Gushtasp's Early Years
How Luhrasp built a Fire-temple at Balkh
Now when Luhrasp sat On the ivory throne,
And donned the crown that brighteneth the heart,
He praised the Maker and besought Him much,
Then said: "Have hope in God, the righteous Judge;
Hold Him in fear and awe; the Artist He
Of yon revolving sky, and magnifieth
The Glory of His slave. When He created
Earth, with its seas and mountains, He outspread
High heaven over it, one turning swiftly,
The other fixed; the Artist gave thereto
No feet to move withal. The sky is like
The polo-stick, we, bandied to and fro
By profit and by loss, are like the ball.
Amid thy pleasures Death with sharpened claws
Is crouching like a fierce and angry lion;
So let us quit the lust of covetise,
Acknowledging our ignorance meanwhile,
And from this crown of kingship, this high throne,
Ensue but justice, peace, and goodly counsels,
Lest haply in this Wayside Inn our lot
Should prove but vengeance, travail, and a curse.
I will do more than Kai Khusrau enjoined,
And banish from my heart revenge and greed.
This do and justice will bring happiness,
Be peaceable and have no thoughts of vengeance."
The mighty of the world called blessings down
Upon him, hailed him monarch of the earth,
And great Luhrasp had quiet, wisdom, wealth,
And all his heart's desire continually.
Thereafter he sent envoys unto Rum,
To Hind, to Chin, and other peopled lands,
And all the men that were possessed of knowledge,
And those that practised divers useful arts,
From all the marches and the provinces
Went to the Shah's court and abode at Balkh
A while at leisure tasting of the salts
And sours of knowledge. He erected there
A city with its streets, bazars, and quarters,
In each whereof there was a place to hold
The feast of Sada, round a Fane of Fire,
And there he built Barzin, for so they call
That glorious temple and magnifical.
How Gushtasp quitted Luhrasp in Wrath
He had two sons, as 'twere two moons, well worthy
Of sovereignty, of throne, and diadem,
One hight Gushtasp, the other hight Zarir,
Who conquered lions, in all knowledge passed
Their father, and in valour raised their heads
Above the other troops. There were besides
Among those in attendance on Luhrasp
Two princes, both of whom he held in honour,'
Men of high rank whose steps were fortunate;
The grandsons of the worldlord Kai Kaus.
The soul of Shah Luhrasp rejoiced in them,
And thereby grew neglectful of Gushtasp,
Who took it in bad part, but folly still
Possessed Luhrasp, and so as time went on
The son was full of dudgeon with the father.
It was so that one day in Pars they set
The throne 'neath blossom-shedding trees. Luhrasp
Invited certain chieftains of the host,
Who at the table called for cups of wine,
And made his heart rejoice. Gushtasp too drank,
Then rose and said: "O just and righteous Shah
Blest be thy sitting on the royal throne,
And may thy name live on for evermore!
God hath bestowed upon thee casque and girdle,
Besides the crown of upright Kai Khusrau.
Now I am here a slave before thy gate,
A servant of tby star and diadem,
I hold not one a man of those that come
Before me on the day of fight save Rustam,
The son of Zal, the son of Sam the horseman,
For none is able to contend with him.
Tow when Khusrau grew weary of the world
He gave the crown to thee and passed away.
If then I am of noble birth appoint me
Successor to the crown and Kaian throne,
And I will be a slave before thee still,
As I am now, and hail thee sovereign."
Luhrasp made answer: "O my son! give ear,
For vehemence commendeth not the noble,
While I recall the advice of Kai Khusrau,
That thou mayst acquiesce in what is just.
' If,' said that righteous king to me, ' a, weed
Infesteth any garden in the spring,
And findeth water, it will grow and spoil
That garden utterly.' Thou art still young
Aspire not thus; speak weighty, measured words."
Gushtasp, on hearing, left his father's presence
With dolorous heart and livid face, exclaiming:-
Then Then cherish strangers and neglect thine offspring."
He had three hundred horsemen as retainers,
All warriors and ready for the fray.
Alighting from his steed he summoned these
To tell them all the secrets of his heart;
He said: "Make ready to depart to-night,
And cease to think, or look, upon this court."
One asked him saying: "Whither goest thou?
Where wilt thou shelter when thou settest forth:'
He said: "With those of Hind. The monarch there
Affecteth me. I have his letter written
On silk with ink musk-scented. Thus he saith :-
'If thou wilt come to me I am thy servant,
Will do thy bidding and be thine ally."'
Whenas night came he mounted with his men,
And started, full of choler, mace in hand.
Luhrasp, who had the news thereof at dawn,
Was grieved and all his joy was at an end.
He summoned to him veterans from the host,
And told the case to them in fitting terms.
"Behold," said he, " that which Gushtasp hath done,
And filled my heart with pain, my head with dust !
I cherished him until he had grown up,
And was unparalleled in all the world,
But even as I said 'He beareth fruit,'
The tree itself departed from my garden!"
He spake and for a while sat deep in thought,
Then ordered that Zarir should come and said :-
"Choose out a thousand valiant cavaliers,
Equipped for war. Toward Hindustan speed ye,
And may that land of warlocks cease to be."
How Gushtasp returned with Zarir
Gushtasp, the atheling, with tearful eyes
Fared onward wrathfully before his men
In haste until he reached Kabul, and looked
Upon its trees and blossoms, grass and streams.
Alighting at that jocund place they stayed
One day and breathed themselves. The mountain-tops
Were full of game, the streams like wine and milk.
At night he bade the drawers bring forth wine,
And carry lights down to the river-side;
But when the world-illuming sun o'ershone
The mountains they departed from the woods
With hawk and cheetah.
In hot haste Zarir
Went in pursuit, with scarcely halts for rest,
Till, as the warriors with Gushtasp returned
From hunting, rose the neigh of steeds. He heard,
And said: "'Tis from the charger of Zarir -
None other - for it hath a lion's voice.
If he hath come he hath not come alone,
But with a gallant host in company."
Now as he spake dust azure-dim appeared,
A standard too charged with an elephant,
And leading all the rest Zarir the chief
Came onward as it were a rushing wind.
He saw and hurried weeping toward Gushtasp
Afoot with thanks and praises to the Maker.
The brothers clasped each other tenderly,
And as they fared along the field they wept.
Then prince Gushtasp, the warrior, called the captains,
Who sitting with him canvassed all the case,
And one said: "Hero of the golden girdle!
The readers of the stars, all whom we know
To be expert among the Iranians,
Foretell in thee another Kai Khusrau
Predestined to ascend the royal throne.
We cannot then consent that thou shouldst be
The subject of the king of Hindustan.
His people are not worshippers of God,
And thou and they will ne'er be in accord,
Consider then if wisdom could consent
To make the Shah the subject of the Raja !
Thou hast the fairest treatment from thy father;
I know not wherefore thou shouldst feel aggrieved."
Gushtasp replied: "O seeker of renown
I am not held in honour by my sire,
Who keepeth for the offspring of Kaus
His kindness, majesty, and royal crown.
There is no place with him for us; he meaneth
No better for us than complete subjection,
Yet for thy sake will I return although
My heart is full of choler at Luhrasp.
If he shall give to me the Iranian crown
I will adore him as idolaters
Adore their idols, but if otherwise
I will desert his court, no moon of his
Shall light my heart. I will elude his search,
And will abandon everything to him -
Both land and wealth."
This said, he left that land,
And went back to the noble Shah. Now when
Luhrasp had news thereof he with the chiefs
And many followers went to meet Gushtasp.
The atheling beheld his father's face
Again and, having lighted from his steed,
Did reverence. Luhrasp embraced him warmly,
And readily accepted his excuses,
Exclaiming: "May the moon's crown be thine own,
The Div's hands shortened that they may not reach thee,
For, like a bad king's evil minister,
He is for ever teaching thee bad ways.
As for the kingship-crown and throne are mine
In name, but love and fealty, rule and fortune
Gushtasp replied: "My sovereign
I am but as a servant at thy gate.
If thou abasest me I will obey,
And stake my heart upon my fealty."
The great men that were with him on his journey
Went to the palace of the Shah rejoicing.
He had his jewelled banquet-hall prepared,
They spread the board and served delicious wines;
They made a feast so splendid that the stars
Rained from the firmament upon the throne,
And every chieftain was bemused and wore
A coronal of roses on his head.
