts
Andspies to learn whate'er was left to know.
They pitched the youthful monarch's camp-enclosure
Beside a stream. The worldlord took his seat
Upon the golden throne with his famed lieges,
And held at night a feast till day. The dead
Rose from the dust
Upon the other side
Afrasiyab at Gang, by day and night,
Spake with his wise, experienced, prescient nobles,
And said: "Now that the foe hath reached our couch
How is it possible to rest at Gang ? "
They answered: "Since the enemy is nigh
We see no course except another battle
It is not well to yield with such a host."
With this they left the presence, and all night
Prepared their forces for the coming fight.
How Kai Khusrau fought with Afrasiyab the second Time
At cock-crow, when the dawn began to break
And when the tymbal's din rose from the court,
An army marched out to the waste from Gang,
And cramped the very ants and gnats for room.
Approaching the Gulzaryun the host
Made earth like Mount Bistun. The army marched
Three days and nights. The world was full of turmoil
And din of war. The column stretched seven leagues,
And soldiers were more plentiful than ants
Or locusts. On the fourth day they drew up
In line. From stream to sun the flash of arms
Ascended. Jahn, son of Afrasiyab,
Whose spears o'ershot the sun, was on the right.
Afrasiyab took station at the centre
With chieftains, sages, and proud cavaliers.
Kubard, the lion-warrior, held the left
With cavaliers brave and experienced.
Revengeful Garsiwaz was in the rear
To guard the army from the enemy.
Full in the centre on the other side
Khusrau supported like a hill his host.
With him were Tus, son of Naudar, Gudarz,
And Manushan, high born Khuzan, Gurgin,
Son of Milad, the lion Gustaham,
Hajir and brave Shidush. Upon the right
Was Fariburz, son of Kaus. The troops
Were one in soul and body. On the left
Was Minuchihr, who held his own in battle.
Giv, offspring of Gudarz, the guard and stay
Of every march, was in the rear. The plain
Became a sea, the earth an iron hill
Of horseshoe-nails, the hoofs were tulip-hued.
A cloud of black dust gathered overhead,
The hearts of flints split at the tymbals' din,
Earth heaved like murky clouds; thou wouldst have said
"It will not bear the hosts !" The air resembled
An ebon robe, the drumming frayed the stars.
Thefield was naught but heads, brains, hands, and
Good sooth, no room remained. The chargers trampled
On lifeless heads and all the waste was filled
With trunkless heads and hands and feet. The wise
Were not in evidence and both hosts owned:-
"Ifon this field of anguish and revenge
Thetroops continue thus a further while
Nohorsemen will survive, and in good Booth
The sky itself will fall! " At all the crashing
Of ax on helmet souls farewelled their bodies.
When Kai Khusrau observed the battle's stress,
The world grown straitened to his heart, he went
Apart and prayed to God to do him right :-
OO Thou beyond the ken of saints," he said,
"The Lord of this world and the King of kings
If I had never been a man oppressed,
And tried like iron in the crucible,
I would not ask to be victorious,
Or urge my cause upon the righteous Judge."
He spake and laid his face upon the ground;
His bitter lamentations filled the world.
At once there came a furious blast, which snapped
The green boughs, from the battlefield raised dust
And blew it in the Turkmans' eyes and faces.
Afrasiyab, apprised that any one
Had turned his back on fight, beheaded him,
And made the dust and sand his winding-sheet.
Thus was it till the heaven and earth grew dark,
And many Turkmans had been taken captive.
Night carne and donned its musk-black garniture,
Preventing fight. Then both the kings recalled
Their hosts, for heaven and earth alike were dark.
The mountain-skirt down to the river-bank
Was naught but troops in breastplate, mail, and helm,
Who set the watch-fires blazing round about,
While outpost-guards went forth on every side.
Afrasiyab took order for the fight,
But tarried till the fountain of the sun
Should rise, light up the faces of the hills,
And make earth like a ring of Badakhshan ;
Then would he bring his noblest cavaliers
To strive for glory on the battlefield ;
Howbeit God appointed differently,
And everything must yield to His decree.
How Afrasiyab took Refuge in Gang-bihisht
When night was dark, dark as a negro's face,
One sent by Gustaham, son of Naudar,
Came to Khusrau and said: "Long live the Shah
We have returned in triumph joyfully.
We made an unexpected night-assault
Upon the foe, who had no mounted outposts;
Not one of them had wit enough for that.
As soon as they were roused from sleep they drew
Their massive maces and their scimitars,
And when the day dawned none but Kurakhan
With certain of the soldiery was left.
The field is covered with their headless trunks,
Earth is their couch and dust their coverlet."
A cameleer moreover with good news
Of Rustam came about the dawn, and said:-
"We gat intelligence upon the waste,
And thereupon we basted. Rustam held
Upon his way alike by day and night,
Insisting on the march with all dispatch.
We reached the place by daylight as the sun,
The lustre of the world, rose in the sky;
Then matchless Rustam strung his bow and set,
When he was near, the helmet on his head,
And all the plain or ever he had thumbed
A shaft was freed from Turkman combating.
Now he bath marched for vengeance to Turan,
And tidings verily will reach the Shah."
A shout of joy ascended from the host,
Whereat the Turkman leader pricked his ears,
And called his faithful followers to horse.
A cavalier moreover came in haste,
With lamentation to Afrasiyab,
And said thus: "Kurakhan hath left our troops,
And now is nigh at hand with sixty men;
There is a host too marching on Turan,
Exhausting all the water in the streams."
The monarch thus addressed his counsellors
"A fearful struggle now confronteth us;
If Rustam layeth hand upon our throne
We shall be lost indeed! But at this present
He thinketh that we have not heard of him,
And are in grievous travail with Khusrau,
So let us fall like fire on him by night,
And make the plain as 'twere Jihun with blood."
The warriors and prudent counsellors
Agreed thereto. The monarch left his baggage,
And led his army front the plain like fire.
Anon an outpost from the waste reported
That heaven was gloomy with the dust of troops;
He saw that all the Turkmans had withdrawn,
And brought these tidings to the king of men:-
"The plain is full enough of huts and tents,
But there is not a Turkman left inside."
Khusrau knew why the prince of Chin had gone
Precipitately from the battlefield,
That he had tidings as to Gustaham,
And Rustam, and that that had made him speed.
Khusrau sent off in haste to say to Rustam :-
"Afrasiyab hath turned away from us,
And surely hasteth to contend with thee.
Array the host and be upon thy guard,
Keep to thy shaft and quiver night and day."
The monarch's messenger was one who skilled
To cross that pathless tract. Arrived he found
The lion-hearted Rustam girt for fight,
The troops with maces shouldered and their ears
All strained; he thereupon declared to Rustam
The message purposed to secure his safety.
Revengeful Kai Khusrau upon his side
Abode in quiet free from bruit of war,
-e gave his soldiers all the Turkmans' tents,
Enclosures, thrones, and crowns. He sought the
Iranians, washed away the blood and mire,
And gave them sepulture befitting princes.
Then, passing from the dust and blood of battle,
He packed the baggage, called the troops to horse,
And with all speed pursuedythe Turkman king.
Whenas Afrasiyab was near the city
He thought thus: "Rustam hath had sleep enough,
I will surprise him in a night-attack,
And make the dust fly from his soldiers' hearts."
But in the gloom he noticed outpost-guards,
Heard how the chargers neighed upon the plain,
And wondering at Rustam's work marched off,
Reflecting that his troops had been defeated,
And had to struggle for dear life; that Rustam,
The deft of hand, was in the front, the Shah
Behind with all his warlike cavaliers.
Afrasiyab called any that were near,
Discoursed at large in his anxiety,
And questioned them: "What seemeth good to you ? "
A chief replied: "The treasure of the king
Is all at Gang-bihisht. What profiteth
A toilsome march like this ? Gang is eight leagues
In length and four in breadth; men, women, children,
And troops are there; thou wilt have wealth, the foe
Will still toil on. No eagles soar above
Its battlements, none dreameth of such heights!
There are provisions, palace, treasure, crown,
And majesty, command, and throne and host.
The country round about is called Bihisht,
Where all is pleasure, peace, and happiness.
On all sides there are fountain-heads and pools
An arrow's carry in their length and breadth
And sages have been brought from Hind and Rum
To make that fertile land a paradise,
While from the battlements the eye beholdeth
All that is on the plain for twenty leagues.
Is fighting all thy business in this world,
Where every man is but a sojourner ? "
Whenas Afrasiyab had heard these words .
They pleased him and, relying on his fortune,
He entered Gang-bihisht exultingly
With all his arms and implements of war.
He went about the city and beheld
Not e'en a hand-breadth of waste ground therein;
There was a palace lifted to the sky,
Built by himself - a king whose word was law.
Alighting there he held an audience,
And gave out money for his soldiers' pay.
He sent a band of troops to every gate,
And put each quarter in a chieftain's charge,
While sentinels all round the battlements
Held watch and ward alike by day and night.
The king, upon whose right hand were installed
Both priests and nobles, bade a scribe be called.
The Letter of Afrasiyab to the Faghfur of Chin
They wrote to the Faghfur of Chin a letter,
And, after paying countless compliments,
Thus said Afrasiyab : "Revolving time
Affordeth naught to me excepting war.
Him whom I should have slain I tendered dearly,
And now through him my life is one of hardship.
If the Faghfur of Chin would come himself
'Twere well, my soul is Protestant of friendship ;
But if he cannot still let him dispatch
A host to march with us against the foe."
The messenger arrived in Chin by night ;
The great Faghfur received him graciously,
And decked for him a pleasant residence.
Afrasiyab for his own part at Gang
Abandoned quiet, banqueting, and sleep,
Arranged his catapults upon the walls,
And fitted up the towers to stand a siege.
He bade magicians bring up mighty stones
Upon the walls, he summoned many experts
From Rum, and stationed troops upon the ramparts.
A prelate shrewd of heart set up thereon
Ballistas, catapults, and arbalists,
And shields of wolf-hide. All the towers were filled
With coats of mail and helms. He kept a troop
Of smiths at work to fashion claws of steel
On every side and bind them to long spears
To grapple any that adventured nigh,
Or, if not that, to make him shun the hold.
In all his dealings he was just; he gave
His troops their pay and well entreated them.
He gave moreover helms and scimitars,
Mail for the chargers, shields from Chin, with bows
And arrows to his men past reckoning,
Especially to all the warriors;
When that was done he and his faithful lords
Reposed. A hundred harpers fair of face
Met daily in his halls to make him mirth,
And day and night while holding festival
He called for native Turkman songs and wine.
Each day he threw a treasure to the winds,
And reeked not of the morrow. So away,
Since fate is fixed, with sadness and be gay!
He lived two sennights thus exempt from sorrow;
But who can tell who will rejoice to-morrow?
How Kai Khusrau arrived before Gang-bihisht
Three sennights passed, Khusrau arrived at Gang;
And, listening to the sound of flute and harp,
Laughed and went round the circuit of the hold,
Astonied at the inconstancy of fortune.
He was amazed at seeing such a place -
A heart-alluring heaven - standing there,
And said: "The builder of these walls built not
As one expectant of calamity,
Yet now the murderer of Siyawush
Hath fled for refuge to these walls from us!"
He said to Rustam : "Mark, O paladin!
Discerningly the bounties and the triumphs
In fight accorded us by God, the Worldlord !
This wicked man pre-eminent in ill,
Rage, folly, and deceit, hath made this hold
His refuge, here obtained a rest from fortune,
And, worst of villains, growethworse with age.
If I would thank God for His mercies here
I must not sleep all night; success and power
Both come from Him who fashioned sun and moon."
There was a mountain on one side the city,
Preventing all attack, upon another
A river ran, one to rejoice man's soul.
They pitched the camp-enclosure on the plain,
The paladins took station round the hold.
The host extended over seven leagues,
And earth saluted the Iranians.
The camp-enclosure on the right was Rustam's,
Who asked the Shah for troops, while Fariburz,
Son of Kaus, and Tus, with trumpets, drums,
And heart-illuming standard, marched and pitched
Upon the left, and, thirdly, Giv took station.
Night came; from every quarter shouts arose;
Earth was all strife and stir, its heart unseated
By din of trumpet, kettledrum, and fife.
Whenas the sun had cleared the sky of rust,
And rent in twain heaven's sable stole, the Shah
Went round the host upon his night-hued steed,
And spake to elephantine Rustam thus:-
"O thou illustrious leader of the host !
Afrasiyab, I hope, will have no longer
The world to look on even in his dreams,
But whether I shall take him dead or living
He shall behold the sword-point of God's slave.
Methinketh that a host will come to him
From every side, so mighty is his sway;
They fear him and will succour him through fear,
Not of their own wills and for vengeance-sake;
So ere he call up forces let us seize
The roads, moreover raze the castle-ramparts,
And sink their dust and stones in yonder river.
The day of stress is over for the troops,
A day of ease succeedeth one of toil;
No army feareth vengeance or attack
From foes withdrawn for shelter to their walls.
The city, where Afrasiyab is now
Heart-broken, shall become a brake of thorns.
As we recall the words of Kai Kaus
We are reminded of our righteous cause,
He said: 'Time shall not clothe in rust and dust
The boughs and trunk of this revenge of ours.
'Twill be an evergreen, and not a heart
Will shrink from dying in this royal feud,
But sire to son for three score centuries
Will hand it on and, when the sire shall pass,
The feud shall stay, the son take up the woe.'"
The mighty men called praises down on him,
They hailed him as the monarch of pure Faith,
And said: "Thou shalt avenge thy father thus;
Be ever happy and victorious."
How Jahn came to Kai Khusrau with an Embassage
The next day when the sun rose o'er the hills,
And set its golden lantern in the sky,
There went up from the hold a mighty shout,
Which caused Khusrau to ponder. Thereupon
The portal of the hold was opened wide,
And then the mystery was unveiled, for Jahn
Came with ten cavaliers, all men of wisdom,
Estate, and knowledge, to the royal entry,
And there alighted with the other nobles.
The chamberlain went in before the Shah,
And said: "'Tis Jahn with ten more cavaliers."
