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PERSIA 1 



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JAPANESE LITERATURE 



VOLUME ONE 



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THE SHAH NAMEH, THE RUBAIYAT 
THE DIVAN AND THE GULISTAN 



WITH A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION BY 
RICHARD J. H. GOTTHEIL, PH.D. 

PROFESSOR OF RABBINICAL LITERATURE AND THE SEMITIC 
LANGUAGES AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 



REVISED EDITION 



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Copyright, 1900, 

3y the colonial press. 



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SPECIAL INTRODUCTION 



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A CERTAIN amount of romantic interest has always at- 
tached to Persia. With a continuous history stretch- 
ing back into those dawn-days of history in which 
fancy loves to play, the mention of its name brings to our minds 
the vision of things beautiful and artistic, the memory of great 
deeds and days of chivalry. We seem almost to smell the 
fragrance of the rose-gardens of Tus and of Shiraz, and to hear 
the knight-errants tell of war and of love. There are other 
Oriental civilizations, whose coming and going have not been 
in vain for the world ; they have done their little bit of appor- 
tioned work in the universe, and have done it well. India and 
Arabia have had their great poets and their great heroes, yet 
they have remained well-nigh unknown to the men and women 
of our latter day, even to those whose world is that of letters. 
But the names of Firdusi, Sa'di, Omar Khayyam, Jami, and 
Hafiz, have a place in our own temples of fame. They have 
won their way into the book-stalls and stand upon our shelves, 
side by side with the other books which mould our life and 
shape our character. 

Some reason there must be for the special favor which we 
show to these products of Persian genius, and for the hold 
which they have upon us. We need not go far to find it. The 
under-current forces, which determine our own civilization of 
to-day, are in a general way the same forces which were at play 
during the heyday of Persian literary production. We owe 
to the Hellenic spirit, which at various times has found its way 
into our midst, our love for the beautiful in art and in litera- 
ture. We owe to the Semitic, which has been inbreathed into 
us by religious forms and beliefs, the tone of our better life, 
the moral level to which we aspire. The same two forces were 
at work in Persia. Even while that country was purely Iranian, 
it was always open to Semitic influences. The welding together 

m 



Iv UTERATURE OF PERSIA 

of the two civilizations is the true signature of Persian history. 
The Hkeness which is so evident between the religion of the 
Avesta, the sacred book of the pre-Mohammedan Persians, 
and the religion of the Old and New Testaments, makes it in 
a sense easy for us to understand these followers of Zoroaster. 
Persian poetry, with its love of life and this-worldliness, with 
its wealth of imagery and its appeal to that which is human in 
all men, is much more readily comprehended by us than is the 
poetry of all the rest of the Orient. And, therefore, Goethe, 
Platen, Riickert, von Schack, Fitzgerald, and Arnold have 
been able to re-sing their masterpieces so as to delight and 
instruct our own days — of which thing neither India nor 
Arabia can boast. 

Tales of chivalry have always delighted the Persian ear. A 
certain inherent gayety of heart, a philosophy which was not 
so sternly vigorous as was that of the Semite, lent color to his 
imagination. It guided the hands of the skilful workmen in 
the palaces of Susa and Persepolis, and fixed the brightly 
colored tiles upon their walls. It led the deftly working 
fingers of their scribes and painters to illuminate their manu- 
scripts so gorgeously as to strike us with wonder at thf 
assemblage of hues and the boldness of designs. Their Zoi- 
roaster was never deified. They could think of his own doings 
and of the deeds of the mighty men of valor who lived before 
and after him with very little to hinder the free play of the^ 
fancy. And so this fancy roamed up and down the whole 
course of Persian history : taking a long look into the vista of 
the past, trying even to lift the veil which hides from mortal 
sight the beginnings of all things ; intertwining fact with fic- 
tion, building its mansions on earth, and its castles in the aif. 

The greatest of all Eastern national epics is the work of a 
Persian. The " Shah Nameh," or Book of Kings, may take its 
place most worthily by the side of the Indian Nala, the Horn 
eric Iliad, the German Niebelungen. Its plan is laid out on a 
scale worthy of its contents, and its execution is equally worthy 
of its planning. One might almost say that with it neo-Pe. 
sian literature begins its history. There were poets in Persi 
before the writer of the " Shah Nameh " — Rudagi, the blinc 
(died 954), Zandshi (950), Chusravani (tenth century). Thert 
were great poets during his own day. But Firdusi ranks far 
above them all ; and at the very beginning sets up so high a 



\ 



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION v 

standard that all who come after him must try to live up to it, 
or else they will sink into oblivion. 

The times in which Firdusi lived were marked by strange 
revolutions. The Arabs, filled with the daring which Mo- 
hammed had breathed into them, had indeed conquered Per- 
sia. In A.D. 657, when Merv fell, and the last Sassanian king, 
Yczdegird III, met his end, these Arabs became nominally 
>upreme. Persia had been conquered — but not the Persian 
.spirit. Even though Turkish speech reigned supreme at court 
and the Arabic script became universal, the temper of the old 
Arsacides and Sassanians still lived on. It is true that Or- 
muzd was replaced by Allah, and Ahriman by Satan. But the 
Persian had a glorious past of his own ; and in this the con- 
quered was far above the conqueror. This past was kept alive 
in the myth-loving mind of this Aryan people ; in the songs of 
its poets and in the lays of its minstrels. In this way there 
was, in a measure, a continuous opposition of Persian to Arab, 
despite the mingling of the two in Islam ; and the opposition of 
Persian Shiites to the Sunnites of the rest of the Moham- 
medan world at this very day is a curious survival of racial 
antipathy. The fall of the only real Arab Mohammedan 
dynasty — that of the Umayyid caliphs at Damascus — the rise 
of the separate and often opposing dynasties in Spain, Sicily, 
Egypt, and Tunis, served to strengthen the Persians in their 
desire to keep alive their historical individuality and their an- 
cient traditions. 

Firdusi was not the first, as he was not the only one, to 
collect the old epic materials of Persia. In the Avesta itself, 
with its ancient traditions, much can be found. More than this 
was handed down and bandied about from mouth to mouth. 
Some of it had even found its way into the Kalam of the 
Scribe ; to-wit, the " Zarer, or Memorials of the Warriors" (a.d. 
500), the " History of King Ardeshir " (a.d. 600), the Chron- 
icles of the Persian Kings. If we are to trust Baisonghur's 
preface to the " Shah Nameh," there were various efforts made 
from time to time to put together a complete story of the na- 
tion's history, by Farruchani, Ramin, and especially by the 
Dihkan Danishwar (a.d. 651). The work of this Danishwar, 
the " Chodainameh " (Book of Kings), deserves to be specially 
singled out. It was written, not in neo-Persian and Arabic 
script, but in what scholars call middle-Persian and in what is 



▼i LITERATURE OF PERSIA 

known as the Pahlavi writing. It was from this " Cliodaina- 
meh " that Abu Mansur, lord of Tus, had a " Shah Nameh " of 
his own prepared in the neo-Persian. And then, to complete 
the tale, in 980 a certain Zoroastrian whose name was Dakiki 
versified a thousand lines of this neo-Persian Book of Kings. 

In this very city of Tus, Abul Kasim Mansur (or Ahmed) 
Firdusi was born, a.d. 935. One loves to think that perhaps 
he got his name from the Persian- Arabic word for garden ; for, 
verily, it was he that gathered into one garden all the beautiful 
flowers which had blossomed in the fancy of his people. As 
he has draped the figures in his great epic, so has an admiring 
posterity draped his own person. His fortune has been inter- 
woven with the fame of that Mahmud of Ghazna (998-1030), 
the first to bear the proud title of " Sultan," the first to carry 
Mohammed and the prophets into India. The Round Table 
of Mahmud cannot be altogether a figment of the imagination. 
With such poets as Farruchi, Unsuri, Minutsheri, with such 
scientists as Biruni and Avicenna as intimates, what wonder 
that Firdusi was lured by the splendors of a court life ! But 
before he left his native place he must have finished his epic, at 
least in its rough form ; for we know that in 999 he dedicated 
it to Ahmad ibn Muhammad of Chalandsha. He had been 
working at it steadily since 971, but had not yet rounded it out 
according to the standard which he had set for himself. Oc- 
cupying the position almost of a court poet, he continued to 
work for Mahmud, and this son of a Turkish slave became a 
patron of letters. On February 25, loio, his work was 
finished. As poet laureate, he had inserted many a verse in 
praise of his master. Yet the story goes, that though this 
master had covenanted for a gold dirhem a Hne, he sent Fir- 
dusi sixty thousand silver ones, which the poet spurned and 
distributed as largesses and hied him from so ungenerous a 
master. 

It is a pretty tale. Yet some great disappointment must 
have been his lot, for a lampoon which he wrote a short time 
afterwards is filled with the bitterest satire upon the prince 
whose praises he had sung so beautifully. Happily, the satire 
does not seem to have gotten under the eyes of Mahmud; it 
was bought off by a friend, for one thousand dirhems a verse. 
But Firdusi was a wanderer ; we find him in Herat, in Taber- 
istan, and then at the Buyide Court of Bagdad, where he com- 



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION vii 

posed his " Yusuf and Salikha," a poem as Mohammedan in 
spirit as the " Shah Nameh " was Persian. In i02i,or 1025, he 
returned to Tus to die, and to be buried in his own garden — be- 
cause his mind had not been orthodox enough that his body 
should rest in sacred ground. At the last moment — the story 
takes up again — Mahmud repented and sent the poet the covet- 
ed gold. The gold arrived at one gate while Firdusi's body 
was being carried by at another ; and it was spent by his daugh- 
ter in the building of a hospice near the city. For the sake of 
Mahmud let us try to believe the tale. 

We know much about the genesis of this great epic, the 
" Shah Nameh " ; far more than we know about the make-up of 
the other great epics in the world's literature. Firdusi worked 
from written materials; but he produced no mere labored 
mosaic. Into it all he has breathed a spirit of freshness and 
vividness: whether it be the romance of Alexander the Great 
and the exploits of Rustem, or the love scenes of Zal and Rod- 
hale, of Bezhan and Manezhe, of Gushtasp and Kitayim. 
That he was also an excellent lyric poet, Firdusi shows in 
the beautiful elegy upon the death of his only son ; a curious 
intermingling of his personal woes with the history of his 
heroes. A cheerful vigor runs through it all. He praises 
the delights of wine-drinking, and does not despise the com- 
forts which money can procure. In his descriptive parts, in 
his scenes of battle and encounters, he is not often led into the 
delirium of extravagance. Sober-minded and free from all 
fanaticism, he leans not too much to Zoroaster or to Mo- 
hammed, though his desire to idealize his Iranian heroes leads 
him to excuse their faith to his readers. And so these fifty or 
more thousand verses, written in the Arabic heroic Mutakarib 
metre, have remained the delight of the Persians down to this 
very day — when the glories of the land have almost altogether 
departed and Mahmud himself is all forgotten of his descend- 
ants. 

Firdusi introduces us to the greatness of Mahmud of Ghaz- 
na's court. Omar Khayyam takes us into its ruins ; for one 
of the friends of his boyhood days was Nizam al-Mulk, the 
grandson of that Toghrul the Turk, who with his Seljuks had 
supplanted the Persian power. Omar's other friend was Ibn 
Sabbah, the " old Man of the Mountain," the founder of the 
Assassins. The doings of both worked misery upon Chris- 



viii LITERATURE OF PERSIA 

tian Europe, and entailed a tremendous loss of life during the 
Crusades. As a sweet revenge, that same Europe has taken 
the first of the trio to its bosom, and has made of Omar Khay- 
yam a household friend. " My tomb shall be in a spot where 
the north wind may scatter roses " is said to have been one of 
Omar's last wishes. He little thought that those very roses 
from the tomb in which he was laid to rest in 1123 would, in 
the nineteenth century, grace the spot where his greatest 
modem interpreter — Fitzgerald — lies buried in the little Eng- 
lish town of Woodbridge! 

The author of the famous Quatrains — Omar Ibn Ibrahim al- 
Khayyam — not himself a tent-maker, but so-called, as are the 
Smiths of our own day — was of the city of Nishapur. The in- 
vention of the Rubaiyat, or Epigram, is not to his credit. 
That honor belongs to Abu Said of Khorasan (968-1049), who 
used it as a means of expressing his mystic pantheism. But 
there is an Omar Khayyam club in London — not one bearing 
the name of Abu Said. What is the bond which binds the 
Rubaiyat-maker in far-off Persia to the literati of modern 
Anglo-Saxondom ? 

By his own people Omar was persecuted for his want of or- 
thodoxy ; and yet his grave to this day is held in much honor. 
By others he was looked upon as a Mystic. Reading the five 
hundred or so authentic quatrains one asks. Which is the real 
Omar? Is it he who sings of wine and of pleasure, who seems 
to preach a life of sensual enjoyment? or is it the stern 
preacher, who criticises all, high and low ; priest, dervish, and 
Mystic — yea, even God himself? I venture to say that the real 
Omar is both ; or, rather, he is something higher than is ade- 
quately expressed in these two words. The Ecclesiastes of 
Persia, he was weighed down by the great questions of life and 
death and morality, as was he whom people so wrongly call 
" the great sceptic of the Bible. The " Weltschmerz " was his, 
and he fought hard within himself to find that mean way which 
philosophers delight in pointing out. If at times Omar does 
preach carpe diem, if he paint in his exuberant fancy the 
delights of carousing, Fitzgerald is right — he bragged more 
than he drank. The under-current of a serious view of life runs 
through all he has written ; the love of the beautiful in nature — 
a sense of the real worth of certain things and the worthlessness 
of the Ego. Resignation to what is man's evident fate ; doing 



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION ix 

well what every day brings to be done — this is his own answer. 
It was Job's — it was that of Ecclesiastes. 

This same " Weltschmerz " is ours to-day ; therefore Omar 
Khayyam is of us beloved. He speaks what often we do not 
dare to speak ; one of his quatrains can be more easily quoted 
than some of those thoughts can be formulated. And then he 
is picturesque — picturesque because he is at times ambiguous. 
Omar seems to us to have been so many things — a believing 
Moslem, a pantheistic Mystic, an exact scientist (for he re- 
formed the Persian calendar). Such many-sidedness was pos- 
sible in Islam ; but it gives him the advantage of appealing to 
many and different classes of men ; each class will find that he 
speaks their mind and their mind only. That Omar was also 
tainted by Sufism there can be no doubt ; and many of his most 
daring flights must be regarded as the results of the greater 
license which Mystic interpretation gave to its votaries. 

By the side of Firdusi the epic poet, and Omar the philoso- 
pher, Sa'di the wise man, well deserves a place. His country- 
men are accustomed to speak of him simply as " the Sheikh," 
much more to his real liking than the titles " The nightingale 
of the groves of Shiraz," or " The nightingale of a Thousand 
Songs," in which Oriental hyperbole expresses its apprecia- 
tion. Few leaders and teachers have had the good fortune to 
live out their teachings in their own lives as had Sa'di. And 
that life was long indeed. Muharrif al-Din Abdallah Sa'di was 
born at Shiraz in 1184, and far exceeded the natural span of 
life allotted to man — for he lived to be one hundred and ten 
years of age — and much of the time was lived in days of 
stress and trouble. The Mongols were devastating in the 
East; the Crusaders were fighting in the West. In 1226 Sa'di 
himself felt the effects of the one — he was forced to leave 
Shiraz and grasp the wanderer's staff, and by the Crusaders 
he was taken captive and led away to Tripoli. But just this 
look into the wide world, this thorough experience of men 
and things, produced that serenity of being that gave him the 
firm hold upon life which the true teacher must always have. 
Of his own spiritual condition and contentment he says: 
" Never did I complain of my forlorn condition but on one 
occasion, when my feet were bare, and I had not wherewithal 
to shoe them. Soon after, meeting a man without feet, I was 
thankful for the bounty of Providence to myself, and with 
perfect resignation submitted to my want of shoes." 



f LITERATURE OF PERSIA 

Thus attuned to the world, Sa'di escapes the depths of mis- 
anthropy as well as the transports of unbridled license and 
somewhat blustering swagger into which Omar at times fell. 
In his simplicity of heart he says very tenderly of his own 
work : — 

" We give advice in its proper place, 
Spending a lifetime in the task. 
If it should not touch any one's ear of desire. 
The messenger told his tale ; it is enough." 

That tale is a long one. His apprenticeship was spent in 
Arabic Bagdad, sitting at the feet of noted scholars, and tak- 
ing in knowledge not only of his own Persian Sufism, but also 
of the science and learning which had been gathered in the 
home of the Abbaside Caliphs. His journeyman-years took 
him all through the dominions which were under Arab influ- 
ence — in Europe, the Barbary States, Egypt, Abyssinia, Arabia, 
Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor, India. All these places were 
visited before he returned to Shiraz, the " seat of learning," 
to put to writing the thoughts which his sympathetic and ob- 
serving mind had been evolving during all these years. This 
time of his mastership was spent in the seclusion almost of 
a recluse and in producing the twenty-two works which have 
come down to us. An Oriental writer says of these periods of 
his life : " The first thirty years of Sa'di's long life were de- 
voted to study and laying up a stock of knowledge ; the next 
thirty, or perhaps forty, in treasuring up experience and dis- 
seminating that knowlege during his wide extending travels; 
and that some portion should intervene between the business 
of life and the hour of death (and that with him chanced to 
be the largest share of it), he spent the remainder of his life, 
or seventy years, in the retirement of a recluse, when he was 
exemplary in his temperance and edifying in his piety." 

Of Sa'di's versatility, these twenty-two works give sufficient 
evidence. He could write homilies (Risalahs) in a Mystic- 
religious fashion. He could compose lyrics in Arabic and 
Turkish as well as in Persian. He was even led to give forth 
erotic verses. Fondly we hope that he did this last at the com- 
mand of some patron or ruler! But Sa'di is known to us 
chiefly by his didactic works, and for these we cherish him. 
The " Bustan," or " Tree-Garden," is the more sober and 



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION rf 

theoretical, treating of the various problems and questions of 
ethics, and filled with Mystic and Sufic descriptions of love. 

His other didactic work, the " GuHstan," is indeed a " Garden 
of Roses," as its name implies ; a mirror for every one alike, 
no matter what his station in life may be. In prose and in 
poetry, alternating; in the form of rare adventures and quaint 
devices; in accounts of the lives of kings who have passed 
away ; in maxims and apothegms, Sa'di inculcates his worldly 
wisdom — worldly in the better sense of the word. Like 
Goethe in our own day, he stood above the world and yet in 
it ; so that while we feel bound to him by the bonds of a com- 
mon human frailty, he reaches out with us to a higher and 
purer atmosphere. Though his style is often wonderfully 
ornate, it is still more sober than that of Hafiz. Sa'di is known 
to all readers of Persian in the East ; his " Gulistan " is often a 
favorite reading-book. 

The heroic and the didactic are, however, not the only forms 
in which the genius of Persian poetry loved to clothe itself. 
From the earliest times there were poets who sung of love 
and of wine, of youth and of nature, with no thought of draw- 
ing a moral, or illustrating a tale. From the times of Rudagi 
and the Samanide princes (tenth century), these poets of sen- 
timent sang their songs and charmed the ears of their hearers. 
Even Firdusi showed, in some of his minor poems, that joyous 
look into and upon the world which is the soul of all lyric 
poetry. But of all the Persian lyric poets. Shams al-Din Mo- 
hammed Hafiz has been declared by all to be the greatest. 
Though the storms of war and the noise of strife beat all about 
his country and even disturbed the peace of his native place 
— no trace of all this can be found in the poems of Hafiz — as 
though he were entirely removed from all that went on about 
him, though seeing just the actual things of life. He was, to 
all appearance, unconcerned: glad only to live and to sing. 
At Shiraz he was born ; at Shiraz he died. Only once, it is 
recorded, did he leave his native place, to visit the brother of 
his patron in Yezd. He was soon back again : travel had no 
inducement for him. The great world outside could oflFer him 
nothing more thaa his wonted haunts in Shiraz. It is further 
said that he put on the garb of a Dervish ; but he was alto- 
gether free of the Dervish's conceit. " The ascetic is the ser- 
pent of his age " is a saying put into his mouth. 



xii LITERATURE OF PERSIA 

He had in him much that resembled Omar Khayyam ; but 
he was not a philosopher. Therefore, in the East at least, his 
" Divan " is more popular than the Quatrains of Omar ; his 
songs are sung where Omar's name is not heard. He is sub- 
stantially a man of melody — with much mannerism, it is true, 
in his melody — but filling whatever he says with a wealth of 
charming imagery and clothing his verse in delicate rhythms. 
Withal a man, despite his boisterous gladsomeness and his 
overflowing joy in what the present has to offer, in whom 
there is nothing common, nothing low. " The Garden of Para- 
dise may be pleasant," he tells us, " but forget not the shade 
of the willow-tree and the fair margin of the fruitful field." 
He is very human; but his humanity is deeply ethical in 
character. 

Much more than Omar and Sa'di, Hafiz was a thorough 
Sufi. " In one and the same song you write of wine, of 
Sufism, and of the object of your affection," is what Shah 
Shuja said to him once. In fact, we are often at an entire 
loss to tell where reality ends and Sufic vacuity commences. 
For this Mystic philosophy that we call Sufism patched up a 
sort of peace between the old Persian and the conquering 
Mohammedan. By using veiled language, by taking all the 
every-day things of life as mere symbols of the highest tran- 
scendentalism, it was possible to be an observing Moham- 
medan in the flesh, whilst the mind wandered in the realms of 
pure fantasy and speculation. While enjoying Hafiz, then, 
and bathing in his wealth of picture, one is at a loss to tell 
whether the bodies he describes are of flesh and blood, or in- 
corporeal ones with a mystic background ; whether the wine 
of which he sings really runs red, and the love he describes is 
really centred upon a mortal being. Yet, when he says of him- 
self, " Open my grave when I am dead, and thou shalt see a 
cloud of smoke rising out from it ; then shalt thou know that 
the fire still burns in my dead heart — yea, it has set my very 
winding-sheet alight," there is a ring of reality in the sub- 
stance which pierces through the extravagant imagery. This 
the Persians themselves have always felt; and they will not 
be far from the truth in regarding Hafiz with a very peculiar 
affection as the writer who, better than anyone else, is the poet 
of their gay moments and the boon companion of their feasts. 

Firdusi, Omar, Sa'di, Hafiz, are names of which any lit- 



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION 



xiu 



erature may be proud. None like unto them rose again in 
Persia, if we except the great Jami, At the courts of Shah 
Abbas the Great (1588- 1629) and of Akbar of India (1556- 
1605), an attempt to revive Persian letters was indeed made. 
But nothing came that could in any measure equal the hey- 
day of the great poets. The political downfall of Persia has 
effectually prevented the coming of another spring and sum- 
mer. The pride of the land of the Shah must now rest in 
its past. 




Columbia University, June 11, 1900. 



CONTENTS 



THE SHAH NAMEH 

FACE 

Introduction 3 

Kaiumers 7 

Husheng 9 

Tahumers lo 

Jemshid 1 1 

Mirtas-Tazi, and His Son Zohak 13 

Kavah, the Blacksmith 31 

Feridiin 35 

Feridun and His Three Sons. 37 

Miniichihr 43 

Zal, the Son of Sam 50 

The Dream of Sam 51 

Rudabeh 54 

Death of Minuchihr 68 

Nauder 6g 

Afrasiyab Marches against Nauder 72 

Afrasiyab 75 

Zau 78 

<jrarshasp 78 

Kai-Kobad 84 

Kai-Kaus 88 

The Seven Labors of Rustem 93 

Invasion of Iran by Afrasiyab 107 

The Return of Kai-Kaus 109 

Story of Sohrab 115 

The Story of Saiawush 157 

Kai-Khosrau 189 

Akwan Diw 206 

The Story of Byzun and Manijeh 210 

Barzu, and His Conflict with Rustem 224 

Susen and Afrasiyab 233 

The Expedition of Gudarz 240 

The Death of Afrasiyab 245 

The Death of Kai-Khosr4u 247 

XV 



xvi LITERATURE OF PERSIA 

PAGE 

Lohurasp 250 

Gushtasp, and the Faith of Zerdusht 260 

The Heft- Khan of Isfendiyar 273 

Capture of the Brazen Fortress 284 

The Death of Isfendiyar 307 

The Death of Rustem 311 

Bahman 315 

Humai and the Birth of Darab 318 

Darab and Dara 323 

Sikander 325 

Firdusi's Invocation 334 

Firdusi's Satire on Mahmiid 336 



THE RUBAIYAT 

Introduction 341 

Omar KJiayyam 345 

The Rubaiyat 349 



THE DIVAN 

Introduction 365 

Fragment by Hafiz 369 

The Divan 371 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

Sir WILIJAM Jones . . . . . . Frontispiece 

Photogravure from a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds 

The Muezzin 338 

Photograviure from the original painting 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



BY 



FIRDUS: 

(Abul Kasim Mansur) 
[Translated into English by James Atkinson] 



The system of Sir William Jones in the printing of Oriental words 
has been kept in view in the following work, viz.: The letter a repre- 
sents the short vowel as in bat, d with an accent the broad sound of a in 
hall, i as in lily, i with an accent as in police, u as in bull, u with an accent 
as in rude, 6 with an accent as o in pole, the diphthong at as in aisle, au as 
in the German word kraut or ou in liouse. 



INTRODUCTION 

WHEN Sir John Lubbock, in the Hst of a hundred books 
which he published, in the year 1886, as containing 
the best hundred worth reading, mentioned the " Shah 
Nameh " or " Book of Kings," written by the Persian poet Fir- 
dusi, it is doubtful whether many of his readers had even heard 
of such a poem or of its author. Yet Firdusi, " The Poet of 
Paradise " (for such is the meaning of this pen-name), is as 
much the national poet of Persia as Dante is of Italy or Shake- 
speare of England. Abul Kasim Mansur is indeed a genuine 
epic poet, and for this reason his work is of genuine interest to 
the lovers of Homer, Vergil, and Dante. The qualities that 
go to make up an epic poem are all to be found in this work 
of the Persian bard. In the first place, the " Shah Nameh " is 
written by an enthusiastic patriot, who glorifies his country, 
and by that means has become recognized as the national poet 
of Persia. In the second place, the poem presents us with a 
complete view of a certain definite phase, and complete era of 
civilization ; in other words, it is a transcript from the life ; a 
portrait-gallery of distinct and unique individuals; a descrip- 
tion of what was once an actual society. We find in it deline- 
ated the Persia of the heroic age, an age of chivalry, eclipsing, 
in romantic emotion, deeds of daring, scenes of love and vio- 
lence, even the mediaeval chivalry of France and Spain. 
Again, this poem deals principally with the adventures of one 
man. For all other parts of the work are but accessories to 
the single figure of Rustem, the heroic personage whose super- 
human strength, dignity, and beauty make him to be a verita- 
ble Persian Achilles. But when we regard the details of this 
work we see how deeply the literary posterity of Homer are 
indebted to the Father of European Poetry. The fantastic 
crowd of demons, peris, and necromancers that appear as the 
supernatural machinery of the Shah Nameh, such grotesque 

3 



4 THE SHAH nAmEH 

fancies as the serpents that grew from the shoulders of King 
Zodak, or the ladder of Zerdusht, on which he mounted from 
earth to heaven — all these and a hundred other fancies com- 
pare unfavorably with the reserve of Homer, in his use of such 
a personage as Circe, and the human grace and dignity which 
he lends to that genial circle on Olympus, whose inextinguish- 
able laughter is called forth by the halting wine-bearer a god 
like themselves. While we read the " Shah Nameh " with keen 
interest, because from its study the mind is enlargd and stimu- 
lated by new scenes, new ideas and unprecedented situations, 
we feel grateful that the battle of Salamis stopped the Persian 
invasion of Europe, which would doubtless have resulted in 
changing the current of literature from that orderly and stately 
course which it had taken from its fountain in a Greek Par- 
nassus, and diverted it into the thousand brawding rills of Per- 
sian fancy and exaggeration. 