Yet still Luhrasp found pleasure in the race
Of Kai. Kaus, remembering Kai Khusrau,
And still Gushtasp aggrieved shed tears of blood,
Consulting on all points with his adviser,
To whom he said: "Strive wisely as I may
I cannot find a remedy herefor.
If I depart with horsemen then my father
Will send a chieftain after me with troops,
Will in some way divert me from my journey,
And ply me with appeals and with advice,
While if I go alone I shall be shamed,
And have besides a grudge against Luhrasp,
Who joyeth in the offspring of Kaus,
And loveth not his own. If I depart
Without an escort, and a questioning
Arise, will any take me for a king?"
How Gushtasp set off for Rum
At night he put the saddle on Shabdiz,
A charger of his father's, donned a tunic
Of cloth of gold of Chin, stuck in his crown
An eagle's plume, and took whate'er he needed
Both of dinars and royal jewelry.
He left Iran for Rum, for since the father
Preferred to reign the son preferred to range.
On hearing what Gushtasp had done Luhrasp
Was troubled, all his joy was at an end.
He called to him Zarir and all the sages,
Held talk with them at large about Gushtasp,
And said to them: "This lion-man will bring
Crowned heads to dust. What are your views herein?
What course do ye advise? Treat it not lightly."
An archmage said: "O fortune's favourite
A crown and throne are very dear to men.
None else hath had a son such as Gushtasp,
No man of name e'er heard of such an one.
Dispatch in quest of him to every quarter
Some valiant nobles that are good at need;
Then, if he shall return, deal gently with him,
Do what is right, and banish selfishness,
Because the Kaian crown beholdeth many,
Such as thou art, but loveth no one long.
Bestow upon Gushtasp a host of men,
And set the noble crown upon his head.
We nowhere see a cavalier like him,
Save Rustam that illustrious paladin,
While in respect of stature, wisdom, looks,
And sense, ear hath not heard of such another.'
Luhrasp sent chiefs and sought through all the world
To find his son. They went their various ways,
But in the end returned despairingly,
Because they journeyed under sluggish stars.
Luhrasp had all the censure for his share,
The grief and travail were Gushtasp's affair.
How Gushtasp arrived in Rum
Gushtasp dismounted when he reached the shore,
And there Hishwi - a man advanced in years,
Frank, vigilant, respected, prosperous,
Who was employed as toll-collector - saw him.
Gushtasp saluting said: "May thy pure soul
Be wisdom's mate! A rising scribe am I,
Come from Iran, discreet, of ardent spirit,
And heedful. It will be a lasting favour
To ferry me across."
Crown, mail, and plunder are the things for thee;
Tell me the truth and try not thus to cross;
Give me a present or declare thyself;
where are the mien and manners of a scribe?"
Gushtasp said: "I have nothing to conceal;
Moreover I will give thee what thou wilt -
This coronet, sword, charger, or dinars."
The man accepted some dinars with joy,
Set sail, and took across the atheling.
There was a city in the land of Rum
Above three leagues in breadth. Salm was the founder
Of that great seat where dwelt the valiant Coesars.
Gushtasp, as soon as he arrived thereat,
Sought out a lodging in that busy place,
And walked about the district for a week
Among the people there to seek employment
Till, having eaten or bestowed his all,
He went in dudgeon, sighing heavily.
He tramped the city for a while, passed through
A hall, and entering a public office,
Addressed the chief clerk thus: "O friend in need !
A scribe of some pretensions from Iran
Am I, and can perform the office-work
To thy content."
The scribes in that department
Looked one upon another saying thus :-
"A pen of steel would weep, a sheet of paper
Scorch, at a man like this! A lofty charger
Is what he needeth under him, with bow
Upon his arm and lasso at his saddle."
They cried: "We want no scribe here. Go thy
Gushtasp departed thence heart-sorrowful
With pallid cheeks and, heaving deep, cold sighs,
Sought Caesar's master of the herds, a man
Brave, wise, and generous, by name Nastar.
Gushtasp saluted him, was well received
And seated by the master, who inquired :-
"Who art thou that in mien and countenance
Art like a king? "
Gushtasp said : "Noble sir
A horseman am I and a bold rough-rider.
If thou wilt take me I will prove of use,
And stand beside thee too in stress and trouble:'
Nastar said: "Go thy way. Thou art a stranger,
And bast no standing. Here are desert, sea,
And steeds at large! How then can I entrust
The herds to one unknown? "
On hearing this
Gushtasp went off in dudgeon. Thou hadst said:-
"His skin hath burst upon him!" He exclaimed :-
"A man will fare the worse for his desire
To be a source of trouble to his father."
He went in haste to Caesar's cameleers,
Saluted him that was the chief and said :-
Be Be thine an ardent and discerning mind! "
That wise man, when he saw Gushtasp, advanced
To meet him, offered him a place, and spread
A carpet, bringing out what food he had.
Gushtasp said: "Prosperous, bright-hearted friend
Entrust to me one of thy caravans,
Assigning me such wages as thou wilt."
"O lion-man! " replied the camel-keeper,
"This occupation is not fit for thee;
Shouldst thou engage in such a work as mine
'Tis better to apply to Caesar's court,
He will enfranchise thee from such a business,
And if the way is longsome I have camels,
Such as thou wilt approve, and men as guides."
Gushtasp gave thanks to him and turned away.
Full of distress he started for the city,
His sufferings lying heavy on his heart,
And turned his steps toward the smiths' bazar.
There was a noted smith by name Burab,
Skilled in the trade, the farrier to the court,
of influence with Caesar; he employed
Some thirty-five apprentices and workmen
Accustomed to the hammer and the iron.
Gushtasp sat in the shop until the master
Grew weary of him, and exclaimed: "Good fellow !
What wouldst thou in my shop?"
"O prosperous man ! I am not one to turn
My head away from hammers and hard work.
If thou wilt make me one of thine assistants
I will excel them all at smithery."
Burab, when he had heard Gushtasp thus speak,
Received him in apprenticeship, and heating
A mighty mass of metal in the fire
Made haste to place it glowing on the anvil.
They gave a heavy hammer to Gushtasp,
And all the smiths flocked round, but when he smote
He smashed the iron and the anvil also,
And made himself the talk of the bazar.
Burab, alarmed, exclaimed: "Young man ! no anvil,
Stone, fire, or bellows will withstand thy blows!"
Gushtasp, on hearing this, flung down the hammer
In dudgeon, left the smith and went off hungry,
Without a glimpse of food or where to lodge;
But neither do the days of toil and stress,
Nor those of ease and wealth and happiness,
Abide with any. Good and evil here
Are transient, and the sage is of good cheer.
How a Village-chief entertained Gushtasp
Gushtasp was sorrowful and railed at heaven
Because in this world he had nought but bane.
Hard by the city he beheld a hamlet,
Trees, flowers, and streams - a gladsome spot for
Beside the water was a mighty tree,
Its shade impervious to the sun's bright rays,
And in that shade the young man sat him down,
And fretted in his trouble and depression.
He spake on this wise: "O almighty Judge!
Grief is the lot assigned to me by fortune.
My star, I see, is evil, but I know not
Why 'tis that evil cometh on my head."
A nobleman of that fair hamlet passed,
Beheld the outcast weeping tears of blood,
His chin supported by his hand, and said:-
"O noble youth! why art thou sorrowful
And dark of soul? If thou wilt visit me
Thou for a while shah be my gladsome guest;
These sorrows may be lessened to thy heart,
And dried the arrowy lashes of thine eyes."
Gushtasp replied: "My lord! first let me know
The householder made answer:-
What What is the purpose of thy questioning?
Descended am I from Shah Faridun,
The warrior - no paltry ancestor."
Gushtasp, on hearing this, arose and went
With him. The chief reached home and had his hall
Decked to receive his guest, he held Gushtasp
As though he were a brother, and the time
Passed leaving not a wish unsatisfied.
A while elapsed with matters in this stay
Until month after month had passed away.
The Story of Katayun the Daughter of Caesar
Now at that time 'twas Caesar's policy,
Whenever he possessed a daughter grown
To womanhood, well favoured by the stars,
And he perceived that she was fit towed,
To gather to his palace all the magnates,
The sages, and the counsellors - all those
Of competent degree and high estate
Among the nobles - and the moon-faced damsel
Would roam her father's hall to seek a spouse,
But so surrounded by her waiting-maids
That men could view not e'en her lofty crown.