The king of kings sat on the ivory throne,
And donned the crown that gladdeneth the heart,
While Manushan, the warrior, went forth,
And brought wise Jahn to audience. At his coming
The face of Kai Khusrau was tear-bedimmed.
The valiant Jahn, lost in astonishment,
Removed his royal helm and drawing nigh
Did reverence, and said: "O famous king!
Be goodness aye thy partner through the world,
Be prosperous in our land, and may the hearts
And eyes of all thy foes be rooted out.
Live ever happily and serving God,
Thou that erst stretched thy hands upon our soil !
Blest was thy sojourn, happy is thy coming,
Kind hath been all thine intercourse with us.
I bring a message from Afrasiyab,
Provided that the Shah will bear with me."
Thereat Khusrau bade bring a golden stool.
They set it 'heath that prudent man who took
His seat, recalled the message of his sire,
And thus addressed the Shah : "Afrasiyab
Is sitting with his eyes fulfilled with tears.
I first convey this greeting to the Shah,
Sent by the heart-seared monarch of Turan :-
'Praise be to God, our Refuge, that a son
Of ours should have attained such eminence.
The Shah upon the father's side is sprung
From Kai Kubad, upon the mother's side
From Tur : thy head is higher than earth's kings
Because thou comest of this noble stock.
The swiftly flying eagles in the clouds,
And in the streams the lusty crocodiles,
Are guardians of thy throne, and in thy fortune
The beasts rejoice; earth's great men with their crowns
And coronets are thine inferiors.
I marvel that the curst Div never willeth
Me aught but harm. Why went my heart astray
From sense of right and loving-kindliness
So that my hand slew noble Siyawush,
The son of Kai Kaus, and for no fault?
My heart is sore thereat; I sit apart
In anguish taking neither sleep nor food.
I slew him not; it was the wicked Div,
Who ravished from my heart the fear of God;
His time had come and that was mine excuse,
I was illuded. Both a sage and king
Art thou, approving men of holiness;
Mark then how many cities and how great,
With gardens, spaces, halls, and palaces,
Have been destroyed in vengeance and the plea
Hath been Afrasiyab and Siyawush
Mark too the fights of cavaliers, as huge
As elephants and strong as crocodiles,
Whose heads are trunkless and whose only shrouds
Are lions' maws; the desert hath no hostel
Remaining, every city here is ruined.
Till Doom's Day nothing will be told of us
Save that we fought with trenchant scimitars,
The Maker of the world will be displeased,
And we shall writhe in anguish at the last.
If thou seek'st fight thy heart assuredly
Will never have a moment's peace from feuds.
Observe time's changes and no other teacher,
For though thy heart be full, thy head all vengeance,
We have the hold while thou art on the plain.
I speak of Gang; it is my paradise,
Its seed-time and its harvest are mine own;
Here are my hoards, my host, my crown, and signet
It is a place for sowing and for feasting,
A place for Lions on the day of battle.
The summer-warmth is past, the rose and tulip
No longer bloom, cold, wintry days confront us
When hands are frozen to the hafts of spears.
Well know I how the clouds will lour above,
And rivers be firm ground. From every side
Troops at my call will come ; thou canst not strive
Against the sun and moon. If thou supposest
That time will render unto thee the fruits
Of war, then heaven will belie thy thoughts,
And others eat the produce of thy toils.
If now thou sayest : "I will take the Turkmans
Of Chin, will dash the heaven upon the earth
And pierce this people with the scimitar,"
Shall I become a captive in thy hands ?
Presume it not, for this shall never be
None will erase a man indelible.
The grandson ain I of Zadsham the king,
Descended from Jamshid and Faridun,
My knowledge and my Grace are both from God,
And I possess a pinion like Surush.
When destiny oppresseth me my heart
Requireth not a teacher; I will go
At slumber-time, as God commandeth use,
Like stars before the sun, cross the Kimak"
And yield thee realm and crown. Then shall Gang-dizh
Be thine abode, both land and troops shall lose me ;
But when the day of vengeance shall arrive
I will array, boar-headed as I am,
This host, will come to execute revenge
On thee, and everywhere restore my Faith;
But if thou wilt put vengeance from thy thoughts,
And charm the realm with loving-kindliness,
I will unlock my board of girdles, crowns,
Gold, jewels, and dinars - whatever Tur,
The son of Faridun, took from Iraj.
Them take and never think again of vengeance.
If thou wilt have Chin and Machin, 'tis well,
Seize all according to thy heart's desire.
Before thee are Makran and Khurasan ;
Take less or more and I ain satisfied.
By that same route which Kai Kaus hath traversed
I will dispatch thee what thou wilt of troops,
I will enrich thy whole host and bestow
On thee the golden throne and diadem.
I will be thy support in every war,
And hail thee king in presence of all folk.
Say what thou wouldest have - all thy desire -
And by the past and future judge thine end
But if thou shalt reject this rede of mine,
And wilt wage war upon thy mother's father,
Array thy Host as soon as Jahn hath gone,
Fit as a pard am I for fighting on.'"
How Kai Khusrau made Answer to Jahn
At this the Shah looked smilingly on Jahn,
And answered him: "O thou that seekest fame!
We have heard all thy words from end to end.
First for the blessing that thou gavest me,
So be it on my signet, crown, and throne
Then for the greeting of Afrasiyab,
Whose eyes by thine account are full of tears,
Let that too be upon my throne and crown
May they be happy and victorious.
And further that thou gavest praise to God
Is pleasing to the Shah, His worshipper -
The happiest of the monarchs of the earth,
The most approven, glad, and conquering.
God hath bestowed on me what thou hast said;
May wisdom still accompany each grace.
Fair words are thine at will; but thou art not
Pure-hearted or a worshipper of God,
For wise men's deeds are better than their words.
The glorious Faridun did not become
A star; his head is in the dark earth still,
Yet say'st thou: 'I am higher than the sky.'
In such wise hast thou purged thy face from shame.
Thy heart is given up to sorceries,
And words are but a trinket on thy tongue.
A glozing tongue and lying heart reflect
No lustre on a sage; so never call
My murdered father monarch of the world
Now that the bones of Siyawush have perished.
Moreover from her bower thou haled'st down
My mother to the street, thou hadst become
so full of vengeance, and didst kindle fire
Upon my head while I was yet unborn,
And everybody present at thy court
Cried shame upon that wayward soul of thine,
For no one of the kings, the warriors,
And mighty men e'er did such deeds as haling
A woman out before the folk, consigning
A great dame to the executioners,
A daughter to be scourged until she cast
Her babe. The wise Piran, when he arrived,
Beheld what he had never seen or heard
Before. It was God's ordinance that I
Should be exalted over all the folk;
He saved me from thy bale and mischief, fate
Had secrets for me; soon as I was born
Thou didst commit me to the shepherds' charge
As 'twere a worthless brat, a meal for lions.
So fared I while the days passed o'er my head
Until Piran conveyed me from the waste,
And brought me to thy presence; I was fit,
As thou didst see, for throne and crown, and thou
Wouldst have beheaded me like Siyawush,
And left my body naked of a shroud,
Had not all-holy God restrained my lips,
And left me standing dazed before the court.
Thou thoughtest that I had not heart or wit,
And didst not execute thy foul design.
Reflect on Siyawush and his just acts;
What was the evil that thou sawest in him?
Thou vast his chosen refuge in the world;
He acted as befitteth men of name;
He came, for thee resigning throne and crown,
And hailed thee only in the world as king,
Put trust in thee and quitted his own folk
Lest thou shouldst say that he had broken faith;
But when thou saw'st his breast and girdlestead,
His greatness, might, and mien, thine evil nature
Was roused, thou didst o'erthrow that holy man,
And like a sheep behead a prince so dear
Thou from the time of Minuchihr till now
Hast been but miscreant and malevolent.
Our troubles had their origin with Tur,
Who bathed his hands in ill against his sire,
And so it goeth on from son to son
Against all kingly usage, law, and Faith.
Thou didst strike off the head of king Naudar,
A man of royal birth and lineage,
And slay thy brother, righteous Ighriras,
Who lived for honour; thou hast ever been
A villain, vile, and led by Ahriman.
Thy crimes, if one should count them, would surpass
The revolutions of the sky in number.
Thou hast sent down thy roots to Hell, and thou
Wilt not declare thyself of human birth.
'The loathly Div,' thou hast gone on to urge,
'Inclined toward Hell my heart and ways.' Zahhak
Put forth, so did Jamshid, that very plea,
In moments of despair, and said: 'Iblis
Misled our hearts and severed us from good.'
'Twas their ill nature and their teacher's promptings
That gave them no surcease of evil fortune,
For when one is averse from what is right
Then fraud and falsehood ruin everything.
Moreover at the battle of Pashan
How many troops were slaughtered by Piran!
The blood of those descended from Gudarz
Turned earth to mire and loss was piled on loss;
Yen now thou didst come forth with myriads
Of Turkman cavaliers in war-array,
Didst lead thy host for battle to Amwi,
And Shida came forth as mine opposite;
Thou sentest him that so he might behead me,
And thou thereafter mightst lay waste my realm,
But God, the Lord of earth, was mine ally,
The fortunes of my foes were overthrown.
And now thou say'st : 'Thy throne illumineth
My heart, thy fortunes make me glad.' Consider;
Can I recall thine acts and think it true ?
Henceforth till Doomsday I have naught to say
To thee save with the trenchant scimitar,
And I will strive against thee in the strength
Of treasure, host, fair fortune, and the courses
Of sun and moon, will make my prayer to God,
And ask no guide but Him. The world perchance
May then be purged from evil men while I
Will gird myself with justice and with bounty;
With them will I regenerate the world,
And haply clear the garden of ill weeds.
Tell to my grandsire all my words and seek
No pretext to avoid so great a strife."
He gave to Jahn a crown of emeralds,
A pair of earrings, and a golden torque,
Who thereupon departed to his sire,
Ad told him everything. Afrasiyab
Raged at that answer; grief and haste possessed him
He gave the troops a largess from his hoards,
And furnished maces, helmets, casques, and swords.
How Kai Khusrau fought with Afrasiyab and took
All night until the sun rose in the sky,
And made the mountains like white elephants' backs,
Afrasiyab was ordering the host
What Turkman cavalier took any sleep?
Whenas the din of tymbals rose from Gang,
While earth grew iron, heaven ebony,
The famous Shah - magnanimous Khusrau -
Bestrode his steed at dawn, rode round the hold,
And noted places open to attack.
He ordered Rustam to assail one side
With forces like a mountain, Gustaham,
Son of Naudar, to occupy another,
And wise Gudarz the third, while he himself,
Who prospered everywhere, attacked the fourth
With tymbals, elephants, and cavalry ;
Thus he disposed his forces and, resuming
His seat upon the throne, required the troops
To excavate entrenchments round the fortress.
Then all who had experience in sieges
From Rum, from Chin, and Hind, with veteran chiefs
From every quarter, rode around the place,
Like couriers, devising plans to take it.
The monarch made a trench two spears in depth,
And stationed guards that none might make a sally
By night and slay his troops ere they could draw.
Around were ranged two hundred arbalists,
And, when a foe's head showed above the ramparts,
Those engines showered like hail thereon; behind
Were Ruman troops engaged in working them.
'The Shah then bade that elephants should draw
Shores to the hold. He undermined the walls
And shored them up : upon the wooden props
He smeared black naphtha, such was his device,
Whereby the walls were stayed and overthrown.
When all had been prepared the king of earth
Drew near the Maker of the world in prayer,
Writhed in his quest of vengeance like a serpent
Upon the dust, and praised the Almighty, saying:-
"Thine is it to abase and to exalt;
In every strait we look to Thee for succour.
If Thou perceivest that my cause is just
Make not my foot to slip, hurl from the throne
This sorcerer-king, and give me joy and fortune:'
When he had prayed he raised his head, arrayed
His shining breast in armour, girt his loins,
Sprang up, and rushed as swift as smoke to battle,
Commanding onslaught on each gate in force.
They set the wood and naphtha all ablaze,
And hurled stones on the heads of the besieged.
'then twanged the arbalists while in the smoke
The sun's bright visage gloomed, the scorpions,
The catapults, and flying dust turned heaven
To azure dimness, earth to indigo.
Chiefs shouted, trumpeted the elephants,
Flashed swords and massive maces. From the showers
Of arrows and troops' dust thou wouldst have said :-
"The sun and moon contend ! " The world was hidden
To clearest eyes so viewless grew the sky!
The woodwork, covered with black naphtha, blazed,
And burned like firewood, for God willed it so.
The walls, thou wouldst have said, came headlong down
From their foundations like a mount in motion.
With them fell many a Turkman, like a lion,
Surrendered to ill fortune, when its head
All unawares is taken in the toils.
The Iranians' war-cry rose victoriously;
They made with warlike Rustam for the breach.
Afrasiyab, on hearing that the ramparts
Were shattered, rushed to Jahn and Garsiwaz,
Like dust, and shouted: "What are walls to you?
The army's hold must be the scimitar.
Now for your country and your children's sake,
For treasure and for kin, bind ye your skirts
Together, leave no foeman anywhere."
Then mountain-like the Turkman troops advanced
In rank toward the breach; they closed like lions,
And both sides raised a shout, but in the strife
The Turkman horsemen shook like willow-trees,
And gave up land and country in despair.
The Shah bade Rustam bring up to the breach
The spear-armed footmen followed by two bands
Of archers eager for the fray on foot,
And armed moreover both with sword and shield,
With mounted warriors as their support
Where'er the stress of battle proved severe.
The horsemen and the footmen on both sides
Came onward like a mountain to the fight,
And warlike Rustam, like a mighty lion,
Led forward all his forces to the breach.
He mounted on the walls like flying dust,
Struck the black flag and set up on the rampart
The ensign of the Shah, the violet ensign
Charged with a lion, while the Iranians
Hailed with a shout the triumph of Khusrau.
A multitude of Turklnan troops were slain,
The fortunes of the foe were overthrown,
And Rustam at the crisis of the fight
Gat in his Grasp brave Jahn and Garsiwaz,
Those two supporters of the Turkrnan throne,
The glorious son and brother of the king,
Such was the evil fate that fell on them!