It is a hundred years ago that a certain physician in the em- 
ployment of the East India Company, who then represented 
British supremacy in Bengal and Calcutta, published the " Story 
of Sohrab," a poem in heroic couplets, being a translation of 
the most pathetic episode in the " Shah Nameh." If we compare 
this English poem with Jules Mohl's literal translation of the 
Persian epic into French, we find that James Atkinson stands 
very much in the same relation to Firdusi as Pope does to 
Homer. It would be indeed absurd for an English writer to 
attempt to conform, in an English version, to the vagaries of 
Persian idiom, or even to attempt a literal rendering of the 
Persian trope. The manner of a poet can never be faithfully 
reproduced in a translation, but all that is really valuable, really 
affecting, in an epic poem will survive transfusion into the 
frank and natural idiom of another tongue. We say epic 
poem, because one of the distinguishing features in this form 
of literary expression is that its action hinges on those funda- 
mental passions of humanity, that " touch which makes the 
whole world kin," whose alphabet is the same in every latitude. 
The publication of " Sohrab " was nevertheless the revelation of 
a new world to London coteries, and the influence of Mr. Atkin- 
son's work can be traced as well in the Persian pastorals of 
Collins as in the oriental poems of Southey and Moore. This 
metrical version of " Sohrab " is the only complete episode of the 



INTRODUCTION 5 

Shah Nameh contained in the present collection. When we 
consider that the Persian original consists of some one hundred 
and twenty thousand lines, it will easily be understood that a 
literal rendering of the whole would make a volume whose 
bulk would put it far out of reach to the general reader. At- 
kinson has very wisely furnished us with a masterly resume of 
the chief episodes, each of which he outlines in prose, occa- 
sionally flashing out into passages of sparkling verse, which 
run through the narrative like golden threads woven into the 
tissue of some storied tapestry. The literary style of the trans- 
lator is admirable. Sometimes, as when he describes the tent 
of Manijeh, he becomes as simple and direct as Homer in de- 
picting the palace of Alcinous. The language of his Sohrab 
recalls the pathos of Vergil's Nisus and Euryalus, and the 
paternal love and despair of Dante's Ugolino. But in Rustem 
the tears of anguish and sorrow seem to vanish like morning 
dew, in the excitement of fresh adventure, and human feeling, 
as depicted by Firdusi, lacks not only the refined gradations, 
but also the intensity, which we see in the Florentine poet. 
Atkinson's versification is rather that of Queen Anne's time 
than what we of the Victorian age profess to admire in Brown- 
ing and Tennyson. But it is one of the chief praises of Tenny- 
son that he has treated Sir Thomas Malory very much in the 
same way as Mr. Atkinson has treated Abul Kasim Mansur, 
by bringing the essential features of an extinct society within 
the range of modern vision, and into touch with modern sym- 
pathies. All that is of value in Firdusi, to the reader of to-day, 
will be found in this version of Atkinson, while the philologist 
or the antiquarian can satisfy their curiosity either in the orig- 
inal, or in the French versions whose fidelity is above suspicion. 
For it is bare justice to say that James Atkinson's Firdusi is 
one of those translations, even though it be at the same time an 
abridgment, which have taken their place in the rank of Brit- 
ish classics. It is the highest praise that can be gfiven to a 
work of this character to say that it may be placed on the book- 
shelf side by side with Jeremy Collier's " Marcus Aurelius," 
Leland's " Demosthenes," and the " Montaigne " of Charles 
Cotton. It embalms the genuine spirit and life of an Oriental 
poem in the simple yet tasteful form of English narrative. 
The blending of verse and prose is a happy expedient. If 



6 THE SHAH nAmEH 

we may use the metaphor of Horace, we should say, that Mr. 
Atkinson alternately trudges along on foot, and rises on the 
wings of verse into the upper air. The reader follows with 
pleasure both his march and his flight, and reaches the end 
of the volume with the distinct impression that he has been 
reading a Persian poem, and all the while forgotten that it 
was written in the English language. 

E. W. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



KAIUMERS 

ACCORDING to the traditions of former ages, recorded 
in the Bastan-nameh, the first person who established 
a code of laws and exercised the functions of a mon- 
arch in Persia, was Kaiumers. It is said that he dwelt among 
the mountains, and that his garments were made of the skins 
of beasts. 

His reign was thirty years, and o'er the earth 
He spread the blessings of paternal sway; 
Wild animals, obsequious to his will. 
Assembled round his throne, and did him homage. 
He had a son named Saiamuk, a youth 
Of lovely form and countenance, in war 
Brave and accomplished, and the dear delight 
Of his fond father, who adored the boy. 
And only dreaded to be parted from him. 
So is it ever with the world — the parent 
Still doating on his oflFspring. Kaiumers 
Had not a foe, save one, a hideous Demon, 
Who viewed his power with envy, and aspired 
To work his ruin. He, too, had a son, 
Fierce as a wolf, whose days were dark and bitter, 
Because the favoring heavens in kinder mood 
Smiled on the monarch and his gallant heir. 
— When Saiamuk first heard the Demon's aim 
Was to o'erthrow his father and himself, 
Surprise and indignation filled his heart, 
And speedily a martial force he raised. 
To punish the invader. Proudly garbed 
In leopard's skin, he hastened to the war; 
But when the combatants, with eager mien, 
Impatient met upon the battle-field. 
And both together tried their utmost strength, 
Down from his enemy's dragon-grasp soon fell 
The luckless son of royal Kaiumers, 
Vanquished and lifeless. Sad, unhappy fate! 
7 



8 FIRDUSI 

Disheartened by this disastrous event, the army immedi- 
ately retreated, and returned to Kaiiimers, who wept bitterly 
for the loss of his son, and continued a long time inconsol- 
able. But after a year had elapsed a mysterious voice ad- 
dressed him, saying : — " Be patient, and despair not — thou 
hast only to send another army against the Demons, and the 
triumph and the victory will be thine. 

Drive from the earth that Demon horrible. 
And sorrow will be rooted from thy heart." 

Saiamuk left a son whose name was Hiisheng, whom the 
king loved much more even than his father. 

Husheng his name. There seemed in him combined. 

Knowledge and goodness eminent. To him 

Was given his father's dignity and station. 

And the old man, his grandsire, scarcely deigned 

To look upon another, his affection 

For him was so unbounded. 

Kaiiimers having appointed Husheng the leader of the 
army, the young hero set out with an immense body of troops 
to engage the Demon and his son. It is said that at that 
time every species of animal, wild and tame, was obedient 
to his command. 

The savage beasts, and those of gentler kind. 
Alike reposed before him, and appeared 
To do him homage. 

The wolf, the tiger, the lion, the panther, and even the fowls 
of the air, assembled in aid of him, and he, by the blessing 
of God, slew the Demon and his offspring with his own hand. 
After which the army of Kaiiimers, and the devouring animals 
that accompanied him in his march, defeated and tore to pieces 
the scattered legions of the enemy. Upon the death of Kaiii- 
mers Husheng ascended the throne of Persia. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



HUSHENG 

IT is recorded that Husheng was the first who brought out 
fire from stone, and from that circumstance he founded 
the rehgion of the Fire-worshippers, calHng the flame 
which was produced, the Light of the Divinity. The accidental 
discovery of this element is thus described : — 

Passing, one day, towards the mountain's side. 

Attended by his train, surprised he saw 

Something in aspect terrible — ^its eyes 

Fountains of blood; its dreadful mouth sent forth 

Volumes of smoke that darkened all the air. 

Fixing his gaze upon that hideous form. 

He seized a stone, and with prodigious force 

Hurling it, chanced to strike a jutting rock. 

Whence sparks arose, and presently a fire 

O'erspread the plain, in which the monster perished. 

— Thus Husheng found the element which shed 

Light through the world. The monarch prostrate bowed. 

Praising the great Creator, for the good 

Bestowed on man, and, pious, then he said, 

" This is the Light from Heaven, sent down from God; 

If ye be wise, adore and worship it ! " 

It is also related that, in the evening of the day on which 
the luminous flash appeared to him from the stone, he lighted 
an immense fire, and, having made a royal entertainment, he 
called it the Festival of Siddeh. By him the art of the black- 
smith was discovered, and he taught river and streamlet to 
supply the towns, and irrigate the fields for the purposes of 
cultivation. And he also brought into use the fur of the sable, 
and the squirrel, and the ermine. Before his time mankind 
had nothing for food but fruit, and the leaves of trees and the 
skins of animals for clothing. He introduced, and taught his 
people, the method of making bread, and the art of cookery. 

Then ate they their own bread, for it was good, 
And they were grateful to their benefactor; 
Mild laws were framed — the very land rejoiced. 
Smiling with cultivation; all the world 
Remembering Husheng's virtues. 

The period of his government is said to have lasted forty 
years, and he was succeeded by his son, Tahumers. 



lo FIRDUSI 



TAHUMERS 

THIS sovereigpi was also called Diw-bund, or the Binder 
of Demons. He assembled together all the wise men 
in his dominions, to consider and deliberate upon what- 
ever might be of utility and advantage to the people of God. 
In his days wool was spun and woven, and garments and car- 
pets manufatcured, and various animals, such as panthers, fal- 
cons, hawks, and syagoshes, were tamed, and taught to assist 
in the sports of the field. Tahumers had also a vizir, renowned 
for his wisdom and understanding. Having one day charmed 
a Demon into his power by philters and magic, he conveyed 
him to Tahumers ; upon which, the brethren and allies of the 
prisoner, feeling ashamed and degraded by the insult, col- 
lected an army, and went to war against the king. Tahumers 
was equally in wrath when he heard of these hostile proceed- 
ings, and having also gathered together an army on his part, 
presented himself before the enemy. The name of the leader 
of the Demons was Ghii. On one side the force consisted of 
fire, and smoke, and Demons ; on the other, brave and mag- 
nanimous warriors. Tahumers lifted his mace, as soon as he 
was opposed to the enemy, and giving Ghu a blow on the 
head, killed him on the spot. The other Demons being taken 
prisoners, he ordered them to be destroyed; but they peti- 
tioned for mercy, promising, if their lives were spared, that 
they would teach him a wonderful art. Tahumers assented, 
and they immediately brought their books, and pens and ink, 
and instructed him how to read and write. 

They taught him letters, and his eager mind 
With learning was illumined. The world was blest 
With quiet and repose, Peris and Demons 
Submitting to his will. 

The reign of Tahumers lasted thirty years, and after him 
the monarchy descended to Jemshid, his son. 



THE SHAH NAMEH n 



JEMSHID 

JEMSHID was eminently distinguished for learning and 
wisdom. It is said that coats of mail, cuirasses, and 
swords and various kinds of armor were invented and 
manufactured in his time, and also that garments of silk were 
made and worn by his people. 

Helmets and swords, with curious art they made. 

Guided by Jemshid's skill; and silks and linen 

And robes of fur and ermine. Desert lands 

Were cultivated; and wherever stream 

Or rivulet wandered, and the soil was good, 

He fixed the habitations of his people; 

And there they ploughed and reaped: for in that age 

All labored; none in sloth and idleness 

Were suffered to remain, since indolence 

Too often vanquishes the best, and turns 

To nought the noblest, firmest resolution. 

Jemshid afterwards commanded his Demons to construct 
a splendid palace, and he directed his people how to make 
the foundations strong. 

He taught the unholy Demon-train to mingle 

Water and clay, with which, formed into bricks, 

The walls were built, and then high turrets, towers. 

And balconies, and roofs to keep out rain 

And cold, and sunshine. Every art was known 

To Jemshid, without equal in the world. 

He also made vessels for the sea and the river, and erected 
a magnificent throne, embellished with pearls and precious 
stones ; and having seated himself upon it, commanded his 
Demons to raise him up in the air, that he might be able to 
transport himself in a moment wherever he chose. He named 
the first day of the year Nii-rus and on every Nu-ruz he made 
a royal feast, so that under his hospitable roof, mortals, and 
Genii, and Demons, and Peris, were delighted and happy, 
every one being equally regaled with wine and music. His 
government is said to have continued in existence seven hun- 
dred years, and during that period, it is added, none of his 
subjects suffered death, or was afflicted with disease. 



la FIRDUSl 

Man seemed immortal, sickness was unknown, 
And life rolled on in happiness and joy. 

After the lapse of seven hundred years, however, inordinate 
ambition inflamed the heart of Jemshid, and, having assembled 
all the illustrious personages and learned men in his domin- 
ions before him, he said to them : — " Tell me if there exists, or 
ever existed, in all the world, a king of such magnificence and 
power as I am ? " They unanimously replied : — " Thou art 
alone, the mightiest, the most victorious: there is no equal 
to thee ! " The just God beheld this foolish pride and vanity 
with displeasure, and, as a punishment, cast him from the gov- 
ernment of an empire into a state of utter degradation and 
misery. 

All looked upon the throne, and heard and saw 

Nothing but Jemshid, he alone was king, 

Absorbing every thought; and in their praise. 

And adoration of that mortal man, 

Forgot the worship of the great Creator. 

Then proudly thus he to his nobles spoke, 

Intoxicated with their loud applause, 

" I am unequalled, for to me the earth 

Owes all its science, never did exist 

A sovereignty like mine, beneficent 

And glorious, driving from the populous land 

Disease and want. Domestic joy and rest 

Proceed from me, all that is good and great 

Waits my behest; the universal voice 

Declares the splendor of my government, 

Beyond whatever human heart conceived, 

And me the only monarch of the world." 

— Soon as these words had parted from his lips. 

Words impious, and insulting to high heaven, 

His earthly grandeur faded — then all tongues 

Grew clamorous and bold. The day of Jemshid 

Passed into gloom, his brightness all obscured. 

What said the Moralist? " When thou wert a king 

Thy subjects were obedient, but whoever 

Proudly neglects the worship of his God, 

Brings desolation on his house and home." 

— And when he marked the insolence of his people, 

He knew the wrath of Heaven had been provoked. 

And terror overcame him. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



13 



MIRTAS-TAZf, AND HIS SON ZOHAK 

THE old historians relate that Mirtas was the name of a 
king of the Arabs ; and that he had a thousand animals 
which gave milk, and the milk of these animals he al- 
ways distributed in charity among the poor, God was pleased 
with his goodness, and accordingly increased his favor upon 
him. 

Goats, sheep, and camels, yielded up their store 
Of balmy milk, with which the generous king 
Nourished the indigent and helpless poor. 

Mirtas had a son called Zohak, who possessed ten thousand 
Arab horses, or Tazis, upon which account he was surnamed 
Biwurasp; biwur meaning ten thousand, and asp a horse. 
One day Iblis, the Evil Spirit, appeared to Zohak in the dis- 
guise of a good and virtuous man, and conversed with him 
in the most agreeable manner. 

Pleased with his eloquence, the youth 
Suspected not the speaker's truth; 
But praised the sweet impassioned strain, 
And asked him to discourse again. 

Iblis replied, that he was master of still sweeter converse, 
but he could not address it to him, unless he first entered into 
a solemn compact, and engaged never on any pretence to di- 
vulge his secret. 

Zoh^k in perfect innocence of heart 

Assented to the oath, and bound himself 

Never to tell the secret; all he wished 

Was still to hear the good man's honey words. 

But as soon as the oath was taken, Iblis said to him : " Thy 
ifather has become old and worthless, and thou art young, 
and wise, and valiant. Let him no longer stand in thy way, 
but kill him ; the robes of sovereignty are ready, and better 
^adapted for thee." 

The youth in agony of mind, 

Heard what the stranger now designed; 



14 FIRDUSI 

Could crime like this be understood! 
The shedding of a parent's blood 1 
Iblis would no excuses hear — 
The oath was sworn — his death was near. 
" For if thou think'st to pass it by, 
The peril's thine, and thou must die! " 

Zohak was terrified and subdued by this warning, and asked 
Iblis in what manner he proposed to sacrifice his father. Iblis 
replied, that he would dig a pit on the path-way which led to 
Mirtas-Tazi's house of prayer. Accordingly he secretly made 
a deep well upon the spot most convenient for the purpose, 
and covered it over with grass. At night, as the king was 
going, as usual, to the house of prayer, he fell into the pit, 
and his legs and arms being broken by the fall, he shortly 
expired. O righteous Heaven! that father too, whose ten- 
derness would not suffer even the winds to blow upon his son 
too roughly — and that son, by the temptation of Iblis, to bring 
such a father to a miserable end ! 

Thus urged to crime, through cruel treachery, 
Zohak usurped his pious father's throne. 

When Iblis found that he had got Zohak completely in his 
power, he told him that, if he followed his counsel and advice 
implicitly, he would become the greatest monarch of the age, 
the sovereign of the seven climes, signifying the whole world. 
Zohak agreed to every thing, and Iblis continued to bestow 
upon him the most devoted attention and flattery for the pur- 
pose of moulding him entirely to his will. To such an ex- 
treme degree had his authority attained, that he became the 
sole director even in the royal kitchen, and prepared for Zohak 
the most delicious and savory food imaginable ; for in those 
days bread and fruit only were the usual articles of food. Iblis 
himself was the original inventor of the cooking art. Zohak 
was delighted with the dishes, made from every variety of bird 
and four-footed animal. Every day something new and rare 
was brought to his table, and every day Iblis increased in 
favor. But an egg was to him the most delicate of all ! " What 
can there be superior to this ? " said he. " To-morrow," re- 
plied Iblis, " thou shalt have something better, and of a far 
superior kind." 



THE SHAH NAMEH 15 

Next day he brought delicious fare, and dressed 

In manner exquisite to please the eye. 

As well as taste; partridge and pheasant rich, 

A banquet for a prince. Zohak beheld 

Delighted the repast, and eagerly 

Relished its flavor; then in gratitude, 

And admiration of the matchless art 

Which thus had ministered to his appetite, 

He cried: — " For this, whatever thou desirest, 

And I can give, is thine." Iblis was glad, 

And, little anxious, had but one request — 

One unimportant wish — it was to kiss 

The monarch's naked shoulder — a mere whim. 

And promptly did Zohak comply, for he 

Was unsuspicious still, and stripped himself, 

Ready to gratify that simple wish. 

Iblis then kissed the part with fiendish glee. 
And vanished in an instant. 

From the touch 
Sprang two black serpents! Then a tumult rose 
Among the people, searching for Iblis 
Through all the palace, but they sought in vain. 

To young and old it was a marvellous thing; 
The serpents writhed about as seeking food. 
And learned men to see the wonder came. 
And sage magicians tried to charm away 
That dreadful evil, but no cure was found. 

Some time afterwards Iblis returned to Zohak, but in the 
shape of a physician, and told him that it was according to his 
own horoscope that he suffered in this manner — it was, in 
short, his destiny — and that the serpents would continue con- 
nected with him throughout his life, involving him in perpet- 
ual misery. Zohak sunk into despair, upon the assurance of 
there being no remedy for him, but Iblis again roused him 
by saying, that if the serpents were fed daily with human 
brains, which would probably kill them, his life might be pro- 
longed, and made easy. 

If life has any charm for thee. 

The brain of man their food must be! 

With the adoption of this deceitful stratagem, Iblis was 
highly pleased, and congratulated himself upon the success of 
his wicked exertions, thinking that in this manner a great 
portion of the human race would be destroyed. He was not 
aware that his craft and cunning had no influence in the house 



,6 FIRDUSI 

of God; and that the descendants of Adam are continually 
increasing. 

When the people of Iran and Turan heard that Zohak kept 
near him two devouring serpents, alarm and terror spread 
everywhere, and so universal was the dread produced by this 
intelligence, that the nobles of Persia were induced to abandon 
their allegiance to Jemshid, and, turning through fear to 
Zohak, confederated with the Arab troops against their own 
country. Jemshid continued for some time to resist their ef- 
forts, but was at last defeated, and became a wanderer on the 
face of the earth. 

To him existence was a burden now, 

The world a desert — for Zohak had gained 

The imperial crown, and from all acts and deeds 

Of royal import, razed out the very name 

Of Jemshid hateful in the tyrant's eyes. 

The Persian government having fallen into the hands of 
the usurper, he sent his spies in every direction for the purpose 
of getting possession of Jemshid wherever he might be found, 
but their labor was not crowned with success. The unfortu- 
nate wanderer, after experiencing numberless misfortunes, at 
length took refuge in Zabulistan. 

Flying from place to place, through wilderness, 
Wide plain, and mountain, veiled from human eye, 
Hungry and worn out with fatigue and sorrow. 
He came to Zabul. 

The king of Zabulistan, whose name was Gureng, had a 
daughter of extreme beauty. She was also remarkable for 
her mental endowments^ and was familiar with warlike exer- 
cises. 

So graceful in her movements, and so sweet. 
Her very look plucked from the breast of age 
The root of sorrow — her wine-sipping lips, 
And mouth like sugar, cheeks all dimpled o'er 
With smiles, and glowing as the summer rose — 
Won every heart. 

This damsel, possessed of these beauties and charms, was 
accustomed to dress herself in the warlike habiliments of a 
man, and to combat with heroes. She was then only fifteen 



THE SHAH NAMEH 17 

years of age, but so accomplished in valor, judgment, and 
discretion, that Miniichihr, who had in that year commenced 
hostile operations against her father, was compelled to relin- 
quish his pretensions, and submit to the gallantry which she 
displayed on that occasion. Her father's realm was saved by 
her magnanimity. Many kings were her suitors, but Gureng 
would not give his consent to her marriage with any of them. 
He only agreed that she should marry the sovereign whom 
she might spontaneously love. 

It must be love, and love alone,* 
That binds thee to another's throne; 
In this my father has no voice. 
Thine the election, thine the choice. 

The daughter of Gureng had a Kabul woman for her nurse, 
who was deeply skilled in all sorts of magic and sorcery. 

The old enchantress well could say, 

What would befall on distant day; 

And by her art omnipotent. 

Could from the watery element 

Draw fire, and with her magic breath. 

Seal up a dragon's eyes in death. 

Could from the flint-stone conjure dew; 

The moon and seven stars she knew; 

And of all things invisible 

To human sight, this crone could tell. 

This Kabul sorceress had long before intimated to the dam- 
sel that, conformably with her destiny, which had been dis- 
tinctly ascertained from the motions of the heavenly bodies, 
she would, after a certain time, be married to King Jemshid, 

• Love at first sight, and of the most Than that with which our life does 
enthusiastic kind, is the passion de- score: 

scribed in all Persian poems, as if a So, though my life be short, yet I may 
whole life of love were condensed into prove, 

one moment. It is all wild and rap- The Great Methusalem of love! I I 

turous. It has nothing of a rational " Love and Life."— Cowley, 

cast. A casual glance from an unknown 

beauty often affords the subject of a The odes of Hafiz also, with all their 

Eoem. The poets whom Dr. Johnson spirit and richness of expression, 
as denominated metaphysical, such as abound in conceit and extravagant 
Donne, Jonson, and Cowley, bear a metaphor. There is, however, some- 
strong resemblance to the Persians on thing very beautiful in the passage 
the subject of love. which may be paraphrased thus: 

Now, sure, within this twelvemonth Zephyr thro' thy locks is straying, 

past, Stealing frag^rance, charms displaying; 

I've loved at least some twenty years Should it pass where Hafiz lies, 

or more; From his conscious dust would rise, 

Th' account of love runs much more Flowrets of a thousand dyes! 
fast. 

Vol. I.— 2 



x8 FIRDUSI 

and bear him a beautiful son. The damsel was overjoyed at 
these tidings, and her father received them with equal pleasure, 
refusing in consequence the solicitations of every other suitor. 
Now according to the prophecy, Jemshid arrived at the city of 
Zabul in the spring season, when the roses were in bloom; 
and it so happened that the garden of King Gureng was in 
the way, and also that his daughter was amusing herself at 
the time in the garden. Jemshid proceeded in that direction, 
but the keepers of the garden would not allow him to pass, 
and therefore, fatigued and dispirited, he sat down by the 
garden-door under the shade of a tree. Whilst he was sitting 
there a slave-girl chanced to come out of the garden, and, 
observing him, was surprised at his melancholy and forlorn 
condition. She said to him involuntarily : " Who art thou ? " 
and Jemshid raising up his eyes, replied : — " I was once pos- 
sessed of wealth and lived in great affluence, but I am now 
abandoned by fortune, and have come from a distant country. 
Would to heaven I could be blessed with a few cups of wine, 
my fatigue and affliction might then be relieved." The girl 
smiled, and returned hastily to the princess, and told her that 
a young man, wearied with travelling, was sitting at the gar- 
den gate, whose countenance was more lovely even than that 
of her mistress, and who requested to have a few cups of wine. 
When the damsel heard such high praise of the stranger's feat- 
ures she was exceedingly pleased, and said : " He asks only 
for wine, but I will give him both wine and music, and a beau- 
tiful mistress beside." 

This saying, she repaired towards the gate, 

In motion graceful as the waving cypress, 

Attended by her hand-maid; seeing him, 

She thought he was a warrior of Iran 

With spreading shoulders, and his loins well bound. 

His visage pale as the pomegranate flower, 

He looked like light in darkness. Warm emotions 

Rose in her heart, and softly thus she spoke: 

** Grief-broken stranger, rest thee underneath 

These shady bowers; if wine can make thee glad, 

Enter this pleasant place, and drink thy fill." 

Whilst the damsel was still speaking and inviting Jemshid 
into the garden, he looked at her thoughtfully, and hesitated ; 
and she said to him : " Why do you hesitate ? I am permitted 
by my father to do what I please, and my heart is my own. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 19 

" Stranger, my father is the monarch mild 
Of ZabuHstan, and I his only child; 
On me is all his fond affection shown; 
My wish is his, on me he dotes alone." 

Jemshid had before heard of the character and renown of 
this extraordinary damsel, yet he was not disposed to com- 
ply with her entreaty; but contemplating again her lovely 
face, his heart became enamoured, when she took him by the 
hand and led him along the beautiful walks. 

With dignity and elegance she passed — 

As moves the mountain partridge through the meads; 

Her tresses richly falling to her feet. 

And filling with perfume the softened breeze. 

In their promenade they arrived at the basin of a fountain, 
near which they seated themselves upon royal carpets, and the 
damsel having placed Jemshid in such a manner that they 
might face each other, she called for music and wine. 

But first the rose-cheeked handmaids gathered round. 
And washed obsequiously the stranger's feet; 
Then on the margin of the silvery lake 
Attentive sate. 

The youth, after this, readily took the wine and refreshments 
which were ordered by the princess. 

Three cups he drank with eager zest, 

Three cups of ruby wine; 
Which banished sorrow from his breast, 

For memory left no sign 
Of past affliction; not a trace 
Remained upon his heart, or smiling face. 

Whilst he was drinking, the princess observed his peculiar 
action and elegance of manner, and instantly said in her heart : 
" This must be a king ! " She then offered him some more 
food, as he had come a long journey, and from a distant land, 
but he only asked for more wine. " Is your fondness for wine 
so great? " said she. And he replied: " With wine I have no 
enemy ; yet, without it I can be resigned and contented. 

Whilst drinking wine I never see 
The frowning face of my enemy; 



20 FIRDUSI 

Drink freely of the grape, and nought 
Can give the soul one mournful thought; 
Wine is a bride of witching power, 
And wisdom is her marriage dower; 
Wine can the purest joy impart. 
Wine inspires the saddest heart; 
Wine gives cowards valour's rage, 
Wine gives youth to tottering age; 
Wine gives vigour to the weak. 
And crimson to the palHd cheek; 
And dries up sorrow, as the sun 
Absorbs the dew it shines upon." 

From the voice and eloquence of the speaker she now con- 
jectured that this certainly must be King Jemshid, and she 
felt satisfied that her notions would soon be realized. At this 
moment she recollected that there was a picture of Jemshid 
in her father's gallery, and thought of sending for it to com- 
pare the features ; but again she considered that the person 
before her was certainly and truly Jemshid, and that the pict- 
ure would be unnecessary on the occasion. 

It is said that two ring-doves, a male and female, happened 
to alight on the garden wall near the fountain where they were 
sitting, and began billing and cooing in amorous play, so that 
seeing them together in such soft intercourse, blushes over- 
spread the cheeks of the princess, who immediately called for 
her bow and arrows. When they were brought she said to 
Jemshid, " Point out which of them I shall hit, and I will 
bring it to the ground." Jemshid replied : " Where a man is, 
a woman's aid is not required — give me the bow, and mark my 
skill; 

However brave a woman may appear, 
Whatever strength of arm she may possess. 
She is but half a man ! " 

Upon this observation being made, the damsel turned her 
head aside ashamed, and gave him the bow. Her heart was 
full of love. Jemshid took the bow, and selecting a feathered 
arrow out of her hand, said : — " Now for a wager. If I hit the 
female, shall the lady whom I most admire in this company 
be mine ? " The damsel assented. Jemshid drew the string, 
and the arrow struck the female dove so skilfully as to transfix 
both the wings, and pin them together. The male ring-dove 
flew away, but moved by natural affection it soon returned, 



THE ShAh NAMEH ai 

and settled on the same spot as before. The bow was said to 
be so strong that there was not a warrior in the whole king- 
dom who could even draw the string; and when the damsel 
witnessed the dexterity of the stranger, and the ease with which 
he used the weapon, she thought within her heart, " There can 
be no necessity for the picture ; I am certain that this can be 
no other than the King Jemshid, the son of Tahumers, called 
the Binder of Demons." Then she took the bow from the hand 
of Jemshid, and observed : " The male bird has returned to 
its former place, if my aim be successful shall the man whom 
I choose in this company be my husband ? " Jemshid in- 
stantly understood her meaning. At that moment the Kabul 
nurse appeared, and the young princess communicated to her 
all that had occurred. The nurse leisurely examined Jemshid 
from head to foot with a slave-purchaser's eye, and knew him, 
and said to her mistress — " All that I saw in thy horoscope 
and foretold, is now in the course of fulfilment. God has 
brought Jemshid hither to be thy spouse. Be not regardless 
of thy good fortune, and the Almighty will bless thee with a 
son, who will be the conqueror of the world. The signs and 
tokens of thy destiny I have already explained." The dam- 
sel had become greatly enamoured of the person of the stranger 
before she knew who he was, and now being told by her nurse 
that he was Jemshid himself, her affection was augmented two- 
fold. 

The happy tidings, blissful to her heart, 
Increased the ardour of her love for him. 