He had three daughters then within his bower,
Like roses in the spring, tall, fair, and gentle,
Wise, modest, and well seen in everything.
The eldest was the princess Katayun,
The wise, the merry, and high-spirited.
One night she dreamed that all the country shone
With sunlight. There appeared a throng of men,
The Pleiades among them and a stranger -
A wanderer of mournful heart and wise,
In height a cypress and in looks a moon,
Whose seat was as a king's upon his throne -
And Katayun held out to him a posy,
A posy bright and sweet, which he accepted.
As soon as day dawned, and the sun arose,
The nobles woke, and Coesar called together
A vast assembly of the great and brave,
Who sat rejoiced. The fairy-faced princess
Was summoned, and appeared with sixty handmaids,
A bunch of fresh narcissus in her hand,
And roamed about until she grew aweary,
But no one of the throng found favour with her.
She went back from the hall to her apartments
In state, but wept; her heart yearned for a husband.
Meanwhile earth grew as dark as ravens' wings
Until the Lamp rose o'er the mountain-tops ;
Then Caesar bade that all the wealthy nobles
Among his lieges in the land of Rum
Should meet together in his lofty palace,
That some one might find favour by his beauty.
Now when the tidings came to every chieftain,
To high and low alike, the same good friend
Said to Gushtdsp : "How long wilt thou be hidden?
Come ! It may be that looking on the palace
And throne of greatness may abate thy grief
Gushtasp thereat set forth with him,
And sat down in the palace but apart,
Aggrieved, and sore. Shrewd-hearted slaves appeared,
Then Katayun with rosy-cheeked attendants.
She roamed the hall with slaves before and after,
And when from far she saw GushUsp she said :-
"The meaning of my dream is manifest,"
And set the rich and splendid coronal
Upon his glorious brow. On seeing this
The minister, her tutor, came in haste
To Caesar, saying: "She hath chosen one
In stature like a cypress in the orchard,
With cheeks like rosebuds, and such neck and shoulders
That whosoever seeth is astonied !
Thou wouldest say: 'Here is the Grace of God,'
And yet we do not know him!
Forbid Forbid it, Heaven ! that a child of mine
Should wrong her race. If I give him my daughter
My head will be abased in ignominy;
We must behead them both within the palace."
The bishop said: "Tis not so grave a case,
And hath occurred to many chiefs before thee.
Thou saidest to thy daughter: 'Choose a husband.'
Thou saidest not: 'Choose an illustrious prince,'
And she hath taken him that pleaseth her;
Show then submission to the will of God.
This was the custom of thine ancestors,
Those eminent, God-fearing, holy men,
And Rum hereon is founded; take not thou
A new way when the land is prospering;
It would not be auspicious. Speak not so,
And by untrodden paths forbear to go."
How Caesar gave Katayun to Gushtasp
As soon as Caesar heard this he determined
To give his precious daughter to Gushtasp,
To whom lie said: "Go with her as thou art,
I will not give thee treasure, crown, or signet."
Gushtasp, on seeing that, was all astound;
He oft invoked the Maker of the world,
And spake to that exalted damsel, saying:-
"O thou who hast been delicately nurtured !
What hath induced thee to make choice of me
Amid these many chiefs and famous crowns?
Thy chosen is an alien, and thou
Wilt have no wealth with him but live in travail.
Select an equal from these noble men,
And so retain the favour of thy father."
But Katayun replied: "Misdoubting one!
Rage not against the process of the sky.
If I am satisfied with thee and fortune
Why seekest thou crown, throne, and diadem?"
They left the palace, Katayun in pain,
In grievous plight; he made a home for them
Within the village, furnished it superbly,
And said: "Content you and be prosperous."
Gushtasp, beholding these things, offered thanks
To that kind friend of his, the pious chieftain.
Now Katayun had trinkets numberless,
And ample stores of gems and jewelry.
From these she chose a stone, such that the eye
Of expert never had beheld the like,
And this they carried to a jeweller,
Who lavished on it praises numberless,
And gave therefor six thousand gold dinars.
They purchased what was suitable or needful,
And lived upon the cash that they had raised,
At whiles rejoicing and at whiles in tears.
Gushtasp's whole occupation was the chase;
He spent all day with arrows in his quiver.
Once, when returning from the hunting-field,
His road lay by Hishwi. He had with him
All kinds of game. He pricked along. His quiver
Was full. All that he had of great and small
He carried to Hishwi who, when he saw,
Ran forth in high delight to welcome him,
And, having spread a carpet, brought out food.
Gushtasp reposed him for a while and ate,
Then went back swift as dust to Katayun.
Since he had formed a friendship with Hishwi,
On whose discretion he relied, he used,
Whenever he went forth to hunt gazelles,
To give that friend two-thirds; the other third
Went to the chief or other village-magnate,
And thus the master of the house and he
Lived in the closest bonds of amity.
How Mirin asked in Marriage Caesar's second Daughter
There was a certain Ruman hight Mirin,
Rich, noble, wise, and prosperous withal.
He sent a message unto Caesar saying:-
"A man am I of rank, wealth, and renown.
Bestow on me thy daughter Dilanjam,
And give thy name and crown new life through me."
"No more such marriages for me," said Caesar,
"For Katayun and that ignoble man
Have stayed me. Now who seeketh such alliance,
Or wisheth to exalt his head before me,
Must carry out some mighty enterprise
That folk may call him brave among the great;
So will he prove both famous in the world
And helpful to ourselves. Let such an one
Go to the forest of Faskun and bathe
Heart, hand, and thoughts in blood. There will he see
A wolf as huge as any elephant,
Of dragon-form and mighty as the Nile.
It bath two horns; its tushes are like boar's.
The elephants themselves dare not approach it,
But they, the lions, tigers, and the brave
Among the people, all avoid the wood.
Whoe'er shall rend that wolf's hide shall become
My son-in-law, my comrade, and my friend."
Mirin said thus: "Within this noble land,
Since first the Maker laid the base of Rum,
Mine ancestors have ne'er engaged in combat
Unless with chiefs and with the massive mace.
Now what with me would Caesar? Speaketh he
Thus out of malice? I will practise craft,
And take all prudent counsel."
Departed to his'palace, and considered
The matter every way. He brought and set
Before him writings, tables of the stars,
And his own horoscope, and there he saw
Upon this wise : "At such and such a time
A famous man will come forth from Iran,
And by his hand three weighty enterprises,
That balk the chiefs of Rum, will be achieved.
He will become the son-in-law of Caesar,
A diadem on that imperial head.
Within the realm two wild beasts will appear,
Inflicting general calamity,
And both of them will perish by his hand
He will not be afraid for all their might."
Mfrin had heard the case of Katayun,
How she had mated with the bold Gushtasp,
And how Hfshwi and that famed village-chief
Were both of them regarding him with favour,
So hurried to Hfshwi, told what had passed
And of the wonders that philosophers
Of Rum predicted would befall the land.
Hfshwi replied : "Be pleased to tarry here
With us to-day in friendship and good will.
The man whereof thou speakest is a person
Illustrious mid the great, and all his days
He giveth to the chase, he heedeth not
The throne of him who ruleth o'er the West.
He came not yesterday to me to gladden
My gloomy soul, but presently will come
Back from the hunting-field and doubtlessly
His way will lie by us."
He furnished wine
And boon-companions. Mid perfumes and flowers
They sat with golden goblets. Now when they
Had drained four cups that valiant cavalier
Appeared afar. The twain descried his dust,
And went to meet him on the field. Mfrin,
When he beheld Gushtasp, said to Hishwi :-
"This man hath not his equal in the world
He is a noble warrior by birth
To have such limbs, such neck, and excellence."
Hfshwf returned reply : "This noble man
Is lion-hearted on the battlefield.
His prowess, modesty, high birth, and wisdom
Surpass his looks."
When he drew near, the twain
Advanced afoot dust-swift to welcome him ;
Hishwf prepared a place where they might sit
Beside the water and then called in haste
To spread the board afresh and brought out wine
To have another bout with his new comrades.
When cheeks were flushed with rosy wine he thus
Addressed Gushtasp : "Great man ! thou call'st me
On earth, and knowest not another such.
Mirin the warrior - a man of name
And puissant - hath just appealed to me.