The Iranian troops on entering the city -
An army full of vengeance and heart-seared -
Gave up themselves to pillaging and slaughter,
While shrieks arose and lamentable cries;
The women and the children wailed aloud,
And left their dwellings to the conquerors.
What multitudes of women and of babes
Were lost beneath the feet of elephants!
The people fled like wind and none took thought
Of country more. In woeful plight all eyes
Wept blood. The Turkman warriors' fortunes fell.
The treasuries were given up to spoil,
The women and the children captive borne,
Their souls by heaven, their flesh by arrows, torn!
How Afrasiyab fled from Gang-bihisht
Afrasiyab departed to his palace,
With full heart, weeping; having gained the roofs
He looked upon the city. There he saw
The more part of his warriors slain, the rest
Withdrawing from the battle. There arose
Cries from the cavaliers, shouts from the leaders,
Din from the drummers on the elephants,
Which trod from sight all that they saw alive.
The place was full of smoke and shrieks for succour,
And all was conflagration, sack, and storm.
One side rejoiced, the other was in woe,
And in this Wayside Inn 'tis ever so.
Afrasiyab, beholding matters thus,
Such terror and defeat, no Jahn, no brother,.
No land, no throne, no realm, no gems, no treasure,
Cried out in very earnest, seared and sore:-
"How wantonly heaven's vault hath dealt with us!
Mine eyes have looked upon a day when death
And slaughter seemed to me of small account!"
He came down woeful from the palace-roof,
Farewelled his throne of sovereignty, and said:-
"When shall I ever look on thee again
Upon a day of pleasure, ease, and joy? "
He thence departed dazed, and disappeared;
His wits and counsel flew away like birds.
Now when he built the palace in the hold
He made a secret passage underground,
And not a soldier of the army wooed
That there was such a by-way underneath
The castle. He made choice of ten score chiefs,
And vanished by that secret souterrain.
Emerging he betook him to the waste,
While all his kingdom wondered after him,
None knowing where he was because he vanished
So suddenly. Khusrau approached the palace,
Trod down his foe's star, and assumed the throne
Amid the paladins with golden helms.
They made abundant quest, but failed to trace
That chief of nobles; then the Shah inquired
Of Jahn and Garsiwaz about their king:-
"How did he go and whither hath he gone?
He vanished hence; where hath he taken shelter?
They answered fully and Khusrau gave ear,
But not a trace showed of Afrasiyab.
The conquering Shah said to the Iranians :-
"Now that my foe hath vanished from the throne
His name and purpose matter not a jot;
'Tis one to us be he alive or not."
How Kai Khusrau gave Quarter to the Family of Afrasiyab
Khusrau then chose out sages from the host -
Chiefs veteran and practised in affairs -
And said thus: "Hail! May ye be filled with justice.
The portal of this ill-starred Turkman's hoards
Intrust I unto you. Be diligent.
The sun from yon high heaven must not pierce
The palace of Afrasiyab, nor would I
That thence his women's voices reach the street."
He sent out keepers for the herds that were
At large about the hold and, being kingly,
Harmed not the kindred of Afrasiyab.
The troops marked this and clamoured: "Kai Khusrau
Hath entered in such wise that thou wouldst say :-
''Tis to the portal of a host !' No thought
Of sire beheaded by the sword unjustly,
Of mother haled down naked by the hair
From throne and high place by Afrasiyab,
Occurreth to his mind ! This harmless Shah
Was shepherd-reared and suckled by a sheep.
Why doth he not in sharp-clawed leopards' wise
Awake the Day of Doom in this man's home,
Bring to the ground his halls and palaces,
And make a bonfire of his kith and kin?"
The Shah, apprised of all the Iranians' words,
Sent and convoked the sages, spake at large,
And said to them: "We must display not harshness,
Or praise heads void of wits. We must be just
In vengeance, and in passion think of fame,
For fame is our memorial in the world
Since life continueth not, and this same sky
Which turneth over us may play the tyrant."
He ordered: "Bring the women forth unseen,
Those that are royal, have been always veiled,
And never left the bower for the street."
Now when the Iranians were ware of this
They hurried full of vengeance to the palace.
The warriors thought: "Khusrau will slay these women,"
So wished to bear them off with ignominy,
And were prepared to pillage and to slaughter.
Then from the palace rose this wail: "Thou knowest,
Most just, wise Shah ! that we are powerless,
And no fit objects of contempt and insult."
The chiefest of the ladies with her daughters,
Came wailing to the Shah ; each daughter had
A hundred slaves with ruby crowns before her,
Their jewelry was like the shining sun;
The raiment that they wore was cloth of gold.
All carried golden goblets in their hands,
Their hearts were awe-struck at the king of kings;
The dames were all musk, rubies, gold, and gems,
And hung their heads down in their shamefastness;
They carried cups and censers, and the fuel
Was ambergris and undried aloe-wood.
Thou hadst said: "Saturn out of highest heaven
Iq showering constellations on the earth."
The chiefest lady drew anear the throne,
Invoking fervent blessings on the Shah,
While all her delicately nurtured daughters
In like wise offered up their supplications.
Oh,! pity those fall'n in their day of stress
From all self-pleasing and luxuriousness:
The ladies mid their anguish praised Khusrau :-
"O man of royal birth and blessed steps
How well it were had not thy heart been grieved
And vengeful with Turan ! Then thou hadst come
To feast and mirth, the accredited of kings;
Thou hadst been lord and master of this land,
And crossed thy feet upon the royal throne;
Then Siyawush would never have been slain
In wantonness, but sun and moon decreed it,
And base Afrasiyab hath acted so
That he will never dream of thy forgiveness.
I gave him counsels but without avail;
He rashly turned his head from mine advice.
I call upon my Maker to bear witness
That blood hath fallen in showers from mine eyes,
While here upon the earth thy kinsman Jahn,
Galled by thy fetters, will bear testimony
How in my palace both my heart and soul
Were full of grief because of Siyawush,
And that Afrasiyab, thine enemy,
Heard much advice, but nothing profited,
Until his days have ended as we see,
All his dominions being overthrown,
His crown and girdle given up to spoil,
His day obscured, himself flung headlong down.
His present life is even worse than death,
And fate hath burst the skin upon his body.
Now look on us as being innocent,
And treat us with a kingly clemency.
We are dependent wholly on Khusrau,
And hear no name but his. So let him not,
For wrongs done by Afrasiyab the warlock,
Act hastily to those, who did no wrong,
With bloodshed, outrage, and indignity,
Or lightly persecute those not in fault;
Unworthy 'tis for monarchs to behead
The innocent. Thou hast another home,
For none may tarry in this Wayside Inn,
So act as God requireth at thy hands,
And hold in awe the Day of Reckoning:'
Khusrau, on hearing this, was greatly moved
For those fair ladies in their fallen fortunes;
His cheeks glowed like a lamp at their distress
And anguish, and the sages' hearts were troubled,
For all of them remembered child and wife,
And all the captains and the valiant chiefs
Invoked much blessing on the Shah and said:-
"Now for the Maker's sake let not the Shah,
That man of name, exact revenge on them."
The prudent Kai Khusrau made answer thus:-
"In spite of all that hath displeasured me
I will not cause a like distress to any,
However much my heart desireth vengeance,
And, though aggrieved am I when I recall
How that great monarch wronged my noble mother,
Yet will I bring the like on no one's head."
The master of the world, the holy-born,
Then sent the ladies home, first saying to them
"Be at your ease; hear what I say in person :-
No miscreant that breaketh faith am I;
Henceforward ye have naught to fear from me,
And none shall entertain the wish to harm you,
Or otherwise his own life shall be brief.
Now in your palaces at ease abide,
Your souls and bodies unto God confide.
How Kai Khusrau exhorted the Iranians
Khusrau addressed the Iranians : "Conquering fortune
Hath given us the kingdom, crown, and throne;
The whole realm of Turan, which we have captured,
Shall, like Iran, be yours to dwell therein.
Put ye away all vengeance from your hearts,
And charm the land with loving-kindliness,
For in their hearts the people fear us greatly,
And all the dust is turned to mire with bloodshed.
I give to you the treasures of Turan,
And look not even for your gratitude.
Be strenuous and be instant in well-doing,
And where ye found it winter make it spring.
My soldiers shall be satisfied anon
With treasures and dinars, but let us keep
Our hands from bloodshed, mot behead the guiltless;
It sorteth not with manhood to be moved
To anger lightly or to strike the fallen.
Avert your faces from the women - all
That veil themselves when going forth abroad;
Respect too others' wealth since for its sake
Friends are made foes; the Maker disapproveth
of those that seek to harm the innocent,
And all that would assist my policy
Must not lay waste
the land which now is mine.
Besides men call a prince who layeth waste
A peopled land unjust and sinister."
The Shah commanded then his troops to open
The treasures of the army of Turan,
Save great Afrasiyab's own privy hoards,
Which he reserved, but gave his men the rest -
The treasures and the weapons, thrones and crowns.
The scattered countless host of Turkmans flocked
From all sides to the Shah, who gave them quarter,
Made much of them, and ordered their affairs
With all dispatch. He gave the chiefs their portion
Of Turkman lands, a city to each noble,
But in each province those that were rebellious
Received no quarter at his warriors' hands.
The country of Turan was overcome,
And, when the letters to the chiefs arrived,
From every quarter messengers set forth
To carry to the Shah the offerings
And letters of the potentates who now
Were one and all the servants of Khusrau.
How Kai Khusrau wrote a Letter with the News of his
Victory to Kai Kaus
Khusrau then called and charged a trusty scribe.
First in the letter he gave praise to God
That He had purged the earth of wickedness,
Had overthrown the chief of sorcerers,
And waked the fortune that had slumbered so -
God, Source of might, of knowledge, and of justice,
And everywhere the Joy of the oppressed -
Then: "By the fortune of Shah Kai Kaus,
The great, the experienced, the benevolent,
This Gang that was Afrasiyab's was stormed,
The head of his good fortune fell on sleep.
In sooth upon a single battlefield
Full forty thousand of his warlike chiefs,
Illustrious men who wielded massive maces,
Fell in their ranks by the Gulzaryun,
And afterward there came a hurricane,
Which rent the trees asunder, root and bough,
And drowned a multitude that still opposed us.
Afrasiyab escaped to Gang-bihisht,
A place of arms completely garrisoned,
And of a truth in the ensuing siege
There perished thirty thousand warriors.
The tyrant showed himself to be a man,
But was not helped by wisdom or by fortune.
His troops are scattered over all his realm,
And he himself hath vanished from the world.
Hereafter I will send the Shah reports
Whenever further glory shall be mine."
He sealed the letter with his golden signet,
And, having gladly sent it to KauS,
Disposed himself for mirth with fairy-faced ones
To bring him wine. 'Twas thus till spring, the world
Became a paradise of hue and scent,
The plain resembled painted silk, the sky
A leopard's back; the onager and deer
Roamed o'er the waste, and time passed blithely on
With hawk and cheetah in pursuit of game,
With musky wine and Idols of Taraz.
The cattle like so many onagers
Spread far and wide; their necks grew full of strength
Like lions' and their ears and heads like stags'.
Khusrau moreover sent forth those that spied
Upon the world's affairs to every side.
How Kai Khusrau had Tidings of the Coming of Afrasiyab
with the Host of the Faghfur
Then tidings came from Chin and from Khutan
How that Afrasiyab was with that folk:-
"His cause is taken up by the Faghfur,
And clamour filleth all the land of Chin
Whence troops extend to the Gulzaryun;
The Khan of Chin himself is in command.
None knoweth how much wealth, how many slaves,
And steeds with harness, the Faghfur hath sent
Afrasiyab. A host acclaimeth him,
And he hath all the treasures of Piran -
Enough dinars to load six thousand camels -
And as he bare them from Khutan an army
Flocked round him."
All that had been given quarter
Thereat revolted from the Iranians,
And girded up their loins to take revenge.
Now when Afrasiyab came from Khutan
He brought with him an army-shattering host;
"Earth," thou hadst said, " will not sustain them all,
The stars will not avail to reckon them ! "
In dudgeon, with this warlike host, he set
His face from Chin to go against Khusrau,
Who, when he heard, sent scouts out on the road,
And bade Gudarz and lion-bold Farhad
"Abide ye here, be just and politic,
And let your scouts be out both night and day:"
Then said he to Gudarz : "This host is thine,
Thou art its refuge both by day and night.
Hang every Turkman, whom thou shalt perceive
To be in favour of our enemies
In aught, forthwith alive upon the gibbet,
Head downward, feet aloft; forbear to vex
The inoffensive. Watch o'er host and treasure."
Drums sounded from the monarch's tent-enclosure,
There was a blare of gong and clarion.
An army such that it embroiled the sun
Marched forth from Gang. When he had left the city
The Shah arrayed his men against the foe.
Two leagues divided host from host. Khusrau
Convoked his noble chiefs, and said: "To-night
Let matters rest, yet be not lax or slothful."
The scouts, distributed upon the waste,
Went all night long their rounds about the host.
He stayed one week preparing for the strife,
And on the eighth day, when the scouts fell in
Reporting to him that a host had come,
He had his troops arrayed in such a fashion
That sun and moon grew eager for the fray.
Afrasiyab beheld this, ranked his powers
To face the enemy, and told his sages:-
"This battlefield is sleep and feast to me;
I would have welcomed it at sleeping-time,
And had provoked it had it not been offered.
Long have I been a fugitive, and now
My heart and head are full of strife and vengeance.
If Kai Khusrau's Grace, or mine own new fortune,
Constraineth me I know not, but I purpose
To fight with him come triumph, death, or sorrow."
The sages of his kin and alien
Replied: "What need for host and combating,
If kings must fight in person? All of Chin
And native Turkmans, of thy race as well
As alien, acknowledge thee. Oh! may
Our souls and bodies be a ransom for thee!
Our loyalty hath never wavered yet;
If hundreds perish, thousands shall come on
Hold not thyself so cheap. We are thy lieges,
And live but in the glory of thy crown."