And now the picture was brought to the princess, who, find- 
ing the resemblance exact, put it into Jemshid's hand. Jem- 
shid, in secretly recognizing his own likeness, was forcibly 
reminded of his past glory and happiness, and he burst into 
tears. 

The memory of the diadem and throne 

No longer his, came o'er him, and his soul 

Was rent with anguish. 

The princess said to him : " Why at the commencement of 
our friendship dost thou weep? Art thou discontented — dis- 
satisfied, unhappy? and am I the cause?" Jemshid replied: 
" No, it is simply this ; those who have feeling, and pity the 
sufferings of others, weep involuntarily. I pity the misfort- 



aa FIRDUSI 

unes of Jemshid, driven as he is by adversity from the splendor 
of a throne, and reduced to a state of destitution and ruin. 
But he must now be dead; devoured, perhaps, by the wolves 
and lions of the forest." The nurse and princess, however, 
were convinced, from the sweetness of his voice and discourse, 
that he could be no other than Jemshid himself, and taking 
him aside, they said : " Speak truly, art thou not Jemshid ? " 
But he denied himself. Again, they observed : " What says 
this picture ? " To this he replied ; " It is not impossible that I 
may be like Jemshid in feature ; for surely there may be in 
the world two men like each other ? " And notwithstanding 
all the efforts made by the damsel and her nurse to induce 
Jemshid to confess, he still resolutely denied himself. Several 
times she assured him she would keep his secret, if he had one, 
but that she was certain of his being Jemshid. Still he denied 
himself. " This nurse of mine, whom thou seest," said she, 
" has often repeated to me the good tidings that I should be 
united to Jemshid, and bear him a son. My heart instinct- 
ively acknowledged thee at first sight: then wherefore this 
denial of the truth? Many kings have solicited my hand in 
marriage, but all have been rejected, as I am destined to be 
thine, and united to no other." Dismissing now all her at- 
tendants, she remained with the nurse and Jemshid, and then 
resumed : — 

" How long hath sleep forsaken me? how long 
Hath my fond heart been kept awake by love? 
Hope still upheld me — give me one kind look, 
And I will sacrifice my life for thee; 
Come, take my life, for it is thine *or ever." 

Saying this, the damsel began to weep, and shedding a flood 
of tears, tenderly reproached him for not acknowledging the 
truth. Jemshid was at length moved by her affection and sor- 
row, and thus addressed her : — " There are two considerations 
which at present prevent the truth being told. One of them is 
my having a powerful enemy, and Heaven forbid that he 
should obtain information of my place of refuge. The other 
is, I never intrust my secrets to a woman ! 

Fortune I dread, since fortune is my foe, 
And womankind are seldom known to keep 
Another's secret. To be poor and safe, 
Is better far, than wealth exposed to peril." 



THE SHAH NAMEH a^ 

To this the princess: " Is it so decreed, 

That every woman has two tongues, two hearts? 

All false alike, their tempers all the same? 

No, no! could I disloyally betray thee? 

I who still love thee better than my life? " 

Jemshid found it impossible to resist the damsel's incessant 
entreaties and persuasive tenderness, mingled as they were with 
tears of sorrow. Vanquished thus by the warmth of her affec- 
tions, he told her his name, and the history of his misfortunes. 
She then ardently seized his hand, overjoyed at the disclosure, 
and taking him privately to her own chamber, they were mar- 
ried according to the customs of her country. 

Him to the secret bower with blushing cheek 
Exultingly she led, and mutual bliss, 
Springing from tnutual tenderness and love, 
Entranced their souls. 

When Gureng the king found that his daughter's visits to 
him became less frequent than usual, he set his spies to work, 
and was not long in ascertaining the cause of her continued 
absence. She had married without his permission, and he was 
in great wrath. It happened, too, at this time that the bride 
was pale and in delicate health. 

The mystery soon was manifest. 

And thus the king his child addrest. 

Whilst anger darkened o'er his brow: — 

" What hast thou done, ungrateful, now? 

Why hast thou flung, in evil day, 

The veil of modesty away? 

That cheek the bloom of spring displayed, 

Now all is withered, all decayed; 

But daughters, as the wise declare, 

Are ever false, if they be fair." 

Incensed at words so sharp and strong, 
The damsel thus repelled the wrong: — 
" Me, father, canst thou justly blame? 
I never, never, brought thee shame; 
With me can sin and crime accord, 
When Jemshid is my wedded lord? " 

After this precipitate avowal, the Kabul nurse, of many 
spells, instantly took up her defence, and informed the king 
that the prophecy she had formerly communicated to him was 



84 FIRDUSI 

on the point of fulfilment, and that the Almighty having, in 
the course of destiny, brought Jemshid into his kingdom, the 
princess, according to the same planetary influence, would 
shortly become a mother. 

And now the damsel grovels on the ground 

Before King Giireng. " Well thou know'st," she cries, 

" From me no evil comes. Whether in arms, 

Or at the banquet, honour guides me still: 

And well thou know'st thy royal will pronounced 

That I should be unfettered in my choice, 

And free to take the husband I preferred. 

This I have done; and to the greatest king 

The world can boast, my fortunes are united. 

To Jemshid, the most perfect of mankind." 

With this explanation the king expressed abundant and un- 
usual satisfaction. His satisfaction, however, did not arise 
from the circumstance of the marriage, and the new connec- 
tion it established, but from the opportunity it afforded him 
of betraying Jemshid, and treacherously sending him bound to 
Zohak, which he intended to do, in the hopes of being mag- 
nificently rewarded. Exulting with this anticipation, he said 
to her smiling : — 

" Glad tidings thou hast given to me. 
My glory owes its birth to thee; 
I bless the day, and bless the hour. 
Which placed this Jemshid in my power. 
Now to Zohak, a captive bound, 
I send the wanderer thou hast found; 
For he who charms the monarch's eyes. 
With this long-sought, this noble prize, 
On solemn word and oath, obtains 
A wealthy kingdom for his pains." 

On hearing these cruel words the damsel groaned, and wept 
exceedingly before her father, and said to him : " Oh, be not 
accessory to the murder of such a king! Wealth and king- 
doms pass away, but a bad name remains till the day of doom. 

Turn thee, my father, from this dreadful thought, 
And save his sacred blood: let not thy name 
Be syllabled with horror through the world, 
For such an act as this. When foes are slain, 
It is enough, but keep the sword away 
From friends and kindred; shun domestic crime. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 25 

Fear him who giveth Hfe, and strength, and power, 

For goodness is most blessed. On the day 

Of judgment thou wilt then be unappalled. 

But if determined to divide us, first 

Smite off this head, and let thy daughter die." 

So deep and violent was the grief of the princess, and her 
lamentations so unceasing, that the father became softened 
into compassion, and, on her account, departed from the reso- 
lution he had made. He even promised to furnish Jemshid 
with possessions, with treasure, and an army, and requested 
her to give him the consolation he required, adding that he 
would see him in the morning in his garden. 

The heart-alluring damsel instant flew 
To tell the welcome tidings to her lord. 

Next day King Gureng proceeded to the garden, and had 
an interview with Jemshid, to whom he expressed the warm- 
est favor and affection ; but notwithstanding all he said, Jem- 
shid could place no confidence in his professions, and was 
anxious to effect his escape. He was, indeed, soon convinced 
of his danger, for he had a private intimation that the king's 
vizirs were consulting together on the expedience of securing 
his person, under the apprehension that Zohak would be in- 
vading the country, and consigning it to devastation and ruin, 
if his retreat was discovered. He therefore took to flight, 

Jemshid first turned his steps towards Chin, and afterwards 
into Ind. He had travelled a great distance in that beautiful 
country, and one day came to a tower, under whose shadow 
he sought a little repose, for the thoughts of his melancholy 
and disastrous condition kept him almost constantly awake. 

And am I thus to perish? Thus forlorn, 
To mingle with the dust? Almighty God! 
Was ever mortal born to such a fate, 
A fate so sad as mine! O that I never 
Had drawn the breath of life, to perish thus! 

Exhausted by the keenness of his affliction Jemshid at length 
fell asleep. Zohak, in the meanwhile, had despatched an en- 
voy, with an escort of troops, to the Khakan of Chin, and at 
that moment the cavalcade happened to be passing by the 
tower where Jemshid was reposing. The envoy, attracted to 



26 FIRDUSI 

the spot, immediately recognized him, and awakening him to 
a sense of this new misfortune, secured the despairing and 
agonized wanderer, and sent him to Zohak. 

He saw a person sleeping on the ground, 
And knew that it was Jemshid. Overjoyed, 
He bound his feet with chains, and mounted him 
Upon a horse, a prisoner. 

What a world! 
No place of rest for man ! Fix not thy heart. 
Vain mortal! on this tenement of life, 
On earthly pleasures; think of Jemshid's fate; 
His glory reached the Heavens, and now this world 
Has bound the valiant monarch's limbs in fetters. 
And placed its justice in the hands of slaves. 

When Zohak received intelligence of the apprehension of 
liis enemy, he ordered him to be brought before the throne 
that he might enjoy the triumph. 

All fixed their gaze upon the captive king. 

Loaded with chains; his hands behind his back; 

The ponderous fetters passing from his neck 

Down to his feet; oppressed with shame he stood, 

Like the narcissus bent with heavy dew. 

Zohak received him with a scornful smile, 

Saying, " Where is thy diadem, thy throne. 

Where is thy kingdom, where thy sovereign rule; 

Thy laws and royal ordinances — where, 

Where are they now? What change is this that fate 

Has wrought upon thee?" Jemshid thus rejoined: 

" Unjustly am I brought in chains before thee, 

Betrayed, insulted — thou the cause of all, 

And yet thou wouldst appear to feel my wrongs! " 

Incensed at this defiance, mixed with scorn, 

Fiercely Zohak replied, " Then choose thy death; 

Shall I behead thee, stab thee, or impale thee. 

Or with an arrow's point transfix thy heart! 

What is thy choice?" — 

" Since I am in thy power, 
Do with me what thou wilt — why should I dread 
Thy utmost vengeance, why express a wish 
To save my body from a moment's pain! " 

As soon as Zohak heard these words he resolved upon a 
horrible deed of vengeance. He ordered two planks to be 
brought, and Jemshid being fastened down between them, his 
body was divided the whole length with a saw, making two 
figures of Jemshid out of one I 



THE SHAh nAmEH 27 

Why do mankind upon this fleeting world 

Place their affections, wickedness alone 

Is nourished into freshness; sounds of death, too. 

Are ever on the gale to wear out life. 

My heart is satisfied — O Heaven! no more, 

Free me at once from this continual sorrow. 

It was not long before tidings of the foul proceedings, which 
put an end to the existence of the unfortunate Jemshid, reached 
Zabulistan. The princess, his wife, on hearing of his fate, 
wasted away with inconsolable grief, and at last took poison 
to unburden herself of insupportable affliction. 

It is related that Jemshid had two sisters, named Shahrnaz 
and Amawaz. They had been both seized, and conveyed to 
Zohak by his people, and continued in confinement for some 
time in the King's harem, but they were afterwards released by 
Feridun. 

The tyrant's cruelty and oppression had become intolerable. 
He was constantly shedding blood, and committing every spe- 
cies of crime. 

The serpents still on human brains were fed, 
And every day two youthful victims bled; 
The sword, still ready — thirsting still to strike, 
Warrior and slave were sacrificed alike. 

The career of Zohak himself, however, was not unvisited by 
terrors. One night he dreamt that he was attacked by three 
warriors ; two of them of large stature, and one of them small. 
The youngest struck him a blow on the head with his mace, 
bound his hands, and casting a rope round his neck, dragged 
him along in the presence of crowds of people. Zohak 
screamed, and sprung up from his sleep in the greatest horror. 
The females of his harem were filled with amazement when 
they beheld the terrified countenance of the king, who, in re- 
ply to their inquiries, said, trembling: "This is a dream too 
dreadful to be concealed." He afterwards called together the 
Mubids, or wise men of his court ; and having communicated 
to them the particulars of what had appeared to him in his 
sleep, commanded them to give him a faithful interpretation 
of the dream. The Mubids foresaw in this vision the approach- 
ing declension of his power and dominion, but were afraid to 
explain their opinions, because they were sure that their lives 



»8 FIRDUSI 

would be sacrificed if the true interpretation was given to him. 
Three days were consumed under the pretence of studying 
more scrupulously all the signs and appearances, and still not 
one of them had courage to speak out. On the fourth day 
the king grew angry, and insisted upon the dream being in- 
terpreted. In this dilemma, the Mubids said, " Then, if the 
truth must be told, without evasion, thy life approaches to an 
end, and Feridun, though yet unborn, will be thy successor." — 
" But who was it," inquired Zohak impatiently, " that struck 
the blow on my head ? " The Mubids declared, with fear and 
trembling, " it was the apparition of Feridun himself, who is 
destined to smite thee on the head." — " But why," rejoined 
Zohak, " does he wish to injure me ? " — " Because, his father's 
blood being spilt by thee, vengeance falls into his hands." 
Hearing this interpretation of his dream, the king sunk sense- 
less on the ground ; and when he recovered, he could neither 
sleep nor take food, but continued overwhelmed with sorrow 
and misery. The light of his day was forever darkened. 

Abtin was the name of Feridun's father, and that of his 
mother Faranuk, of the race of Tahumers. Zohak, therefore, 
stimulated to further cruelty by the prophecy, issued an order 
that every person belonging to the family of the Kais, wherever 
found, should be seized and fettered, and brought to him. 
Abtin had long avoided discovery, continuing to reside in the 
most retired and solitary places; but one day his usual cir- 
cumspection forsook him, and he ventured beyond his limits. 
This imprudent step was dreadfully punished, for the spies of 
Zohak fell in with him, recognized him, and carrying him to 
the king, he was immediately put to death. When the mother 
of Feridun heard of this sanguinary catastrophe^ she took up 
her infant and fled. It is said that Feridun was at that time 
only two months old. In her flight, the mother happened to 
arrive at some pasturage ground. The keeper of the pasture 
had a cow named Pur'maieh, which yielded abundance of milk, 
and he gave it away in charity. In consequence of the grief 
and distress of mind occasioned by the murder of her husband, 
Faranuk's milk dried up in her breasts, and she was therefore 
under the necessity of feeding the child with the milk from 
the cow. She remained there one night, and would have de- 
parted in the morning ; but considering the deficiency of milk, 
and the misery in which she was involved, continually afraid 



THE SHAh nAmEH 29 

of being discovered and known, she did not know what to do. 
At length she thought it best to leave Feridun with the keeper 
of the pasture, and resigning him to the protection of God, 
went herself to the mountain Alberz. The keeper readily com- 
plied with the tenderest wishes of the mother, and nourished 
the child with the fondness and affection of a parent during 
the space of three years. After that period had elapsed, deep 
sorrow continuing to afflict the mind of Faranuk, she returned 
secretly to the old man of the pasture, for the purpose of re- 
claiming and conveying Feridun to a safer place of refuge 
upon the mountain Alberz. The keeper said to her : " Why 
dost thou take the child to the mountain? he will perish 
there ; " but she replied that God Almighty had inspired a feel- 
ing in her heart that it was necessary to remove him. It was 
a divine inspiration, and verified by the event. 

Intelligence having at length reached Zohak that the son 
of Abtin was nourished and protected by the keeper of the 
pasture, he himself proceeded with a large force to the spot, 
whe e he put to death the keeper and all his tribe, and also 
the cow which had supplied milk to Feridun, whom he sought 
for in vain. 

He found the dwelling of his infant-foe, 
And laid it in the dust; the very ground 
Was punished for the sustenance it gave him. 

The ancient records relate that a dervish happened to have 
taken up his abode in the mountain Alberz, and that Faranuk 
committed her infant to his fostering care. The dervish gener- 
ously divided with the mother and son all the food and com- 
forts which God gave him, and at the same time he took great 
pains in storing the mind of Feridun with various kinds of 
knowledge. One day he said to the mother : " The person 
foretold by wise men and astrologers as the destroyer of Zohak 
and his tyranny, is thy son ! 

This child to whom thou gavest birth, 
Will be the monarch of the earth; " 

and the mother, from several concurring indications and signs, 
held a similar conviction. 

When Feridun had attained his sixteenth year, he descended 
from the mountain, and remained for a time on the plain be- 



3© FIRDUSI 

neath. He inquired of his mother why Zohak had put his- 
father to death, and Faranuk then told him the melancholy 
story ; upon hearing which, he resolved to be revenged on 
the tyrant. His mother endeavored to divert him from his 
determination, observing that he was young, friendless, and 
alone, whilst his enemy was the master of the world, and sur- 
rounded by armies. " Be not therefore precipitate," said she. 
" If it is thy destiny to become a king, wait till the Almighty 
shall bless thee with means sufficient for the purpose." 

Displeased, the youth his mother's caution heard, 
And meditating vengeance on the head 
Of him who robbed him of a father, thus 
Impatiently replied: — " 'Tis Heaven inspires me; 
Led on by Heaven, this arm will quickly bring 
The tyrant from his palace, to the dust." 
" Imprudent boy! " the anxious mother said; 
" Canst thou contend against imperial power? 
Must I behold thy ruin? Pause awhile, 
And perish not in this wild enterprise." 

It is recorded that Zohak's dread of Feridun was so great» 
that day by day he became more irritable, wasting away in 
bitterness of spirit, for people of all ranks kept continually talk- 
ing of the young invader, and were daily expecting his ap- 
proach. At last he came, and Zohak was subdued, and his. 
power extinguished. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 31 



KAVAH, THE BLACKSMITH 

ZOHAK having one day summoned together all the nobles 
and philosophers of the kingdom, he said to them : " I 
find that a young enemy has risen up against me ; but 
notwithstanding his tender years, there is no safety even with 
an apparently insignificant foe. I hear, too, that though 
young, he is distinguished for his prowess and wisdom ; yet 
I fear not him, but the change of fortune. I wish therefore 
to assemble a large army, consisting of Men, Demons, and 
Peris, that this enemy may be surrounded, and conquered. 
And, further, since a great enterprise is on the eve of being 
undertaken, it will be proper in future to keep a register or 
muster-roll of all the people of every age in my dominions, 
and have it revised annually." The register, including both 
old and young, was accordingly prepared. 

At that period there lived a man named Kavah, a black- 
smith, remarkably strong and brave, and who had a large 
family. Upon the day on which it fell to the lot of two of 
his children to be killed to feed the serpents, he rose up with 
indignation in presence of the king, and said : 

" Thou art the king, but wherefore on my head 
Cast fire and ashes? If thou hast the form 
Of hissing dragon, why to me be cruel? 
Why give the brains of my beloved children 
As serpent-food, and talk of doing justice? " 

At this bold speech the monarch was dismayed, 
And scarcely knowing what he did, released 
The blacksmith's sons. How leapt the father's heart, 
How warmly he embraced his darling boys! 
But now Zohak directs that Kavah's name 
Shall be inscribed upon the register. 
Soon as the blacksmith sees it written there. 
Wrathful he turns towards the chiefs assembled, 
Exclaiming loud: " Are ye then men, or what. 
Leagued with a Demon! " All astonished heard, 
And saw him tear the hated register, 
And cast it under foot with rage and scorn. 

Kavah having thus reviled the king bitterly, and destroyed 
the register of blood, departed from the court, and took his 



$2 



FIRDUSI 



children along with him. After he had gone away, the nobles 
said to the king : 

" Why should reproaches, sovereign of the world. 
Be thus permitted? Why the royal scroll 
Torn in thy presence, with a look and voice 
Of proud defiance, by the rebel blacksmith? 
So fierce his bearing, that he seems to be 
A bold confederate of this Feridun." 
Zohak replied: " I know not what o'ercame me, 
But when I saw him with such vehemence 
Of grief and wild distraction, strike his forehead, 
Lamenting o'er his children, doomed to death. 
Amazement seized my heart, and chained my will. 
What may become of this. Heaven only knows. 
For none can pierce the veil of destiny." 

Kavah, meanwhile, with warning voice set forth 
What wrongs the nation suffered, and there came 
Multitudes round him, who called out aloud 
For justice! justice! On his javelin's point 
He fixed his leathern apron for a banner, 
And lifting it on high, he went abroad 
To call the people to a task of vengeance. 
Wherever it was seen crowds followed fast, 
Tired of the cruel tyranny they suffered. 
" Let us unite with Feridun," he cried, 
" And from Zohak's oppression we are free! " 
And still he called aloud, and all obeyed 
Who heard him, high and low. Anxious he sought 
For Feridun, not knowing his retreat: 
But still he hoped success would crown his search. 

The hour arrived, and when he saw the youth, 
Instinctively he knew him, and thanked Heaven 
For that good fortune. Then the leathern banner 
Was splendidly adorned with gold and jewels, 
And called the flag of Kavah. From that time 
It was a sacred symbol; every king 
In future, on succeeding to the throne. 
Did honor to that banner, the true sign 
Of royalty, in veneration held. 

Feridun, aided by the directions and advice of the black- 
smith, now proceeded against Zohak. His mother wept to see 
him depart, and continually implored the blessing of God upon 
him. He had two elder brothers, whom he took along with 
him. Desirous of having a mace formed like the head of a 
cow, he requested Kavah to make one of iron, and it was 
accordingly made in the shape he described. In his progress, 



THE SHXh nAmEH 33 

he visited a shrine or place of pilgrimage frequented by the 
worshippers of God, where he besought inspiration and aid, 
and where he was taught by a radiant personage the mysteries 
of the magic art, receiving from him a key to every secret. 

Bright beamed his eye, with firmer step he strode. 
His smiling cheek with warmer crimson glowed. 

When his two brothers saw his altered mien, the pomp and 
splendor of his appearance, they grew envious of his good 
fortune, and privately meditated his fall. One day they found 
him asleep at the foot of a mountain, and they immediately 
went to the top and rolled down a heavy fragment of rock 
upon him with the intention of crushing him to death; but 
the clattering noise of the stone awoke him, and, instantly 
employing the knowledge of sorcery which had been commu- 
nicated to him, the stone was suddenly arrested by him in 
its course. The brothers beheld this with astonishment, and 
hastening down the mountain, cried aloud : *' We know not 
how the stone was loosened from its place : God forbid that 
it should have done any injury to Feridun." Feridiin, how^ 
ever, was well aware of this being the evil work of his brothers, 
but he took no notice of the conspiracy, and instead of pun- 
ishing them, raised them to higher dignity and consequence. 

They saw that Kavah directed the route of Feridun over 
the mountainous tracts and plains which lie contiguous to the 
banks of the Dijleh, or Tigris, close to the city of Bagdad. 
Upon reaching that river, they called for boats, but got no 
answer from the ferryman ; at which Feridun was enraged, and 
immediately plunged, on horseback, into the foaming stream. 
All his army followed without delay, and with the blessing of 
God arrived on the other side in safety. He then turned 
toward the Bait-el-Mukaddus, built by Zohak. In the Pahlavi 
language it was called Kunuk-duz-mokt. The tower of this 
edifice was so lofty that it might be seen at the distance of 
many leagues, and within that tower Zohak had formed a talis- 
man of miraculous virtues. Feridun soon overthrew this talis- 
man, and destroyed or vanquished successively with his mace 
all the enchanted monsters and hideous shapes which appeared 
before him. He captured the whole of the building, and re- 
leased all the black-eyed damsels who were secluded there, 
and among them Shahrnaz and Arnawaz, the two sisters of 
Vol. I.— 3 



34 FIRDUSI 

Jemshid before alluded to. He then ascended the empty 
throne of Zohak, which had been guarded by the talisman, and 
the Demons under his command ; and when he heard that the 
tyrant had gone with an immense army toward Ind, in quest 
of his new enemy, and had left his treasury with only a small 
force at the seat of his government, he rejoiced, and appro- 
priated the throne and the treasure to himself. 

From their dark solitudes the Youth brought forth 
The black-haired damsels, lovely as the sun, 
And Jemshid's sisters, long imprisoned there; 
And gladly did the inmates of that harem 
Pour out their gratitude on being freed 
From that terrific monster; thanks to Heaven 
Devoutly they expressed, and ardent joy. 

Feridiin inquired of Amawaz why Zohak had chosen the 
route towards Ind ; and she replied, " For two reasons : the 
first is, he expects to encounter thee in that quarter ; and if he 
fails, he will subdue the whole country, which is the seat of 
sorcery, and thus obtain possession of a renowned magician 
who can charm thee into his power. 

He wishes to secure within his grasp 
That region of enchantment, Hindustan, 
And then obtain relief from what he feels; 
For night and day the terror of thy name 
Oppresses him, his heart is all on fire. 
And life is torture to him." 



THE SHAH NAMEH 35 



FERIDUN 

KANDRU, the keeper of the taUsman, having effected 
his escape, fled to Zohak, to whom he gave intelli- 
gence of the release of his women, the destruction 
of the talisman, and the conquest of his empire. 

" The sign of retribution has appeared, 
For sorrow is the fruit of evil deeds." 
Thus Kandrii spoke: "Three warriors have advanced 
Upon thy kingdom from a distant land, 
One of them young, and from his air and mien 
He seems to me of the Kaianian race. 
He came, and boldly seized the splendid throne. 
And all thy spells, and sorceries, and magic, 
Were instantly dissolved by higher power, 
And all who dwelt within thy palace walls, 
Demon or man, all utterly destroyed. 
Their severed heads cast weltering on the ground." 
Then was Zohak confounded, and he shrunk 
Within himself with terror, thinking now 
His doom was sealed; but anxious to appear 
In presence of his army, gay and cheerful. 
Lest they too should despair, he dressed himself 
In rich attire, and with a pleasant look. 
Said carelessly: " Perhaps some gamesome guest 
Hath in his sport committed this strange act." 
" A guest, indeed! " Kandru replied, " a guest. 
In playful mood to batter down thy palace! 
If he had been thy guest, why with his mace, 
Cow-headed, has he done such violence? 
Why did he penetrate thy secret chambers. 
And bring to light the beautiful Shahrnaz, 
And red-lipped Arnawaz?" At this, Zohak 
Trembled with wrath — the words were death to him; 
And sternly thus he spoke: " What hast thou fled 
Through fear, betraying thy important trust? 
No longer shalt thou share my confidence. 
No longer share my bounty and regard." 
To this the keeper tauntingly replied: 
" Thy kingdom is overthrown, and nothing now 
Remains for thee to give me; thou art lost" 

The tyrant immediately turned towards his army, with the 
intention of making a strong effort to regain his throne, but 



36 FIRDUSI 

he found that as soon as the soldiers and the people were made 
acquainted with the proceedings and success of Feridiin, re- 
bellion arose among them, and shuddering with horror at the 
cruelty exercised by him in providing food for the accursed 
serpents, they preferred embracing the cause of the new king. 
Zohak, seeing that he had lost the affections of the army, and 
that universal revolt was the consequence, adopted another 
course, and endeavored alone to be revenged upon his enemy. 
He proceeded on his journey, and arriving by night at the 
camp of Feridiin, hoped to find him off his guard and put him 
to death. He ascended a high place, himself unobserved, from 
which he saw Feridun sitting engaged in soft dalliance with 
the lovely Shahrnaz. The fire of jealousy and revenge now 
consumed him more fiercely, and he was attempting to effect 
his purpose, when Feridun was roused by the noise, and start- 
ing up struck a furious blow with his cow-headed mace upon 
the temples of Zohak, which crushed the bone, and he was on 
the point of giving him another; but a supernatural voice 
whispered in his ear, 

" Slay him not now — his time is not yet coine. 
His punishment must be prolonged awhile; 
And as he cannot now survive the wound, 
Bind him with heavy chains — convey him straight 
Upon the mountain, there within a cave, 
Deep, dark, and horrible — with none to soothe 
His suflFerings, let the murderer lingering die." 

The work of heaven performing, Feridun 
First purified the world from sin and crime. 