He is a scribe both learned and well-advised,
He taketh reckoning of the stars above,
Discourseth of philosophers of Rum,
Of regions populous and desolate,
And furthermore is of the stock of Salm,
Can tell his ancestors from sire to sire,
And hath the scimitar that Salm was wont
To carry all his years. He is right valiant,
A gallant rider, and a hero-taker,
And bringeth down the eagle with his arrow.
He wisheth further to obtain distinction
By making an affinity with Caesar,
To whom he spake ; but when he heard the answer
His heart was verily perturbed thereby,
For 'In the forest of Faskun thou'lt find,'
So Caesar said, 'a wolf huge as a camel,
And if it shall be slaughtered by thy hand
Thou shalt be my most honoured guest in Rum,
Shalt be a worldlord and my son-in-law;
Then all the world'will yield to me my rights.'
Now if thou wilt assist us I will be
Thy slave and he will be thy noble kinsman."
Gushtasp said: "Good ! Agreed. Where is the forest ?
What is this beast that frayeth small and great?"
"It is a savage wolf," replied Hishwi,
"Whose head is higher than a lusty camel's.
It hath two tusks like elephant's, with eyes
Like jujubes, and a hide like indigo;
Its horns are like two beams of ebony,
And in its rage it will bear off a horse.
Upon this quest full many famous chiefs
Have gone with heavy maces, but returned
Successless, worsted, and with melting hearts."
Gushtasp replied: "Bring me that sword of Salm's
Together with a noble, fiery steed.
I call that beast a dragon not a wolf,
Do thou too deem it so."
And chose a sable charger from his stalls,
With costly mail and Ruman casque ; he took
That splendid sword of diamond-sheen which Salm
Had tempered both in poison and in blood,
Chose also many presents from his treasures,
And five of every kind of precious jewels.
Whenas the sun had rent its pitch-hued robe,
And left its bower, Mirin, the ambitious one,
Departed from his palace in all haste,
And reached Hishwi just as Gushtasp returned
From hunting, and Hishwi observing him
Went with Mirin to welcome him. Both marvelled
To see his charger and his scimitar.
Gushtasp, when he had looked upon the presents,
Chose for himself the steed and sword, and gave .
Hishwi the rest which pleased his soaring soul.
Gushtasp arrayed himself as quick as dust,
And mounted on the charger with his bow
Upon his arm, his lasso at the saddle -
A noble cavalier and stately steed.
Hishwi went with him and Mirin withal,
The aspiring one, who had invoked his aid.
Their hearts were full, they hurried on and soon
Were hard upon the forest of Faskun.
How Gushtasp slew the Wolf
When forest and wolf's haunt were near, Mirin,
Who feared that fierce beast, showed Gushtasp its lair,
Then turned back with Hishwi, grieved, with full heart,
And weeping tears of blood. Thus said Hishwi :-
"We shall not see that noble man return.
Woe for that breast and arm and neck of his!
Woe for his courage, puissance, and mace!"
Now when Gushtasp was drawing near the wood
His warlike heart was full of anxious thought;
He lighted from his noble charger, prayed
Before the Master of the world, and said:-
"O holy Fosterer of all, who sheddest
Thy lustre o'er the processes of time
Do thou assist me to o'ercome this beast.
Have mercy on the soul of old Luhrasp,
For if this monster, which the ignorant
Have termed a wolf, shall triumph over me,
My sire will wail when he hath heard the tidings,
Will never rest again but be distraught,
Like those that are insane, and everywhere
Be questing and lamenting; while if I,
In sheer dismay, shall shun this evil beast
I may not face the folk for very shame."
He mounted, raised the battle-cry, and grasped
The scimitar of Salm ; with bow hung ready
Upon his arm he made his way with caution
And throbbing heart till he was near the spot,
And then he thundered like a cloud in spring.
Now when the wolf beheld him from the wood
It sent a roar up to the darksome clouds,
And like a lion or a savage leopard
Tore with its claws the ground. Gushtasp, on seeing
The monster, took in hand and drew his bow,
And showering arrows from it swift as wind
He made it as it were a cloud in spring.
When wounded by the arrows of Gushtasp
The beast became yet fiercer for the pain.
It fell, but leaping to its feet came on -
A lusty monster-butting with its horns,
Stag-like, with smarting body and in wrath,
Closed with the charger, gored its sable loins,
And ripped it up from testicles to navel.
The atheling drew from his waist the sword,
Dismounted, smote the beast full on the head,
And clave asunder back and breast and shoulder;
Then in the presence of the Lord of beasts,
Lord of omniscience and of good and ill,
Made his thanksgiving to the Omnipotent,
And thus he said: "O Thou who madest fortune !
Thou pointest out the way to them that err,
And art the just, supreme, and only God.
We prosper and we triumph in Thy name;
All Grace and knowledge are at Thy disposal."
He left the place of prayer, wrenched out the tusks,
The two long tusks, and going from the forest
Alone fared onward till he reached the sea
Whereby Hishwi was sitting and Mirin
In anguish, deep in converse of the past;
Their talk was of Gushtasp and of the wolf:-
"Woe for that brave and gallant cavalier
Now in his arduous fight and stained with blood
In that wolf's clutch!"
Whenas Gushtasp appeared
Afoot, all bloody, and with cheeks like flower
Of fenugreek, they rose with sad exclaims,
Embraced him mournfully, their cheeks all wan,
The lashes of their eyes like clouds in spring,
And cried: "How went thy battle with the wolf?
Our hearts were bleeding at thine enterprise."
Gushtasp made answer saying: "My good friends!
Is there no fear of God in Rum, that thus
A savage monster is allowed to live
Within the kingdom for a length of years,
Destroying all the people in its path,
And holding Caesar as a pinch of dust?
But I have cleft it with Salm's scimitar,
So now all fear and dread for you are over.
Go and behold this wonder while yet warm,
See how the hide is rent upon the monster
Thou'lt say: 'There is a mighty elephant
Inside, as long and broad as is the forest!'"
Then both ran thither brightened by his words,
And saw the wolf as 'twere an elephant
With lion's claws and indigo in hue,
But cleft from head to midriff by the blow;
That one skin would have held two mighty lions.
Thereafter they invoked full many a blessing
Upon that glorious Sun of earth, and went
Glad-hearted from the wood, and came again
Before that Lion of the fight to whom
Mirin brought many presents, such as he
Esteemed befitting, but Gushtasp accepted
Naught but another steed and made for home.
When, journeying from the sea, he reached his dwelling,
Observant Katayun came forth to him,
And asked: "Where didst thou get that coat of mail,
Because thou wentest out to hunt,?
He said: -
"A wealthy company from mine own city
Gave me this coat of mail, the sword, and helmet,
With many a greeting from my kith and kin."
Then Katayun brought wine as 'twere rose-water
For scent, and feasted with her spouse till bed-time.
The happy couple slumbered happily,
But constantly he started in his sleep,
While dreaming of his battle with the wolf
That seemed a lusty dragon. Then to him
Said Katayun : "What aileth thee to-night
To be thus terrified when no one touched thee?'
He said: "I dreamed about my throne and fortune."
Then Katayun perceived that he was born
Of royal race - a king by heart and nature,
A grandee, but concealed the fact from her,
And would not look to Caesar for advancement.
Gushtasp said: "Moon-faced one of cypress stature,
With silvern breast and odorous of musk!
Prepare for us to journey to Ira.n,
To journey to the dwelling of the brave.
Thou shaft behold those glorious fields and fells,
And therewithal the just and generous Shah."
"Speak not so foolishly," said Katayun,
"Nor rashly undertake such enterprises,
But have an understanding with Hishwi
When going. He may ferry thee. The world
Renewed its youth when he conveyed thee hither;
But I shall tarry here in longsome grief,
Not knowing how I shall behold thee more!"
They wept upon their couch o'er what might chance,
No fire was needed, they were burned with sorrow;
Yet when the circling sun rose in the sky
The young folks, wide awake and full of hope,
Arose from that soft couch and questioned saying:-
"What aspect will the heaven wear for us,
And will the world prove harsh to us or loving?"
Mirin for his part went as swift as wind
To Caesar, saying: "O illustrious lord!
Our losses by the wolf have reached an end,
The monster's body filleth all the forest,
And thou mayst see the wonder if thou wilt.
The beast attacked me with a furious charge,
And gat a sword-stroke from my hand, whereby
From head to midriff it was cleft asunder,
And terror filled the Div's heart at the blow."