Then from the army there arose a shout,
And earth and time grew full of strife and stir;
Stars shone through tawny dust, and to the bye
Sol's yellow face was lapis-lazuli.
The Message of Afrasiyab to Kai Khusrau
The Turkman chief selected from the host
Two veterans and sent the Shah a message:-
"Thou hast destroyed a multitude of troops.
In truth between Iran and Gang, O king !
There are a thousand leagues of hill and plain,
Of sandy wastes and hard, and our two armies
Have been like ants and locusts while the soils
From Gang and Chin until thou reach Iran,
Are like an ocean with the blood of feud;
So that if holy God drew from the dust
To some abyss the blood of all the slain
'Twould make a Red Sea that would drown both hosts !
If thou wilt have my treasure or my troops,
The country of Turan, the throne and crown,
I will resign them to thee and be gone,
But yield my life up only to the sword.
Attempt not that; I am thy mother's sire,
Descended from the warlock Faridun,
And if thy heart is troubled to avenge
Thy father, and thou hast no reverence left
For me, the fault was all with Siyawush
In that he filled my heart with grief and care;
Besides the stars which circle over us
Are both our shelter and our bane at whiles.
Now sixty years have passed above my head
Since I went out with chiefs upon the plain,
While thou art young, Shah of Iran, in fight
The Lions' Claws; so choose a battlefield
Remote, not on thy lieges' skirts, and we
Will wheel in combat far from either host.
If I fall by thy hand thy hook will serve
To draw forth crocodiles from waterways,
But strive not with my kindred and allies;
Refrain thyself, seethe not with such revenge;
And if thou shalt be slaughtered by my hand,
As God shall help me, I will suffer not
One of that folk of thine to feel a pang,
Or look upon the darksome dust of battle."
Khusrau, when he had listened to the message,
Said to the son of Zal, the son of Sam :-
"This evil Turkman, who beguileth men,
Discerneth not between the ups and downs,
And talketh so of battle that perchance
He fain would lie in Shida's sepulchre!
'Tis no disgrace for me to fight with one,
Whose ancestor was Faridun, and sire Pashang."
But Rustam answered him: "O Shah !
Have not the flame of battle in thy heart
'Tis a dishonour for the Shah to combat
Although a Leopard be thine opposite.
As for his saying: 'Fight not with my host,
Nor yet against my family and realm,'
Thine army stretcheth out from sea to sea,
And never will consent. If thou wouldst make
A treaty with thy grandsire in God's sight
'Tis needful that his heart be free from guile.
Now let a general attack be made
In force; speak not of things that cannot aid."
How the Iranians and Turanians fought
on hearing ancient Rustam's words,
Approved thereof and answered thus the envoy:-
So this malignant man would fight with me
He gave with guileful tongue and heart intent
On wrong a greater pledge to Siyawush.
Go hence, and say thus to that evil-doer:-
'Speak not henceforth in such a strain as this
Chiefs get no glory out of knavery;
Thy mind is strangely warped, thy heart deceitful.
If thou art set on fight, and fight alone,
There are antagonists besides myself;
There are the matchless Rustam and brave Giv,
Who both are eager to contend with Lions;
Besides if monarchs are to challenge monarchs
What need is there for army and for mellay ?
Henceforth I will not fight with thee myself,
But thou shaft see a day of gloom and straitness.'"
The messenger withdrew, returned like wind,
And advertised his lord of what had passed,
Who in his dudgeon made no haste to battle,
But when the Shah moved forward to the attack
The other army was obliged to stir;
One host was eager, one had faire delayed,
While earth was all in motion like the sea.
Such were the showers of shafts that thou hadst said:-
"The clouds rain hail from mighty lions' maws!"
From dawn until the sun grew dim the earth
Was soaked with blood beneath the warriors' feet.
When night was closing in the hosts withdrew
Because the horsemen's sight was failing them,
And, when the king of kings returned to camp
In all his glory, pomp, and circumstance,
He said to Tus : "Afrasiyab to-day
Did not engage in battle willingly.
Methinketh he will make a night-attack
To free his heart of long-enduring griefs."
He bade a trench be dug across the road,
Whereby the army of Turan would come,
And issued orders: "Let none kindle fires,
And let no jingling camel-bells be heard."
Then from the host Khusrau chose cavaliers
Of valour, putting them in Rustam's charge,
And chose moreover from the Iranians
Another force of men girt up for war,
Committing them to Tus the general.
With orders to set forward toward the hills,
While matchless Rustam's way was toward the plain.
The Shah bade: "Let them march with all dispatch
To left and right still keeping on the level,
One toward the plain the other toward the heights,
And not make use of outposts, lamps, or torches;
So if it chanceth that Afrasiyab
Shall fall upon us at the time of sleep,
Our warriors may take his in the rear
To cut him off from help. Our troops will be
Behind him and the ditch in front, and then
The Shah with all his elephants and men."
How Afrasiyab wade a Night-attack upon Kai Khusrau
awl was defeated
The Turkman leader, when the night closed in,
Made ready with his soldiers to attack,
And, having summoned all his veterans,
Spake of the past at large: "This knave accursed
Hath triumphed greatly o'er his grandsire's troops
Now yonder host no doubt are fast asleep,
And scattered widely over hill and plain;
So let us put misgiving from our hearts,
And make an onslaught on the foe at dawn,
For if we overcome them not to-night
We shall be humbled to the very dust.
Unless good fortune shall regain its lustre
Resource is wind, and manhood but a lie."
They all agreed thereto and, having risen,
Made preparations for the night-attack.
Afrasiyab chose fifty thousand men
Among the host, all veteran warriors
And fit for combating. Spies went on first -
Experienced men and lovers of the fray.
Their chief approached the encampment of Khusrau
Where he perceived no challenge of the watch,
And everything appeared to him at rest -
No scouts, no watch-fires, not a breath of wind,
No thought about Turan in any heart.
On seeing this he turned, went back in haste,
And said: "Not one is wakeful! All of them
Are dead asleep ! Thou wouldst have said: 'These men
Have drunk all day!' No outposts are in sight,
And only brambles stand up on the plain ! "
Afrasiyab heard this, was cheered of heart,
Sent his host forward, mounted on his steed,
And girt him with his warriors to attack.
They came on, like the waters of the sea,
Apace but silently, without display,
No trumpet-call, no shout; but when they neared
The camp-enclosure rose the clarion's blare,
Rose roll of tymbal from the saddle-backs,
The sable standard was unfurled, and those
That were the foremost of the assailant band
Urged on their steeds and raised the battle-cry;
But many cavaliers fell down the fosse,
While others turned away their heads from fight.
On this side Rustam came up from the plain,
And dimmed the heaven with his horsemen's dust;
On that side Giv, son of Gudarz, and Tus
Came on; in front the drums and trumpets sounded,
The king of kings with Kawa's flag was there;
The air was violet with horsemen's sabres,
The cry was " give " and " take " and " bind " and "slay,"
The steeds were jaded and their riders dazed;
Two seas of blood were heaving and their waves
Gave earth the hue of tulips, while the host
Of steel-clad army-breakers made the mountains
Shake to their centres. On that Day of Doom
Those who would flee found no way to escape;
Among a hundred chiefs not ten were left;
The slain themselves blocked in the fugitives.
Whenas accounts came from that battlefield
The leader of Turan was so distressed
That all his troops lamented, wept, and burned
At that great anguish of their monarch's heart,
Who spake thus: "Verily a sage himself
Escapeth not the process of the sky
But since the foe is fainer for our lives
Than for our wealth we can but strive once more,
And either give our bodies to be slain,
Or set the crown of kingship on our heads."
From both the camp-enclosures shouts arose,
The world was filled with blare of clarions.
The troops marched, shouldering double-headed darts
And scimitars, in lines three leagues in length.
That field was like the sea. Bright sun and moon
Shone not. The hosts came onward, rank on rank,
As in the ocean wave pursueth wave.
Thou wouldst have said: "The vales and hills are full
Of blood. The sun hath left the turning sky."
Heaven's face was smeared with pitch and no one tendered
His person. Then arose a mighty blast -
A storm whose like is not in memory.
It raised the dust, it blew against the heads
And eyes of the Turanians and bore off
Their helms. Afrasiyab was all astound.
The desert was all brains and blood, the rocks
Were red as jujubes to their very cores
The Turkman cavaliers, who in their days
Of ease thought lightly of a leopard-hunt,
Declined to battle with the turning sky
What time the blast uplifted man and horse.
Khusrau, on seeing this and that the hearts
And fortunes of the Iranians were joyous,
With Rustam, Giv, son of Gudarz, and Tus,
Advanced the tymbals from the army's centre,
And battle-shouts arose. Upon one hand
Was Rustam, on the other hand the Shah.
The dust hung in the air as 'twere a cloud,
And what a cloud! One raining shafts and swords !
On every side were mountain-heaps of slain
With springs of blood within them from both hosts.
The air was like a robe of indigo,
The earth appeared to be a sea of gore,
And heaven was like an eagle's wing with arrows.
Afrasiyab looked on with glooming heart,
Descried the waving flag of violet,
And showed his flag no longer at the centre,
But left his host embattled, and himself
Retreated with his chiefs and men of name.
He took with him a thousand of his kin,
And choicest of his troops - all fit for fight -
And, taking to the pathless waste, preserved
His life from foemen by his body's toil.
The Shah sought for his grandsire in the host,
Advancing to the centre with all haste,
But, though he urged his charger to the utmost,
He found no traces of Afrasiyab,
Whose soldiers, when they looked toward the centre
And missed the sable flag, laid down their arms
And asked for quarter. Kai Khusrau received them
With graciousness, gave them a separate camp,
Then bade his men set up the golden throne,
And deck the tents with broidery of Chin,
Brought forth the wine and summoned minstrelsy,
Inviting many captains of the host.
He made a feast which lasted till the dawn,
A feast which made the dead rise from their graves.
Whenas the sun's hand showed upon the sky,
And wounded with its nails the dark night's face,
The Iranian monarch bathed his head and body,
And with the Zandavasta sought a spot
Where he was hidden from the Iranians' eyes,
And where wild creatures could not hear his voice.
From break of day till in the Dome of Teak
The moon assumed her heart-illuming crown,
He offered praises to the Omnipotent
For that glad turn of fortune, rubbing oft
His visage in the dust and pouring down
Two rivers from his eyes upon his cheeks.
Thence he departed to his crown and throne
With stately step, glad-hearted, fortunate.
All who had fallen of the Iranians,
Alive or dead, they carried off the field,
But left with scorn the bodies of the foe.
They turned the whole field into charnel-houses,
And, when they had disposed of all the slain,
The Shah bestowed the booty on his men,
And thence toward Gang-bihisht he made his way
With troops at all points ready for the fray.
How the Faghfur of Chin sent an Envoy to Kai Khusrau
Now when the tidings reached Machin and Chin
About the Turkmans and the Iranian king,
The Khan and the Faghfur both writhed with anguish;
Each was concerned about his mighty throne,
Repented of the aid that he had furnished,
And diligently sought a remedy.
Said the Faghfur : "Now will Afrasiyab
Hereafter never even dream of greatness,
And therefore doubtless we shall suffer loss
Through having sent the treasure and the troops.
Repentance is the one resource for us
Since this is matter to destroy our realms."
He called to him a faithful messenger,
And gave him full instructions. What was fitting
Among his hoards - dinars and uncut gems -
He sent with his excuses to the Shah.
The messengers departed on their journey;
Those mighty men of Chin made no delay,
And in one sennight they arrived at Gang.
The conqueror received them graciously,
And seated them according to their rank,
Accepted that which they had brought with them -
The rarities, the purses, and the slaves -
And thus addressed the envoy: "Say to him :-
'Accord us not an empty reverence,
Afrasiyab must never visit thee
E'en in thy dreams at night.'"
The envoy left
Like wind and told the words to the Faghfur,
Who, when he heard them, sent Afrasiyab
A messenger by night to say to him :
"Avoid the frontiers of Khutan and Chin,
And grieve for all the evil done by thee.
All those who quit the path and go astray
Encounter tribulation on their way."
How Afrasiyab crossed the Sea
Afrasiyab, when he had heard the message,
Repenting of his deeds of yore, betook him
Across the pathless desert, and resigned
The style of monarch to preserve his life;
But, seeing that his days were spent in pain,
Distress, and toil he made all haste to reach
Mount Ispuruz, and both by day and night
Avoided foes. His provand everywhere
Was game. Thus fared he till he reached the sea,
His loins all galled with travail, belt, and buckle.
Now when he reached that deep, whereto he saw
No middle and no end, he bade the shipman
Prepare a ship to carry him across.
The old Salt said: "Great monarch of Khutan
And Chin! although my years are seventy-eight
I ne'er saw ship cross hither."
Said the mighty
Afrasiyab : "Oh! well is he that dieth
By water, not by foeman's scimitar
The world accepteth him as one not slain."
He issued his commands to all the captains
To launch sufficient vessels and set sail
Toward Gang-dizh away from good and evil.
Arriving there he ate and slept in peace,
And rested from the fortunes of the war.
"We will be happy here," 'twas thus he spake,
And not concern ourselves about the past;
When my dim star hath brightened I will cross
The sea, take vengeance on my foes, and make
My policy and institutions flourish."
When Kai Khusrau was made aware thereof -
The new departure of that ancient man -
He spake to Rustam thus: "Afrasiyab
Hath crossed o'er to Gang-dizh, and thus made good
His words to me: 'High heaven is with us.'
His crossing turneth all our toils to wind.
Ne'er will I hold a parley with my grandsire
Save with the sword, ne'er hold this feud outworn,
But in the might of God, the Conqueror,
Gird me to take revenge for Siyawush,
Will cover all Makran and Chin with troops,
And traverse the Kimak. When both Machin
And Chin are mine I shall not ask Makran
For aid, but bear, if heaven will favour us,
The host across the sea. Although the task
Prove long I yet may take that man of blood.
Ye have endured much travail, and have passed
O'er field and fell and cultivated tracts,
And yet to lay this travail on ourselves
Is better than to give our foes the world.
Our fame shall last until the Day of Doom
For conquest and for foemen put to flight."