Yet Feridun was not an angel, nor 
Composed of musk or ambergris. By justice 
And generosity he gained his fame. 
Do thou but exercise these princely virtues. 
And thou wilt be renowned as Feridun. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 37 



FERIDUN AND HIS THREE SONS 

FERIDUN had three sons. One of them was named Silim, 
the other Tur, and the third Irij. When they had 
grown up, he called before him a learned person named 
Chundel, and said to him : " Go thou in quest of three daugh- 
ters, born of the same father and mother, and adorned with 
every grace and accomplishment, that I may have my three 
sons married into one family. Chundel departed accordingly, 
and travelled through many countries in fruitless search, till 
he came to the King of Yemen, whose name was Saru, and 
found that he had three daughters of the character and qualifi- 
cations required. He therefore delivered Feridun's proposi- 
tion to him, to which the King of Yemen agreed. Then 
Feridun sent his three sons to Yemen, and they married the 
three daughters of the king, who gave them splendid dowries 
in treasure and jewels. It is related that Feridun afterwards 
divided his empire among his sons. To Silim he gave Rum 
and Khawer ; to Tur, Turan ; * and to Irij, Iran or Persia. 
The sons then repaired to their respective kingdoms. Persia 
was a beautiful country, and the garden of spring, full of fresh- 
ness and perfume ; Turan, on the contrary, was less cultivated, 
and the scene of perpetual broils and insurrections. The elder 
brother, Silim, was therefore discontented with the unfair par- 
tition of the empire, and displeased with his father. He sent 
to Tur, saying: " Our father has given to Irij the most de- 
lightful and productive kingdom, and to us, two wild uncul- 
tivated regions. I am the eldest son, and I am not satisfied 
with this distribution — ^what sayest thou ? " When this mes- 
sage was communicated to Tur, he fully concurred in the sen- 
timents expressed by his brother, and determined to unite with 

• Ancient Scythia embraced the whole Roman empire. Irin and Turin, ac- 

of Turin and the northern part of cording to the Oriental historians, com- 

Persia. The Turinians are the Scyth- prehended all that is comprised in upper 

ians of the Greek Historians, who are Asia, with the exception of India and 

said, about the year B.C. 639, to have in- China. Every country beyond the pale 

vaded the kingdom of the Medes. of the Persian empire was considered 

Turin, which is the ancient name of barbarous. The great river called by 

the country of Turkistin, appears from the Arabs and Persians, tihun or Amu, 

Des Guignes. to be the source and foun- and by the Greeks and Romans, Oxus, 

tain of all the celebrated Scythian na- divided these two great countries from 

tioni, which, under the name of Goths each other. 
»nd Vandals, subsequently overran the 



38 FIRDUSI 

him in any undertaking that might promise the accomplish- 
ment of their purpose, which was to deprive Irij of his domin- 
ions. But he thought it would be most expedient, in the first 
instance, to make their father acquainted with the dissatisfac- 
tion he had produced ; " for," he thought to himself, " in a 
new distribution, he may assign Persia to me." Then he 
wrote to Silim, advising that a messenger should be sent at 
once to Feridun to inform him of their dissatisfaction, and 
bring back a reply. The same messenger was dispatched by 
Silim accordingly on that mission, 

Charged with unfilial language. " Give," he said, 
" This stripling Irij a more humble portion, 
Or we will, from the mountains of Turan, 
From Riim, and Chin, bring overwhelming troops. 
Inured to war, and shower disgrace and ruin 
On him and Persia." 

When the messenger arrived at the court of Feridun, and 
had obtained permission to appear in the presence of the king, 
he kissed the ground respectfully, and by command related 
the purpose of his journey. Feridun was surprised and dis- 
pleased, and said, in reply : 

" Have I done wrong, done evil? None, but good. 
I gave ye kingdoms, that was not a crime; 
But if ye fear not me, at least fear God. 
My ebbing life approaches to an end, 
And the possessions of this fleeting world 
Will soon pass from me. I am grown too old 
To have my passions roused by this rebellion; 
All I can do is, with paternal love, 
To counsel peace. Be with your lot contented; 
Seek not unnatural strife, but cherish peace." 

After the departure of the messenger Feridun called Irij 
before him, and said : " Thy two brothers, who are older than 
thou art, have confederated together and threaten to bring a 
large army against thee for the purpose of seizing thy king- 
dom, and putting thee to death. I have received this informa- 
tion from a messenger, who further says, that if I take thy part 
they will also wage war upon me." And after Irij had de- 
clared that in this extremity he was anxious to do whatever 
his father might advise, Feridun continued : " My son, thou 
art unable to resist the invasion of even one brother; it will, 



THE ShAh nAmEH 39 

therefore, be impossible for thee to oppose both. I am now 
aged and infirm, and my only wish is to pass the remainder 
of my days in retirement and repose. Better, then, will it 
be for thee to pursue the path of peace and friendship, and like 
me throw away all desire for dominion. 

For if the sword of anger is unsheathed, 
And war comes on, thy head will soon be freed 
From all the cares of government and life. 
There is no cause for thee to quit the world. 
The path of peace and amity is thine." 

Irij agreed with his father, and declared that he would will- 
ingly sacrifice his throne and diadem rather than go to war 
with his brothers. 

" Look at the Heavens, how they roll on; 
And look at man, how soon he's gone. 
A breath of wind, and then no more; 
A world like this, should man deplore?" 

With these sentiments Irij determined to repair immedi- 
ately to his brothers, and place his kingdom at their disposal, 
hoping by this means to merit their favor and affection, and 
he said : 

" I feel no resentment, I seek not for strife, 
I wish not for thrones and the glories of life; 
What is glory to man? — an illusion, a cheat; 
What did it for Jemshid, the world at his feet? 
When I go to my brothers their anger may cease, 
Though vengeance were fitter than offers of peace." 

Feridun observed to him : " It is well that thy desire is for 
reconciliation, as thy brothers are preparing for war." He 
then wrote a letter to his sons, in which he said : " Your 
younger brother considers your friendship and esteem of more 
consequence to him than his crown and throne. He has ban- 
ished from his heart every feeling of resentment against you ; 
do you, in the like manner, cast away hostility from your hearts 
against him. Be kind to him, for it is incumbent upon the 
eldest born to be indulgent and affectionate to their younger 
brothers. Although your consideration for my happiness has 
passed away, I still wish to please you." As soon as the letter 
was finished, Irij mounted his horse, and set off on his journey, 



40 FIRDUSI 

accompanied by several of his friends, but not in such a man* 
ner, and with such an equipment, as might betray his rank or 
character. When he arrived with his attendants in Turkistan, 
he found that the armies of his two brothers were ready to 
march against him. SiHm and Tur, being apprised of the 
approach of Irij, went out of the city, according to ancient 
usage, to meet the deputation which was conveying to them 
their father's letter. Irij was kindly received by them, and 
accommodated in the royal residence. 

It is said that Irij was in person extremely prepossessing, 
and that when the troops first beheld him, they exclaimed: 
" He is indeed fit to be a king ! " In every place all eyes were 
fixed upon him, and wherever he moved he was followed and 
surrounded by the admiring army and crowds of people. 

In numerous groups the soldiers met, and blessed 
The name of Irij, saying in their hearts. 
This is the man to lead an armed host, 
And worthy of the diadem and throne. 

The courtiers of the two brothers, alarmed by these demon- 
strations of attachment to Irij continually before their eyes, 
represented to Silim and Tur that the army was disaffected 
towards them, and that Irij alone was considered deserving of 
the supreme authority. This intimation exasperated the 
malignant spirit of the two brothers : for although at first de- 
termined to put Irij to death, his youth and prepossessing ap- 
pearance had in some degree subdued their animosity. They 
were therefore pleased with the intelligence, because it afforded 
a new and powerful reason for getting rid of him. " Look at 
our troops," said Silim to Tur, " how they assemble in circles 
together, and betray their admiration of him. I fear they will 
never march against Persia. Indeed it is not improbable that 
even the kingdom of Turan may fall into his hands, since the 
hearts of our soldiers have become so attached to him. 

" No time is this to deviate from our course, 
We must rush on; our armies plainly show 
Their love for Irij, and if we should fail 
To root up from its place this flourishing tree, 
Our cause is lost for ever." 

Again, Silim said to Tur : " Thou must put Irij to death, 
and then his kingdom will be thine." Tur readily undertook 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



41 



to commit that crime, and, on the following day, at an inter- 
view with Irij, he said to him : " Why didst thou consent to be 
the ruler of Persia, and fail in showing a proper regard for 
the interests of thy elder brothers ? Whilst our barren king- 
doms are constantly in a state of warfare with the Turks, thou 
art enjoying peace and tranquillity upon the throne of a fruit- 
ful country ? Must we, thy elder brothers, remain thus under 
thy commands, and in subordinate stations? 

Must thou have gold and treasure. 
And thy heart be wrapt in pleasure, 
Whilst we, thy elder born, 
Of our heritage are shorn? 
Must the youngest still be nursed, 
And the elder branches cursed? 
And condemned, by stern command. 
To a wild and sterile land? " 

When Irij heard these words from Tur, he immediately 
replied, saying : 

" I only seek tranquillity and peace; 
I look not on the crown of sovereignty. 
Nor seek a name among the Persian host; 
And though the throne and diadem are mine, 
I here renounce them, satisfied to lead 
A private life. For what hath ever been 
The end of earthly power and pomp, but darkness? 
I seek not to contend against my brothers; 
Why should I grieve their hearts, or give distress 
To any human being? I am young, 
And Heaven forbid that I should prove unkind! " 

Notwithstanding, however, these declarations of submission, 
and repeated assurances of his resolution to resign the mon- 
i. archy of Persia, Tiir would not believe one word. In a moment 
he sprung up, and furiously seizing the golden chair from 
which he had just risen, struck a violent blow with it on the 
head of Irij, calling aloud, " Bind him, bind him ! " The youth, 
struggling on the ground, exclaimed : " O, think of thy 
father, and pity me! Have compassion on thy own soul! I 
came for thy protection, therefore do not take my life: if 
thou dost, my blood will call out for vengeance to the Al- 
mighty. I ask only for peace and retirement. Think of my 
father, and pity me I 



y 



4a FIRDUSI 

" Wouldst thou, with life endowed, take life away? 
Torture not the poor ant, which drags the grain 
Along the dust; it has a life, and life 
Is sweet and precious. Did the innocent ant 
Offend thee ever? Cruel must he be 
Who would destroy a living thing so harmless! 
And wilt thou, reckless, shed thy brother's blood, 
And agonize the feelings of a father? 
Pause, and avoid the wrath of righteous Heaven! " 

But Tur was not to be softened by the supplications of his 
brother. Without giving any reply, he drew his dagger, and 
instantly dissevered the head of the youth from his body. 

With musk and ambergris he first embalmed 
The head of Irij, then to his old father 
Dispatched the present with these cruel words: 
" Here is the head of thy beloved son, 
Thy darling favourite, dress it with a crown 
As thou wert wont; and mark the goodly fruit 
Thou hast produced. Adorn thy ivory throne, 
In all its splendour, for this worthy head. 
And place it in full majesty before thee!" 

In the meantime, Feridun had prepared a magnificent re- 
ception for his son. The period of his return had arrived, and 
he was in anxious expectation of seeing him, when suddenly 
he received intelligence that Irij had been put to death by his 
brothers. The mournful spectacle soon reached his father's 
house. 

A scream of agony burst from his heart. 

As wildly in his arms he clasped the face 

Of his poor slaughtered son; then down he sank 

Senseless upon the earth. The soldiers round 

Bemoaned the sad catastrophe, and rent 

Their garments in their grief. The souls of all 

Were filled with gloom, their eyes with flowing tears, 

For hope had promised a far different scene; 

A day of heart-felt mirth and joyfulness. 

When Irij to his father's house returned. 

After the extreme agitation of Feridun had subsided, he 
directed all his people to wear black apparel, in honor of the 
murdered youth, and all his drums and banners to be torn to 
pieces. They say that subsequent to this dreadful calamity 
he always wore black clothes. The head of Irij was buried in 



THE SHAh nAmEH 43 

a favorite garden, where he had been accustomed to hold 
weekly a rural entertainment. Feridun, in performing the last 
ceremony, pressed it to his bosom, and with streaming eyes 
exclaimed : 

" O Heaven, look down upon my murdered boy; 
His severed head before me, but his body 
Torn by those hungry wolves! O grant my prayer. 
That I may see, before I die, the seed 
Of Irij hurl just vengeance on the heads 
Of his assassins; hear, O hear my prayer." 
— Thus he in sorrow for his favourite son 
Obscured the light which might have sparkled still. 
Withering the jasmine flower of happy days; 
So that his pale existence looked like death. 



MINUCHIHR 

FERIDUN continued to cherish with the fondest affection 
the memory of his murdered son, and still looked for- 
ward with anxiety to the anticipated hour of retribu- 
tion. He fervently hoped that a son might be born to take 
vengeance for his father's death. But it so happened that Mah- 
afrid, the wife of Irij, gave birth to a daughter. When this 
daughter grew up, Feridun gave her in marriage to Pishung, 
and from that union an heir was born who in form and feature 
resembled Irij and Feridun. He was called Mimichihr, and 
great rejoicings took place on the occasion of his birth. 

The old man's lips, with smiles apart, 
Bespoke the gladness of his heart. 
And in his arms he took the boy 
The harbinger of future joy; 
Delighted that indulgent Heaven 
To his fond hopes this pledge had given. 
It seemed as if, to bless his reign, 
Irij had come to life again. 

The child was nourished with great tenderness during his 
infancy, and when he grew up he was sedulously instructed in 
every art necessary to form the character, and acquire the 
accomplishments of a warrior. Feridun was accustomed to 



44 FIRDUSI 

place him on the throne, and decorate his brows with the crown 
of sovereignty ; and the soldiers enthusiastically acknowledged 
him as their king, urging him to rouse himself and take ven- 
geance of his enemies for the murder of his grandfather. Hav- 
ing opened his treasury, Feridun distributed abundance of gold 
among the people, so that Miniichihr was in a short time en- 
abled to embody an immense army, by whom he was looked 
upon with attachment and admiration. 

When Silim and Tiir were informed of the preparations that 
were making against them, that Miniichihr, having grown to 
manhood, was distinguished for his valor and intrepidity, and 
that multitudes flocked to his standard with the intention of 
forwarding his purpose of revenge, they were seized with inex- 
pressible terror, and anticipated an immediate invasion of 
their kingdoms. Thus alarmed, they counselled together upon 
the course it would be wisest to adopt. 

" Should he advance, his cause is just. 
And blood will mingle with the dust, 
But heaven forbid our power should be 
O'erwhelmed to give him victory; 
Though strong his arm, and wild his ire, 
And vengeance keen his heart inspire." 

They determined, at length, to pursue pacific measures, and 
endeavor by splendid presents and conciliatory language to 
regain the good-will of Feridun, The elephants were immedi- 
ately loaded with treasure, a crown of gold, and other articles 
of value, and a messenger was dispatched, charged with an 
acknowledgment of guilt and abundant expressions of repent- 
ance. " It was Iblis," they said, " who led us astray, and our 
destiny has been such that we are in every way criminal. But 
thou art the ocean of mercy ; pardon our oflFences. Though 
manifold, they were involuntary, and forgiveness will cleanse 
our hearts and restore us to ourselves. Let our tears wash 
away the faults we have committed. To Minuchihr and to 
thyself we offer obedience and fealty, and we wait your com- 
mands, being but the dust of your feet." 

When the messenger arrived at the court of Feridun he first 
delivered the magnificent presents, and the king, having placed 
Minuchihr on a golden chair by his side, observed to him, 
'* These presents are to thee a prosperous and blessed omen — 



THE SHAh nAmEH 45 

they show that thy enemy is afraid of thee." Then the mes- 
senger was permitted to communicate the object of his mission. 

He spoke with studied phrase, intent to hide, 

Or mitigate the horror of their crime; 

And with excuses plausible and bland 

His speech was dressed. The brothers, he observed. 

Desired to see their kinsman Miniichihr, 

And with the costliest gems they sought to pay 

The price of kindred blood unjustly shed — 

And they would willingly to him resign 

Their kingdoms for the sake of peace and friendship. 

The monarch marked him scornfully, and said: 
" Canst thou conceal the sun? It is in vain 
Truth to disguise with words of shallow meaning. 
Now hear my answer. Ask thy cruel masters, 
Who talk of their affection for the prince. 
Where lies the body of the gentle Irij? 
Him they have slain, the fierce, unnatural brothers, 
And now they thirst to gain another victim. 
They long to see the face of Mintichihr! 
Yes, and they shall, surrounded by his soldiers, 
And clad in steel, and they shall feel the edge 
Of life-destroying swords. Yes, they shall see him! " 

After uttering this indignant speech, Feridun showed to the 
messenger his great warriors, one by one. He showed him 
Kavah and his two sons, Shahpur, and Shiriieh, and Karun, 
and Sam,* and Nariman, and other chiefs — all of admirable 
courage and valor in war — and thus resumed : 

" Hence with your presents, hence, away, 
Can gold or gems turn night to day? 
Must kingly heads be bought and sold, 
And shall I barter blood for gold? 
Shall gold a father's heart entice. 
Blood to redeem beyond all price? 
Hence, hence with treachery; I have heard 
Their glozing falsehoods, every word; 
But human feelings guide my will. 
And keep my honour sacred still. 
True is the oracle we read: 
' Those who have sown oppression's seed 

• S&m, Sam Suw4r, was the son of Soh4m, on account of its being of the 
Nariman. He is said to have van- color and nature of fire. According to 
quished or tamed a great number of fabulous history, he made it his war- 
animals and terrible monsters, amongst horse, in all his engagements against 
which was one remarkable for its the Demons, 
ferocity. This furious animal was called 



46 FIRDUSI 

Reap bitter fruit; their souls, perplext, 
Joy not in this world or the next.' 
The brothers of my murdered boy. 
Who could a father's hopes destroy. 
An equal punishment will reap, 
And lasting vengeance o'er them sweep. 
They rooted up my favourite tree. 
But yet a branch remains to me. 
Now the young lion comes apace, 
The glory of his glorious race; 
He comes apace, to punish guilt. 
Where brother's blood was basely spilt; 
And blood alone for blood must pay; 
Hence with your gold, depart, away! " 

When the messenger heard these reproaches, mingled with 
poison, he immediately took leave, and trembling with fear, 
returned to Silim and Tur with the utmost speed. He de- 
scribed to them in strong and alarming terms the appearance 
and character of Minuchihr, and his warriors ; of that noble 
youth who with frowning eyebrows was only anxious for bat- 
tle. He then communicated to them in what manner he had 
been received, and repeated the denunciations of Feridun, at 
which the brothers were exceedingly grieved and disappointed. 
But Silim said to Tiir : 

" Let us be first upon the field, before 
He marshals his array. It follows not. 
That he should be a hero bold and valiant, 
Because he is descended from the brave; 
But it becomes us well to try our power,— 
For speed, in war, is better than delay." 

In this spirit the two brothers rapidly collected from both 
their kingdoms a large army, and proceeded towards Iran. On 
hearing of their progress, Feridun said : " This is well — they 
come of themselves. The forest game surrenders itself volun- 
tarily at the foot of the sportsman." Then he commanded his 
army to wait quietly till they arrived ; for skill and patience, 
he observed, will draw the lion's head into your toils. 

As soon as the enemy had approached within a short dis- 
tance, Minuchihr solicited Feridun to commence the engage- 
ment — and the king having summoned his chief warriors 
before him, appointed them all, one by one, to their proper 
places. 



THE ShAh nAmEH 47 

The warriors of renown assembled straight 
With ponderous clubs; each like a lion fierce, 
Girded his loins impatient. In their front 
The sacred banner of the blacksmith waved; 
Bright scimitars were brandished in the air; 
Beneath them pranced their steeds, all armed for fight, 
And so incased in iron were the chiefs 
From top to toe, their eyes were only seen. 

When Karun drew his hundred thousand troops 
Upon the field, the battle-word was given. 
And Minuchihr was, like the cypress tall. 
Engaged along the centre of the hosts; 
And like the moon he shone, amid the groups 
Of congregated clouds, or as the sun 
Glittering upon the mountain of Alberz. 
The squadrons in advance Kabad commanded, 
Garshasp the left, and Sam upon the right. 

The shedders of a brother's blood had now 
Brought their innumerous legions to the strife. 
And formed them in magnificent array: 
The picket guards were almost thrown together. 
When Tur sprung forward, and with sharp reproach. 
And haughty gesture, thus addressed Kabad: 
" Ask this new king, this Minuchihr, since Heaven 
To Irij gave a daughter, who on him 
Bestowed the mail, the battle-axe, and sword? " 
To this insulting speech, Kabad replied: 
" The message shall be given, and I will bring 
The answer, too. Ye know what ye have done; 
Have ye not murdered him who, trusting, sought 
Protection from ye? All mankind for this 
Must curse your memory till the day of doom; 
If savage monsters were to fly your presence, 
It would not be surprising. Those who die 
In this most righteous cause will go to Heaven, 
With all their sins forgotten!" Then Kabad 
Went to the king, and told the speech of Tur: 
A smile played o'er the cheek of Minuchihr 
As thus he spoke: " A boaster he must be, 
Or a vain fool, for when engaged in battle. 
Vigour of arm and the enduring soul, 
Will best be proved. I ask but for revenge — 
Vengeance for Irij slain. Meanwhile, return; 
We shall not fight to-day." 

He too retired, 
And in his tent upon the sandy plain, 
Ordered the festive board to be prepared. 
And wine and music whiled the hours away. 



48 FIRDUSI 

When morning dawned the battle commenced, and multi- 
tudes were slain on both sides. 

The spacious plain became a sea of blood; 
It seemed as if the earth was covered o'er 
With crimson tulips; slippery was the ground, 
And all in dire confusion. 

The army of Minuchihr was victorious, owing to the 
bravery and skill of the commander. But Heaven was in his 
favor. 

In the evening Silim and Tur consulted together, and came 
to the resolution of effecting a formidable night attack on the 
enemy. The spies of Minuchihr, however, obtained informa- 
tion of this intention, and communicated the secret to the king. 
Minuchihr immediately placed the army in charge of Karun, 
and took himself thirty thousand men to wait in ambuscade 
for the enemy, and frustrate his views. Tur advanced with a 
hundred thousand men ; but as he advanced, he found every 
one on the alert, and aware of his approach. He had gone too 
far to retreat in the dark without fighting, and therefore began 
a vigorous conflict. Minuchihr sprung up from his ambus- 
cade, and with his thirty thousand men rushed upon the centre 
of the enemy's troops, and in the end encountered Tur. The 
struggle was not long. Minuchihr dexterously using his 
javelin, hurled him from his saddle precipitately to the ground, 
and then with his dagger severed the head from his body. The 
body he left to be devoured by the beasts of the field, and the 
head he sent as a trophy to Feridiin; after which, he pro- 
ceeded in search of Silim. 

The army of the confederates, however, having suffered such 
a signal defeat, Silim thought it prudent to fall back and take 
refuge in a fort. But Minuchihr went in pursuit, and besieged 
the castle. One day a warrior named Kaku made a sally out 
of the fort, and approaching the centre of the besieging army, 
threw a javelin at Minuchihr, which, however, fell harmless 
before it reached its aim. Then Minuchihr seized the enemy 
by the girdle, raised him up in air, and flung him from his sad- 
dle to the ground. 

He grasped the foe-man by the girth, 
And thundering drove him to the earth; 
By wound of spear, and gory brand, 
He died upon the burning sand. 



THE SHAh NAMEH 49 

The siege was continued for some time with the view of 
weakening the power of Sihm ; at last Minuchihr sent a mes- 
sage to him, saying : " Let the battle be decided between us. 
Quit the fort, and boldly meet me here, that it may be seen to 
whom God gives the victory." Silim could not, without dis- 
grace, refuse this challenge : he descended from the fort, and 
met Minuchihr. A desperate conflict ensued, and he was slain 
on the spot. Miniichihr's keen sword severed the royal head 
from the body, and thus quickly ended the career of Silim. 
After that, the whole of the enemy's troops were defeated and 
put to flight in every direction. 

The leading warriors of the routed army now sought pro- 
tection from Minuchihr, who immediately compHed with their 
solicitation, and by their influence all the forces of Silim and 
Tur united under him. To each he gave rank according to 
his merits. After the victory, Minuchihr hastened to pay his 
respects to Feridun, who received him with praises and thanks- 
givings, and the customary honors. Returning from the bat- 
tle, Feridun met him on foot; and the moment Minuchihr 
beheld the venerable monarch, he alighted and kissed the 
ground. They then, seated in the palace together, congratu- 
lated themselves on the success of their arms. In a short time 
after, the end of Feridun approached; when recommending 
Minuchihr to the care of Sam and Nariman, he said : " My 
hour of departure has arrived, and I place the prince under 
your protection." He then directed Minuchihr to be seated 
on the throne; 

And put himself the crown upon his head, 

And stored his mind with counsel good and wise. 

Upon the death of Feridun, Minuchihr accordingly suc- 
ceeded to the government of the empire, and continued to ob- 
serve strictly all the laws and regulations of his great grand- 
father. He commanded his subjects to be constant in the 
worship of God. 

The army and the people gave him praise. 
Prayed for his happiness and length of days; 
Our hearts, they said, are ever bound to thee; 
Our hearts, inspired by love and loyahy. 
Vol. I.— 4 



5© FIRDUSI 



ZAL, THE SON OF SAM 

ACCORDING to the traditionary histories from which 
Firdusi has derived his legends, the warrior Sam had 
a son born to him whose hair was perfectly white. 
On his birth the nurse went to Sam and told him that God 
had blessed him with a wonderful child, without a single 
blemish, excepting that his hair was white; but when Sam 
saw him he was grieved : 

His hair was white as goose's wing, 
His cheek was like the rose of spring 
His form was straight as cypress tree — 
But when the sire was brought to see 
That child with hair so silvery white, 
His heart revolted at the sight. 

His mother gave him the name of Zal and the people said 
to Sam, " This is an ominous event, and will be to thee pro- 
ductive of nothing but calamity; it would be better if thou 
couldst remove him out of sight. 

No human being of this earth 
Could give to such a monster birth; 
He must be of the Demon race. 
Though human still in form and face. 
If not a Demon, he, at least. 
Appears a party-coloured beast." 

When Sam was made acquainted with these reproaches and 
sneers of the people, he determined, though with a sorrowful 
heart, to take him up to the mountain Alberz, and abandon 
him there to be destroyed by beasts of prey. Alberz was the 
abode of the Simurgh or Griffin,* and, whilst liying about in 
quest of food for his hungry young ones, that surprising animal 
discovered the child lying alone upon the hard rock, crying 
and sucking its fingers. The Simurgh, however, felt no incli- 

• The sex of this fabulous animal is the other, or both I Some have likened 

not clearly made out! It tells Zal that the Simurjrh to the Ippogrif or Griffin; 

it had nursed him like a father, and but the Simurgh is plainly a biped; 

therefore I have, in this place, adopted others again have supposed that the 

the masculine gender, though the pre- fable simply meant a holy recluse of 

server of young ones might authorize the mountains, who nourished and edu- 

its being considered a female. The cated the poor child which had been 

Simurgh is probably neither one nor abandoned by its father. 



THE ShAh nAmEH 51 

nation to devour him, but compassionately took him up in the 
air, and conveyed him to his own habitation. 

He who is blest with Heaven's grace 
Will never want a dwelling-place 
And he who bears the curse of Fate 
Can never change his wretched state. 
A voice, not earthly, thus addressed 
The Simurgh in his mountain nest — 
" To thee this mortal I resign. 
Protected by the power divine; 
Let him thy fostering kindness share, 
Nourish him with paternal care; 
For from his loins, in time, will spring 
The champion of the world, and bring 
Honour on earth, and to thy name; 
The heir of everlasting fame." 

The young ones were also kind and affectionate to the in- 
fant, which was thus nourished and protected by the Simurgh 
for several years. 



THE DREAM OF SAM 

IT is said that one night, after melancholy musings and re- 
flecting on the miseries of this life, Sam was visited by a 
dream, and when the particulars of it were communicated 
to the interpreters of mysterious warnings and omens, they 
declared that Zal was certainly still alive, although he had been 
long exposed on Alberz, and left there to be torn to pieces by 
wild animals. Upon this interpretation being given, the nat- 
ural feelings of the father returned, and he sent his people to 
the mountain in search of Zal, but without success. On an- 
other night Sam dreamt a second time, when he beheld a 
young man of a beautiful countenance at the head of an im- 
mense army, with a banner flying before him, and a Mubid on 
his left hand. One of them addressed Sam, and reproached 
him thus : — 

Unfeeling mortal, hast thou from thy eyes 
Washed out all sense of shame? Dost thou believe 
That to have silvery tresses is a crime? 
If 80, thy head is covered with white hair; 



52 FIRDUSI 

And were not both spontaneous gifts from Heaven? 

Although the boy was hateful to thy sight, 

The grace of God has been bestowed upon him; 

And what is human tenderness and love 

To Heaven's protection? Thou to him wert cruel, 

But Heaven has blest him, shielding him from harm. 

Sam screamed aloud in his sleep, and awoke greatly terrified. 
Without delay he went himself to Alberz, and ascended the 
mountain, and wept and prayed before the throne of the Al- 
mighty, saying: — 

" If that forsaken child be truly mine, 
And not the progeny of Demon fell, 
O pity me! forgive the wicked deed, 
And to my eyes, my injured son restore." 

His prayer was accepted. The Simurgh, hearing the lamen- 
tations of Sam among his people, knew that he had come in 
quest of his son, and thus said to Zal : — " I have fed and pro- 
tected thee like a kind nurse, and I have given thee the name 
of Dustan, like a father. Sam, the warrior, has just come upon 
the mountain in search of his child, and I must restore thee to 
him, and we must part." Zal wept when he heard of this un- 
expected separation, and in strong terms expressed his grati- 
tude to his benefactor; for the Wonderful Bird had not 
omitted to teach him the language of the country, and to culti- 
vate his understanding, removed as they were to such a dis- 
tance from the haunts of mankind. The Simurgh soothed 
him by assuring him that he was not going to abandon him to 
misfortune, but to increase his prosperity ; and, as a striking 
proof of afifection, gave him a feather from his own wing, with 
these instructions : — " Whenever thou art involved in difficulty 
or danger, put this feather on the fire, and I will instantly ap- 
pear to thee to ensure thy safety. Never cease to remember 
me. 

I have watched thee with fondness by day and by nighty 
And supplied all thy wants with a father's delight; 
O forget not thy nurse — still be faithful to me — 
And my heart will be ever devoted to thee." 