The words made Ceasar heighten, his shrunk cheek
Glowed as he bade men go with wains and oxen
To fetch the wolf. They found the mighty beast
Cut down from head to midriff with the sword,
And when they haled it forth among the meadows
Thou wouldst have said the very hill-tops shook.
The world was there to gaze upon that wolf,
That wolf ? That monstrous, fierce, and lusty div !
When Coesar saw the elephantine form
Of that fierce brute, he clapped his hands for joy,
And, summoning the bishop to the palace,
Bestowed his daughter on Mirin that day.
They wrote to the patricians, notables,
And prelates of the kingdom thus: "Mirin,
That Lion and that man of high degree
In Rum, hath set it from that fierce wolf free."
How Ahran asked Caesar's third Daughter in Marriage
Exalted mid the warriors of Rum
Was one - a chieftain younger than Mirin,
A man of haughty nature named Ahran,
Of brazen body and illustrious race.
He sent a message unto Caesar saying:-
"O famous monarch ? I surpass Mirin
In treasure, prowess, swordsmanship, and all;
Give me thy youngest daughter as my spouse,
And make thy realm and crown revive through me."
But Caesar said: "Thou surely must have heard
What I have sworn by Him that watcheth o'er us
That this girl shall not choose her spouse, but I
will quit the custom of mine ancestors.
Thou must perform some action like Mirin's
That we may stand on an equality.
Infesting Mount Sakila is a dragon,
Which is that region's bale the whole year through;
If thou wilt rid the land thereof, my daughter,
My treasure, and my kingdom are thine own.
It matcheth with the lion-quelling wolf
Its venom-breath is Ahriman's own snare."
Ahran replied: "I will perform thy hest,
And pledge my soul to execute thy will."
Then to his friends: "The blow that slew the wolf
Was from the scimitar of one of valour.
How could Mirin accomplish such a deed?
But Ctesar thinketh one man like another.
I will go ask Mirin ; that shifty one
May haply tell the shift that he employed:'
So to the palace of Mirin he went
Like dust, with one before him to announce him.
Mirin sat in a chamber, which the Moon
Throughout her orbit bath not one to match.
The ambitious man was in a warrior's garb,
And crowned with an imperial diadem.
The servant said: "Ahran, the elephantine,
Is coming with a train of followers."
Mirin thereat adorned his chamber more,
While all his worthiest servants went to meet
Ahran Mirin, on seeing him, embraced him,
And then began to pay him compliments.
When nobody remained within the hall,
Save those two chieftains sitting on the throne,
Ahran said to Mirin : "Come tell me this,
And, whatsoe'er I ask, dissemble not.
My heart is set on making Caesar's daughter,
Who is the chief princess of Rum, my wife;
But when I asked him he returned this answer:-
'First battle with the dragon on the mountain.'
If thou wilt tell me how thou didst destroy
The wolf thou wilt assist me mightily."
Mirin was troubled and considered thus:-
IfIf I tell not Ahran what that young hero
Achieved, the matter still will get abroad.
The sum of manliness is being upright,
And dark, deceitful ways are cause for tears.
I will inform him. Haply that brave horseman
May lay the dragon's head upon its breast.
Ahran will be my friend and back me up,
Our enemies will only clutch the wind;
Then will we raise this horseman's heart in dust,
And this affair will for a time be hidden."'
He thus addressed Ahran : "I will inform thee
About the wolf, but first of all require
A mighty oath that thou wilt not reveal
This secret night or day, but shut thy lips."
Ahran accepted what Mirin proposed,
And swore the mighty oath. Mirin set pen
To paper, wrote a letter to Hishwi,
And said: "Ahran, who is akin to Caesar,
An atheling possessed of throne and treasure,
And just withal, demandeth Caesar's daughter,
The youngest and the only one remaining,
In marriage; Caesar maketh of the dragon
A snare to catch Ahran and take his head;
Ahran hath come to me to ask assistance,
And I, to help him, have revealed the secret
About the wolf and that brave cavalier,
Who, having done so well for me, no doubt
Will do as well for him too, will create
Two princes in the land, and crown two Suns."
Ahran departed with the schemer's letter
And sought Hishwi. As he approached the sea
The veteran ran to meet him, welcomed him,
Received the flattering letter, loosed the band,
And said thus to Ahran: "Dost thou not know
That 'tis our friends who desolate our gardens?
A youth - an alien and a man of name -
Made his own life a ransom for Mirin,
And yet may not escape, strive as he will,
Against the dragon. Be my guest to-night,
Here set thy candle, and enjoy the sea.
When that fame-seeking hero cometh hither
To-morrow, I will tell him what thou wilt."
They lit the surface of the sea with candles,
And called for wine and meat, till topaz dawn
Rose in the vault of lapis-lazuli;
Then by the sea the famed Ahran beheld
A warrior-horseman coming in the distance.
As he drew near both went with joy to meet him.
Dismounting he requested meat and wine
From famed Hishwi who made all haste to say:-
"Rejoice, illustrious man, both day and night!
Behold this warrior of Caesar's kindred -
The darling of the ever turning sky.
Not only is he of imperial race,
But he hath wealth, Grace, fame, and everything.
He faro would be the son-in-law of Caesar,
And would have one to guide in that emprise.
He hath no equal save in Caesar's kindred;
A youth is he with Grace and thews and stature.
He asked for Caesar's daughter's hand in marriage;
And he was answered by a new expedient,
For Caesar said: 'Be thou a dragon-catcher;
If thou art of my race display thy prowess.'
Before the mighty men by night and day
No name except Mirin's is on his lips,
And only those will illustrate his throne
Who are in fame and fortune like Mirin.
Near is a lofty mountain, once a place
For mirth and feasting; now upon the summit
There is a dragon feared by all in Rum.
It draweth down the vulture from the sky,
Up from the deep the savage crocodile;
Its poison and its fume consume the ground,
And all the region is unblessed by heaven.
Now if by hand of thine it should be slain
The deed would be a wonder in the world;
Nathless, if holy God shall be thy helper,
And if the sun revolve as thou desirest,
Thou with thy stature, form, and might of hand
Mayst lay that dragon with the scimitar."
He said: "Go make a sword five cubits long,
Including hilt, toothed like a serpent's teeth
Upon both sides, and pointed sharp as thorn.
The sword must be of finely tempered steel,
Of watered metal and exceeding keen.
Provide me too a mace, a barded steed,
A gleaming glaive and royal garniture.
By God's victorious fortune and decree
Will I suspend that dragon from a tree."
How Gushtasp slew the Dragon and how Caesar gave his
Daughter to Ahran
Ahran departed and prepared whatever
Gushtasp required of him. When all was ready
The hero mounted, and with his companions
Set forward. When Hishwi saw Mount Sakila
He pointed with his finger, breathing hard,
And when the sun shot out its rays on high
He and Ahran turned and retraced their steps.
Gushtasp remained before the mountain-lair
Of that fierce worm and, having hung his helmet
Upon his saddle, thinking dragon's breath
And death but trifles, drew anear the mountain,
And gave a shout that made the dragon quake.
Now when it looked upon that lofty form
It strove to suck Gushtasp in with its breath,
While he rained arrows on it swift as hail,
And thick as petals from pomegranate-bloom.
It closed with him. Invoking all his powers
The young man thrust his sword adown its jaws,
And called upon the Judge who giveth good.
The dragon gnashed its teeth upon the sword
Deep in its maw, while blood and venom flowed
And drenched the mount until the brute grew weak.
Then, scimitar in hand, the Lion clove
The dragon's head and strewed the rock with brains.
Dismounting next that lucky warrior
Prized out a couple of the dragon's teeth,
And thence departing washed his head and body;
Then as he wallowed in the dust he raised
His voice before the Lord, the Victory-giver,
Who had bestowed on him such mastery
O'er wolf and lusty dragon, saying: "Luhrasp
And glorious Zarir had had enough,
Both soul and body, of Gushtasp, yet I
By shrewdness, courage, and sheer strength have flung
A dragon such as this upon the dust!
My lot from fortune is but travail, hardship,
And bane spread out instead of antidote.
If the Omnipotent shall grant me life
To look once more upon the monarch's face,
Then will I say: 'What hath the throne availed me?
I sought the throne and fortune disappeared."'