Thereat the paladins were sorely downcast,
Sighs were upon their lips, frowns on their brows.
"The sea is rough," they said; " with all these troops
The business with fair winds would take six months !
Who knoweth which of us will 'scape the waters ?
Afrasiyab hath brought ill on the host
On land we have to fight, and when at sea
Are in the gullet of the crocodile !"
Each had his plan, and after much debate
Thus Rustam spake : "Ye world-experienced,
Ye puissant princes, and ye veteran chiefs
The toils that we have borne must not be fruitless,
Or made sport for the wind of indolence;
Moreover this victorious Shah should gain
The fruit of his good star. We never halted,
Unless to fight, between Iran and Gang.
The Shah would eat the fruit of all his toil;
For this he came, for this he will march on."
Whenas the army heard the words of Rustam
They framed their answer in an altered tone.
The mighty men, the men of wisdom, rose
With tongues prepared to answer pleasantly,
And said: " We all are servants of the Shah,
And he that bath our service bath our love.
Thine is it to command on land and sea;
We all of us are slaves and bound to thee."
How Kai Khusrau sent the Prisoners and Treasure to
Kaus with a Letter
The Shah rejoiced thereat, made much of them,
And seated them, each as his rank deserved,
Then oped the portal of his grandsire's hoards,
Unmindful of the bonds of love and kindred.
They put upon a thousand lusty camels
Loads of brocade, of jewels, and dinars.
There were ten thousand oxen drawing wagons
With implements of war, and camels laden
With drachms past counting from the treasury.
When night had come he issued orders, saying:-
"Bear the kinswomen of Afrasiyab,
And household, whether they be slaves or daughters,
In litters from the palace by the road
Down to the royal park, and furthermore
A hundred famous and illustrious chiefs,
Each one of them renowned for gallantry,
And all the kindred of Afrasiyab,
Whose eyes are filled with tears of grief for him,
Such men as Jahn and noble Garsiwaz,
in litters with their feet made fast in bonds,
Besides a thousand hostages from Chin
And Turkistan as pledges for those states."
The Shah then chose him from the Iranians
Ten thousand men. He put them in Giv's charge,
And said: "O thou whose steps are fortunate !
Go with this company to Kai Kaus."
He ordered next a scribe to come prepared
With paper, musk, and spicery, to write
A letter with rose-water, musk, and ink
About the matter of Afrasiyab.
The scribe, whenas his pen was wet with musk
And ink, praised first of all the righteous Judge:-
"He is the Upholder and the Finisher,
He is the Artificer of earth and time,
The Maker of the ant and elephant,
Of trifling mote and of the dark blue sea,
The Lord of that which is and that which is not,
To whose supremacy all things submit.
The sky will not turn harshly o'er the man
Whom He bath fed with loving-kindliness.
His blessings be upon the king of earth,
The Maker of the warp and woof of peace.
I reached this fortress which Afrasiyab
Kept for his season of repose and ease.
Within it were his throne and coronet,
His greatness, diadem, his crown, and host.
'Twas forty days before the ramparts fell,
And we could reach the enemy; but Giv
Will give the Shah the full particulars
Of all that chanced upon the battlefield.
When in God's presence thou shalt ope thy lips
Give thanks on my behalf both day and night.
I will lead on the army to Machin
And Chin, and thence will march upon Makran,
And after with the aid of holy God
Will cross the sea."
Forthwith Giv left the presence
With many troops and gallant warriors.
The journey passed like wind; he neared Kaus,
Who, when he heard of that auspicious offspring
Of paladins, sent many troops to meet him;
The nobles too set forward on the way.
When gallant Giv was coming to the Shah
That warrior-band looked like a plain of lions.
Giv, entering the presence, kissed the ground
Before the state. Kaus, on seeing him,
Arose with smiles and stroked him on the face,
Asked touching king and host, and how they fared
Beneath the circling sun and shining moon.
The gallant Giv told all that he had seen,
About the great king and the warriors,
In words whereat the ancient Shah grew young,
Then gave the letter to a scribe to read,
Who read it to the monarch of Iran,
And filled the whole assembly with amaze.
Then Shah Kaus descended from his throne,
Took from his head the Kaian coronet,
And, wallowing upon the darksome dust,
Returned thanksgiving to all holy God,
And thence departed to his dwelling-place,
Escorted by his loyal paladins.
Giv told what he had seen and what Khusrau
Had said. Kaus brought wine and summoned minstrels,
Inviting the brave princes of Iran,
And spent in converse all the livelong night;
Thus did the hours of darkness fleet away
Until with lights the guests went from the presence,
And made for home with glad and merry hearts.
Now when the sun shot from its radiant orb
its arrows and night turned its gathered reins,
There rose a din of tymbals at the court,
The warriors went in to audience.
The ruler of the world then summoned Giv,
Placed him upon the famed, imperial throne,
And ordered that the spoils should be brought forth,
The haughty and illustrious warriors,
Together with the guiltless womenfolk -
The unseen victims of Afrasiyab -
With Jahn and Garsiwaz - the man of guile,
Who had tripped up the feet of Siyawush.
Kaus, beholding wicked Garsiwaz,
Cursed him as he deserved. They brought both him
And Jahn in gyves before the lofty throne,
With all the prisoners and hostages.
The Shah dealt with them after their deserts,
Put one in ward, another into bonds;
One was all hope, another in distress.
Kaus beheld with eyelids full of tears
The daughters of the great Afrasiyab,
And made the royal bower their dwelling-place,
With handmaids to attend them. All the spoils
Of every kind, dinars and uncut gems,
He gave to the Iranians that they
Might call down blessings on the king of earth.
He made the captives over to his chiefs,
Retaining neither great nor small himself.
They then prepared a residence for Jahn,
Providing food, attendants, and a guard.
There was a gloomy dungeon in a hold,
Repulsive, with a charnel-house hard by,
And this became the lot of Garsiwaz
Such are time's changes ! Blest are they that rule
With open hands and hearts devout and pure,
Who reckon that the world will not endure,
And never haunt the portal of the fool;
But he whose wits are small and lusts debased
Is by a leech among the madmen placed.
Whenas the Shah had made an end of these
He cleared the hall of every stranger there,
And then the scribe prepared himself to write,
And made his pen's point like a diamond.
They wrote a letter to the provinces,
To all the men of name and all the chiefs
It ran: "Turan and Chin are now the Shah's,
The sheep and leopard water at one cistern."
He made a gift of money to the poor,
And to his own attendants and his kin.
Before his portal for two sennights' space
Men saw no passage through the crowds that sought
For largess. The third week Kaus reposed
In Grace upon the throne of majesty,
While mid the sound of flute and song the cup
Was welcomed. From the goblet of the Shah
Rose for a sennight waves of ruddy wine.
When New Moon came he made a gift to Giv -
A gift of gold plate set with turquoises,
Of golden chargers and of turquoise goblets,
Of golden girdles and of silver harness,
Of female slaves with torques and earrings on,
Of bracelets and of crowns of jewel-work,
Of raiment also, thrones, and carpetings,
Of bright stuffs, perfumes, and embroidery.
The monarch sent for Giv ; they seated him
Upon a golden throne and then presented
The gifts before him. After that was done
Giv with his face caressed the royal throne.
The Answer of Shah Kaus to the Letter of Khusrau
A scribe with paper, musk, and spicery
Approached Kaus, and wrote: "I am rejoiced
And well content with this God-given fortune
In that my son hath proved victorious,
And worthy of the greatness, crown, and throne.
That bad man, who oppressed and used the world
To no end but for war and harrying,
Is now a fugitive therein through thee,
And no one uttereth his name aloud.
He was a man of bloodshed all his years,
Unstable, passionate, and evil-natured;
'Twas he who struck the neck of crowned Naudar -
That living monument of Shahs of old.
He is a fratricide, a miscreant,
A regicide, malicious, vile, insensate.
Let him not set his foot within Turan,
Makran, or by the sea of Chin. Perchance
The world may be delivered from the villain.
Now if the upright Judge, the only God,
Guide thee to cleanse the earth of bad men's troublings,
And of fools' gratings and performances,
Be joyful in the justice of the Maker,
And be a new foundation for the world.
If I shall see thee come again in joy,
While grief shall fill the bosoms of our foes,
Thenceforth will I devote my days to prayer
To holy God, from whom are hope and fear,
That thou mayst be victorious and glad.
May thy head flourish, justice fill thy heart,
Be the Creator of the world thy Guide,
Thy seat upon the throne for evermore."
They sealed the letter with the Shah's own signet,
And Giv went from the palace to return;
He loitered not in going to Khusrau
At Gang-bihisht, did reverence and delivered
The letter and the message of Kaus.
The Shah was joyful at his grandsire's words,
Called minstrelsy and boon-companions,
Exulting as a victor for three days.
The fourth day, when the World-illuminer shone,
He gave out helm and mail to all the troops,
Gave as it is the wont of Shahs to give.
With Gustaham, son of Naudar, he left
A world - a noble host of warriors -
Then quitted favoured Gang-bihisht for Chin,
And won a fresh world with the scimitar.
He battled both by day and darksome night;
He was a watch by night, a scout by day,
And thus it was until in tears, with dust
Upon his head, he reached his father's city.
He went about the garth of Siyawush,
Went where the bason overflowed with blood,'
And said: "If now the Judge, the only God,
Will but vouchsafe to guide me on the way,
Then by this self-same token will I shed
Afrasiyab's own blood like water here ! "
He left the spot, departing to his throne,
And communed with the holy Judge alone.
<a name="469">Par. 34
The Embassage of Kai Khusrau to the Faghfur of Chin
and the King of Makran
Khusrau chose envoys good at parleying, "
And sent some to the Khan, to the Faghfur,
And to the ruler of Makran, to say :-
If Ye will choose the right, perform my hest,
And in your hearts repent of your ill deeds,
Despatch provisions on before my troops,
For ye must needs behold me on my march,
But him that turneth from these words of mine,
Or faileth to present himself before me,
Will I behead with trenchant scimitar,
And on his palace bring the Day of Doom:'
These envoys went to all the provinces,
Wherever there was any famous chief,
And grieved were the Faghfur and Khan of Chin,
Grieved too the potentates of all those climes,
But gave warm greetings to the messengers
In dulcet voices and with honied words;
They said : "We all are servants to the Shah,
And only tread the earth to do his will.
We will survey the passes where the road
Is bad for troops, provision barren places,
And furnish all the aidance in our power:'
Those that were wise said: "If he pass us by,
And leave us scathless, we will give the poor
No little largess both of food and money:'
Each gave large presents to the messengers,
Who came back to the court content and glad;
But when the noble envoy reached Makran,
Approached the throne, delivered up the letter,
And gave the oral message that he bore,
He found the heart all other of that king,
Who thoughtlessly misprized the messenger,
To his folk's grief, and answered: "Tell the Shah:-
' Assume not o'er us novel powers. The age
Is'neath my fortune, and my crown and throne
Illume the earth, and when the bright sun shineth,
Such is its love, it shineth first on us.
Moreover I have knowledge and much wealth,
With greatness, manliness, and might of hand.
If any asketh leave to pass 'Lis well,
Because the earth is every creature's realm.
If thou wilt pass I will not bar the way
Do thou no damage with thy troops in passing ;
But if thou enter cities with thy host
Thou hast no portion in this sovereignty.
I will not suffer thee to cross our soil,
Or even to set foot upon our marches,
Nor will I let thee come off conqueror,
However much thy good stars favour thee."
Now when the Shah heard such an answer given
He moved forth from his quarters with the troops,
And took the way that leadeth through Khutan -
A world-lord followed by a famous host.
Then the Faghfur and Khan of Chin came forth
To meet the Shah with blessings and excuses,
Came with their chiefs to meet him on his way,
When he was still three stages short of Chin.
The route was cleared as bare as any hand,
The dales and plains were like a dwelling-place,
The road was well supplied with clothes and victuals,
With halting-places, feasts, and carpetings;
And when the troops were drawing near a city
The folk put decorations everywhere.
They fastened up brocade upon the walls,
And sifted musk and spicery o'erhead.
Then the Faghfur, when confidence returned,
Went first to lead the way toward the palace,
Thus saying : "We are subjects of the Shah -
If we are worthy even to be subjects.
May thy good fortune civilize the world,
And may thy friends' hearts be rejoiced in thee.
Unworthy though my halls be of the Shah
I hold them not inferior to the road."
Illustrious Khusrau went to the palace,
And took his seat upon the famous state,
While the Faghfur presented unto him
hundred thousand coins - dinars of Chin -
And stood there in the presence of Khusrau,
Together with the prudent frontier-chiefs.
In Chin Khusrau continued for three months
With all the nobles of the Iranian host;
Each morning the Faghfur attended him,
And made the Shah new gifts continually,
Who in the fourth month marched from Chin like wind
Upon Makran ; but Rustam stayed behind.
How Kai Khusrau fought with the King of Makran and
how the King of Makran was slain
Khusrau departed and when near Makran
Chose one of much experience from the host,
And sent him to the monarch with these words:-
"May kings and wisdom be companions.
Consider from what regions we have come
We are not drunk and dozing o'er our purpose.
My fortune and my crown illume the world;
My throne is based on chieftains' heads. Prepare
A road and provand for my host; let plenty
Adorn my throne for no one fareth well
When rations fail, and save I furnish them
The troops will combat and will make the world
Strait to their foes; but if thou wilt not hear me
Thou shalt wade through the blood of multitudes,
And make a desolation of Makran
If thou attack the Lions unprovoked."
The envoy came and did his embassage,
But no advice or justice found a place
In that king's heart. His foolish head was angered;
He raged and there was mischief in his thoughts.
He concentrated all his scattered troops,
Prepared a battlefield upon the plain,
And bade the messenger: "Go get thee hence
Return to that malicious man and say:-
'By change from days of darkness thou hast grown
Thus prosperous and world-illumining,
Yet, when thou comest, shalt behold our might,
And learn what men and warriors really are."'
Whenas the envoy of the Shah had gone
The whole state of Makran was filled with clamour,
The land from mount to mount and all the marches
Were occupied by troops. The monarch brought
Two hundred elephants of war. " No room,"
Thou wouldst have said, "remaineth on the earth!"