Zal immediately replied in a strain of gratitude and admira- 
tion ; and then the Simurgh conveyed him to Sam, and said to 



THE SHAH nAmEH 53 

him : " Receive thy son — he is of wonderful promise, and will 
be worthy of the throne and the diadem." 

The soul of Sam rejoiced to hear 
Applause so sweet to a parent's ear; 
And blessed them both in thought and word, 
The lovely boy, and the Wondrous Bird. 

He also declared to Zal that he was ashamed of the crime 
of which he had been guilty, and that he would endeavor to 
obliterate the recollection of the past by treating him in future 
with the utmost respect and honor. 

When Minuchihr heard from Zabul of these things, and of 
Sam's return^ he was exceedingly pleased, and ordered his son, 
Nauder, with a splendid istakbal,* to meet the father and son 
on their approach to the city. They were surrounded by war- 
riors and great men, and Sam embraced the first moment to 
introduce Zal to the king. 

Zal humbly kissed the earth before the king, 

And from the hands of Minuchihr received 

A golden mace and helm. Then those who knew 

The stars and planetary signs, were told 

To calculate the stripling's destiny; 

And all proclaimed him of exalted fortune, 

That he would be prodigious in his might. 

Outshining every warrior of the age. 

Delighted with this information, Minuchihr, seated upon his 
throne, with Karun on one side and Sam on the other, pre- 
sented Zal with Arabian horses, and armor, and gold, and 
splendid garments, and appointed Sam to the government of 
Kabul, Zabul, and Ind. Zal accompanied his father on his 
return; and when they arrived at Zabulistan, the most re- 
nowned instructors in every art and science were collected to- 
gether to cultivate and enrich his young mind. 

• This custom is derived from the mony which we had before witnessed at 
earliest ages of Persia, and has been Kauzeroon, and which we again under- 
continued down to the present times stood to be an honor shared with the 
with no abatement of its pomp or King and his sons alone. Then came 
splendor Mr. Morier thus speaks of two of the principal merchants of 
tne progrress of the Embassy to Per- Shiraz, accompanied by a boy, the son 
sia: — of Mahomed Nebee Khan, the new 

" An Istakbal composed of fifty horse- Governor of Bushere. They, however, 

men of our Mehmandar's tribe, met us incurred the Envoy's displeasure by not 

about three miles from our encamp- dismounting from their horses, a form 

ment; they were succeeded as we ad- always observed in Persia by those of 

vanced by an assemblage on foot, who lower rank, when they met a superior, 

threw a glass vessel filled with sweet- We were thus met by three Istakbals 

meats beneath the Envoy's horse, a cere- during the course of the day." 



54 FIRDUSI 

In the meantime Sam was commanded by the king to inv«.de 
and subdue the Demon provinces of Karugsar and Mazin- 
deran ; * and Zal was in consequence left by his father in 
charge of Zabuhstan. The young nursHng of the Simurgh is 
said to have performed the duties of sovereignty with admir- 
able wisdom and discretion, during the absence of his father. 
He did not pass his time in idle exercises, but with zealous 
delight in the society of accomplished and learned men, for 
the purpose of becoming familiar with every species of knowl- 
edge and acquirement. The city of Zabul, however, as a con- 
stant residence, did not entirely satisfy him, and he wished to 
see more of the world; he therefore visited several other 
places, and proceeded as far as Kabul, where he pitched his 
tents, and remained for some time. 



RUDABEH 

THE chief of Kabul was descended from the family of 
Zohak. He was named Mihrab, and to secure the 
safety of his state, paid annual tribute to Sam. Mihrab, 
on the arrival of Zal, went out of the city to see him, and was 
hospitably entertained by the young hero, who soon discovered 
that he had a daughter of wonderful attractions. 

Her name Rudabeh; screened from public view, 

Her countenance is brilliant as the sun; 

From head to foot her lovely form is fair 

As polished ivory. Like the spring, her cheek 

Presents a radiant bloom, — in stature tall, 

And o'er her silvery brightness, richly flow 

Dark musky ringlets clustering to her feet. 

She blushes like the rich pomegranate flower; 

Her eyes are soft and sweet as the narcissus. 

Her lashes from the raven's jetty plume 

Have stolen their blackness, and her brows are bent 

Like archer's bow. Ask ye to see the moon? 

Look at her face. Seek ye for musky fragrance? 

She is all sweetness. Her long fingers seem 

Pencils of silver, and so beautiful 

Her presence, that she breathes of Heaven and love. 

• The province of Mazinderan, of to the ancients by the name of Hj^- 
which the principal city is Amol, com- cania. At the period to which the text 
prehends the whole of the southern refers, the country was in the posses- 
coast of the Caspian sea. It was known sion of demons. 



THE SHAh nAmeH 55 

Such was the description of Riidabeh, which inspired the 
heart of Zal with the most violent affection, and imagination 
added to her charms. 

Mihrab again waited on Zal, who received him graciously, 
and asked him in what manner he could promote his wishes. 
Mihrab said that he only desired him to become his guest at a 
banquet he intended to invite him to ; but Zal thought proper 
to refuse, because he well knew, if he accepted an invitation of 
the kind from a relation of Zohak, that his father Sam and the 
King of Persia would be offended. Mihrab returned to Kabul 
disappointed, and having gone into his harem, his wife, Sin- 
dokht, inquired after the stranger from Zabul, the white- 
headed son of Sam. She wished to know what he was like, in 
form and feature, and what account he gave of his sojourn 
with the Simurgh. Mihrab described him in the warmest terms 
of admiration — he was valiant, he said, accomplished and hand- 
some, with no other defect than that of white hair. And so 
boundless was his praise, that Rudabeh, who was present, 
drank every word with avidity, and felt her own heart warmed 
into admiration and love. Full of emotion, she afterwards said 
privately to her attendants : 

" To you alone the secret of my heart 
I now unfold; to you alone confess 
The deep sensations of my captive soul. 
I love, I love; all day and night of him 
I think alone — I see him in my dreams — 
You only know my secret — aid me now. 
And soothe the sorrows of my bursting heart" 

The attendants were startled with this confession and en- 
treaty, and ventured to remonstrate against so preposterous an 
attachment. 

"What! hast thou lost all sense of shame, 
All value for thy honored name! 
That thou, in loveliness supreme, 
Of every tongue the constant theme. 
Should choose, and on another's word, 
The nursling of a Mountain Bird! 
A being never seen before. 
Which human mother never bore! 
And can the hoary locks of age, 
A youthful heart like thine engage? 



56 FIRDUSI 

Must thy enchanting form be prest 
To such a dubious monster's breast? 
And all thy beauty's rich array, 
Thy peerless charms be thrown away?" 

This violent remonstrance was more calculated to rouse the 
indignation of Rudabeh than to induce her to change her mind. 
It did so. But she subdued her resentment, and again dwelt 
upon the ardor of her passion, 

" My attachment is fixed, my election is made, 
And when hearts are enchained 'tis in vain to upbraid. 
Neither Kizar nor Faghfur I wish to behold, 
Nor the monarch of Persia with jewels and gold; 
All, all I despise, save the choice of my heart, 
And from his beloved image I never can part. 
Call him aged, or young, 'tis a fruitless endeavour 
To uproot a desire I must cherish for ever; 
Call him old, call him young, who can passion control? 
Ever present, and loved, he entrances my soul. 
'Tis for him I exist — him I worship alone, 
And my heart it must bleed till I call him my own." 

As soon as the attendants found that Rudabeh's attachment 
was deeply fixed, and not to be removed, they changed their 
purpose, and became obedient to her wishes, anxious to pur- 
sue any measure that might bring Zal and their mistress to- 
gether. Rudabeh was delighted with this proof of their regard. 

It was spring-time, and the attendants repaired towards the 
halting-place of Zal, in the neighborhood of the city. Their 
occupation seemed to be gathering roses along the romantic 
banks of a pellucid streamlet, and when they purposely strayed 
opposite the tent of Zal, he observed them, and asked his 
friends — why they presumed to gather roses in his garden. 
He was told that they were damsels sent by the moon of 
Kabulistan from the palace of Mihrab to gather roses, and 
upon hearing this his heart was touched with emotion. He 
rose up and rambled about for amusement, keeping the direc- 
tion of the river, followed by a servant with a bow. He was 
not far from the damsels, when a bird sprung up from the water, 
which he shot, upon the wing, with an arrow. The bird hap- 
pened to fall near the rose-gatherers, and Zal ordered his ser- 
vant to bring it to him. The attendants of Rudabeh lost not 



THE SHAh nAmEH 57 

the opportunity, as he approached them, to inquire who the 
archer was, ** Know ye not," answered the servant, " that 
this is Nimruz, the son of Sam, and also called Dustan, the 
greatest warrior ever known." At this the damsels smiled, 
and said that they too belonged to a person of distinction — 
and not of inferior worth — to a star in the palace of Mihrab. 
" We have come from Kabul to the King of Zabulistan, and 
should Zal and Rudabeh be of equal rank, her ruby lips may 
become acquainted with his, and their wished-for union be 
effected." When the servant returned, Zal was immediately 
informed of the conversation that had taken place, and in con- 
sequence presents were prepared. • 

They who to gather roses came — went back 
With precious gems — and honorary robes; 
And two bright finger-rings were secretly 
Sent to the princess. 

Then did the attendants of Rudabeh exult in the success of 
their artifice, and say that the Hon had come into their toils, 
Rudabeh herself, however, had some fears on the subject. She 
anxiously sought to know exactly the personal appearance of 
Zal, and happily her warmest hopes were realized by the de- 
scription she received. But one difficulty remained — how were 
they to meet ? How was she to see with her own eyes the man 
whom her fancy had depicted in such glowing colors? Her 
attendants, sufficiently expert at intrigue, soon contrived the 
means of gratifying her wishes. There was a beautiful rural 
retreat in a sequestered situation, the apartments of which 
were adorned with pictures of great men, and ornamented in 
the most splendid manner. To this favorite place Rudabeh 
retired, and most magnificently dressed, awaiting the coming 
of Zal, whom her attendants had previously invited to repair 
thither as soon as the sun had gone down. The shadows of 
evening were falling as he approached, and the enamoured 
princess thus addressed him from her balcony : — 

" May happiness attend thee ever, thou, 
Whose lucid features make this gloomy night 
Clear as the day; whose perfume scents the breeze; 
Thou who, regardless of fatigue, hast come 
On foot too, thus to see me " 



58 FIRDUSI 

Hearing a sweet voice, he looked up, and beheld a bright 
face in the balcony, and he said to the beautiful vision : — 

" How often have I hoped that Heaven 

Would, in some secret place display 
Thy charms to me, and thou hast given 

My heart the wish of many a day; 
For now thy gentle voice I hear. 

And now I see thee — speak again! 
Speak freely in a willing ear, 

And every wish thou hast obtain." 

Not a word was lost upon Rudabeh, and she soon accom- 
plished her object. Her hair was so luxuriant, and of such a 
length, that casting it loose it flowed down from the balcony ; 
and, after fastening the upper part to a ring, she requested Zal 
to take hold of the other end and mount up. He ardently 
kissed the musky tresses, and by them quickly ascended. 

Then hand in hand within the chambers they 

Gracefully passed. — Attractive was the scene, 

The walls embellished by the painter's skill, 

And every object exquisitely formed, 

Sculpture, and architectural ornament, 

Fit for a king. Zal with amazement gazed 

Upon what art had done, but more he gazed 

Upon the witching radiance of his love, 

Upon her tulip cheeks, her musky locks, 

Breathing the sweetness of a summer garden; 

Upon the sparkling brightness of her rings. 

Necklace, and bracelets, glittering on her arms. 

His mien too was majestic — on his head 

He wore a ruby crown, and near his breast 

Was seen a belted dagger. Fondly she 

With side-long glances marked his noble aspect. 

The fine proportions of his graceful limbs, 

His strength and beauty. Her enamoured heart 

Suffused her cheek with blushes, every glance 

Increas'd the ardent transports of her soul. 

So mild was his demeanour, he appeared 

A gentle lion toying with his prey. 

Long they remained rapt in admiration 

Of each other. At length the warrior rose. 

And thus addressed her: " It becomes not us 

To be forgetful of the path of prudence, 

Though love would dictate a more ardent course, 

How oft has Sam, my father, counselled me. 

Against unseeming thoughts, — unseemly deeds, — 



THE SHAh NAMEH 59 

Always to choose the right, and shun the wrong. 
How will he burn with anger when he hears 
This new adventure; how will Minuchihr 
Indignantly reproach me for this dream! 
This waking dream of rapture! but I call 
High Heaven to witness what I now declare — 
Whoever may oppose my sacred vows, 
I still am thine, affianced thine, for ever." 

And thus Riidabeh: " Thou hast won my heart. 
And kings may sue in vain; to thee devoted. 
Thou art alone my warrior and my love." 
Thus they exclaimed, — then Zal with fond adieus 
Softly descended from the balcony. 
And hastened to his tent. 

As speedily as possible he assembled together his counsellors 
and Mubids to obtain their advice on the present extraordinary 
occasion, and he represented to them the sacred importance of 
encouraging matrimonial alliances. 

For marriage is a contract sealed by Heaven — 
How happy is the Warrior's lot, amidst 
His smiling children; when he dies, his son 
Succeeds him, and enjoys his rank and name. 
And is it not a glorious thing to say — 
This is the son of Zal, or this of Sam, 
The heir of his renowned progenitor? 

He then related to them the story of his love and affection 
for the daughter of Mihrab; but the Mubids, well knowing 
that the chief of Kabul was of the family of Zohak, the serpent- 
king, did not approve the union desired, which excited the 
indignation of Zal. They, however, recommended his writing 
a letter to Sam, who might, if he thought proper, refer the 
matter to Minuchihr. The letter was accordingly written and 
despatched, and when Sam received it, he immediately referred 
the question to his astrologers, to know whether the nuptials, 
if solemnized between Zal and Rudabeh, would be prosperous 
or not. They foretold that the nuptials would be prosperous, 
and that the issue would be a son of wonderful strength and 
power, the conqueror of the world. This announcement de- 
lighted the heart of the old warrior, and he sent the messenger 
back with the assurance of his approbation of the proposed 
union, but requested that the subject might be kept concealed 
till he returned with his army from the expedition to Karugsar, 
and was able to consult with Minuchihr. 



6o FIRDUSI 

ZaI, exulting at his success, communicated the glad tidings 
to Riidabeh by their female emissary, who had hitherto carried 
on successfully the correspondence between them. But as she 
was conveying an answer to this welcome news, and some pres- 
ents to Zal, Sindokht, the mother of Riidabeh, detected her, 
and, examining the contents of the packet, she found sufficient 
evidence, she thought, of something wrong. 

" What treachery is this? What have we here I 
Sirbund and male attire? Thou, wretch, confess! 
Disclose thy secret doings." 

The emissary, however, betrayed nothing; but declared that 
she was a dealer in jewels and dresses, and had been only 
showing her merchandise to Rudabeh. Sindokht, in extreme 
agitation of mind, hastened to her daughter's apartment to 
ascertain the particulars of this affair, when Rudabeh at once 
fearlessly acknowledged her unalterable affection for Zal. 

" I love him so devotedly, all day. 
All night my tears have flowed unceasingly; 
And one hair of his head I prize more dearly 
Than all the world beside; for him I live; 
And we have met, and we have sat together. 
And pledged our mutual love with mutual joy 
And innocence of heart." 

Rudabeh further informed her of Sam's consent to their 
nuptials, which in some degree satisfied the mother. But when 
Mihrab was made acquainted with the arrangement, his rage 
was unbounded, for he dreaded the resentment of Sam and 
Mimichihr when the circumstances became fully known to 
them. Trembling with indignation he drew his dagger, and 
would have instantly rushed to Rudabeh's chamber to destroy 
her, had not Sindokht fallen at his feet and restrained him. 
He insisted, however, on her being brought before him ; and 
upon his promise not to do her any harm, Sindokht complied. 
Rudabeh disdained to take off her ornaments to appear as an 
offender and a supplicant, but, proud of her choice, went into 
her father's presence, gayly adorned with jewels, and in splen- 
did apparel. Mihrab received her with surprise. 

" Why all this glittering finery? Is the devil 
United to an angel? When a snake 
Is met with in Arabia, it is killed! " 



THE SHAH NAMEH 6i 

But Riidabeh answered not a word, and was permitted to retire 
with her mother. 

When Minuchihr was apprised of the proceedings between 
Zal and Rudabeh, he was deeply concerned, anticipating noth- 
ing but confusion and ruin to Persia from the united influence 
of Zal and Mihrab. Feridun had purified the world from the 
abominations of Zohak, and as Mihrab was a descendant of 
that merciless tyrant, he feared that some attempt would be 
made to resume the enormities of former times ; Sam was 
therefore required to give his advice on the occasion. 

The conqueror of Karugsar and Mazinderan was received 
on his return with cordial rejoicings, and he charmed the king 
with the story of his triumphant success. The monarch against 
whom he had fought was descended, on the mother's side, from 
Zohak, and his Demon army was more numerous than ants, or 
clouds of locusts, covering mountain and plain. Sam thus pro- 
ceeded in his description of the conflict. 

" And when he heard my voice, and saw what deeds 
I had performed, approaching me, he threw 
His noose; but downward bending I escaped. 
And with my bow I showered upon his head 
Steel-pointed arrows, piercing through the brain; 
Then did I grasp his loins, and from his horse 
Cast him upon the ground, deprived of Hfe. 
At this, the demons terrified and pale, 
Shrunk back, some flying to the mountain wilds, 
And others, taken on the battle-field. 
Became obedient to the Persian king." 

Minuchihr, gfratified by this result of the expedition, ap- 
pointed Sam to a new enterprise, which was to destroy Kabul 
by fire and sword, especially the house of Mihrab; and that 
ruler, of the serpent-race, and all his adherents were to be put 
to death. Sam, before he took leave to return to his own 
government at Zabul, tried to dissuade him from this violent 
exercise of revenge, but without making any sensible impres- 
sion upon him. 

Meanwhile the vindictive intentions of Minuchihr, which 
were soon known at Kabul, produced the greatest alarm and 
consternation in the family of Mihrab. Zal now returned to 
his father, and Sam sent a letter to Minuchihr, again to depre- 
cate his wrath, and appointed Zal the messenger. In this letter 



63 FIRDUSI 

Sam enumerates his services at Karugsar and Mazinderan, 
and especially dwells upon the destruction of a prodigious 
dragon. 

" I am thy servant, and twice sixty years 
Have seen my prowess. Mounted on my steed, 
Wielding my battle-axe, o'erthrowing heroes, 
Who equals Sam, the warrior? I destroyed 
The mighty monster, whose devouring jaws 
Unpeopled half the land, and spread dismay 
From town to town. The world was full of horror, 
No bird was seen in air, no beast of prey 
In plain or forest; from the stream he drew 
The crocodile; the eagle from the sky. 
The country had no habitant alive. 
And when I found no human being left, 
I cast away all fear, and girt my loins. 
And in the name of God went boldly forth. 
Armed for the strife. I saw him towering rise. 
Huge as a mountain, with his hideous hair 
Dragging upon the ground; his long black tongue 
Shut up the path; his eyes two lakes of blood; 
And, seeing me, so horrible his roar, 
The earth shook with affright, and from his mouth 
A flood of poison issued. Like a lion 
Forward I sprang, and in a moment drove 
A diamond-pointed arrow through his tongue, 
Fixing him to the ground. Another went 
Down his deep throat, and dreadfully he writhed. 
A third passed through his middle. Then I raised 
My battle-axe, cow-headed, and with one 
Tremendous blow, dislodged his venomous brain, 
And deluged all around with blood and poison. 
There lay the monster dead, and soon the world 
Regained its peace and comfort. Now I'm old. 
The vigour of my youth is past and gone. 
And it becomes me to resign my station. 
To Zal, my gallant son." 

Mihrab continued in such extreme agitation, that in his own 
mind he saw no means of avoiding the threatened desolation 
of his country but by putting his wife and daughter to death. 
Sindokht however had a better resource, and suggested the 
expediency of waiting upon Sam herself, to induce him to for- 
ward her own views and the nuptials between Zal and Rudabeh. 
To this Mihrab assented, and she proceeded, mounted on a 
richly caparisoned horse, to Zabul with most magnificent pres- 



THE SHAh nXmEH 63 

ents, consisting of three hundred thousand dinars ; ten horses 
with golden, and thirty with silver, housings; sixty richly at- 
tired damsels, carrying golden trays of jewels and musk, and 
camphor, and wine, and sugar ; forty pieces of figured cloth ; 
a hundred milch camels, and a hundred others for burden ; 
two hundred Indian swords, a golden crown and throne, and 
four elephants. Sam was amazed and embarrassed by the ar- 
rival of this splendid array. If he accepted the presents, he 
would incur the anger of Minuchihr ; and if he rejected them, 
Zal would be disappointed and driven to despair. He at length 
accepted them, and concurred in the wishes of Sindokht re- 
specting the union of the two lovers. 

When Zal arrived at the court of Minuchihr, he was received 
with honor, and the letter of Sam being read, the king was 
prevailed upon to consent to the pacific proposals that were 
made in favor of Mihrab, and the nuptials. He too consulted 
his astrologers, and was informed that the offspring of Zal 
and Rudabeh would be a hero of matchless strength and valor. 
Zal, on his return through Kabul, had an interview with 
Rudabeh, who welcomed him in the most rapturous terms : — 

Be thou for ever blest, for I adore thee. 
And make the dust of thy fair feet my pillow. 

In short, with the approbation of all parties the marriage at 
length took place, and was celebrated at the beautiful summer- 
house where first the lovers met. Sam was present at Kabul 
on the happy occasion, and soon afterwards returned to Sistan, 
preparatory to resuming his martial labors in Karugsar and 
Mazinderan. 

As the time drew near that Rudabeh should become a 
mother, she suffered extremely from constant indisposition, 
and both Zal and Sindokht were in the deepest distress on ac- 
count of her precarious state. 

The cypress leaf was withering; pale she lay, 

Unsoothed by rest or sleep, death seemed approaching. 

At last Zal recollected the feather of the Simurgh, and fol- 
lowed the instructions which he had received, by placing it 
on the fire. In a moment darkness surrounded them, which 
was, however, immediately dispersed by the sudden appear- 
ance of the Simurgh. " Why," said the Simurgh, " do I see all 



64 FIRDUSI 

this grief and sorrow ? Why are the tear-drops in the warrior's 
eyes ? A child will be born of mighty power, who will become 
the wonder of the world." 

The Simurgh then gave some advice which was implicitly 
attended to, and the result was that Rudabeh was soon out of 
danger. Never was beheld so prodigious a child. The father 
and mother were equally amazed. They called the boy Rus- 
tem. On the first day he looked a year old, and he required 
the milk of ten nurses. A likeness of him was immediately 
worked in silk, representing him upon a horse, and armed 
like a warrior, which was sent to Sam, who was then fighting 
in Mazinderan, and it made the old champion almost delirious 
with joy. At Kabul and Zabul there was nothing but feasting 
and rejoicing, as soon as the tidings were known, and thou- 
sands of dinars were given away in charity to the poor. When 
Rustem was five years of age, he ate as much as a man, and 
some say that even in his third year he rode on horseback. 
In his eighth year he was as powerful as any hero of the time. 

In beauty of form and in vigour of limb, 
No mortal was ever seen equal to him. 

Both Sam and Mihrab, though far distant from the scene 
of felicity, were equally anxious to proceed to Zabulistan to 
behold their wonderful grandson. Both set off, but Mihrab 
arrived first with great pomp, and a whole army for his suite, 
and went forth with Zal to meet Sam, and give him an hon- 
orable welcome. The boy Rustem was mounted on an ele- 
phant, wearing a splendid crown, and wanted to join them, 
but his father kindly prevented him undergoing the inconven- 
ience of alighting. Zal and Mihrab dismounted as soon as Sam 
was seen at a distance, and performed the ceremonies of an 
affectionate reception. Sam was indeed amazed when he did 
see the boy, and showered blessings on his head. 

Afterwards Sam placed Mihrab on his right hand, and Zal 
on his left, and Rustem before him, and began to converse with 
his grandson, who thus manifested to him his martial dis- 
position. 

" Thou art the champion of the world, and I 
The branch of that fair tree of which thou art 
The glorious root: to thee I am devoted, 
But ease and leisure have no charms for me; 



THE SHAh nAmEH 6s 

Nor music, nor the songs of festive joy. 
Mounted and armed, a helmet on my brow, 
A javelin in my grasp, I long to meet 
The foe, and cast his severed head before thee." 

Then Sam made a royal feast, and every apartment in his 
palace was richly decorated, and resounded with mirth and 
rejoicing. Mihrab was the merriest, and drank the most, and 
in his cups saw nothing but himself, so vain had he become 
from the countenance he had received. He kept saying: — 

" Now I feel no alarm about Sam or Zal-zer, 
Nor the splendour and power of the great Minuchihr; 
Whilst aided by Rustem, his sword, and his mace. 
Not a cloud of misfortune can shadow my face. 
All the laws of Zohak I will quickly restore. 
And the world shall be fragrant and blest as before." 

This exultation plainly betrayed the disposition of his race; 
and though Sam smiled at the extravagance of Mihrab, he 
looked up towards Heaven, and prayed that Rustem might not 
prove a tyrant, but be continually active in doing good, and 
humble before God. 

Upon Sam departing, on his return to Karugsar and Mazin- 
deran, Zal went with Rustem to Sistan, a province dependent 
on his government, and settled him there. The white elephant, 
belonging to Minuchihr, was kept at Sistan. One night Rus- 
tem was awakened out of his sleep by a great noise, and cries 
of distress when starting up and inquiring the cause, he was 
told that the white elephant had got loose, and was trampling 
and crushing the people to death. In a moment he issued from 
his apartment, brandishing his mace ; but was soon stopped 
by the servants, who were anxious to expostulate with him 
against venturing out in the darkness of night to encounter a 
ferocious elephant. Impatient at being thus interrupted he 
knocked down one of the watchmen, who fell dead at his feet, 
and the others running away, he broke the lock of the gate, 
and escaped. He immediately opposed himself to the enor- 
mous animal, which looked like a mountain, and kept roaring 
like the River Nil. Regarding him with a cautious and steady 
eye, he gave a loud shout, and fearlessly struck him a blow, 
with such strength and vigor, that the iron mace was bent 
almost double. The elephant trembled, and soon fell ex- 
VoL. I.— 5 



66 FIRDUSI 

hausted and lifeless in the dust. When it was communicated 
to Zal that Rustem had killed the animal with one blow, he 
was amazed, and fervently returned thanks to heaven. He 
called him to him, and kissed him, and said : " My darling boy, 
thou art indeed unequalled in valor and magnanimity." 

Then it occurred to Zal that Rustem, after such an achieve- 
ment, would be a proper person to take vengeance on the 
enemies of his grandfather Nariman, who was sent by Feridun 
with a large army against an enchanted fort situated upon the 
mountain Sipund, and who whilst endeavoring to effect his 
object, was killed by a piece of rock thrown down from above 
by the besieged. The fort,* which was many miles high, in- 
closed beautiful lawns of the freshest verdure, and delightful 
gardens abounding with fruit and flowers ; it was also full of 
treasure. Sam, on hearing of the fate of his father, was deeply 
afflicted, and in a short time proceeded against the fort himself ; 
but he was surrounded by a trackless desert. He knew not 
what course to pursue ; not a being was ever seen to enter or 
come out of the gates, and, after spending months and years 
in fruitless endeavors, he was compelled to retire from the 
appalling enterprise in despair. " Now," said Zal to Rustem, 
" the time is come, and the remedy is at hand ; thou art yet 
unknown, and may easily accomplish our purpose." Rustem 
agreed to the proposed adventure, and according to his 
father's advice, assumed the dress and character of a salt-mer- 
chant, prepared a caravan of camels, and secreted arms for 
himself and companions among the loads of salt. Everything 
beirig ready they set off, and it was not long before they 
reached the fort on the mountain Sipund. Salt being a pre- 
cious article, and much wanted, as soon as the garrison knew 
that it was for sale, the gates were opened ; and then was 
Rustem seen, together with his warriors, surrounded by men, 
women, and children, anxiously making their purchases, some 
giving clothes in exchange, some gold, and some silver, with- 
out fear or suspicion. 

• The fort called Killah Suffeed, lies by numerous sprinsfs. The ascent is 

about seventy-six miles northwest of near three miles, and for the last five or 

the city of Shiraz. It is of an oblong six hundred yards, the summit is so 

form, and encloses a level space at the difficult of approach, that the slightest 

top of the mountain, which is covered opposition, if well directed, must render 

With delightful verdure, and watered it impregnable. 



THE SHAh NAMEH 67 

But when the night came on, and it was dark, 
Rustem impatient drew his warriors forth, 
And moved towards the mansion of the chief — 
But not unheard. The unaccustomed noise, 
Announcing warlike menace and attack, 
Awoke the Kotwal, who sprung up to meet 
The peril threatened by the invading foe. 
Rustem meanwhile uplifts his ponderous mace, 
And cleaves his head, and scatters on the ground 
The reeking brains. And now the garrison 
Are on the alert, all hastening to the spot 
Where battle rages; midst the deepened gloom 
Flash sparkling swords, which show the crimson earth 
Bright as the ruby. 