With tearful cheeks he mounted on his steed,
Still grasping in his hand his glittering sword,
And coming to Hishwi and to Ahran
Informed them of that marvel, saying : "The dragon
Proved naught before this trenchant blade of mine.
Ye were afraid of that great dragon's breath,
And in the matter of the wolf, but I
Am more distressed by fight with valiant captains,
Exalted and equipped with massive maces,
Than by contending with a crocodile
That cometh from the depths to fight with me.
Seen have I many a dragon such as this,
And never turned my back thereon in fight."
They heard him - young in speech but old in knowledge -
And those two nobles came and reverenced him:-
"O Lion ! never will be born of woman
One brave as thou. The Master of the world
Aid thee whose might hath done the deed for us."
Ahran produced abundance of rich gifts,
With noble steeds caparisoned. Gushtasp
Accepted for himself a sword, a bay,
A bow, ten wooden arrows, and a lasso,
Bestowing everything that still remained -
New raiment and dinars - upon Hishwi.
Gushtasp said: "Nobody must know this matter,
Or be aware that I have seen the dragon,
Or hearkened to the howling of the wolf."
He went thence merrily to Katayun.
Ahran fetched wains and oxen, and consigned
The carcase of the dragon to his servants.
He said: "° Convey it unto Caesar's court
In presence of the great men of the host."
He went himself before the wains and oxen
To Coesar. When they gat the news in Rum
The veterans hurried forth and, when the oxen
Descended from the mountain to the plain,
A shout rose from the concourse at that stroke,
And that grim dragon burdening ox and wagon.
They cried: "This is a stroke of Ahriman's,
And not Ahran's own sword and scimitar! "
They brought forth from the palace Caesar's throne,
And called the great and wise. Then o'er the dragon
They held high revelry from dawn till dark.
The next day when the sun had crowned the sky,
And when the teaks were gilded with its rays,
The bishop came at the command of Caesar,
Who seated him upon the golden throne. -
Then the patricians and the presbyters,
So far as they were men of any standing,
Assembled in the presence of the prelate,
Of Caesar, of his veterans, and advisers,
To marry Caesar's daughter to Ahran,
Her loving mother giving her consent.
Then Caesar, after all the folk had gone,
Spake thus, his heart still thrilling with delight:-
"This is my day of days! High heaven illumeth
My heart, for none will see in all the world
'Midst great and small two sons-in-law like mine."
They wrote a letter unto all the chiefs,
Possessing throne and diadem, and said:-
"The dragon fierce and towering wolf are slain;
Two mighty heroes' hands their lives have ta'en."
How Gushtasp displayed his Prowess on the Riding-ground
In Caesar's palace was a belvedere
As lofty as his own resplendent throne,
And on the riding-ground both sons-in-law
Were wont to entertain his gladsome heart
With polo, javelin-play, and archery,
And wheeling to display their horsemanship;
Thou wouldst have said: "They are consummate riders."
It came to pass at length that Katayun,
Who always took the lead, came to Gushtasp,
And said: "O thou that sittest moodily
Why is it that thy heart is plunged in grief?
There are two chieftains in the land of Rum,
Enjoying treasures, crowns, and diadems;
One slew the dragon mid no little peril,
And never showed his back, the other rent
The wolf's hide; Rum is ringing with his fame.
Now on the riding-ground these two send dust
To heaven ! Go see, for Caesar will be there
It may perchance relieve thy melancholy."
I Gushtasp replied: "My beauty ! what remembrance
Or interest can Caesar have in me ?
He keepeth thee and me outside the city,
How then should he be friendly if we meet?
Yet notwithstanding if it be thy counsel
I will not disregard it, O my guide ! "
Gushtasp bade put the saddle on a steed
That rolled the earth up under it. He came
To Caesar's riding-ground and watched the polo,
Then asking for a stick and ball he cast
The ball amid the throng and urged his steed;
The warriors paused, not one could see the ball,
His stroke had made it vanish in mid air'
How could the cavaliers recover it?
Not one was minded to renew the game,
The Rumans' faces paled and all was din
And clamour. Then they turned to archery.
Some gallant cavaliers advanced, and when
Gushtasp the hero saw them, " Now," he said,
"Must I display my prowess."
So he flung
The polo-stick away and gripped the bow.
Both string and arrow were astound at him.
When Caesar looked upon that noble man,
With such a grasp, such shoulders, and long stirrups,
He asked and said: "Whence is this cavalier,
Who wheeleth on such wise to right and left?
Full many noble warriors have I seen,
But never heard of cavalier like that.
Call him that I may ask hire who he is -
An angel or a mortal seeking fame."
They called Gushtasp to Caesar whose ill mind
Was troubled. Caesar said: "Brave cavalier,
Head of the proud and coronal of war
What is thy name ? Tell me thy race and country."
Gushtasp made no reply concerning this,
But answered thus: "A wretched stranger I .
Whom Caesar drave aforetime from the city.
When I became his son-in-law he banned me,
And no one readeth on his roll my name,
For Caesar treated Katayun with harshness
Because of all the world she chose a stranger,
Yet only followed custom in the matter,
And was disgraced albeit she did well.
Within the forest that pernicious wolf,
And on the mountain that ferocious dragon,
Lost through my blows their heads, to which emprises
My prompter was Hishwi. The teeth moreover
Are at my house, the blows that my sword dealeth
Are proof besides. Let Caesar ask Hishwi ;
The matter is still recent, not outworn:'
Whenas Hishwi had come and brought the teeth
He told to Caesar what had passed, who framed
His tongue to make apology: "Injustice
Is over, youth! Now where is Katayun,
My well-beloved ? Well mayst thou call me tyrant!"
Indignant with Mirin and with Ahran
He said: "Things cannot be concealed for ever."
Then mounting on his windfoot steed he went
To ask forgiveness of his prudent daughter,
And said: "O pure, well-fortuned child of mine!
Thou art my right eye in the world. My heart
Hath no wish but for thee. I prithee ask
Of him who is thy husband and companion
To tell the secret of his home and kindred,
For otherwise he will not speak the truth
She answered: "I have questioned him,
But never saw him on the skirt thereof.
He talketh not before me of his secret,
And he is reticent to every one.
He answereth not with candour to my questions,
And only saith : 'My name is Farukhzad.'
But I suspect that he is nobly born,
For he is fond of fight and valiant."
Then Caesar parted palace-ward and heaven
Turned for a while with matters in this stay
Until the morning when Gushtasp, whose head
Was full of wisdom, rose and went to him,
Who, when he saw Gushtasp, was mute but gave him
A seat upon the famous golden throne,
Called for a signet, belt, and jewelled crown,
Befitting princes, from the treasury,
And having kissed him placed it on his head,
Recounted his achievements in the past,
And said to those concerned: "Be diligent,
Both young and old! Do fully the commands
Of Farukhzad and not transgress herein."
This order was dispatched on every hand
To all the ruling men throughout the land.
How Caesar wrote to Ilyas and demanded Tribute
Now Caesar's nearest neighbour was Khazar,
Whose folk made dark his days. Ilyas, the son
Of veteran Mihras, was chief thereof,
And Caesar wrote to him, thou wouldst have said:-
"He dipped his pen in blood " : "Thou, O Khazar !
Hast lived on us and flouted us for long,
But now the day of thy delight is over.
Send me a heavy tribute and a fine,
With many of thy chiefs as hostages,
Else Farukhzad like some mad elephant
Will come and make the surface of thy realm
Bare as my hand."
Ilyas perused the letter,
Then dipped his pen-point into gall and answered:-
"Such power was not in Rum in days of yore,
And if I ask not you to pay me tribute,
Why then rejoice therefor, both field and fell.
Are ye so heartened by this single horseman,
Who sheltered with you? Know him for a snare
Of Ahriman's and, though an iron mountain,
Still but one man; so do not trouble him
With this campaign for I shall not be long."
When news came to Mirin and to Ahran
About Ilyas, and how he spread his toils
Mirin dispatched a message unto Caesar :-
"No dragon this. to let himself be snared,
Nor yet a wolf to perish by a sleight,
And be convulsed by being smeared with poison ;
Ilyas, when he is raging in the battle,
Will make the atheling weep tears of blood.
Mark how completely this proud warrior
Will quail before him on the battlefield."
Concerned was Caesar when he heard their words;
He withered at their dark designs and said
To Farukhzad : "A man of might art thou,
As 'twere a gem upon the head of Rum.