While at the chargers' neighs and soldiers' shouts
The moon strayed from its pathway in the sky.
The scouts approached the Shah and said to him:-
"Makran is darkened with the dust of troops,
The realm is full of flags and elephants;
The Shah can see them now two miles away."
The monarch bade his troops draw up in line,
And take their maces and their swords in hand,
While from Makran a scout came on the plain,
And all the livelong night went round the host.
Upon the Iranian side Tukhar kept watch,
Who thought a fight a small thing. Those two met -
A noble Lion and fierce Elephant.
Tukhar struck with his falchion, clave his foe
In twain, and filled Makran's king's heart with fear.
The two hosts in the ordering of their ranks
Made heaven viewless with the clouds of dust,
They drew toward each other mountain-like,
And closed; the leader Tus came from the centre,
While din of trump and tymbal filled the world,
With Kawa's flag before him, while behind
Were warriors with their golden boots. The air
Was full of arrows, earth of elephants;
The world was heaving like the dark blue sea.
The monarch of Makran at the army's centre
Died smitten by a double-headed dart.
One asked: "Shall we cut off his head, O Shah ? "
Who answered: "We will treat him with respect.
Who cutteth off kings' heads unless he be
A villain of the seed of Ahriman ?
Prepare a charnel-house, musk, and rose-water -
A sleeping-chamber worthy of a king -
And, seeing that the wound is through his mail,
By that same token strip ye not the body,
But veil his visage with brocade of Chin,
For he hath died the death that heroes die."
Now of that host there were ten thousand slain
Of cavaliers and warriors wielding swords;
Of prisoners there were seven and fifty score,
And the survivors' heads were filled with anguish.
The Iranians carried off the camp-enclosure,
The spoil, the elephants, and splendid throne,
And all the nobles of Iran grew rich,
While many had a crown and throne besides.
Anon the warriors, lovers of the fray,
Proceeded to the pillage of Makran ;
The wail of women rose from town and waste,
The land was full of cries; the Iranians fired
The holds and towns, dashed heaven upon earth,
Transfixing many with their archery,
And making women and young children captives.
As soon as the Shah's wrath had been appeased
He ordered that his army should withdraw,
And also that Ashkash, the shrewd of wit,
Should cease from pillage, strife, and harrying,
And suffer nobody to do an outrage,
Or treat the wretched with severity.
Then all the upright people of the state
Approached to plead their cause before the Shah,
Thus saying: "We are innocent and helpless,
And aye oppressed by tyrants. It would be
Well worthy of the Shah to pardon us
If he shall recognise our innocence."
A proclamation went forth from head-quarters :-
"Ye paladins whose counsel prospereth !
If through injustice, pillage, strife, or tumult,
Henceforth an outcry riseth anywhere,
Then will I cut in two the outragers
That have no fear of God before their eyes."
The worldlord tarried one year in Makran,
And requisitioned great ships everywhere;
Then when the spring arrived and earth grew green,
When tulips filled the hills and grass the waste,
When steeds could pasture, hunters go afield,
And gardens were adorned by flowers and fruit-trees,
He bade his faithful liege Ashkash remain
To govern leniently and uprightly
Withal, maintaining justice unimpaired,
And marched out from the country to the desert,
Light-heartedly accepting all the toils.
'Twas holy God's decree that in the waste
They should not look on dust. The firmament
Was full of cloud, the earth of springing corn,
The world of tulips and of fenugreek.
Provision-trains went on before the host
In wagons drawn along by buffalos.
The waste gave herbage, room to camp was there,
Earth was all moisture, and all clouds the air.
How Kai Khusrau crossed the Sea
The warriors, when Khusrau had reached the sea,
put off their mail; the Shah had taken with him
The mariners from Chin and from Makran,
And made those preparations on the shore
That men are wont to make before a voyage;
He bade prepare provisions for a year
To last till he should reach the other side.
The prosperous Shah, the seeker of God's way,
Withdrew in all his glory from the strand,
And, in the fervent importunity
Of pleading with the Maker of the world,
Besought of the Almighty and most High
To bear him scathless to dry land again.
He said: "Almighty Ruler of the world,
Who knowest both the secret and the open !
Thou art the Warden both of land and sea,
The Lord of heaven and the Pleiades,
The Guardian of my life and of my host,
The Guardian of my treasure, throne, and crown."
The sea was rough and all hearts were distressed,
Yet for six months the vessels were their couch.
The seventh month, when half the year had passed,
The north wind blew against them, and the sails
Were ta'en aback : the vessels moved stern-foremost.
They wandered from their proper course and reached
A place which sailors call " The Lion's Mouth,"
Yet God so ordered it that wind and storm
Dealt gently with the fortune of the Shah.
The soldiers on the voyage pointed out
To Kai Khusrau in great astonishment
How lions fought with oxen in the waves;
They sighted men with hair like lassos, men
Completely covered, as sheep are, with wool!
There was a troop with heads like buffalos,
Their hands behind their backs and feet in front
There was a fish that had a leopard's head,
A crocodile that had an onager's,
A lamb a hog's! The water teemed with them
The Iranians showed each other those strange sights,
And called upon the Maker of the world,
Till by the mercy of the Lord of heaven
The wind abated and the storm was hushed.
In seven months the voyage was completed,
They were not visited again by storms.
Khusrau on landing saw a spacious plain,
Then came before the Maker of the world,
And chafed his face upon the dusty ground.
He drew his ships and boats up from the sea,
And tarried not, there was no time to lose.
Before him were the desert, plain, and sands,
The shifting sands o'er which he passed unhurt.
The cities there resembled those of Chin ;
The tongue was like that spoken in Makran
He rested in those cities and required
A great provision from them for his host.
The Shah committed all that land to Giv,
And said to him: "Partake of fortune's fruits.
Treat even evil-doers leniently,
For wealth and goods are worthless to my heart.
Henceforward hold I no man of account,
But worship God who is the Succourer."
He chose out from the host a man of name,
Acquainted with the language of the folk,
To take a message to their kings, it ran:-
WHower WHower seeketh peace and satisfaction,
Let him attend this court in merry guise,
With jocund heart, rich gifts, and right good will;
But he that shall transgress mine ordinance
Shall bear the penalty of his ill counsels."
Whenas the messenger had come to them
lie gave the message of the king of kings,
And every one replied: "We are his subjects
if we are worthy even to be such."
No chief refused; they, old and young alike,
Came to the audience of the Shah with gifts,
The marchlord and the monarch equally.
Khusrau, on seeing this, received them well,
And raised their necks until they reached the sun,
Then sought intelligence about Gang-dizh,
The throne of power, and Afrasiyab.
The spokesman of the company replied :-
"No seas or mountains are before thee here,
And, reckoning all roads, both good and bad,
Hence unto Gang is but a hundred leagues.
No life is left in that unrighteous king,
But few of his unrighteous men remain,
And ever since he came across the sea
He and his followers have been at Gang."
The Shah was glad at that intelligence,
And thought the labour light. He gave the chiefs
A robe of honour each, called for their steeds,
And then dismissed them homeward while he went
Toward Gang-dizh with all his armament.
How Kai Khusrau reached Gang-dizh
He drew the army up, gave rations out,
And, mindful of the Giver of all good,
Proclaimed: "Whoe'er ensueth wickedness
Shall writhe beneath the chastisement of God.
Ye must not so conduct you in this city
That e'en an ant shall be a sufferer."
Whenas the worldlord looked upon Gang-dizh
His cheeks were veiled by tears. Then from his steed
Alighting and with head upon the ground
He praised the Maker, saying : "O righteous Judge
A slave am I whose heart is filled with awe
And reverence. Thou hast given me strength and rule,
Grace, army, courage, fortune, feet, and wings,
That I might see my father's city-walls
Arising from the ground. 'Twas Siyawush
Who raised these battlements from their foundations
By Grace of holy God, and when a tyrant
Stretched forth a hand against him wickedly
His murder wounded all men to the heart."
The troops with one consent wept o'er those ramparts,
Wept for the blood of blameless Siyawush,
Who perished by his adversary's hand -
An act which sowed the world with seeds of feud.
Now when these tidings reached Afrasiyab:-
"The world-subduing Shah hath crossed the sea,"
He kept what he had heard concealed till night,
And then without a word to any one,
And leaving all his veterans behind,
Fled unattended, full of wretchedness.
When Kai Khusrau had entered into Gang
His head was troubled and his heart was full.
He saw a pleasance that rejoiced all hearts,
With meadows like the lamps of Paradise;
Each corner had its fount and rosary,
The ground was hyacinths, each bough a perch
For nightingales. All said: "Behold a place
Where we could live in happiness till death!"
The wary king thereafter gave command
To seek the leader of the Turkman host.
They searched the gardens, plains, and palaces,
Employing guides to point them out the way.
The searchers roamed about like maniacs,
If haply they might find a trace of him,
And in the prosecution of the quest
They captured no small number of his folk,
And slew full many who were innocent,
But of the unjust king they found no trace.
Khusrau abode a whole year at Gang-dizh,
With minstrels and with revellers; the world
Resembled heart-enthralling Paradise.
All gardens, rosaries, and pleasances.
The Shah's affection would not let him leave;
He tarried there victorious and glad.
The paladins of the Iranian host
Appeared one day before him and said thus:-
"Grant that the Shah's heart be at perfect rest,
And not a thought be turned toward Iran,
Still in good sooth our foe Afrasiyab
Hath left this shore and gone across the sea,
And Shah Kaus upon the throne is old
Without an army, treasure, Grace, and power;
So if Afrasiyab shall reach Iran,
Full of revenge, who will watch o'er the land?
Should he recover throne and diadem,
Then all our travail will produce no fruit."
The Shah replied: "The counsel that ye give
Is mated to advantage."
The chief men of the place, spake much to them
Of travail past, and him that was the fittest -
The first in honour and most capable -
The Shah presented with a robe of honour,
Intending to make Gang a marchlord's castle,
And said to him: "Abide here in all joy,
But never careless of the enemy."
He then distributed what wealth there was,
Distributed both steeds and hoarded treasures,
Enriching all the townsfolk with their shares;
What armlets, thrones, and coronets were theirs
How Kai Khusrau returned from Gang-dizh to
Now at the hour when chanticleer awaketh
The tymbals sounded in the palace-court,
Whereat the army eager to depart
Turned toward the desert. All the local chiefs,
Wherever there was any mighty man,
Went forth to furnish victuals for the way,
Such as were worthy of the Shah and host.
Along the route whereby the army marched
The valleys and the plains were like bazars ;
No man could venture to withhold his hand
Upon the mountains, wastes, or camping-grounds.
The great men, who with gifts and offerings
Kept coming to give welcome to the Shah,
Upon beholding such a glorious monarch
Approached in crowds to do him reverence,
While he excused them from attending him
Upon the march and gave them robes of honour.
Giv came forth with an army and with all
The leaders of that land to give him welcome.
The prudent Shah received Giv graciously,
With honours such as Siyawush had paid,
And, lighting when he reached the sea, inspected
The sails, and stayed two sennights on the shore
In talk with Giv of all that he had seen,
And said: "Whoe'er hath viewed not Gang hath naught
To make him wish to tarry on the earth."
The Shah then bade his men to load the ships
And, sending first two boats, launched after them
A thousand vessels. He bade all that skilled
In seamanship, and showed a dauntless heart
Upon the depths of ocean, to set sail.
They crossed the sea, the voyage of a year,
In seven months; so speeding was the breeze
That Shah and army made their way across,
And not a sleeve was turned by hostile winds.
Whenas the leader reached dry land once more,
And disembarking looked upon the plain,
He came and chafed his face upon the dust,
Invoking holy God. He lavished food
And raiment on the mariners and steersmen,
And ordered robes of honour and dinars
For those that had endured the toil aboard;
Then took the desert-route while all men marvelled.
Ashkash on hearing brought a host to meet him,
And lighting from his charger kissed the ground,
And did obeisance. They bedecked Makran
Throughout, and summoned minstrelsy, the harp
Was heard in all the ways and wastes, and thou
Hadst said: "The harp is warp, the air is woof."
They decked the walls with hangings of brocade,
And scattered drachms and sweetmeats underfoot.
The magnates of Makran - both men of name
And mighty warriors - appeared before
The conquering Shah with gifts and offerings.
Ashkash presented all the land's best products.
The Shah approved all that Ashkash had done
As ruler of Makran, and chose a chief,
Bestowing on him many gifts and blessings.
When with the noble chieftains of Iran
Khusrau had left Makran and drawn toward Chin,
Came Rustam, son of Zal, the son of Sam,
To meet him with a glad, contented host.
That noble cavalier, when Kai Khusrau
Appeared afar, beheld the parasol,
Alighted from his steed, and did obeisance.
The noble Shah clasped Rustam to his breast,
Told of the wonders seen by him at sea,
And how Afrasiyab, the sorcerer,
Had disappeared. He stayed as Rustam's guest
One sennight and then left Machin and Chin,
Bestowing them on the Faghfur and Khan,
Who ofttimes blessed him. Many a gift and counsel
He gave them and released their hearts from care,
Then took his way toward Siyawushgird
Upon the Ard of month Sapandarmad.
His eyes and heart were full on entering
His father's city. When he reached the spot
Where Garsiwaz, the man of evil mark,
Gurwf, the accursed, and executioners
Had shamefully beheaded Siyawush,
He poured that dark dust on his head and rent
His face and breast while Rustam rubbed his face
In that dust too and cursed Gurwi's soul black.
Then Kai Khusrau exclaimed: "Thou, O my lord!
Hast left me here as thy memorial;
I have forgone no jot of vengeance for thee,
And will ensue it while the world endureth.
I made the throne quit of Afrasiyab,
And I will seek no rest or sleep henceforth
In hope that I may get him in my clutches,
And make the world both black and strait to him."
Next turning to his father's treasure-hoard,
As he had been instructed by his mother,
He opened it and furnished forth supplies.
He stayed two weeks with gladness in that city,
And gave two hundred purses of Dindrs
To Rustam and abundant gifts to Giv.