Rustem continued fighting with the people of the fort all night, 
and just as morning dawned, he discovered the chief and slew 
him. Those who survived, then escaped, and not one of the 
inhabitants remained within the walls alive. Rustem's next 
object was to enter the governor's mansion. It was built of 
stone, and the gate, which was made of iron, he burst open 
with his battle-axe, and advancing onward, he discovered a 
temple, constructed with infinite skill and science, beyond the 
power of mortal man, and which contained amazing wealth, in 
jewels and gold. All the warriots gathered for themselves 
as much treasure as they could carry away, and more than im- 
agination can conceive; and Rustem wrote to Zal to know 
his further commands on the subject of the capture. Zal, 
overjoyed at the result of the enterprise, replied: 

Thou hast illumed the soul of Nariman, 
Now in the blissful bowers of Paradise, 
By punishing his foes with fire and sword. 

He then recommended him to load all the camels with as much 
of the invaluable property as could be removed, and bring it 
away, and then burn and destroy the whole place, leaving not 
a single vestige ; and the command having been strictly com- 
plied with, Rustem retraced his steps to Zabulistan. 

On his return Z41 pressed him to his heart, 
And paid him public honors. The fond mother 
Kissed and embraced her darling son, and all 
Uniting, showered their blessings on his head. 



T 



68 FIRDUSI 



DEATH OF MINUCHIHR 

To Miniichihr we now must turn again, 
And mark the close of his illustrious reign, 

HE king had flourished one hundred and twenty years, 
when now the astrologers ascertained that the period 
of his departure from this Hfe was at hand. 

They told him of that day of bitterness, 

Which would obscure the splendour of his throne; 

And said — " The time approaches, thou must go. 

Doubtless to Heaven. Think what thou hast to do; 

And be it done before the damp cold earth 

Inshrine thy body. Let not sudden death 

O'ertake thee, ere thou art prepared to die! " 

Warned by the wise, he called his courtiers round him, 

And thus he counselled Nauder: — " O, my son! 

Fix not thy heart upon a regal crown. 

For this vain world is fleeting as the wind; 

The pain and sorrows of twice sixty years 

Have I endured, though happiness and joy 

Have also been my portion. I have fought 

In many a battle, vanquished many a foe; 

By Feridiin's commands I girt my loins, 

And his advice has ever been my guide. 

I hurled just vengeance on the tyrant-brothers 

Silim and Tur, who slew the gentle Irij ; 

And cities have I built, and made the tree 

Which yielded poison, teem with wholesome fruit 

And now to thee the kingdom I resign, 

That kingdom which belonged to Feridun, 

And thou wilt be the sovereign of the world! 

But turn not from the worship of thy God, 

That sacred worship Moses taught, the best 

Of all the prophets; turn not from the path 

Of purest holiness, thy father's choice. 

" My son, events of peril are before thee; 
Thy enemy will come in fierce array, 
From the wild mountains of Turan, the son 
Of Poshang, the invader. In that hour 
Of danger, seek the aid of Sam and Zal, 
And that young branch just blossoming; Turan 
Will then have no safe buckler of defence, 
None to protect it from their conquering arms." 



THE SHAh nAmEH 69 

Thus spoke the sire prophetic to his son, 
And both were moved to tears. Again the king 
Resumed his warning voice: " Nauder, I charge thee 
Place not thy trust upon a world like this, 
Where nothing fixed remains. The caravan 
Goes to another city, one to-day. 
The next, to-morrow, each observes its turn 
And time appointed — mine has come at last. 
And I must travel on the destined road." 

At the period Minuchihr uttered this exhortation, he was en- 
tirely free from indisposition, but he shortly afterwards closed 
his eyes in death. 



NAUDER 

UPON the demise of Minuchihr, Nauder ascended the 
throne, and commenced his reign in the most promis- 
ing manner; but before two months had passed, he 
neglected the counsels of his father, and betrayed the despotic 
character of his heart. To such an extreme did he carry his 
oppression, that to escape from his violence, the people were 
induced to solicit other princes to come and take possession 
of the empire. The courtiers labored under the greatest em- 
barrassment, their monarch being solely occupied in extorting 
money from his subjects, .and amassing wealth for his own 
coflfers. Nauder was not long in perceiving the dissatisfaction 
that universally prevailed, and, anticipating, not only an im- 
mediate revolt, but an invading army, solicited, according to 
his father's advice, the assistance of Sam, then at Mazinderan. 
The complaints of the people, however, reached Sam before 
the arrival of the messenger, and when he received the letter, 
he was greatly distressed on account of the extreme severity 
exercised by the new king. The champion, in consequence, 
proceeded forthwith from Mazinderan to Persia, and when 
he entered the capital, he was joyously welcomed, and at once 
entreated by the people to take the sovereignty upon himself. 
It was said of Nauder: 



The gloom of tyranny has hid 
The light his father's counsel gave; 

The hope of life is lost amid 
The desolation of the firave. 



70 FIRDUSI 

The world is withering in his thrall, 

Exhausted by his iron sway; 
Do thou ascend the throne, and all 

Will cheerfully thy will obey. 

But Sam said, "No ; I should then be ungrateful to Minuchihr, 
a traitor, and deservedly offensive in the eyes of God. Nauder 
is the king, and I am bound to do him service, although he 
has deplorably departed from the advice of his father." He 
then soothed the alarm and irritation of the chiefs, and en- 
gaging to be a mediator upon the unhappy occasion, brought 
them to a more pacific tone of thinking. After this he imme- 
diately repaired to Nauder, who received him with great favor 
and kindness. " O king," said he, " only keep Feridun in 
remembrance, and govern the empire in such a manner that 
thy name may be honored by thy subjects ; for, be well as- 
sured, that he who has a just estimate of the world, will never 
look upon it as his place of rest. It is but an inn, where all 
travellers meet on their way to eternity, but must not remain. 
The wise consider those who fix their affections on this life, 
as utterly devoid of reason and reflection : 

Pleasure, and pomp, and wealth may be obtained — 

And every want luxuriously supplied: 

But suddenly, without a moment's warning, 

Death comes, and hurls the monarch from his throne, 

His crown and sceptre scattering in the dust. 

He who is satisfied with earthly joys, 

Can never know the blessedness of Heaven; 

His soul must still be dark. Why do the good 

Suflfer in this world, but to be prepared 

For future rest and happiness? The name 

Of Feridun is honoured among men, 

Whilst curses load the memory of Zohak." 

This intercession of Sam produced an entire change in the 
government of Nauder, who promised, in future, to rule his 
people according to the principles of Husheng, and Feridun, 
and Minuchihr. The chiefs and captains of the army were, in 
consequence, contented, and the kingdom reunited itself under 
his sway. 

In the meantime, however, the news of the death of Minu- 
chihr, together with Nauder's injustice and severity, and the 
disaffection of his people, had reached Turan, of which country 



THE SHAh NAMEH yi 

Poshang, a descendant from Tur, was then the sovereign. 
Poshang, who had been unable to make a single successful 
hostile movement during the life of Minuchihr, at once con- 
ceived this to be a fit opportunity of taking revenge for the 
blood of Silim and Tur, and every appearance seeming to be 
in his favor, he called before him his heroic son Afrasiyab, and 
explained to him his purpose and views. It was not difficult 
to inspire the youthful mind of Afrasiyab with the sentiments 
he himself cherished, and a large army was immediately col- 
lected to take the field against Nauder. Poshang was proud 
of the chivalrous spirit and promptitude displayed by his son, 
who is said to have been as strong as a lion, or an elephant, 
and whose shadow extended miles. His tongue was like a 
bright sword, and his heart as bounteous as the ocean, and his 
hands like the clouds when rain falls to gladden the thirsty 
earth. Aghriras, the brother of Afrasiyab, however, was not 
so precipitate. He cautioned his father to be prudent, for 
though Persia could no longer boast of the presence of Minu- 
chihr, still the great warrior Sam, and Karun, and Garshasp, 
were living, and Poshang had only to look at the result of the 
wars in which Silim and Tur were involved, to be convinced 
that the existing conjuncture required mature deliberation. 
" It would be better," said he, " not to begin the contest at all, 
than to bring ruin and desolation on our own country." Pos- 
hang, on the contrary, thought the time peculiarly fit and in- 
viting, and contended that, as Minuchihr took vengeance for 
the blood of his grandfather, so ought Afrasiyab to take ven- 
geance for his. " The grandson," he said, " who refuses to do 
this act of justice, is unworthy of his family. There is noth- 
ing to apprehend from the efiforts of Nauder, who is an inex- 
perienced youth, nor from the valor of his warriors. Afrasiyab 
is brave and powerful in war, and thou must accompany him 
and share the glory." After this no further observation was 
offered, and the martial preparations were completed. 



72 FIRDUSI 



AFRASIYAB MARCHES AGAINST NAUDER 

THE brazen drums on the elephants were sounded as the 
signal of departure, and the army proceeded rapidly 
to its destination, overshadowing the earth in its prog- 
ress. Afrasiyab had penetrated as far as the Jihun before 
Nauder was aware of his approach. Upon receiving this in- 
telligence of the activity of the enemy, the warriors of the Per- 
sian army immediately moved in that direction, and on their 
arrival at Dehstan, prepared for battle. 

Afrasiyab despatched thirty thousand of his troops under 
the command of Shimasas and Khazervan to Zabulistan, to 
act against Zal, having heard on his march of the death of 
the illustrious Sam, and advanced himself upon Dehstan with 
four hundred thousand soldiers, covering the ground like 
swarms of ants and locusts. He soon discovered that Nauder's 
forces did not exceed one hundred and forty thousand men, 
and wrote to Poshang, his father, in high spirits, especially on 
account of not having to contend against Sam, the warrior, 
and informed him that he had detached Shimasas against 
Zabulistan. When the armies had approached to within two 
leagues of each other. Barman, one of the Turanian chiefs, 
offered to challenge any one of the enemy to single combat: 
but Aghriras objected to it, not wishing that so valuable a hero 
should run the hazard of discomfiture. At this Afrasiyab was 
very indignant and directed Barman to follow the bent of his 
own inclinations. 

" 'Tis not for us to shrink from Persian foe, 
Put on thy armour, and prepare thy bow." 

Accordingly the challenge was given. Karun looked round, 
and the only person who answered the call was the aged Kobad, 
his brother. Karun and Kobad were both sons of Kavah, the 
blacksmith, and both leaders in the Persian army. No per- 
suasion could restrain Kobad from the unequal conflict. He 
resisted all the entreaties of Karun, who said to him — 

, " O, should thy hoary locks be stained with blood, 
Thy legions will be overwhelmed with grief, 



THE SHAH NAMEH 73 

And, in despair, decline the coming battle." 
But what was the reply of brave Kobad? 
" Brother, this body, this frail tenement. 
Belongs to death. No living man has ever 
Gone up to Heaven — for all are doomed to die. — 
Some by the sword, the dagger, or the spear, 
And some, devoured by roaring beasts of prey; 
Some peacefully upon their beds, and others 
Snatched suddenly from life, endure the lot 
Ordained by the Creator. If I perish. 
Does not my brother live, my noble brother. 
To bury me beneath a warrior's tomb, 
And bless my memory? " 

Saying this, he rushed forward, and the two warriors met in 
desperate conflict. The struggle lasted all day ; at last Barman 
threw a stone at his antagonist with such force, that Kobad 
in receiving the blow fell lifeless from his horse. When 
Karun saw that his brother was slain, he brought forward his 
whole army to be revenged for the death of Kobad. Afrasi- 
ydb himself advanced to the charge, and the encounter was 
dreadful. The soldiers who fell among the Turanians could 
not be numbered, but the Persians lost fifty thousand men. 

Loud neighed the steeds, and their resounding hoofs. 
Shook the deep caverns of the earth; the dust 
Rose up in clouds and hid the azure heavens — 
Bright beamed the swords, and in that carnage wide, 
Blood flowed like water. Night alone divided 
The hostile armies. 

When the battle ceased Karun fell back upon Dehstan, and 
communicated his misfortune to Nauder, who lamented the 
loss of Kobad, even more than that of Sam. In the morning 
Karun again took the field against Afrasiyab, and the con- 
flict was again terrible. Nauder boldly opposed himself to the 
enemy, and singling out Afrasiyab, the two heroes fought with 
great bravery till night again put an end to the engagement. 
The Persian army had suffered most, and Nauder retired to 
his tent disappointed, fatigued, and sorrowful. He then 
called to mind the words of Minuchihr, and called for his two 
sons, Tus and Gustahem. With melancholy forebodings he 
directed them to return to Iran, with his shubistan, or domes- 
tic establishment, and take refuge on the mountain Alberz, in 



74 FIRDUSI 

the hope that some one of the race of Feridun might survive 
the general ruin which seemed to be approaching. 

The armies rested two days. On the third the reverberat- 
ing noise of drums and trumpets announced the recommence- 
ment of the battle. On the Persian side Shahpur had been 
appointed in the room of Kobad, and Barman and Shiwaz led 
the right and left of the Turanians under Afrasiyab. 

From dawn to sunset, mountain, plain, and stream, 

Were hid from view; the earth, beneath the tread 

Of myriads, groaned; and when the javeUns cast 

Long shadows on the plain at even-tide, 

The Tartar host had won the victory; 

And many a Persian chief fell on that day: — 

Shahpur himself was slain. 

When Nauder and Karun saw the unfortunate result of the 
battle, they again fell back upon Dehstan, and secured them- 
selves in the fort. Afrasiyab in the meantime despatched 
Karukhan to Iran, through the desert, with a body of horse- 
men, for the purpose of intercepting and capturing the shubis- 
tan of Nauder. As soon as Karun heard of this expedition he 
was all on fire, and proposed to pursue the squadron under 
Karukhan, and frustrate at once the object which the enemy 
had in view; and though Nauder was unfavorable to this 
movement, Karun, supported by several of the chiefs and a 
strong volunteer force, set off at midnight, without permission, 
on this important enterprise. It was not long before they 
reached the Duz-i-Suped, or white fort, of which Gustahem 
was the governor, and falling in with Barman, who was also 
pushing forward to Persia, Karun, in revenge for his brother 
Kobad, sought him out, and dared him to single combat. He 
threw his javelin with such might, that his antagonist was 
driven furiously from his horse ; and then, dismounting, he cut 
off his head, and hung it at his saddle-bow. After this he at- 
tacked and defeated the Tartar troops, and continued his march 
towards Iran. 

Nauder having found that Karun had departed, immediately 
followed, and Afrasiyab was not long in pursuing him. The 
Turanians at length came up with Nauder, and attacked him 
with great vigor. The unfortunate king, unable to parry the 
onset, fell into the hands of his enemies, together with upwards 
of one thousand of his famous warriors. 



THE SHAh NAMEH 75 

Long fought they, Nauder and the Tartar-chief, 

And the thick dust which rose from either host. 
Darkened the rolUng Heavens. Afrasiyab 
Seized by the girdle-belt the Persian king. 
And furious, dragged him from his foaming horse. 
With him a thousand warriors, high in name. 
Were taken on the field; and every legion. 
Captured whilst flying from the victor's brand. 

Such are the freaks of Fortune: friend and foe 
Alternate wear the crown. The world itself 
Is an ingenious juggler — every moment 
Playing some novel trick; exalting one 
In pomp and splendour, crushing down another, 
As if in sport, — and death the end of all! 

After the achievement of this victory Afrasiyab directed that 
Karun should be pursued and attacked wherever he might be 
found ; but when he heard that he had hurried on for the pro- 
tection of the Shubistan, and had conquered and slain Barman, 
he gnawed his hands with rage. The reign of Nauder lasted 
only seven years. After him Afrasiyab was the master of 
Persia. 



AFRASIYAB 

IT has already been said that Shimasas and Khazervan were 
sent by Afrasiyab with thirty thousand men against Kabul 
and Zabul, and when Zal heard of this movement he 
forthwith united with Mihrab the chief of Kabul, and having 
first collected a large army in Sistan, had a conflict with the 
two Tartar generals. 

Zal promptly donned himself in war attire, 

And, mounted like a hero, to the field 

Hastened, his soldiers frowning on their steeds. 

Now Khazervan grasps his huge battle-axe, 

And, his broad shield extending, at one blow 

Shivers the mail of Zal, who calls aloud 

As, like a lion, to the fight he springs. 

Armed with his father* .> mace. Sternly he looks 

And with the fury of a dragon, drives 

The weapon through his adversary's head. 

Staining the ground with streaks of blood, resembling 

The waving stripes upon a tiger's back. 



76 FIRDUSI 

At this time Rustem was confined at home with the small- 
pox. Upon the death of Khazervan, Shimasas thirsted to be 
revenged; but when Zal meeting him raised his mace, and 
began to close, the chief became alarmed and turned back, and 
all his squadrons followed his example. 

Fled Shimasas, and all his fighting train, 

Like herds by tempests scattered o'er the plain. 

Zal set off in pursuit, and slew a great number of the enemy ; 
but when Afrasiyab was made acquainted with this defeat, he 
immediately released Nauder from his fetters, and in his rage 
instantly deprived him of life. 

He struck him and so deadly was the blow. 
Breath left the body in a moment's space. 

After this Afrasiyab turned his views towards Tus and Gusta- 
hem in the hope of getting them into his hands ; but as soon as 
they received intimation of his object, the two brothers retired 
from Iran, and went to Sistan to live under the protection of 
Zal. The champion received them with due respect and honor. 
Karun also went, with all the warriors and people who had 
been supported by Nauder, and co-operated with Zal, who en- 
couraged them with the hopes of future success. Zal, however, 
considered that both Tus and Gustahem were still of a tender 
age — that a monarch of extraordinary wisdom and energy was 
required to oppose Afrasiyab — that he himself was not of the 
blood of the Kais, nor fit for the duties of sovereignty, and, 
therefore, he turned his thoughts towards Aghriras, the younger 
brother of Afrasiyab, distinguished as he was for his valor, 
prudence, and humanity, and to whom Poshang, his father, had 
given the government of Rai. To him Zal sent an envoy, say- 
ing, that if he would proceed to Sistan, he should be supplied 
with ample resources to place him on the throne of Persia ; that 
by the co-operation of Zal and all his warriors the conquest 
would be easy, and that there would be no difficulty in destroy- 
ing the power of Afrasiyab. Aghriras accepted the ofifer, and 
immediately proceeded from his kingdom of Rai towards Sistan. 
On his arrival at Babel, Afrasiyab heard of his ambitious plans, 
and lost no time in assembling his army and marching to arrest 
the progress of his brother. Aghriras, unable to sustain a 
battle, had recourse to negotiation and a conference, in which 



THE SHAh nAmEH 77 

Afrasiyab said to him, " What rebellious conduct is this, of 
which thou art guilty ? Is not the country of Rai sufficient for 
thee, that thou art thus aspiring to be a great king ? " Aghriras 
replied : " Why reproach and insult me thus ? Art thou not 
ashamed to accuse another of rebellious conduct ? 

Shame might have held thy tongue; reprove not me 

In bitterness; God did not give thee power 

To injure man, and surely not thy kin." 

Afrasiyab, enraged at this reproof. 

Replied by a foul deed — he grasped his sword, 

And with remorseless fury slew his brother! 

When intelligence of this cruel catastrophe came to Zal's 
ears, he exclaimed : " Now indeed has the empire of Afrasiyab 
arrived at its crisis : 

" Yes, yes, the tyrant's throne is tottering now, 
And past is all his glory." 

Then Zal bound his loins in hostility against Afrasiyab, and 
gathering together all his warriors, resolved upon taking re- 
venge for the death of Nauder, and expelling the tyrant from 
Persia. Neither Tus nor Gustahem being yet capable of sus- 
taining the cares and duties of the throne, his anxiety was to 
obtain the assistance of some one of the race of Feridun. 

These youths were for imperial rule unfit: 

A king of royal lineage and worth 

The state required, and none could he remember 

Save Tahmasp's son, descended from the blood 

Of Feridun. 



78 FIRDUSI 



ZAU 

AT the time when Silim and Tur were killed, Tahmasp, the 
son of Silim, fled from the country and took refuge in 
an island, where he died, and left a son named Zau. Zal 
sent Karun, the son of Kavah, attended by a proper escort, with 
overtures to Zau, who readily complied, and was under favor- 
able circumstances seated upon the throne : 

Speedily, in arms, 
He led his troops to Persia, fought, and won 
A kingdom, by his power and bravery — 
And happy was the day when princely Zau 
Was placed upon that throne of sovereignty; 
All breathed their prayers upon his future reign, 
And o'er his head (the customary rite) 
Shower'd gold and jewels. 

When he had subdued the country, he turned his arms 
against Afrasiyab, who in consequence of losing the co-opera- 
tion of the Persians, and not being in a state to encounter a 
superior force, thought it prudent to retreat, and return to his 
father. The reign of Zau lasted five years, after which he died, 
and was succeeded by his son Garshasp. 



GARSHASP 

GARSHASP, whilst in his minority, being unacquainted 
with the afifairs of government, abided in all things by 
the judgment and counsels of Zal. When Afrasiyab 
arrived at Turan, his father was in great distress and anger on 
account of the inhuman murder of Aghriras ; and so exceed- 
ingly did he grieve, that he would not endure his presence. 

And when Afrasiyab returned, his sire, 

Poshang, in grief, refused to see his face. 

To him the day of happiness and joy 

Had been obscured by the dark clouds of night; 

And thus he said: " Why didst thou, why didst thou 

In power supreme, without pretence of guilt. 



THE ShXh nAmEH 79 

With thy own hand his precious life destroy? 
Why hast thou shed thy innocent brother's blood? 
In this hfe thou art nothing now to me; 
Away, I must not see thy face again." 

Afrasiyab continued offensive and despicable in the mind of 
his father till he heard that Garshasp was unequal to rule over 
Persia, and then thinking he could turn the warlike spirit of 
Afrasiyab to advantage, he forgave the crime of his son. He 
forthwith collected an immense army, and sent him again to 
effect the conquest of Iran, under the pretext of avenging the 
death of Silim and Tiir. 

Afrasiyab a mighty army raised, 
And passing plain and river, mountain high, 
And desert wild, filled all the Persian realm 
With consternation, universal dread. 

The chief authorities of the country applied to ZaI as their 
only remedy against the invasion of Afrasiyab. 

They said to Zal, " How easy is the task 

For thee to grasp the world — then, since thou canst 

Afford us succour, yield the blessing now; 

For, lo! the King Afrasiyab has come, 

In all his power and overwhelming might." 

Zal replied that he had on this occasion appointed Rustem 
to command the army, and to oppose the invasion of Afrasiyab. 

And thus the warrior Zal to Rustem spoke — 

" Strong as an elephant thou art, my son, 

Surpassing thy companions, and I now 

Forewarn thee that a difficult emprize, 

Hostile to ease or sleep, demands thy care. 

'Tis true, of battles thou canst nothing know, 

But what am I to do? This is no time 

For banquetting, and yet thy lips still breathe 

The scent of milk, a proof of infancy; 

Thy heart pants after gladness and the sweet 

Endearments of domestic life; can I 

Then send thee to the war to cope with heroes 

Burning with wrath and vengeance?" Rustem said — 

" Mistake me not, I have no wish, not I, 

For soft endearments, nor domestic life, 

Nor home-felt joys. This chest, these nervous limbs. 

Denote far other objects of pursuit, 

Than a luxurious life of ease and pleasure." 



8o FIRDUSI 

Zal having taken great pains in the instruction of Rustem 
in warlike exercises, and the rules of battle, found infinite apti- 
tude in the boy, and his activity and skill seemed to be superior 
to his own. He thanked God for the comfort it gave him, and 
was glad. Then Rustem asked his father for a suitable mace ; 
and seeing the huge weapon which was borne by the great 
Sam, he took it up, and it answered his purpose exactly. 

When the young hero saw the mace of Sam 
He smiled with pleasure, and his heart rejoiced; 
And paying homage to his father Zal, 
The champion of the age, asked for a steed 
Of corresponding power, that he might use 
That famous club with added force and vigor. 

Zal showed him all the horses in his possession, and Rustem 
tried many, but found not one of sufficient strength to suit him. 
At last his eyes fell upon a mare followed by a foal of great 
promise, beauty, and strength. 

Seeing that foal, whose bright and glossy skin 
Was dappled o'er, like blossoms of the rose 
Upon a saffron lawn, Rustem prepared 
His noose, and held it ready in his hand. 

The groom recommended him to secure the foal, as it was 
the offspring of Abresh, born of a Diw, or Demon, and called 
Rakush. The dam had killed several persons who attempted 
to seize her young one. 

Now Rustem flings the noose, and suddenly 
Rakush secures. Meanwhile the furious mare 
Attacks him, eager with her pointed teeth 
To crush his brain — but, stunned by his loud cry, 
She stops in wonder. Then with clenched hand 
He smites her on the head and neck, and down 
She tumbles, struggling in the pangs of death. 

Rakush, however, though with the noose round his neck, was 
not so easily subdued ; but kept dragging and pulHng Rustem, 
as if by a tether, and it was a considerable time before the 
animal could be reduced to subjection. At last, Rustem 
thanked Heaven that he had obtained the very horse he wanted. 

" Now am I with my horse prepared to join 
The field of warriors ! " Thus the hero said. 



THE SHXh nAmEH 8i 

And placed the saddle on his charger. Zal 
Beheld him with delight, — his withered heart 
Glowing with summer freshness. Open then 
He threw his treasury — thoughtless of the past 
Or future — present joy absorbing all 
His faculties, and thrilling every nerve. 

In a short time Zal sent Rustem with a prodigious army 
against Afrasiyab, and two days afterwards set off himself and 
joined his son. Afrasiyab said, " The son is but a boy, and the 
father is old ; I shall have no difficulty in recovering the empire 
of Persia." These observations having reached Zal, he pon- 
dered deeply, considering that Garshasp would not be able to 
contend against Afrasiyab, and that no other prince of the race 
of Feridun was known to be in existence. However, he des- 
patched people in every quarter to gather information on the 
subject, and at length Kai-kobad was understood to be residing 
in obscurity on the mountain Alberz, distinguished for his wis- 
dom and valor, and his qualifications for the exercise of sov- 
ereign power. Zal therefore recommended Rustem to proceed 
to Alberz, and bring him from his concealment. 

Thus Zal to Rustem spoke, " Go forth, my son, 
And speedily perform this pressing duty. 
To linger would be dangerous. Say to him, 
' The army is prepared — the throne is ready, 
And thou alone, of the Kaianian race, 
Deemed fit for sovereign rule.' " 

Rustem accordingly mounted Rakush, and accompanied by a 
powerful force, pursued his way towards the mountain Alberz ; 
and though the road was infested by the troops of Afrasiyab, 
he valiantly overcame every difficulty that was opposed to his 
progress. On reaching the vicinity of Alberz, he observed a 
beautiful spot of ground studded with luxuriant trees, and 
watered by glittering rills. There too, sitting upon a throne, 
placed in the shade on the flowery margin of a stream, he 
saw a young man, surrounded by a company of friends and 
attendants, and engaged at a gorgeous entertainment. Rustem, 
when he came near, was hospitably invited to partake of the 
feast : but this he declined, saying, that he was on an important 
mission to Alberz, which forbade the enjoyment of any pleasure 
till his task was accomplished ; in short, that he was in search 
of Kai-kobad : but upon being told that he would there receive 
Vol. I.— 6 



82 FIRDUSI 

intelligence of him, he alighted and approached the bank of the 
stream where the company was assembled. The young man 
who was seated upon the golden throne took hold of the hand 
of Rustem, and filling up a goblet with wine, gave another to 
his guest, and asked him at whose command or suggestion he 
was in search of Kai-kobad. Rustem replied, that he was sent 
by his father Zal, and frankly communicated to him the special 
object they had in view. The young man, delighted with the 
information, immediately discovered himself, acknowledged 
that he was Kai-kobad, and then Rustem respectfully hailed 
him as the sovereign of Persia. 

The banquet was resumed again — 
And, hark, the softly warbled strain, 
As harp and flute, in union sweet. 
The voices of the singers meet. 
The black-eyed damsels now display 
Their art in many an amorous lay; 
And now the song is loud and clear, 
And speaks of Rustem's welcome here. 
" This is a day, a glorious day, 
That drives ungenial thoughts away; 
This is a day to make us glad. 
Since Rustem comes for Kai-kobad; 
O, let us pass our time in glee, 
And talk of Jemshid's majesty, 
The pomp and glory of his reign. 
And still the sparkling goblet drain. — 
Come, Saki, fill the wine-cup high. 
And let not even its brim be dry; 
For wine alone has power to part 
The rust of sorrow from the heart. 
Drink to the king, in merry mood, 
Since fortune smiles, and wine is good; 
Quaffing red wine is better far 
Than shedding blood in strife, or war; 
Man is but dust, and why should he 
Become a fire of enmity? 
Drink deep, all other cares resign. 
For what can vie with ruby wine? " 

In this manner ran the song of the revellers. After which, 
and being rather merry with wine, Kai-kobad told Rustem of 
the dream that had induced him to descend from his place of 
refuge on Alberz, and to prepare a banquet on the occasion. 
He dreamt the night before that two white falcons from Persia 



THE SHAh NAMEH 83 

placed a splendid crown upon his head, and this vision was in- 
terpreted by Rustem as symbolical of his father and himself, 
who at that moment were engaged in investing him with 
kingly power. The hero then solicited the young sovereign to 
hasten his departure for Persia, and preparations were made 
without delay. They travelled night and day, and fell in with 
several detachments of the enemy, which were easily repulsed 
by the valor of Rustem. The fiercest attack proceeded from 
Keliin, one of Afrasiyab's warriors, near the confines of Persia, 
who in the encounter used his spear with great dexterity and 
address. 