Know that Eyas is one to conquer lions,
A brazen-bodied, elephantine horseman.
If thou bast strength to fight against him say so,
But seek not to deceive me through vain-glory,
For if thou art not able to withstand him
I will deal with him in a kindly sort,
Divert him from his purpose by mine unction,
And lavish on him words and subsidies."
Gushtasp said: "Why this talk and questioning?
When I shall plunge my charger in the dust
I shall not fear the marches of Khazar;
But in the day of fight we must not reckon
Upon Mfn and on Ahran, for they
Will show their hatred, devilry, and guile;
So, when the foe arriveth from that coast,
Do thou with one son guard me. Then will I,
Strong in the only God - the Conqueror -
Lead on the troops, annihilate Ilyas,
His throne, his crown, his host, and majesty,
Will grasp his girdle, take him from his saddle,
Raise him aloft and dash him to the ground:'
One day what time the sun was up, and streams
Reflected in their depths its golden shield,
The brazen trumpets sounded from Khazar,
And dust rose sunward. Noble Caesar bade
Gushtasp : "Lead forth the host."
He left the city,
Marched with his peers and warriors to the plain,
Armed with an ox-head mace, and as he went
Looked like a lofty cypress by a stream;
He chose upon the plain a battlefield,
And sent the dust to heaven. Anon Ilyas
Observed the breast and bearing of Gushtasp,
His whirling mace and battle-ax, and sent
A horseman to beguile his subtle mind.
The horseman came and said: "Exalted chieftain!
Be not so proud of Caesar for thou art
Thyself his cavalier, his Spring, and hero.
Withdraw thee from between the embattled lines.
Why art thou thus with lips afoam ? Ilyas
In battle is a lion, one that sendeth
The dust up cloudward with his scimitar.
If thou desirest presents he hath treasure;
Gall not thy hands with travailing for wealth.
Choose where thou wilt to rule, it shall be thine;
I will be thy companion and thy subject,
And never break my faith."
"It is too late and things have gone too far.
Thou vast the person to begin this quarrel,
And now thou turnest back on thine own word;
But nothing that thou sayest will avail,
Tis time for battle and the grip of war."
The messenger returned life wind and told
The answer to Ilyas, but time for fighting
Was not, the sun was sinking rapidly,
Night hid the pallid orb with ebony.
How Gushtasp fought with Ilyas and slew him
When Sol had issued from his bower, and mounted
Upon the throne of Sagittarius,
The realm of Rum became like sandarach,
The roar of trump and drum and clash of arms
Rose from the armies on both sides, the field
Of battle was as 'twere a stream of blood;
Then Caesar came on quickly on the right,
Set his two sons-in-law to guard the baggage,
And his own son Sakil upon the left
The elephants and drums remained with Caesar.
The din of battle went up from both hosts
Thou wouldst have said: "The sun and moon contend:'
Gushtasp kept moving up and down the line,
His steed a Crocodile, his sword a Dragon;
Thereat Ilyas said to his warriors:-
"This is why Caesar lath demanded tribute;
He hath a Dragon such as this at court,
And therefore is thus minded."
Beheld Ilyas he said: "Now is the time
To show accomplishment."
Rushed on with lances and mail-piercing shafts.
No sooner had Ilyas discharged an arrow,
In hope to give the first wound, than Gushtasp
Struck at his foeman's hawberk with a spear,
And in a moment pierced his warrior-form,
Dismounted him like one bemused, reached out,
And, having clutched his hand, haled him along,
Bore him away before the cavaliers,
And gave him up to Caesar. Then Gushtasp
Led on the host in mass against the foe,
Advancing like a blast. What multitudes
He slew and captured, while the world looked on
Astound! Perceiving all the Ruman forces
In full pursuit he turned and came with triumph
And exaltation into Caesar's presence,
Who, seeing him approaching, went attended
To welcome him, right gladly kissed the hero
On head and eyes, and greatly thanked the Maker.
Thence they returned with joy. The general .
Assumed the crown of greatness while all Rum
Came gladly to the presence of the king,
And brought him many a gift and offering.
How Caesar demanded from Luhrasp Tribute for Iran
Heaven turned awhile with matters in this stay,
Concealed its purposes, and made no sign,
Till Caesar spake thus to Gushtasp : "Great chieftain!
Consider wisely what I say; 'tis matter
Requiring thought. I will dispatch an envoy,
Experienced and noble, to Luhrasp
To say to him: 'Thou hast without dispute
The treasures of the great and half the world.
If thou wilt pay me tribute for thy land
Both wealth and worship shall continue thine ;
But if not I will send a host from Rum,
Such that thou wilt not see the land for horse-hoofs.";
"'Tis thine," Gushtasp made answer, " to determine,
For all the world is underneath thy feet."
There was a nobleman Kalus by name,
Wise, learned, well advised, and powerful;
Famed Caesar called that sage and said: "Depart,
And tell the Shah : 'If thou wilt pay me tribute,
Perform my bidding, and submit thyself,
Thou mayest keep the Iranian crown and throne,
And thou shah be a conquering worldlord still;
If not, behold forthwith a mighty host
Of Rumans and the spearmen of the desert!
Their battle-shout shall rise above the plain,
Victorious Farukhzad shall be their leader;
I will make all your country desolate,
The lurking-place of leopards and of lions."'
The envoy came as swift as wind; his head
Was full of wisdom and his heart of justice;
On drawing near the mighty Shah he saw
The portal and the splendid audience-chamber,
And when the chamberlain was 'ware he came
With stately step before the monarch, saying:-
"There is as ancient statesman at the gate;
In sooth he is an envoy sent by Caesar,
A cavalier with whom are many spearmen,
And seeketh audience of the Shah."
On hearing this, sat on the ivory throne,
And donned the crown that gladdeneth the heart,
While all the great men of the kingdom sat
Below him, happy in their high estate.
The monarch gave command to raise the curtain,
And introduce the envoy cordially,
Who, coming near the throne, called blessings down
Thereon, did reverence and, himself a man
Of wisdom and of justice, gave the message
Of noble Caesar. At his words the Shah
Was grieved and raged against this turn of fortune.
They had a splendid banquet-hall prepared,
And called for wine and harp and minstrelsy.
The Shah sent tapestries of cloth of gold,
With raiment and with provand ; but at night
Lay down distracted by anxiety,
"The spouse of pain and grief," as thou hadst said.
Now when the sun sat on the golden throne,
And dark night tore its visage with its nails,
The monarch called Zarir who spake at large.
They cleared the hall of strangers, introduced
The envoy for an audience, and Luhrasp
Addressed him thus: "O man fulfilled with wisdom !
May thy soul have no other sustenance.
I will interrogate thee. Answer truly,
And pander not to guile if thou art wise.
Such puissance was not heretofore in Rum,
And Caesar was submissive to the Shahs,
Yet now he sendeth and requireth tribute
Of every realm, demanding throne and state!
Ilyas, who ruled the kingdom of Khazar,
A warrior with the Grace, hath Caesar taken
A captive, binding him and all his host.
From whom hath Caesar learned the path of glory ? "
The envoy said: "I went, wise Shah ! to ask
For tribute to the marches of Khazar,
And bare much travail in the embassage,
But no one ever questioned me in this wise.
Yet hath the Shah entreated the so kindly
That I must not essay to misinform him.
A cavalier, who taketh with his hands
The lion from the wood, hath come to Caesar;
On battle-days he laugheth at the brave,
In banquet he is mighty at the goblet.
In fight, in feast, and on the hunting-day
The eye ne'er looked on such a cavalier.
Upon him Caesar hath bestowed his daughter,
The goodliest and dearer than the crown.
This cavalier hath made his mark in Rum
By vanquishing a dragon; furthermore
A wolf, like elephant upon the plain,
Such that e'en Caesar dared not pass that way,
He overthrew, prized out the teeth thereof,
And kept Rum scathless: '
Said Luhrasp : "Truth-speaker
Whom doth that lover of the fray resemble ? "
The envoy answered: "Thou ivouldst say at once :-
'In countenance he favoureth Zarir.'
And further: 'It is brave Zarir himself
In height, appearance, courtesy, and counsel."'
Whenas Luhrasp heard this his visage cleared.
He showed much kindness to that man of Rum,
And gave him many slaves and many purses,
So that on leaving he was well content,
But said the Shah : "Give Caesar this reply:-
'I march against thee as an enemy.'"