Now Gustaham, son of Naudar, on hearing :-
"The Shah is visiting his father's city,"
Set forth to meet him with a mighty escort
Of chieftains and of warriors of Iran,
And, seeing in the distance the Shah's head
And crown, alighted and fared far afoot,
While all the host acclaimed the earth's just king,
Who ordered Gustaham to mount his steed,
And thus they went rejoicing, hand in hand,
To Gang-bihisht. The troops received high honour.
Their loyalty was like a fruitful tree
In constant bearing. Shah and cavalier
Were busy at the banquet and the chase,
While all the Turkmans of exalted rank
Had every favour that they could desire.
By day-time and by night-time equally
Khusrau sought tidings of Afrasiyab,
But nobody could show a trace of him;
There was no mention of him in the world.
One night the Shah, when he had bathed himself,
Went with the scriptures of the Zandavasta.
Apart, and all night wept and laid his head
Upon the ground before the Maker, saying:-
"This feeble slave of Thine hath evermore
Some trouble in possession of his soul.
The world - its mountains, deserts, wastes, and waters -
Will I thresh out to find Afrasiyab
Because he walketh not Thy way, O Judge!
Contemning every one on earth as vile.
Thou knowest that he is neither just nor true,
A shedder of much blood of guiltless heads.
Oh! that the righteous Judge, the only God,
Would guide me to that doer of ill deeds,
For though I am but an unworthy slave
I am the Maker's worshipper. I hear
No fame or rumour of Afrasiyab
On earth: I see him not but Thou seest all.
If Thou art pleased with him, O righteous Judge!
Divert my thoughts from any further strife,
Quench in my heart the fire of my revenge,
And make my purposes conform with Thine."
Then from the place of prayer he sought his throne,
A noble youth and of unsleeping fortune.
At Gang-bihisht he lived a restful life
For one whole year exempt from war and strife.
How Kai Khusrau returned from Turan to the Land of Iran
When he had tarried long at Gang-bihisht,
And yearned to look again on Kai Kaus,
He put the country from the sea of Chin
Up to Kibchak in charge of Gustaham,
Son of Naudar, gave him a countless host,
And said to him: "Be ware of heart and glad.
Stretch forth thy hand o'er Chin and o'er Makran,
Dispatching letters unto all the folk,
And seeking tidings of Afrasiyab
It may be that the world is rid of him."
Whatever was of value in the land -
Such as Dinars and precious stones uncut,
Musk, camphor, golden trappings for the steeds,
Slave-boys and horses, thrones and necklaces,
Brocade of Chin and carpeting, and all
The produce of the country of Makran -
The monarch drave before him on the way,
In wagons drawn by forty thousand oxen,
While all men said: "None ever saw such wealth,
Nor hath there been such wealth as this before!"
The army was so great that day and night
The troops were passing over hill and vale,
And they who reached a station saw no break
In those behind them. Thus Khusrau reached Chach,
And hung the crown above the ivory throne;
Then as he tarried one week more in Sughd
Khuzan and Taliman appeared before him;
He marched thence to Bukhara while the earth
Was hidden by his troops. In rest and feasting
One week was spent, the next, lamenting sore
Past times, he donned new raiment and approached
The Fane of Fire built with its towers by Tur,
The son of Faridun. He showered gold
And silver on the archmages and flung jewels
In numbers on the Fire. Then, fain to go,
The happy Shah went Nvith contented heart,
And crossing the Jihun arrived at Balkh,
Experienced in this world's salts and sours;
Then, after he had tarried there a week,
Pursued his march, and left in every city
A noble of exalted rank with troops.
The people decorated way and waste
Where'er the Shah was passing with his host.
As he neared Talikan and the Marvrud
The world was full of sounds of flute and harp,
The people decorated all their cities,
And called for wine and harp and minstrelsy;
They poured down drachms and saffron from above,
Musk and dinars were strewn from end to end.
Thence by the road to Nishapur the Shah
Conveyed the treasure, troops, and elephants.
On all the mendicants within the city,
And all that lived by toil, he lavished drachms;
Two score and fifteen purses were expended.
He went thence on the road to Damaghan,
And all the way he scattered drachms and gold.
The monarch rested for a sennight there,
Inspecting horses, elephants, and troops,
And at the week's end went to Rai by roads
Filled everywhere with minstrel, harp, and wine.
For two weeks he did justice and gave gifts,
And with the third departed to Baghdad,
Dispatching camel-posts from Rai to go
To Kai Kaus at Pars to let him know.
How Kai Khusrau returned to his Grandsire
The heart of Shah Kaus revived thereat,
And thou hadst said: "He is another man ! "
He set up in the halls his golden throne,
And decked his palace with the gauds of Chin.
They decorated all the towns and ways,
The streets, bazars, and quarters of the city,
And all the nobles went to meet Khusrau,
The great men and the chieftains of Iran.
They put up cupolas on way and waste;
The world seemed all brocade of gold. The folk
Mixed musk and gems, and from the cupolas
Poured them upon the heads of those below.
When Kai Kaus with his illustrious chiefs
Had come outside the city the young Shah
Beheld his grandsire while a long way off,
And gave his steed the spur. The two embraced
With many a kiss upon the face and head,
And both of them shed tears of bitterness
For having lived disconsolate so long,
While Kai Kaus applauded that young Shah,
So favoured by the stars and fortunate,
And said : "Ne'er may the world, the crown of greatness,
And throne of nobles be deprived of thee,
Because the sun hath seen not such a Shah,
Such steeds, such mail or such a throne and helm,
Among the mighty none hath borne such toils,
Or viewed so much earth's sights and mysteries.
If Siyawush could quit the charnel-house
He would desire the Grace that now is thins ;
Since he is gone be thou the world's delight
And be thy foes uprooted, heart and soul!"
Khusrau replied: "All was by thy good fortune.
Thins Offshoot fruited, and the grass would grow
From flint for any grandson born to thee."
His grandsire kissed him, teeth and lips, exclaiming:-
"May I be with thee ever, day and night."
Khusrau brought rubies, gold, and emeralds,
And showered them upon the old Shah's head
In such a manner that the jewelled throne
Had all its feet concealed with offerings.
Kaus commanded: "Call the company,
And spread the board within another hall."
The potent chiefs being seated with the Shah
Within a rosary bedecked with gold,
Khusrau recounted all that he had seen -
Things seen and heard by none before that time.
His talk was of the sea and of Gang-dizh,
Which filled the lips of all the chiefs with sighs
For that delightful city, plain, and upland,
With meadow-lands and pleasances like lamps.
Kaus was lost in wonderment at him,
And, estimating what he had achieved,
Said thus to him: "A young Shah's youthful words
Make month and day both young. None in the world
Hath ever looked upon a Shah like thee,
No ear hath heard these tales. Come let us pledge
This youthful star and drink to Kai Khusrau."
He decked that rosary of golden work,
Brought wine and revellers with ruby lips,
And for a week a wave of wine o'erflowed
The goblet in the halls of Kai Kaus.
The Shah, the eighth day, oped his treasury,
And made a recompense for toils achieved.
For those great men that were with him in fight,
In feast and joy and grief, there was prepared
A robe of honour suited to their ranks,
And that the choicest in the treasury.
Then all departed, each to his own province,
Each noble followed by his famous troops.
The monarch dealt next with the common soldiers,
And from the treasury gave them one year's pay.
The grandsire and the atheling next sat
In conclave with the counsellors, and thus
Khusrau addressed Kaus the Shah, and said :-
"Of whom shall we seek guidance save of God ?
We crossed the desert, spent a year at sea,
And journeyed seared of heart o'er mountain-ranges,
But nowhere on the mountain, sea, or desert
Saw any traces of Afrasiyab.
If he shall suddenly arrive at Gang,
And gather troops, toils will confront us still,
Although the righteous Judge be on our side."
The grandsire, giving an old man's advice,
Replied: "We two will mount our steeds and seek
In haste the temple of Azargashasp,
Will bathe. our heads and bodies, hands and feet,
As well becometh worshippers of God,
And to the almighty Maker of the world,
In this our trouble, proffer muttered praise.
Then, as we stand in presence of the Fire,
It may be holy God will be our Guide,
And He that showeth justice show the way,
To where Afrasiyab is lying hidden."
This counsel they agreed to act upon,
Not swerving either of them from the path,
And, mounting swift as wind upon two chargers,
Sped to the temple of Azargashasp,
in white robes, with hearts filled by hope and fear.
Whereas they looked upon the Fire they wept,
As though they were consuming in fierce flames,
Before the Master of the sun and moon;
They called upon the Maker of the world,
And showered jewels on the archimages.
Khusrau, while bathing still his face in tears,
Let fall dinars upon the Zandavasta,
And thus they passed a sennight in God's presence;
But think not that they used in days of yore
To worship fire, 'twas but their cynosure.
Tears from the eyes of worshippers might pour,
Yet, though thou ponder long, when thought is done,
All holy God is still the needful One.
Thus at Azar Abadagan the two
Remained one whole month with their retinue.
How Afrasiyab was captured by Hum of the
Race of Faridun
Now thus it came to pass: Afrasiyab
Roamed to and fro foodless and slumberless,
His soul on thorns, his body but a curse,
Through constant terror of calamity.
He sought for some spot somewhere in the world
Where he might have repose of mind with health,
And found a cavern near Barda', a cavern
Upon a mountain-top concealed from men.
He saw no room for hawks to fly o'erhead,
No lion's trace, or boar's haunt, underneath.
'Twas far from cities and with water near
Call it the cavern of Afrasiyab.
The king in his despair took to the mountain
As being such an unfrequented spot,
Conveyed food thither, fearing for his life,
And made the cave his palace and his home,
Wherein he sojourned for a certain time
With full heart and repenting of his deeds.
Whene'er a monarch is athirst for gore
His tenure of the throne is well-nigh o'er,
So when this king, this master of the state,
This lord of earth, well-starred and fortunate,
Shed blood then enemies grew manifest!
The king that never saw kings' blood is blest.
Now in those days there lived a holy man,
One of the seed of Faridun, the teacher,
A devotee of Kaian Grace and mien,
One who was girded with a royal girdle,
And used the mountain as his place of worship
As being far from pleasures and from men.
The name of that illustrious one was Hum,
A man of prayer who shunned society.
A cavern that was on the mountain-height
Far from the throng was very near to him.
It happened that one day he climbed the mountain
That he might worship God, the righteous Judge,
And as he prayed upon the top before
The all-sustaining Ruler of the world,
And worshipped, vestured in his woollen robe,
A wailing from the cavern reached his ears
"Alas ! O prince! O famous sovereign
O mighty man exalted o'er the nobles,
Whom Chin, Turan, and all the world obeyed,
Whose stipulations ran in every place!
Yet now thy portion is a cavern here!
Where are thy mighty men and men of war?
Where are thy treasure and thy manliness,
Thy valour, courage, and sagacity?
Where are thy majesty, thy throne, and crown?
Where are thy country and thy mighty host
Now that thou dwellest in this narrow cavern,
A fugitive within this rocky hold? "
Hum as he listened to the Turkman dirge
Forwent his prayers and, going from the spot,
Said thus: "This lamentation in the night
Must be the utterance of Afrasiyab ! "
Whenas he felt assured thereof at heart
He sought the entrance of the gloomy cave,
Discerned the cavern which Afrasiyab
Had made his place of slumber and repose,
And then advancing like a savage lion
Put off the woollen garment round his loins,
And with the lasso that he used as girdle,
And which assured him of the Worldlord's aid,
Grasped in his hand, gained entrance to the cave.
The king, as Hum approached, leapt to his feet.
They struggled long and Hum prevailed at last,
Threw down Afrasiyab and tied his hands,
Then going from the cavern dragged him forth
With frantic efforts such as madmen use.
This is a matter that is wonder-worth;
But let wHower is a king on earth
About his own fair reputation think
Naught else-excepting only meat and drink.
Thus after all his luxury and ease,
His power, his army, and his treasuries,
Afrasiyab to choose a cave did well;
If 'twas a net of bale how could he tell?
How Afrasiyab escaped from Hum
Hum, after having bound the monarch's arms,
Bore him from his retreat. Afrasiyab
Exclaimed: "O pious man, thou devotee,
Who knowest holy God! what wouldest thou
With me - a monarch of the world although
I live concealed in this unfathomed cave?"
Hum said: "For thee it is no resting-place.
Thou art reported through the world as one
Oppugnant to the fear of holy God,
Who slew midst kings his brother Ighriras,
Illustrious Naudar, and Siyawush,
That heirloom of the Kaians. Shed not thou
The blood of kings nor flee from throne to cave
"Man of might!" the king replied,
"Whom knowest thou in this world free from fault ?
Such was the process of high heaven above me
That I have brought forth travail, loss, and anguish;
Though one may catch a lion by the neck
He cannot thwart the purposes of God.
Oh! pity me who am in hopeless plight,
And am, however much I be a tyrant,
The grandson of the glorious Faridun
Oh ! free me from thy lasso's bondage! Whither
Wouldst bear me vilely bound? Hast thou no fear
Of God upon the Day of Reckoning? "
Hum said: "Malignant one! good sooth, thy days
Are few, thy words as weeds within a garden
Thy fate is in the hands of Kai Khusrau."
Albeit Hum was sorry for the wretch,
And loosed for him the royal lasso's coils,
While he, on finding that the holy man
Felt pity for a king's bewailings, writhed,
And wrenched his body from his captor's clutch,
Then plunged into the lake and disappeared!
It happened that Gudarz, son of Kishwad,
Was on his way with Giv and other nobles
in state with expedition to the Shah,
And gazing from a distance at the lake
Observed Hum with the lasso in his hand
Disconsolately wandering on the shore,
Saw too the water troubled and, observing
The sorry looks of Hum, said in his heart:-
"This holy man is fishing on the bank.
Perchance his net bath caught a crocodile,
And he is in amazement at the sight."
He spake to Hum and said: "O holy man !
What is thine object ? Make it known to us !
What wouldst thou of the lake unless to wash
That dusky form of thine ? "
Hum answered him:-
"O noble man ! consider what bath chanced
I have my dwelling on yon mountain's top
Afar from men and 'tis mine oratory.