But Rustem with his javelin soon transfixed 

The Tartar knight — who in the eyes of all 

Looked like a spitted chicken — down he sunk, 

And all his soldiers fled in wild dismay. 

Then Rustem turned aside, and found a spot 

Where verdant meadows smiled, and streamlets flowed, 

Inviting weary travellers to rest. 

There they awhile remained — and when the sun 

Went down, and night had darkened all the sky. 

The champion joyfully pursued his way. 

And brought the monarch to his father's house. 

— Seven days they sat in council — on the eighth 

Young Kai-kobad was crowned — and placed upon 

The ivory throne in presence of his warriors, 

Who all besought him to commence the war 

Against the Tartar prince, Afrasiyab. 



84 FIRDUSI 



/ 



sh 



A . *t KAI-KOBAD 

^ 5^ , ' T/^ AI-KOBAD having been raised to the throne at a coun- 

W^, X^. ^^^ ^^ *^^ warriors, and advised to oppose the progress 

^tT. ^ of Afrasiyab, immediately assembled his army. Mih- 

^ o 1 rab, the ruler of Kabul, was appointed to one wing, and 

Gustahem to the other — ^the centre was given to Karun and 

Kishwad, and Rustem was placed in front, Zal with Kai-kobad 

remaining in the rear. The glorious standard of Kavah 

streamed upon the breeze. 

On the other side, Afrasiyab prepared for battle, assisted by 
his heroes Akbas, Wisah, Shimasas, and Gersiwaz ; and so great 
was the clamor and confusion which proceeded from both 
armies, that earth and sky seemed blended together.* The 
clattering of hoofs, the shrill roar of trumpets, the rattle of 
brazen drums, and the vivid glittering of spear and shield, pro- 
duced indescribable tumult and splendor. 

Karun was the first in action, and he brought many a hero 
to the ground. He singled out Shimasas ; and after a desperate 
struggle, laid him breathless on the field. Rustem, stimulated 
by these exploits, requested his father, Zal, to point out Afra- 
siyab, that he might encounter him ; but Zal endeavored to dis- 
suade him from so hopeless an effort, saying, 

" My son, be wise, and peril not thyself; 
Black is his banner, and his cuirass black — 
His limbs are cased in iron — on his head 
He wears an iron helm — and high before him 
Floats the black ensign; equal in his might 
To ten strong men, he never in one place 
Remains, but everywhere displays his power. 
The crocodile has in the rolling stream 
No safety; and a mountain, formed of steel, 
Even at the mention of Afrasiyab, 
Melts into water. Then, beware of him." 
Rustem replied: — " Be not alarmed for me — 
My heart, my arm, my dagger, are my castle, 
And Heaven befriends me — let him but appear, 
Dragon or Demon, and the field is mine." 

_*The numerical strength of the Per- numerous retinue of servants,^ eunuchs, 

sian and Turanian forces appears pro- and women that attended it, is said to 

digious on all occasions, but nothing have amounted to no less than 5,283,- 

when compared with the army under 220 souls. 
Xerxes at Thermopylae, which, with the 



THE SHAh nAmEH 8$ 

Then Rustem valiantly urged Rakush towards the Turanian 
army, and called out aloud. As soon as Afrasiyab beheld him, 
he inquired who he could be, and he was told, " This is Rustem, 
the son of Zal. Seest thou not in his hand the battle-axe of 
Sam ? The youth has come in search of renown." When the 
combatants closed, they struggled for some time together, and 
at length Rustem seized the girdle-belt of his antagonist, and 
threw him from his saddle. He wished to drag the captive as 
a trophy to Kai-kobad, that his first great victory might be 
remembered, but unfortunately the belt gave way, and Afra- 
siyab fell on the ground. Immediately the fallen chief was sur- 
rounded and rescued by his own warriors, but not before Rus- 
tem had snatched off his crown, and carried it away with the 
broken girdle which was left in his hand. And now a general 
engagement took place. Rustem being reinforced by the 
advance of the king, with Zal and Mihrab at his side — 

Both armies seemed so closely waging war, 

Thou wouldst have said, that they were mixed together. 

The earth shook with the tramping of the steeds, 

Rattled the drums ; loud clamours from the troops 

Echoed around, and from the iron grasp 

Of warriors, many a life was spent in air. 

With his huge mace, cow-headed, Rustem dyed 

The ground with crimson — and wherever seen, 

Urging impatiently his fiery horse. 

Heads severed fell like withered leaves in autumn. 

If, brandishing his sword, he struck the head, 

Horseman and steed were downward cleft in twain— 

And if his side-long blow was on the loins, 

The sword passed through, as easily as the blade 

Slices a cucumber. The blood of heroes 

Deluged the plain. On that tremendous day. 

With sword and dagger, battle-axe and noose,* 

He cut, and tore, and broke, and bound the brave, 

Slaying and making captive. At one swoop 

More than a thousand fell by his own hand. 

Zal beheld his son with amazement and delight. The Tura- 
nians left the fire-worshippers in possession of the field, and 
retreated towards the Jihun with precipitation, not a sound of 
drum or trumpet denoting their track. After halting three days 

* Herodotus speaks of a people con- enemy, they throw out these cords, hav- 

federated with the army of Xerxes, who ing a noose at the extremity; if they 

employed the noose. " Their principal entangle in them either horse or man, 

dependence in action is upon cords they without difficulty put them to 

made of twisted leather, which they use death." — Beloe's transl. Polymnia, Sec. 

in this manner: when they engage an 85. 



86 FIRDUSI 

in a state of deep dejection and misery, they continued their 
retreat along the banks of the Jihun. The Persian army, upon 
the flight of the enemy, fell back with their prisoners of war, 
and Rustem was received by the king with distingfuished honor. 
When Afrasiyab returned to his father, he communicated to 
him, with a heavy heart, the misfortunes of the battle, and the 
power that had been arrayed against him, dwelling with won- 
der and admiration on the stupendous valor of Rustem. 

Seeing my sable banner. 
He to the fight came like a crocodile, 
Thou wouldst have said his breath scorched up the plain; 
He seized my girdle with such mighty force 
As if he would have torn my joints asunder; 
And raised me from my saddle — that I seemed 
An insect in his grasp — but presently 
The golden girdle broke, and down I fell 
Ingloriously upon the dusty ground; 
But I was rescued by my warrior train! 
Thou knowest my valour, how my nerves are strung, 
And may conceive the wondrous strength, which thus 
Sunk me to nothing. Iron is his frame, 
And marvellous his power; peace, peace, alone 
Can save us and our country from destruction. 

Poshang, considering the luckless state of affairs, and the loss 
of so many valiant warriors, thought it prudent to acquiesce in 
the wishes of Afrasiyab, and sue for peace. To this end Wisah 
was intrusted with magnificent presents, and the overtures 
which in substance ran thus : " Mimichihr was revenged upon 
Tiir and Silim for the death of Irij. Afrasiyab again has re- 
venged their death upon Nauder, the son of Minuchihr, and 
now Rustem has conquered Afrasiyab. But why should we 
any longer keep the world in confusion — Why should we not 
be satisfied with what Feridun, in his wisdom, decreed ? Con- 
tinue in the empire which he appropriated to Irij, and let the 
Jihun be the boundary between us, for are we not connected 
by blood, and of one family? Let our kingdoms be gladdened 
with the blessings of peace." 

When these proposals of peace reached Kai-kobad, the fol- 
lowing answer was returned : 

" Well dost thou know that I was not the first 
To wage this war. From Tur, thy ancestor, 
The strife began. Bethink thee how he slew 
The gentle Irij — his own brother; — how. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 87 

In these our days, thy son, Afrasiyab, 

Crossing the Jihiin, with a numerous force 

Invaded Persia — think how Nauder died! 

Not in the field of battle, like a hero, 

But murdered by thy son — who, ever cruel. 

Afterwards stabbed his brother, young Aghriras, 

So deeply mourned by thee. Yet do I thirst not 

For vengeance, or for strife. I yield the realm 

Beyond the Jihun — let that river be 

The boundary between us; but thy son, 

Afrasiyab, must take his solemn oath 

Never to cross that limit, or disturb 

The Persian throne again; thus pledged, I grant 

The peace solicited." 

The messenger without delay conveyed this welcome intelli- 
gence to Poshang, and the Turanian army was in consequence 
immediately withdrawn within the prescribed line of division. 
Rustem, however, expostulated with the king against making 
peace at a time the most advantageous for war, and especially 
when he had just commenced his victorious career; but Kai- 
kobad thought differently, and considered nothing equal to 
justice and tranquillity. Peace was accordingly concluded, and 
upon Rustem and Zal he conferred the highest honors, and 
his other warriors engaged in the late conflict also experienced 
the effects of his bounty and gratitude in an eminent degree. 

Kai-kobad then moved towards Persia, and establishing his 
throne at Istakhar,* he administered the affairs of his govern- 
ment with admirable benevolence and clemency, and with un- 
ceasing solicitude for the welfare of his subjects. In his eyes 
every one had an equal claim to consideration and justice. 
The strong had no power to oppress the weak. After he had 
continued ten years at Istakhar, building towns and cities, and 
diffusing improvement and happiness over the land, he re- 
moved his throne into Iran. His reign lasted one hundred 
years, which were passed in the continued exercise of the most 
princely virtues, and the most munificent liberality. He had 
four sons : Kai-kaus, Arish, Poshin, and Aramin ; and when, 
the period of his dissolution drew nigh, he solemnly enjoined 
the eldest, whom he appointed his successor, to pursue steadily 
the path of integrity and justice, and to be kind and merciful 
in the administration of the empire left to his charge. 

• Istakhar, also called Persepolis, and by Alexander after the conquest el 
Chehel-minar, or the Forty Pillars. This Darius, 
city was said to have been laid in ruins 



88 FIRDUSI 



KAI-KAUS 

WHEN Kai-kaus * ascended the throne of his father, the 
whole world was obedient to his will; but he soon 
began to deviate from the wise customs and rules 
which had been recommended as essential to his prosperity and 
happiness. He feasted and drank wine continually with his 
warriors and chiefs, so that in the midst of his luxurious enjoy- 
ments he looked upon himself as superior to every being upon 
the face of the earth, and thus astonished the people, high and 
low, by his extravagance and pride. 

One day a Demon, disguised as a musician, waited upon the 
monarch, and playing sweetly on his harp, sung a song in praise 
of Mazinderan. 

And thus he warbled to the king — 
" Mazinderan is the bower of spring, 
My native home; the balmy air 
Diffuses health and fragrance there; 
So tempered is the genial glow. 
Nor heat nor cold we ever know; 
Tulips and hyacinths abound 
On every lawn; and all around 
Blooms like a garden in its prime, 
Fostered by that delicious clime. 
The bulbul sits on every spray, 
And pours his soft melodious lay; 
Each rural spot its sweets discloses, 
Each streamlet is the dew of roses; 
And damsels, idols of the heart, 
Sustain a more bewitching part. 
And mark me, that untravelled man 
Who never saw Mazinderan, 
And all the charms its bowers possess. 
Has never tasted happiness! " 

No sooner had Kai-kaus heard this description of the country 
of Mazinderan than he determined to lead an army thither, 

• Kai-k&us, the second Kin^ of Per- him a taj, or crown of gold, which kings 

sia of the dynasty called Kaianides. He only were accustomed to wear, and 

succeeded Kai-kobad, about six hundred granted him the privilege of giving audi- 

years B.C. According to Firdusi he ence seated on_ a throne of gold. It is 

was a foolish tyrannical prince. He ap- said that Kai-kaus applied himself much 

pointed Rustem captain-general of the to the study of astronomy, and that he 

armies, to which the lieutenant-general- founded two great observatories, the 

ship and the administration of the state one at Babel, and the other on the 

was annexed, under the title of " the Tigris, 
champion of the world." He also gave 



THE SHAh nAmEH 89 

declaring to his warriors that the splendor and glory of his 
reign should exceed that of either Jemshid, Zohak, or Kai- 
kobad. The warriors, however, were alarmed at this precipitate 
resolution, thinking it certain destruction to make war against 
the Demons ; but they had not courage or confidence enough 
to disclose their real sentiments. They only ventured to 
suggest, that if his majesty reflected a little on the subject, he 
might not ultimately consider the enterprise so advisable as he 
had at first imagined. But this produced no impression, and 
they then deemed it expedient to despatch a messenger to Zal, 
to inform him of the wild notions which the Evil One had put 
into the head of Kai-kaiis to effect his ruin, imploring Zal to 
allow of no delay, otherwise the eminent services so lately per- 
formed by him and Rustem for the state would be rendered 
utterly useless and vain. Upon this summons, Zal immediately 
set off from Sistan to Iran; and having arrived at the royal 
court, and been received with customary respect and consider- 
ation, he endeavored to dissuade the king from the contem- 
plated expedition into Mazinderan. 

" O, could I wash the darkness from thy mind, 
And show thee all the perils that surround 
This undertaking! Jemshid, high in power, 
Whose diadem was brilliant as the sun, 
Who ruled the demons — never in his pride 
Dreamt of the conquest of Mazinderan! 
Remember Feridiin, he overthrew 
Zohak — destroyed the tyrant, but he never 
Thought of the conquest of Mazinderan! 
This strange ambition never fired the souls 
Of by-gone monarchs — mighty Mimichihr, 
Always victorious, boundless in his wealth. 
Nor Zau, nor Nauder, nor even Kai-kobad, 
With all their pomp, and all their grandeur, ever 
Dreamt of the conquest of Mazinderan! 
It is the place of demon-sorcerers. 
And all enchanted. Swords are useless there, 
Nor bribery nor wisdom can obtain 
Possession of that charm-defended land, 
Then throw not men and treasure to the winds; 
Waste not the precious blood of warriors brave, 
In trying to subdue Mazinderan! " 

Kai-kaus, however, was not to be diverted from his purpose ; 
and with respect to what his predecessors had not done, he 
considered himself superior in might and influence to either 



9© FIRDUSI 

Feridiin, Jemshid, Miniichihr, or Kai-kobad, who had never 
aspired to the conquest of Mazinderan. He further observed, 
that he had a bolder heart, a larger army, and a fuller treasury 
than any of them, and the whole world was under his sway — 

And what are all these Demon-charms, 
That they excite such dread alarms? 
What is a Demon-host to me, 
Their magic spells and sorcery? 
One effort, and the field is won; 
Then why should I the battle shun? 
Be thou and Rustem (whilst afar 
I wage the soul-appalling war), 
The guardians of the kingdom; Heaven 
To me hath its protection given; 
And, when I reach the Demon's fort, 
Their severed heads shall be my sport! 

When Zal became convinced of the unalterable resolution of 
Kai-kaus, he ceased to oppose his views, and expressed his 
readiness to comply with whatever commands he might receive 
for the safety of the state. 

May all thy actions prosper — may'st thou never 

Have cause to recollect my warning voice. 

With sorrow or repentance. Heaven protect thee! 

Zal then took leave of the king and his warrior friends, and 
returned to Sistan, not without melancholy forebodings respect- 
ing the issue of the war against Mazinderan. 

As soon as morning dawned, the army was put in motion. 
The charge of the empire, and the keys of the treasury and 
jewel-chamber were left in the hands of Milad, with injunc- 
tions, however, not to draw a sword against any enemy that 
might spring up, without the consent and assistance of Zal 
and Rustem. When the army had arrived within the limits 
of Mazinderan, Kai-kaus ordered Giw to select two thousand 
of the bravest men, the boldest wielders of the battle-axe, and 
proceed rapidly towards the city. In his progress, according 
to the king's instructions, he burnt and destroyed everything 
of value, mercilessly slaying man, woman, and child. For the 
king said : 

Kill all before thee, whether young or old, 

And turn their day to night; thus free the world 

From the magician's art. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 91 

Proceeding in his career of desolation and ruin, Giw came 
near to the city, and found it arrayed in all the splendor of 
heaven ; every street was crowded with beautiful women, richly 
adorned, and young damsels with faces as bright as the moon. 
The treasure-chamber was full of gold and jev;els, and the 
country abounded with cattle. Information of this discovery 
was immediately sent to Kai-kaiis, who was delighted to find 
that Mazinderan was truly a blessed region, the very garden 
of beauty, where the cheeks of the women seemed to be tinted 
with the hue of the pomegranate flower, by the gate-keeper of 
Paradise. 

This invasion filled the heart of the king of Mazinderan 
with grief and alarm, and his first care was to call the gigantic 
White Demon to his aid. Meanwhile Kai-kaus, full of the 
wildest anticipations of victory, was encamped on the plain 
near the city in splendid state, and preparing to commence the 
final overthrow of the enemy on the following day. In the 
night, however, a cloud came, and deep darkness like pitch 
overspread the earth, and tremendous hail-stones poured down 
upon the Persian host, throwing them into the greatest con- 
fusion. Thousands were destroyed, others fled, and were scat- 
tered abroad in the gloom. The morning dawned, but it 
brought no light to the eyes of Kai-kaus; and amidst the 
horrors he experienced, his treasury was captured, and the 
soldiers of his army either killed or made prisoners of war. 
Then did he bitterly lament that he had not followed the wise 
counsel of Zal. Seven days he was involved in this dreadful 
affliction, and on the eighth day he heard the roar of the White 
Demon, saying: 

" O king, thou art the willow-tree, all barren, 
With neither fruit, nor flower. What could induce 
The dream of conquering Mazinderan? 
Hadst thou no friend to warn thee of thy folly? 
Hadst thou not heard of the White Demon's power — 
Of him, who from the gorgeous vault of Heaven 
Can charm the stars? From this mad enterprise 
Others have wisely shrunk — and what hast thou 
Accomplished by a more ambitious course? 
Thy soldiers have slain many, dire destruction 
And spoil have been their purpose — thy wild will 
Has promptly been obeyed; but thou art now 
Without an army, not one man remains 
To lift a sword, or stand in thy defence; 
Not one to hear thy groans and thy despair." 



92 FIRDUSI 

There were selected from the army twelve thousand of the 
demon-warriors, to take charge of and hold in custody the 
Iranian captives, all the chiefs, as well as the soldiers, being 
secured with bonds, and only allowed food enough to keep them 
alive. Arzang, one of the demon-leaders, having got possession 
of the wealth, the crown and jewels, belonging to Kai-kaus, 
was appointed to escort the captive king and his troops, all 
of whom were deprived of sight, to the city of Mazinderan, 
where they were delivered into the hands of the monarch of 
that country. The White Demon, after thus putting an end to 
hostilities, returned to his own abode. 

Kai-kaus, strictly guarded as he was, found an opportunity 
of sending an account of his blind and helpless condition to 
Zal, in which he lamented that he had not followed his advice, 
and urgently requested him, if he was not himself in confine- 
ment, to come to his assistance, and release him from captivity. 
When Zal heard the melancholy story, he gnawed the very skin 
of his body with vexation, and turning to Rustem, conferred 
with him in private. 

" The sword must be unsheathed, since Kai-kaus 
Is bound a captive in the dragon's den, 
And Rakush must be saddled for the field, 
And thou must bear the weight of this emprize; 
For I have lived two centuries, and old age 
Unfits me for the heavy toils of war. 
Should'st thou release the king, thy name will be 
Exalted o'er the earth. — Then don thy mail, 
And gain immortal honor." 

Rustem replied that it was a long journey to Mazinderan, 
and that the king had been six months on the road. Upon 
this Zal observed that there were two roads — the most tedious 
one was that which Kai-kaus had taken ; but by the other, 
which was full of dangers and difficulty, and lions, and demons, 
and sorcery, he might reach Mazinderan in seven days, if he 
reached it at all. 

On hearing these words Rustem assented, and chose the 
short road, observing : 

" Although it is not wise, they say, 
With willing feet to track the way 
To hell; though only men who've lost, 
All love of life, by misery crossed. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 93 

Would rush into the tiger's lair, 
And die, poor reckless victims, there; 
I gird my loins, whate'er may be, 
And trust in God for victory." 

On the following day, resigning himself to the protection of 
Heaven, he put on his war attire, and with his favorite horse, 
Rakush, properly caparisoned, stood prepared for the journey. 
His mother, Rudabeh, took leave of him with great sorrow; 
and the young hero departed from Sistan, consoling himself 
and his friends, thus : 

" O'er him who seeks the battle-field, 
Nobly his prisoned king to free, 
Heaven will extend its saving shield. 
And crown his arms with victory." 



THE SEVEN LABORS OF RUSTEM 

FIRST STAGE. — He rapidly pursued his way, perform- 
ing two days' journey in one, and soon came to a forest 
full of wild asses. Oppressed with hunger, he succeeded 
in securing one of them, which he roasted over a fire, lighted 
ty sparks produced by striking the point of his spear, and kept 
in a blaze with dried grass and branches of trees. After regal- 
ing himself, and satisfying his hunger, he loosened the bridle 
of Rakush, and allowed him to g^raze ; and choosing a safe place 
for repose during the night, and taking care to have his sword 
under his head, he went to sleep among the reeds of that wilder- 
ness. In a short space a fierce lion appeared, and attacked 
Rakush with great violence; but Rakush very speedily with 
his teeth and heels put an end to his furious assailant. Rustem, 
awakened by the confusion, and seeing the dead lion before him, 
said to his favorite companion : — 

"Ah! Rakush, why so thoughtless grown, 
To fight a lion thus alone; 
For had it been thy fate to bleed, 
And not thy foe, my gallant steed! 
How could thy master have conveyed 
His helm, and battle-axe, and blade, 
Kamund, and bow, and buberyan, 
Unaided, to Mazinderan? 



94 FIRDUSI 

Why didst thou fail to give the alarm, 
And save thyself from chance of harm, 
By neighing loudly in my ear; 
But though thy bold heart knows no fear. 
From such unwise exploits refrain, 
Nor try a lion's strength again." 

Saying this, Rustem laid down to sleep, and did not awake 
till the morning dawned. As the sun rose, he remounted 
Rakush, and proceeded on his journey towards Mazinderan. 

Second Stage. — After travelling rapidly for some time, he 
entered a desert, in which no water was to be found, and the 
sand was so burning hot, that it seemed to be instinct with 
fire. Both horse and rider were oppressed with the most mad- 
dening thirst. Rustem alighted, and vainly wandered about 
in search of relief, till almost exhausted, he put up a prayer to 
Heaven for protection against the evils which surrounded him, 
engaged as he was in an enterprise for the release of Kai-kaiis 
and the Persian army, then in the power of the demons. With 
pious earnestness he besought the Almighty to bless him in 
the great work ; and whilst in a despairing mood he was lament- 
ing his deplorable condition, his tongue and throat being 
parched with thirst, his body prostrate on the sand, under the 
influence of a raging sun, he saw a sheep pass by, which he 
hailed as the harbinger of good. Rising up and grasping his 
sword in his hand, he followed the animal, and came to a foun- 
tain of water, where he devoutly returned thanks to God for the 
blessing which had preserved his existence, and prevented the 
wolves from feeding on his lifeless limbs. Refreshed by the 
cool water, he then looked out for something to allay his hunger, 
and killing a gor, he lighted a fire and roasted it, and regaled 
upon its savory flesh, which he eagerly tore from the bones. 

When the period of rest arrived, Rustem addressed Rakush, 
and said to him angrily : — 

" Beware, my steed, of future strife. 
Again thou must not risk thy life; 
Encounter not with lion fell, 
Nor demon still more terrible; 
But should an enemy appear. 
Ring loud the warning in my ear." 

After delivering these injunctions, Rustem laid down to 
sleep, leaving Rakush unbridled, and at liberty to crop the herb- 
age close by. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 95 

Third Stage. — At midnight a monstrous dragon-serpent 
issued from the forest; it was eighty yards in length, and so 
fierce, that neither elephant, nor demon, nor lion, ever ventured 
to pass by its lair. It came forth, and seeing the champion 
asleep, and a horse near him, the latter was the first object of 
attack. But Rakush retired towards his master, and neighed 
and beat the ground so furiously, that Rustem soon awoke; 
looking around on every side, how^ever, he saw nothing — the 
'dragon had vanished, and he went to sleep again. Again the 
'dragon burst out of the thick darkness, and again Rakush was 
at the pillow of his master, who rose up at the alarm: but 
anxiously trying to penetrate the drezu-y gloom, he saw nothing 
— all was a blank; and annoyed at this apparently vexatious 
conduct of his horse, he spoke sharply : — 

" Why thus again disturb my rest, 
When sleep had softly soothed my breast? 
I told thee, if thou chanced to see 
Another dangerous enemy. 
To sound the alarm; but not to keep 
Depriving me of needful sleep; 
When nothing meets the eye nor ear, 
Nothing to cause a moment's fear! 
But if again my rest is broke, 
On thee shall fall the fatal stroke, 
And I myself will drag this load 
Of ponderous arms along the road; 
Yes, I will go, a lonely man. 
Without thee, to Mazinderan." 

Rustem again went to sleep, and Rakush was resolved this 
time not to move a step from his side, for his heart was grieved 
and afflicted by the harsh words that had been addressed to 
him. The dragon again appeared, and the faithful horse 
almost tore up the earth with his heels, to rouse his sleeping 
master. Rustem again awoke, and sprang to his feet, and was 
again angry; but fortunately at that moment sufficient light 
was providentially given for him to see the prodigious cause of 
alarm. 

Then swift he drew his sword, and closed in strife 
With that huge monster. — Dreadful was the shock 
And perilous to Rustem; but when Rakush 
Perceived the contest doubtful, furiously, 
With his keen teeth, he bit and tore away 
The dragon's scaly hide; whilst quick as thought 



96 FIRDUSI 

The Champion severed off the ghastly head, 

And deluged all the plain with horrid blood. 

Amazed to see a form so hideous 

Breathless stretched out before him, he returned 

Thanks to the Omnipotent for his success. 

Saying — " Upheld by thy protecting arm. 

What is a lion's strength, a demon's rage, 

Or all the horrors of the burning desert. 

With not one drop to quench devouring thirst? 

Nothing, since power and might proceed from Thee." 

Fourth Stage. — Rustem having resumed the saddle, con- 
tinued his journey through an enchanted territory, and in the 
evening came to a beautifully green spot, refreshed by flowing 
rivulets, where he found, to his surprise, a ready-roasted deer, 
and some bread and salt. He alighted, and sat down near the 
enchanted provisions, which vanished at the sound of his voice, 
and presently a tambourine met his eyes, and a flask of wine. 
Taking up the instrument he played upon it, and chanted a 
ditty about his own wanderings, and the exploits which he 
most loved. He said that he had no pleasure in banquets, but 
only in the field fighting with heroes and crocodiles in war. 
The song happened to reach the ears of a sorceress, who, 
arrayed in all the charms of beauty, suddenly approached him, 
and sat down by his side. The champion put up a prayer of 
gratitude for having been supplied with food and wine, and 
music, in the desert of Mazinderan, and not knowing that the 
enchantress was a demon in disguise, he placed in her hands a 
cup of wine in the name of God; but at the mention of the 
Creator, the enchanted form was converted into a black fiend. 
Seeing this, Rustem threw his kamund, and secured the demon ; 
and, drawing his sw^ord, at once cut the body in two ! 

Fifth Stage.— 

From thence proceeding onward, he approached 

A region destitute of light, a void 

Of utter darkness. Neither moon nor star 

Peep'd through the gloom; no choice of path remained. 

And therefore, throwing loose the rein, he gave 

Rakush the power to travel on, unguided. 

At length the darkness was dispersed, the earth 

Became a scene, joyous and light, and gay. 

Covered with waving corn — there Rustem paused 

And quitting his good steed among the grass. 