How Zarir carried a Message from Luhrasp to Caesar
Luhrasp mused long, then called Zarir, and said:-
"This man must be thy brother, therefore take
Thy measures instantly and tarry not.
If thou delayest all is over with us;
Rest not and order out no halting steed.
Take throne, a led horse, and the golden boots,
Take Kawa's standard and the crown withal,
For I will give to him the sovereignty,
And lay no obligation on his head.
March on thy saving mission to Halab,
But speak before the troops of battle only."
The worshipful Zarir said to Luhrasp :-
"I will discover all the mystery;
If 'tis Gushtasp he is both liege and lord,
And all the other lords are but his lieges."
This said, he chose a noble company,
The great, illustrious grandsons of Kaus
And of Gudarz, son of Kishwad, as well
As those who were descended from Zarasp -
Bahram the lion-queller and Rivniz -
And those exalted grandsons of brave Giv
The athelings Shiruya and Ardshir,
Two doughty Lions, offspring of Bizhan,
Both haughty warriors of stainless birth.
These chieftains went, each with two steeds, and shone
Bright as Azargashasp. None stopped to rest
Until they reached the marches of Halab,
And filled the world with trumpets, gongs, and tumult.
They raised the glorious standard, pitched the tents
And tent-enclosures, then Zarir committed
The host to proud Bahram, and journeyed on
As one that is the bearer of a message,
Or bringeth monarchs tidings of great joy,
With five wise, prudent warriors of his meiny,
And when he had arrived at Caesar's court,
The chamberlain descried him from the gate.
Now Caesar with the wise Gushtasp was sitting
In dudgeon in the palace and, on hearing
The chamberlain's announcement, granted audience.
Gushtasp joyed at the coming of Zarir,
Who at his entry seemed a lofty cypress,
And sitting by the throne gave Caesar greeting,
And complimented all the Rumans present.
Then Caesar said: "Thou slightest Farukhzad,
And heedest not the rules of courtesy."
The blest Zarir replied: "He is a slave,
Who, weary of his service, left our court,
And now he hath attained position here."
Gushtasp made no reply, but of a truth
His thoughts were on Iran. Shrewd-minded Caesar
Grew serious as he heard the young man's words,
And thought: "He must be speaking truth and yet
The truth alone is hidden."
Declared to him the message of Luhrasp,
Which ran thus: "If just judges grow unjust
I will make Rum my seat, and leave behind
A scanty population in Iran.
Set forth, O warrior ! prepare for battle,
And tarry not when thou hast heard my words.
Iran is not Khazar and I myself
Am no Ilyas, whose people thou hast robbed
Then Caesar answered: "I am ready
For battle always. Since thou art an envoy,
Depart. We will prepare to take the field:'
The glorious Zarir was sore distrest
At hearing this, and stayed not long to rest.
How Gushtasp returned with Zarir to the Land of Iran
and received the Throne from Luhrasp
On his departure Caesar asked Gushtasp :-
"Why madest thou no answer to Zarir ? "
Gushtasp replied: "When I was with the Shah
What deeds I did both troops and people tell.
The best course is for me to go and hold
A parley with them. I will get for thee
All that thou wishest, and will make thy fame
Shine in the world."
"Thou art more wise than I,"
Said Caesar, " and canst best achieve our ends."
Gushtasp on that bestrode his eager steed,
And, crown on head, approached Zarir his brother.
Now when the Iranian host beheld Gushtasp,
Luhrasp's most glorious son, they went afoot
To welcome him, but in distress and tears,
Yet thankfully for their long toils were shortened.
Zarir, of discord weary, came to him
Afoot. Gushtasp embraced his well loved brother,
And with his first words sought to make excuse.
They sat upon the throne in company
With warriors, chiefs, and great men of Iran,
And blest Zarir said to Gushtasp : "Mayst thou
Companion with the throne while life shall last!
Our father's head is hoar, thy heart is young.
Why dash the expectations of the old?
The throne is but affliction at his age,
He hath become a devotee of God,
And herewithal he sendeth unto thee
The crown and treasure; let thy hardships cease.
His words were these: 'Iran is all thine own,
The throne, the army, and the crown are thine.
For me a corner of the world sufficeth,
Because the throne of greatness is another's ;
Thy brother bringeth thee the glorious crown,
The earrings, torque, and throne of ivory."'
Gushtasp rejoiced to see his father's throne,
And, sitting down upon it, crowned his head.
The grandsons of the worldlord Kai Kaus,
And all the prosperous scions of Gudarz,
Bahram too and Shapur, Rivniz, and such
As were of high degree, with brave Ardshir,
Son of Bizhan, who was their general,
A lion-taking chief, and all the host,
Hailed him as Shah and named him king of earth,
While all the warriors stood before his presence
With girded loins. Gushtasp perceived their love
And earnestness, and sent to Caesar saying:-
"Thy business with Iran bath been achieved,
For matters have attained a pass indeed;
Zarir and all the army are in hopes
That thou wilt come alone and feast with us.
We all will join in league with thee and make
Our souls the pledges of our loyalty;
So, if it irk thee not, come to the plain,
For fortune bath accomplished thy desire."
The envoy, having entered Caesar's presence,
Declared what he had seen and heard; then Caesar
Bestrode without delay a windfoot steed,
And sped as swiftly as an autumn-blast
Until he reached the warriors of Iran.
He saw upon the ivory throne and crowned
With turquoise crown Gushtasp who, coming forward,
Embraced him tenderly, and spake at large.
Then Caesar, knowing him to be Gushtasp,
The lustre of the Shah's throne, praised him greatly,
And showed him all respect. They took their seats,
And Caesar made excuses for the past
In great amazement at that wondrous fortune.
Gushtasp accepted all the monarch's words
And, having clasped his head in fond embrace,
Said to him: "When the sky becometh dark,
And it is well to set the lamps alight,
Send to me her who chose me for her husband,
For she hath borne exceeding pain and travail."
Ashamed and weary Caesar went away
To reckon with his own ill bent at large.
He sent to Katayun a store of wealth -
A ruddy coronet, five gems, a thousand
Young Ruman slaves, both boys and girls, a torque
That was one mass of jewels fit for kings,
Five camels' burden of brocade of Rum,
And, in the charge of all that wealth, a sage,
Who, having carried them before Gushtasp,
Accounted to his treasurer for all.
Upon the troops and chieftains of Iran,
Upon the scions of the mighty men,
And every notable and valiant swordsman,
Did Caesar then bestow both arms and money,
With presents to the captains every one.
He oped the portal of the treasuries,
With praise to Him who made both earth and time.
As soon as Katayun had joined the Shah
The roar of kettledrums rose from the court,
The troops began to march toward Iran,
And horses' dust to overcast the sky.
The Shah turned Caesar's rapid charger round
When he had gone two stages on the march,
Made him retrace his steps with oaths of friendship,
And sent him Rum-ward with good wishes, saying:-
"I will not while I live ask any tribute
Of Rum; that country is a joy to me."
He journeyed on till he approached Iran,
Approached the monarch of the brave. The Shah,
On hearing that Zarir came with Gushtasp,
His brother, that fierce Lion, went with all
The chiefs, great men, and warriors of Iran
To welcome them. Gushtasp alighted quickly,
And homaged joyfully Luhrisp who seeing
His son embraced him, grievously deploring
The tyranny of heaven. Whenas they reached
The royal palace at their journey's end,
Like Sol in Pisces, said Luhrasp to him:-
"Look not askance, the Maker so ordained,
And thus perchance 'twas written o'er thy head
That thou shouldst be an exile from thy kingdom."
Luhrasp then kissed Gushtasp and, having crowned him,
Did homage to him and rejoiced in him.
Then said Gushtasp : "O Shah ! God grant that time
May never look on me deprived of thee.
Thou art the king; I am thy liege and I
Will trample on the fortune of the foe.
May all thine ends he prosperous. God grant
Thy fame may never perish, for the world
Abideth not with anyone and each,
While in the body, hath full many a toil:'
Such is this fickle world! With might and main
From sowing seeds of ill therein refrain.
One day a man may be in want of bread,
Another day may be a king instead.
The righteous Judge, and only God, I pray
That from this world I may not pass away
Till in my goodly tongue I shall have told
This story of the kings in days of old;
Then let mine honoured body go to dust,
And my poetic spirit join the just.
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