I passed the night, the livelong night, in prayer
Till at the hour when birds begin to sing
A sound of lamentation reached mine ears,
And thus I thought in my shrewd heart: 'Now I
Will rase the root of vengeance from the world.
This bitter wailing in the hours of slumber
Can be from no one but Afrasiyab:
I rose, searched all the mountain and the caverns,
And saw in one the famous man himself;
That luckless one was lying in the cave,
Lamenting bitterly o'er crown and throne.
He sprang up at mine entry from his place,
And gained a footing on the flinty floor,
Yet bound I with my girdle both his hands
Firm as a rock, so that they dripped with blood,
And brought him from the mountain in all haste,
What while he wailed and shrieked as women do.
Moved by his great and lamentable cries
And promises, I somewhat loosed his bonds.
Then on this very spot he slipped my grasp,
And pierced my heart and soul by his escape.
He vanished in these waters of Khanjast.
Now have I told thee all about the case."
Gudarz, when he had heard the whole account,
Recalled to mind a legend of old times,
And full of thought went to the Fane of Fire,
Just like a man o'erwrought, and there began
To pray before the Fire, and offer thanks
To Him who made the world; then told the Shahs
The secret and the things that he had witnessed,
Whereat they mounted on their steeds again,
And full of joy departed from the Fane.
How Kaus and Khusrau came to Hum
The monarch of the world in grave concern
Went instantly to Hum who, when he saw
The crowned heads of the two Shahs, offered them
The reverence that was due, while they invoked
God's blessing on him. Then said Shah Kaus :-
"Thanks be to God in whom our refuge is
That I have seen the face of this good man,
This man of knowledge, power, and mastery."
Hum answered: "Through thy justice inay the land
Be prosperous, may the days of this young Shah
Be bright, and thy foes' hearts be rooted out.
I offered prayer upon this mountain-top,
What time the Shah was passing to Gang-dizh,
That He who made the world would prosper earth
Through him. When he returned I laughed for joy,
And sought God's presence, offering my praises.
At night-time suddenly the blest Surush
Made that which had been secret known to me
A cry went up from yon unfathomed cave;
I heard it and attended to the voice.
One bitterly lamented ivory throne,
Realm, army, state, and crown. Down from the peak
To that strait cave I came and grasped a lasso -
My girdle. I beheld the head and ears
Of him that sojourned there - Afrasiyab.
I used my lasso as a cord and tied him
Firm as a rock, then haled him forth all helpless.
He bitterly complained of those tight knots,
And said in anguish: 'O beloved of fortune!
Relax for me the tightness of these bonds.'
But when I did so he escaped my grasp,
Plunged, and is hidden in the water there !
We must cut oil his foothold from the world.
If he be still as heaven fashioned him
His blood will stir with love for Garsiwaz
What time the exalted Shah shall give command
To bring that brother with his feet in fetters, '
And sew him to the neck in raw ox-hide,
Depriving him of power to help himself.
Afrasiyab, when he shall hear the voice
Of Garsiwaz, will come forth from the lake."
The Shah bade those who mounted guard that day
To go with swords and bucklers of Gilan,
And fetch the miserable Garsiwaz -
The cause of all the trouble in the land.
The monarch bade the executioner:-
"Drag him along and show him no respect."
They put him in an ox-hide to the neck
So that he could not stir. His skin burst on him,
He begged for mercy, and asked God for aid.
Afrasiyab, whenas he heard that voice,
Rose quickly to the surface of the lake,
And swimming onward with his hands and feet
Came to a spot that was within his depth,
And listening to his brother's cries on shore
Saw what was worse to him than death itself.
When Garsiwaz beheld him in the water,
With eyes fulfilled with blood and troubled heart,
He cried and said: "O monarch of the world,
The head of nobles and the crown of chiefs!
Where are thy customs, state, and policy?
Where are thy head and treasure, crown and host ?
Where all thy knowledge and thy might of hand?
Where, are the mighty men that were thy lieges?
Where are thy glory and thy fame in war?
Where are thy joys in goblet and in feast
Since thou hast need to hide thee in the lake,
And such ill fortune hath befallen thee ? "
Afrasiyab thereat shed tears of blood,
And answered: "I have roamed the world at large
Both publicly and privily withal
If haply,I might 'scape mine evil lot,
But ill and worse than ill befalleth me!
Now is my life grown loathsome and my soul
Fulfilled with anguish for thy sake that one
Sprung from Pashang and Faridun erewhile
Thus should be netted by the Crocodile! "
How Afrasiyab was taken the second Time and how
he and Garsiwaz were slain
While these two princes were exchanging words
The mind of Hum, the devotee, devised
A scheme; he went upon a spit of land,
And, when he saw Afrasiyab anear,
Undid the royal lasso from his waist,
And came on stalking like a savage lion,
Then flung the lasso that was ready coiled,
And took the monarch's head within the noose.
Hum dragged him forth in miserable plight,
And loathing life itself, from lake to land,
Resigned him to the Shahs and went his way;
Thou wouldst have said: "He and the wind are mates ! "
The world-lord with a trenchant sword approached,
His head all vengeance and his heart all wrath,
And thus Afrasiyab, the insensate, spake :-
"This is the very day whereof I dreamed !
The sky hath long turned o'er me, and it now
Hath rent the veil that hid its purposes.
O wicked seeker of revenge !" he cried,
"Why dost thou wish to slay thy grandsire ? Speak!"
"O evil-doer," answered Kai Khusrau,
"Well worthy of reproach and infamy !
First I allege the murder of thy brother,
Who never sought to injure noble men;
Next of Naudar, that famous sovereign -
That world-lord and memorial of Iraj -
Whose neck thou clav'st with thy sharp scimitar,
And brought'st a Day of Doom upon the world;
And thirdly that of Siyawush, like whom
None seeth any horseman to recall him,
Whose head thou didst cut off as 'twere a sheep's,
And didst exalt thyself above high heaven.
How was it possible to slay my sire
And not expect an evil day like this ?
Thou wast in haste to work iniquity,
And hast for ill a recompense of ill."
He said: "O Shah ! that which hath been hath been,
I cannot choose but listen to thy words;
Yet suffer me to see thy mother's face,
And then speak on."
But Kai Khusrau replied :-
"Instead of asking for my mother, think
What evil thou hast wrought upon my head !
My sire was guiltless ; I was still unborn ;
Yet was thine evil rampant in the world !
Thou didst behead a king for whom the crown
And throne of ivory wept bitterly;
Now is the day when God will recompense ;
He payeth ill with ill."
With Indian sword
He smote Afrasiyab upon the neck,
Then flung upon the dust the swarthy form,
Whose ears and hoary beard were red with blood,
While Garsiwaz his brother lost all hope ;
Afrasiyab's imperial throne was void ;
The day of his good fortune reached its close ;
Ill came on him for ill. Seek not, my son,
A key whereby ill's bonds may be undone.
Why shouldest thou ? Thou knowest that from ill
Ill will befall the evil-doers still ?
A king possessed of Grace divine will vent
His wrath in bonds and in imprisonment,
For if he sheddeth blood his life will be
Forlorn, high heaven exact the penalty.
To fierce Bahram thus said an archimage :-
"Shed not the blood of guiltless heads. If thou
Wouldst keep that crown of thine upon thy brow
Be clement, let good thoughts thy mind engage.
Consider what the crown said to the head :-
'O head ! in thee let brains and wisdom wed."'
The cheeks of Garsiwaz were wan, his heart
Was full of trouble for Afrasiyab.
They dragged him from the jailors shamefully
In heavy bonds, on that his evil day,
Begirt with guards and executioners
As such a noted miscreant deserved.
When in sad plight he came before Khusrau,
With tears of blood upon his livid cheeks,
The Shah, the king of kings, set loose his tongue,
Discoursing of the dagger and the bowl,
Of Tur, the son of Faridun, fierce Salm,
And of Iraj, that most illustrious prince ;
Then called an executioner who came
With trenchant sword unsheathed, and cruel heart,
And clave the chief asunder at the waist
While all the soldiers' hearts were terror-stricken.
They flung those two like mountains side by side
While folk stood round beholding far and wide.
How Kaus and Khusrau returned to Pars
In all haste from the lake, when he had won
His whole desire from God, the Shah departed
Toward the temple of Azargashasp.
He and his grandsire offered to the Fire
Much gold and murmured many a benison.
One day and night they stood before the Judge
Of all the world, the Guide, and when Zarasp,
The treasurer of Kai Khusrau, had come
He gave ┬zargashasp a treasure, clad
In robes of honour all those archimages,
And lavished drachms, dinars, and precious things.
Within the city to the mendicants,
And those who earned their living by their toil,
The Shah gave wealth as well, and made the world
Alive by justice and munificence,
Then took his seat upon the Kaian throne,
Undid the audience-door and shut his lips.
They wrote dispatches to the provinces,
To every man of name and every chief;
From west to east went letters to each place
Wherein there was a chieftain known to fame :-
"The scimitar of Kai Khusrau hath freed
Earth's surface from the.evil of the Dragon;
The Shah, sustained by God the Conqueror,
Hath neither rested nor relaxed his girdle;
The soul of Siyawush hath gained new life
In him, the world's whole surface is his slave."
The Shah bestowed much wealth upon the poor,
Upon the devotees, and his own kin,
Then said: "Ye men of name, illustrious lords
Bring from the city wife and little ones,
With minstrels and provisions to the plain."
Therewith he gave himself to minstrelsy.
Then all the nobles of the royal seed,
And all the kindred of Zarasp withal,
Went to the temple of Azargashasp,
And there spent forty days with Kai Kaus
With minstrels, harp, and wine. When the new moon
Shone like a gold crown on a young king's head,
The mighty men betook themselves to Pars
To rest from war and strife. In every city
Along the road men gathered round the throne,
Meanwhile the Shah oped treasure-bags till all
The folk grew rich, except the prodigal.
The Death of Kai Kaus
Kaus, assured of peace of mind, declared
The secrets of his heart to God: "O Thou
Above all fortune and the Guide to good!
I had from Thee Grace, state, and majesty,
With fortune, valour, throne, and diadem;
None else, as Thou hast me, hast Thou endowed
With treasure, throne, and an exalted name.
I asked of Thee that some illustrious man
Might gird his loins in wreak for Siyawush,
And saw my grandson, who is mine own Eye,
Achieve at once my vengeance and his own.
This atheling surpasseth other kings
In wisdom, Grace, and height. Since fifty years
Thrice told have made these musky locks of mine
Like camphor, and the graceful Cypress boweth,
I take it not amiss that life should cease."
But little time elapsed and then his name
Remained as his memorial in the world.
Khusrau, the worldlord, left his throne and sat
Upon the grimy dust. The Iranian nobles
Went in funereal robes of blue and black,
Without bright colours or perfumes, afoot,
And spent two sennights mourning for the Shah.
They built a lofty hall ten lassos high
To be the mausoleum of Kaus;
This done, the royal officers brought out
The finest lawn with black brocade of Rum,
And, having poured upon them aloes, musk,
And camphor, wrapped the shrivelled corpse therein.
They set him on a throne of ivory,
Placed on his head a crown of musk and camphor,
And when Khusrau had turned and left the throne
They locked the portal of the place of sleep,
And no man looked on Kai Kaus again
He rested from revenge and battlefield.
Such is the fashion of this Wayside Inn !
Thou wilt not tarry here in toil for ever.
The man of lore, the mailed paladin,
Obtain remission from Death's clutches never;
Be we Zarduhsht himself, or be we king,
Brick is our pillow, dust our cushioning.
Be merry then, ensue what pleasureth thee,
And afterward, when thou hast made that sure,
Seek fame, but know this world thine enemy,
The earth thy bed, the grave thy garniture.
The Shah bewailed his grandsire forty days,
Refraining from all pleasure, crown, and state.
The next day on the ivory throne he donned
The heart-illuming crown. The troops assembled
At court, the chiefs and magnates helmed with gold
Blessed him with joy and strewed the crown with jewels.
There was a festival throughout the world
Because he sat victorious on the throne,
And thus, till sixty years had passed away,
The whole world was obedient to his sway.'
How Kai Khusrau fell into Melancholy
The Shah's great soul became solicitous
About God's dealings and his own high state
He said: "From Hind and Chin to Rum each place
Is prosperous; withal, from west to east,
Mount, desert, land, and sea have I made void
Of foes; the rule and throne of might are mine;
The world no longer dreadeth enemies.
Full many a day hath passed above my head,
And I have gained from God my full desire,
Besides the vengeance that I had at heart,
Yet let me not grow arrogant of soul,
Corrupt in thought, an Ahriman in faith,
And be an evil-doer like Zahhak,
Jamshid, or such an one as Tur or Salm.
Sprung from Kaus on one side, on the other
Sprung from Turan - all rancour and vainglory -
I, like Kaus and like Afrasiyab,
That warlock froward even in his dreams,
May grow an ingrate unawares to God,
And fray mine own pure soul. His Grace will quit me,
I shall incline to falsehood and unwisdom,
And when I pass within the gloom, and when
My head and diadem shall come to dust,
I shall but leave a bad name in the world,
And make an evil ending in God's sight.
This face of mine, this colour of my cheeks
Will fade, my bones be clad in dust, and all
Accomplishment be lost. Ingratitude
Will come instead, and in the other world
My soul be dark. Another will assume
My crown and throne, and tread my fortune down.
A bad name will be my memorial;
The roses of mine ancient toils will turn
To thorns. Since now I have avenged my sire,
And have adorned the world with goodliness,
Have slain who should be slain, because they were
Perverse and hostile to all holy God,
No place remaineth - settlement or desert -
That hath not read the legend on my sword;
While all the mighty of the world obey me
Albeit they be monarchs throned and crowned.
Thanks be to God who gave to me the Grace,
With feet and wings amid the change of fortune.
And now I deem it better to depart
To God in all my glory, and perchance
The Almighty's messenger may, though unseen,
And while I still am flourishing, convey
My 'spirit to the dwelling of the just,
Because this Kaian crown and throne will pass.
None will excel me in success and fame,
Go to Top