Laid himself gently down, and, wearied, slept; 

His shield beneath his head, his sword before him. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



97 



When the keeper of the forest saw the stranger and his 
horse, he went to Rustem, then asleep, and struck his staff 
violently on the ground, and having thus awakened the hero, 
he asked him, devil that he was, why he had allowed his horse 
to feed upon the green corn-field. Angry at these words, 
Rustem, without uttering a syllable, seized hold of the keeper 
by the ears, and wrung them oflf. The mutilated wretch, gath- 
ering up his severed ears, hurried away, covered with blood, 
to his master, Aiilad, and told him of the injury he had sus- 
tained from a man like a black demon, with a tiger-skin cuirass 
and an iron helmet ; showing at the same time the bleeding wit- 
nesses of his sufferings. Upon being informed of this out- 
rageous proceeding, Aulad, burning with wrath, summoned 
together his fighting men, and hastened by the directions of the 
keeper to the place where Rustem had been found asleep. The 
champion received the angry lord of the land, fully prepared, on 
horseback, and heard him demand his name, that he might not 
slay a worthless antagonist, and why he had torn off the ears 
of his forest-keeper ! Rustem replied that the very sound of his 
name would make him shudder with horror. Aulad then or- 
dered his troops to attack Rustem, and they rushed upon him 
with great fury; but their leader was presently killed by the 
master-hand, and great numbers were also scattered lifeless 
over the plain. The survivors running away, Rustem's next 
object was to follow and secure, by his kamund, the person of 
Aulad, and with admirable address and ingenuity, he succeeded 
in dismounting him and taking him alive. He then bound his 
hands, and said to him : — 

" If thou wilt speak the truth unmixed with lies. 
Unmixed with false prevaricating words, 
And faithfully point out to me the caves 
Of the White Demon and his warrior chiefs— 
And where Kaus is prisoned — thy reward 
Shall be the kingdom of Mazinderan; 
For I, myself, will place thee on that throne. 
But if thou play'st me false — thy worthless blood 
Shall answer for the foul deception." 

" Stay, 
Be not in wrath," Aulad at once replied — 
" Thy wish shall be fulfilled — and thou shalt know 
Where king Kaus is prisoned — and, beside. 
Where the White Demon reigns. Between two dark 
And lofty mountains, in two hundred caves 
Vol. I.— 7 



98 FIRDUSI 

Immeasurably deep, his people dwell. 
Twelve hundred Demons keep the watch by night 
And Baid, and Sinja. Like a reed, the hills 
Tremble whenever the White Demon moves. 
But dangerous is the way. A stony desert 
Lies full before thee, which the nimble deer 
Has never passed. Then a prodigious stream 
Two farsangs wide obstructs thy path, whose banks 
Are covered with a host of warrior-Demons, 
Guarding the passage to Mazinderan; 
And thou art but a single man — canst thou 
O'ercome such fearful obstacles as these?" 

At this the Champion smiled. " Show but the way. 
And thou shalt see what one man can perform, 
With power derived from God! Lead on, with speed. 
To royal Kaiis." With obedient haste 
Aulad proceeded, Rustem following fast, 
Mounted on Rakush. Neither dismal night 
Nor joyous day they rested — on they went 
Until at length they reached the fatal field, 
Where Kaus was o'ercome. At midnight hour. 
Whilst watching with attentive eye and ear, 
A piercing clamor echoed all around. 
And blazing fires were seen, and numerous lamps 
Burnt bright on every side. Rustem inquired 
What this might be. " It is Mazinderan," 
Aulad rejoined, " and the White Demon's chiefs 
Are gathered there." Then Rustem to a tree 
Bound his obedient guide — to keep him safe, 
And to recruit his strength, laid down awhile 
And soundly slept. 

When morning dawned, he rose. 
And mounting Rakush, put his helmet on. 
The tiger-skin defended his broad chest. 
And sallying forth, he sought the Demon chief, 
Arzang, and summoned him with such a roar 
That stream and mountain shook. Arzang sprang up, 
Hearing a human voice, and from his tent 
Indignant issued — him the champion met. 
And clutched his arms and ears, and from his body 
Tore ofT the gory head, and cast it far 
Amidst the shuddering Demons, who with fear 
Shrunk back and fled, precipitate, lest they 
Should likewise feel that dreadful punishment. 

Sixth Stage. — After this achievement Rustem returned to 
the place vi^here he had left Aulad, and having released him, 
sat down under the tree and related what he had done. He 



«^ 



THE SHAh nAmEH 99 

then commanded his guide to show the way to the place where 
Kai-kaus was confined; and when the champion entered the 
city of Mazinderan, the neighing of Rakush was so loud that 
the sound distinctly reached the ears of the captive monarch. 
Kalis rejoiced, and said to his people : " I have heard the voice 
of Rakush, and my misfortunes are at an end ; " but they 
thought he was either insane or telling them a dream. The 
actual appearance of Rustem, however, soon satisfied them. 
Gudarz, and Tiis, and Bahram, and Giw, and Gustahem, were 
delighted to meet him, and the king embraced him with great 
warmth and affection, and heard from him with admiration the 
story of his wonderful progress and exploits. But Kaus and 
his warriors, under the influence and spells of the Demons, 
were still blind, and he cautioned Rustem particularly to con- 
ceal Rakush from the sight of the sorcerers, for if the White 
Demon should hear of the slaughter of Arzang, and the 
conqueror being at Mazinderan, he would immediately as- 
semble an overpowering army of Demons, and the conse- 
quences might be terrible. 

" But thou must storm the cavern of the Demons 
And their gigantic chief — great need there is 
For sword and battle-axe — and with the aid 
Of Heaven, these miscreant sorcerers may fall 
Victims to thy avenging might. The road 
Is straight before thee — reach the Seven Mountains, 
And there thou wilt discern the various groups. 
Which guard the awful passage. Further on. 
Within a deep and horrible recess, 
Frowns the White Demon — conquer him — destroy 
That fell magician, and restore to sight 
Thy suffering king, and all his warrior train. 
The wise in cures declare, that the warm blood 
From the White Demon's heart, dropped in the eye, 
Removes all blindness — it is, then, my hope. 
Favored by God, that thou wilt slay the fiend, 
And save us from the misery we endure. 
The misery of darkness without end." 

Rustem accordingly, after having warned his friends and 
companions in arms to keep on the alert, prepared for the 
enterprise, and guided by Aulad, hurried on till he came to the 
Haft-koh, or Seven Mountains. There he found numerous 
companies of Demons ; and coming to one of the caverns, saw 
it crowded with the same awful beings. And now consulting 



loo FIRDUSI 

with Aulad, he was informed that the most advantageous time 
for attack would be when the sun became hot, for then all the 
Demons were accustomed to go to sleep, with the exception of 
a very small number who were appointed to keep watch. He 
therefore waited till the sun rose high in the firmament; and 
as soon as he had bound Aulad to a tree hand and foot, with 
the thongs of his kamund, drew his sword, and rushed among 
the prostrate Demons, dismembering and slaying all that fell 
in his way. Dreadful was the carnage, and those who survived 
fled in the wildest terror from the champion's fury. 

Seventh Stage. — Rustem now hastened forward to encounter 
the White Demon. 

Advancing to the cavern, he looked down 

And saw a gloomy place, dismal as hell; 

But not one cursed, impious sorcerer 

Was visible in that infernal depth. 

Awhile he stood — his falchion in his grasp, 

And rubbed his eyes to sharpen his dim sight, 

And then a mountain-form, covered with hair. 

Filling up all the space, rose into view. 

The monster was asleep, but presently 

The daring shouts of Rustem broke his rest. 

And brought him suddenly upon his feet. 

When seizing a huge mill-stone, forth he came. 

And thus accosted the intruding chief: 

" Art thou so tired of life, that reckless thus 

Thou dost invade the precincts of the Demons? 

Tell me thy name, that I may not destroy 

A nameless thing! " The champion stern replied, 

" My name is Rustem — sent by Zal, my father. 

Descended from the champion Sam Siiwar, 

To be revenged on thee — the King of Persia 

Being now a prisoner in Mazinderan." 

When the accursed Demon heard the name 

Of Sam Suwar, he, like a serpent, writhed 

In agony of spirit; terrified 

At that announcement — then, recovering strength, 

He forward sprang, and hurled the mill-stone huge 

Against his adversary, who fell back 

And disappointed the prodigious blow. 

Black frowned the Demon, and through Rustem's heart 

A wild sensation ran of dire alarm; 

But, rousing up, his courage was revived. 

And wielding furiously his beaming sword, 

He pierced the Demon's thigh, and lopped the limb; 

Then both together grappled, and the cavern 



THE SHAH NAMEH lor 

Shook with the contest — each, at times, prevailed; 

The flesh of both was torn, and streaming blood 

Crimsoned the earth. " If I survive this day," 

Said Rustem in his heart, in that dread strife, 

" My life must be immortal." The White Demon, 

With equal terror, muttered to himself: 

" I now despair of life — sweet life; no more 

Shall I be welcomed at Mazinderan." 

And still they struggled hard — still sweat and blood 

Poured down at every strain. Rustem, at last, 

Gathering fresh power, vouchsafed by favouring Heaven 

And bringing all his mighty strength to bear, 

Raised up the gasping Demon in his arms. 

And with such fury dashed him to the ground, 

That life no longer moved his monstrous frame. 

Promptly he then tore out the reeking heart. 

And crowds of demons simultaneous fell 

As part of him, and stained the earth with gore; 

Others who saw this signal overthrow. 

Trembled, and hurried from the scene of blood. 

Then the great victor, issuing from that cave 

With pious haste — took oflf his helm, and mail. 

And royal girdle — and with water washed 

His face and body — choosing a pure place 

For prayer — to praise his Maker — Him who gave 

The victory, the eternal source of good; 

Without whose grace and blessing, what is man! 

With it his armor is impregnable. 

The Champion having finished his prayer, resumed his war 
habiliments, and going to Aulad, released him from the tree, 
and gave into his charge the heart of the White Demon. He 
then pursued his journey back to Kaus at Mazinderan. On 
the way Aiilad solicited some reward for the services he had 
performed, and Rustem again promised that he should be 
appointed governor of the country. 

" But first the monarch of Mazinderan, 
The Demon-king, must be subdued, and cast 
Into the yawning cavern — and his legions 
Of foul enchanters, utterly destroyed." 

Upon his arrival at Mazinderan, Rustem related to his sov- 
ereign all that he had accomplished, and especially that he had 
torn out and brought away the White Demon's heart, the blood 
of which was destined to restore Kai-kaus and his warriors to 
sight. Rustem was not long in applying the miraculous rem- 



109 FIRDUSI 

edy, and the moment the blood touched their eyes, the fearful 
blindness was perfectly cured. 

The champion brought the Demon's heart, 
And squeezed the blood from every part, 
Which, dropped upon the injured sight. 
Made all things visible and bright; 
One moment broke that magic gloom, 
Which seemed more dreadful than the tomb. 

The monarch immediately ascended his throne surrounded 
by all his warriors, and seven days were spent in mutual con- 
gratulations and rejoicing. On the eighth day they all resumed 
the saddle, and proceeded to complete the destruction of the 
enemy. They set fire to the city, and burnt it to the ground, 
and committed such horrid carnage among the remaining 
magicians that streams of loathsome blood crimsoned all the 
place. 

Kaus afterwards sent Ferhad as an ambassador to the king 
of Mazinderan, suggesting to him the expediency of submis- 
sion, and representing to him the terrible fall of Arzang, and of 
the White Demon with all his host, as a warning against re- 
sistance to the valor of Rustem. But when the king of Mazin- 
deran heard from Ferhad the purpose of his embassy, he ex- 
pressed great astonishment, and replied that he himself was 
superior in all respects to Kaiis ; that his empire was more ex- 
tensive, and his warriors more numerous and brave. " Have I 
not," said he, " a hundred war-elephants, and Kaus not one ? 
Wherever I move, conquest marks my way ; why then should I 
fear the sovereign of Persia ? Why should I submit to him ? " 

This haughty tone made a deep impression upon Ferhad, 
who returning quickly, told Kaus of the proud bearing and 
fancied power of the ruler of Mazinderan. Rustem was imme- 
diately sent for ; and so indignant was he on hearing the tidings, 
that " every hair on his body started up like a spear," and he 
proposed to go himself with a second dispatch. The king was 
too much pleased to refuse, and another letter was written more 
urgent than the first, threatening the enemy to hang up his 
severed head on the walls of his own fort, if he persisted in his 
contumacy and scorn of the offer made. 

As soon as Rustem had come within a short distance of the 
court of the king of Mazinderan, accounts reached his majesty 



THE SHAH NAMEH 103- 

of the approach of another ambassador, when a deputation of 
warriors was sent to receive him. Rustem observing them, 
and being in sight of the hostile army, with a view to show his 
strength, tore up a large tree on the road by the roots, and 
dexterously wielded it in his hand like a spear. Tilting on- 
wards, he flung it down before the wondering enemy, and one 
of the chiefs then thought it incumbent upon him to display 
his own prowess. He advanced, and offered to grasp hands 
with Rustem: they met; but the gripe of the champion was 
so excruciating that the sinews of his adversary cracked, and 
in agony he fell from his horse. Intelligence of this discom- 
fiture was instantly conveyed to the king, who then summoned 
his most valiant and renowned chieftain, Kalahur, and directed 
him to go and punish, signally, the warrior who had thus pre- 
sumed to triumph over one of his heroes. Accordingly Kalahur 
appeared, and boastingly stretched out his hand, which Rustem 
wrung with such grinding force, that the very nails dropped 
off, and blood started from his body. This was enough, and 
Kalahur hastily returned to the king, and anxiously recom- 
mended him to submit to terms, as it would be in vain to oppose 
such invincible strength. The king was both grieved and angry 
at this situation of affairs, and invited the ambassador to his 
presence. After inquiring respecting Kaiis and the Persian 
army, he said : 

" And thou art Rustem, clothed with mighty power. 

Who slaughtered the White Demon, and now comest 

To crush the monarch of Mazinderan! " 

" No! " said the champion, " I am but his servant. 

And even unworthy of that noble station; 

My master being a warrior, the most valiant 

That ever graced the world since time began. 

Nothing am I; but what doth he resemble 1 

What is a lion, elephant, or demon! 

Engaged in fight, he is himself a host ! " 

The ambassador then tried to convince the king of the folly 
of resistance, and of his certain defeat if he continued to defy 
the power of Kaus and the bravery of Rustem ; but the effort 
was fruitless, and both states prepared for battle. 

The engagement which ensued was obstinate and sanguinary, 
and after seven days of hard fighting, neither army was vic- 
torious, neither defeated. Afflicted at this want of success. 



X04 



FIRDUSI 



Kaus grovelled in the dust, and prayed fervently to the 
Almighty to give him the triumph. He addressed all his 
warriors, one by one, .and urged them to increased exertions ; 
and on the eighth day, when the battle was renewed, prodigies 
of vafor were performed. Rustem singled out, and encoun- 
tered the king of Mazinderan, and fiercely they fought together 
with sword and javeHn ; but suddenly, just as he was rushing 
on with overwhelming force, his adversary, by his magic art, 
transformed himself into a stony rock. Rustem and the Persian 
warriors were all amazement. The fight had been suspended 
for some time, when Kaus came forward to inquire the cause ; 
and hearing with astonishment of the transformation, ordered 
his soldiers to drag the enchanted mass towards his own tent ; 
but all the strength that could be applied was unequal to move 
so great a weight, till Rustem set himself to the task, and 
amidst the wondering army, lifted up the rock and conveyed 
it to the appointed place. He then addressed the work of 
sorcery, and said : " If thou dost not resume thy original shape, 
I will instantly break thee, flinty-rock as thou now art, into 
atoms, and scatter thee in the dust." The magician-king was 
alarmed by this threat, and reappeared in his own form, and 
then Rustem, seizing his hand, brought him to Kaus, who, as 
a punishment for his wickedness and atrocity, ordered him to 
be slain, and his body to be cut into a thousand pieces ! The 
wealth of the country was immediately afterwards secured ; and 
at the recommendation of Rustem, Aulad was appointed 
governor of Mazinderan. After the usual thanksgivings and 
rejoicings on account of the victory, Kaus and his warriors 
returned to Persia, where splendid honors and rewards were 
bestowed on every soldier for his heroic services. Rustem 
having received the highest acknowledgments of his merit, took 
leave, and returned to his father Zal at Zabulistan. 

Suddenly an ardent desire arose in the heart of Kaus to 
■survey all the provinces and states of his empire. He wished 
to visit Turan, and Chin, and Mikran, and Berber, and Zirra. 
Having commenced his royal tour of inspection, he found the 
King of Berberistan in a state of rebellion, with his army pre- 
pared to dispute his authority. A severe battle was the conse- 
quence; but the refractory sovereign was soon compelled to 
retire, and the elders of the city came forward to sue for mercy 
and protection. After this triumph, Kaus turned towards the 



THE SHAH nAmEH 105 

mountain Kaf, and visited various other countries, and in his 
progress became the guest of the son of Zal in ZabuUstan 
where he stayed a month, enjoying the pleasures of the festive 
board and the sports of the field. 

The disaffection of the King of Hamaveran, in league with 
the King of Misser and Sham, and the still hostile King of Ber- 
beristan, soon, however, drew him from Nimruz, and quitting 
the principality of Rustem, his arms were promptly directed 
against his new enemy, who in the contest which ensued, made 
an obstinate resistance, but was at length overpowered, and 
obliged to ask for quarter. After the battle, Kaiis was informed 
that the Shah had a daughter of great beauty, named Sudaveh, 
possessing a form as graceful as the tall cypress, musky ringlets, 
and all the charms of Heaven. From the description of this 
damsel he became enamoured, and through the medium of a 
messenger, immediately offered himself to be her husband. 
The father did not seem to be glad at this proposal, observing to 
the messenger, that he had but two things in life valuable to 
him, and those were his daughter and his property ; one was his 
solace and delight, and the other his support; to be deprived 
of both would be death to him ; still he could not gainsay the 
wishes of a king of such power, and his conqueror. He then 
sorrowfully communicated the overture to his child, who, how- 
ever, readily consented ; and in the course of a week, the bride 
was sent escorted by soldiers, and accompanied by a magnifi- 
cent cavalcade, consisting of a thousand horses and mules, a 
thousand camels, and numerous female attendants. When 
Sudaveh descended from her litter, glowing with beauty, with 
her rich dark tresses flowing to her feet, and cheeks like the 
rose, Kaus regarded her with admiration and rapture ; and so 
impatient was he to possess that lovely treasure, that the mar- 
riage rites were performed according to the laws of the country 
without delay. 

The Shah of Hamaveran, however, was not satisfied, and he 
continually plotted within himself how he might contrive to 
regain possession of Sudaveh, as well as be revenged upon the 
king. With this view he invited Kaus to be his guest for a 
while; but Sudaveh cautioned the king not to trust to the 
treachery which dictated the invitation, as she apprehended 
from it nothing but mischief and disaster. The warning, how- 
ever, was of no avail, for Kaus accepted the proffered hospital- 



io6 FIRDUSI 

ity of his new father-in-law. He accordingly proceeded with 
his bride and his most famous warriors to the city, where he 
was received and entertained in the most sumptuous manner, 
seated on a gorgeous throne, and felt infinitely exhilarated with 
the magnificence and the hilarity by which he was surrounded. 
Seven days were passed in this glorious banqueting and de- 
light ; but on the succeeding night, the sound of trumpets and 
the war-cry was heard. The intrusion of soldiers changed the 
face of the scene ; and the king, who had just been waited on, 
and pampered with such respect and devotion, was suddenly 
seized, together with his principal warriors, and carried off to 
a remote fortress, situated on a high mountain, where they 
were imprisoned, and guarded by a thousand valiant men. His 
tents were plundered, and all his treasure taken away. At this 
event his wife was inconsolable and deaf to all entreaties from 
her father, declaring that she preferred death to separation from 
her husband ; upon which she was conveyed to the same dun- 
geon, to mingle groans with the captive king. 

Alas! how false and fickle is the world, 
Friendship nor pleasure, nor the ties of blood. 
Can check the headlong course of human passions; 
Treachery still laughs at kindred; — who is safe 
In this tumultuous sphere of strife and sorrow? 



THE SHAh nAmEH 107 



INVASION OF IRAN BY AFRASIYAB 

THE intelligence of Kaus's imprisonment was very soon 
spread through the world, and operated as a signal to 
all the inferior states to get possession of Iran. Afrasi- 
yab was the most powerful aspirant to the throne ; and gather- 
ing an immense army, he hurried from Turan, and made a rapid 
incursion into the country, which after three months he suc- 
ceeded in conquering, scattering ruin and desolation wherever 
he came. 

Some of those who escaped from the field bent their steps 
towards Zabulistan, by whom Rustem was informed of the 
misfortunes in which Kaus was involved ; it therefore became 
necessary that he should again endeavor to effect the libera- 
tion of his sovereign; and accordingly, after assembling his 
troops from different quarters, the first thing he did was to 
despatch a messenger to Hamaveran, with a letter, demanding 
the release of the prisoners ; and in the event of a refusal, de- 
claring the king should suffer the same fate as the White 
Demon and the magician-monarch of Mazinderan. Although 
this threat produced considerable alarm in the breast of the 
king of Hamaveran, he arrogantly replied, that if Rustem 
wished to be placed in the same situation as Kaus, he was wel- 
come to come as soon as he liked. 

Upon hearing this defiance, Rustem left Zabulistan, and after 
an arduous journey by land and water, arrived at the confines 
of Hamaveran. The king of that country, roused by the noise 
and uproar, and bold aspect of the invading army, drew up his 
own forces, and a battle ensued, but he was unequal to stand 
his ground before the overwhelming courage of Rustem. His 
troops fled in confusion, and then almost in despair he anxiously 
solicited assistance from the chiefs of Berber and Misser, which 
was immediately given. Thus three kings and their armies 
were opposed to the power and resources of one man. Their 
formidable array covered an immense space. 

Each proud his strongest force to bring, 
The eagle of valour flapped his wing. 



io8 FIRDUSI 

But when the King of Hamaveran beheld the person of Rus- 
tem in all its pride and strength, and commanding power, he 
paused with apprehension and fear, and intrenched himself well 
behind his own troops. Rustem, on the contrary, was full of 
confidence. 

" What, though there be a hundred thousand men 
Pitched against one, what use is there in numbers 
When Heaven is on my side: with Heaven my friend, 
The foe will soon be mingled with the dust." 

Having ordered the trumpets to sound, he rushed on the 
enemy, mounted on Rakush, and committed dreadful havoc 
among them. 

It would be difificult to tell 

How many heads, dissevered, fell. 

Fighting his dreadful way; 
On every side his falchion gleamed, 
Hot blood in every quarter streamed 

On that tremendous day. 

The chief of Hamaveran and his legions were the first to shrink 
from the conflict ; and then the King of Misser, ashamed of 
their cowardice, rapidly advanced towards the champion with 
the intention of punishing him for his temerity, but he had no 
sooner received one of Rustem's hard blows on his head, than 
he turned to flight, and thus hoped to escape the fury of his 
antagonist. That fortune, however, was denied him, for being 
instantly pursued, he was caught with the kamund, or noose, 
thrown round his loins, dragged from his horse, and safely de- 
livered into the hands of Bahram, who bound him, and kept 
him by his side. 

Ring within ring the lengthening kamund flew, 
And from his steed the astonished monarch drew. 

Having accomplished this signal capture, Rustem proceeded 
against the troops under the Shah of Berberistan, which, valor- 
ously aided as he was, by Zuara, he soon vanquished and dis- 
patched ; and impelling Rakush impetuously forward upon the 
shah himself, made him and forty of his principal chiefs pris- 
oners of war. The King of Hamaveran, seeing the horrible 
carnage, and the defeat of all his expectations, speedily sent a 
messenger to Rustem, to solicit a suspension of the fight, 



THE ShAh nAmEH 109 

offering to deliver up Kaus and all his warriors, and all the 
regal property and treasure which had been plundered from 
him. The troops of the three kingdoms also urgently prayed 
for quarter and protection, and Rustem readily agreed to the 
proffered conditions, 

" Kaus to liberty restore, 
With all his chiefs, I ask no more; 
, For him alone I conquering came; 

Than him no other prize I claim." 



THE RETURN OF KAI-KAUS 

IT was a joyous day when Kaiis and his illustrious heroes 
were released from their fetters, and removed from the 
mountain-fortress in which they were confined. Rustem 
forthwith reseated him on his throne, and did not fail to collect 
for the public treasury all the valuables of the three states 
which had submitted to his power. The troops of Mis- 
ser, Berberistan, and Hamaveran, having declared their allegi- 
ance to the Persian king, the accumulated numbers increased 
Kaus's army to upwards of three hundred thousand men, horse 
and foot, and with this immense force he moved towards Iran. 
Before marching, however, he sent a message to Afrasiyab, 
commanding him to quit the country he had so unjustly in- 
vaded, and recommending him to be contented with the terri- 
tory of Turan. 

" Hast thou forgotten Rustem's power. 
When thou wert in that perilous hour 
By him o'erthrown? Thy girdle broke, 
Or thou hadst felt the conqueror's yoke. 
Thy crowding warriors proved thy shield, 
They saved and dragged thee from the field; 
By them unrescued then, wouldst thou 
Have lived to vaunt thy prowess now? " 

This message was received with bitter feelings of resentment 
by Afrasiyab, who prepared his army for battle without delay, 
and promised to bestow his daughter in marriage and a king- 
dom upon the man who should succeed in taking Rustem alive. 



no FIRDUSI 

This proclamation was a powerful excitement: and when the 
engagement took place, mighty efforts were made for the re- 
ward ; but those who aspired to deserve it were only the first 
to fall. Afrasiyab beholding the fall of so many of his chiefs, 
dashed forward to cope with the champion: but his bravery 
was unavailing ; for, suffering sharply under the overwhelming 
attacks of Rustem, he was glad to effect his escape, and retire 
from the field. In short, he rapidly retraced his steps to 
Turan, leaving Kaus in full possession of the kingdom. 

With anguish stricken, he regained his home. 
After a wild and ignominious flight; 
The world presenting nothing to his lips 
But poison-beverage; all was death to him. 

Kaus being again seated on the throne of Persia, he resumed 
the administration of affairs with admirable justice and liber- 
ality, and despatched some of his most distinguished warriors 
to secure the welfare and prosperity of the states of Mervi, and 
Balkh, and Nishapiir, and Hirat. At the same time he con- 
ferred on Rustem the title of Jahani Pahlvan, or, Champion of 
the World. 

In safety now from foreign and domestic enemies, Kaus 
turned his attention to pursuits very different from war and 
conquest. He directed the Demons to construct two splendid 
palaces on the mountain Alberz, and separate mansions for the 
accommodation of his household, which he decorated in the 
most magnificent manner. All the buildings were beautifully 
arranged both for convenience and pleasure ; and gold and 
silver and precious stones were used so lavishly, and the brill- 
iancy produced by their combined effect was so great, that 
night and day appeared to be the same. 

Iblis, ever active, observing the vanity and ambition of the 
king, was not long in taking advantage of the circumstance, 
and he soon persuaded the Demons to enter into his schemes. 
Accordingly one of them, disguised as a domestic servant, was 
instructed to present a nosegay to Kaus; and after respectfully 
kissing the ground, say to him : — 

" Thou art great as king can be, 
Boundless in thy majesty; 
What is all this earth to thee. 
All beneath the sky? 



THE SHAh nAmEH III 

Peris, mortals, demons, hear 
Thy commanding voice with fear; 
Thou art lord of all things here. 
But, thou canst not fly! 

" That remains for thee ; to know 
Things above, as things below. 

How the planets roll; 
How the sun his light displays. 
How the moon darts forth her rays; 
How the nights succeed the days; 
What the secret cause betrays, 

And who directs the whole I " 

This artful address of the Demon satisfied Kaus of the im- 
perfection of his nature, and the enviable power which he had 
yet to obtain. To him, therefore, it became matter of deep 
concern, how he might be enabled to ascend the Heavens with- 
out wings, and for that purpose he consulted his astrologers, 
who presently suggested a way in which his desires might be 
successfully accomplished. 

They contrived to rob an eagle's nest of its young, which 
they reared with great care, supplying them well with invigor- 
ating food, till they grew large and strong. A framework of 
aloes-wood was then prepared ; and at each of the four corners 
was fixed perpendicularly, a javelin, surmounted on the point 
with flesh of a goat. At each corner again one of the eagles 
was bound, and in the middle Kaus was seated in great pomp 
with a goblet of wine before him. As soon as the eagles be- 
came hungry, they endeavored to get at the goat's flesh upon 
the javelins, and by flapping their wings and flying upwards, 
they quickly raised up the throne from the ground. Hunger 
still pressing them, and still being distant from their prey, they 
ascended higher and higher in the clouds, conveying the as- 
tonished king far beyond his own country ; but after long and 
fruitless exertion their strength failed them, and unable to 
keep their way, the whole fabric came tumbling down from 
the sky, and fell upon a dreary solitude in the kingdom of Chin. 
There Kaus was left, a prey to hunger, alone, and in utter de- 
spair, until he was discovered by a band of Demons, whom his 
anxious ministers had sent in search of him, 

Rustem, and Gudarz, and Tus, at length heard of what had 
befallen the king, and with feelings of sorrow not unmixed 
with indignation, set off to his assistance. " Since I was 



112 FIRDUSI 

born," said Gudarz, " never did I see such a man as Kaus. 
He seems to be entirely destitute of reason and understanding; 
always in distress and affliction. This is the third calamity in 
which he has wantonly involved himself. First at Mazinderan, 
then at Hamaveran, and now he is being punished for attempt- 
ing to discover the secrets of the Heavens ! " When they 
reached the wilderness into which Kaus had fallen, Gudarz 
repeated to him the same observations, candidly telling him 
that he was fitter for a mad-house than a throne, and exhorting 
him to be satisfied with his lot and be obedient to God, the 
creator of all things. The miserable king was softened to 
tears, acknowledged his folly ; and as soon as he was escorted 
back to his palace, he shut himself up, remaining forty days, 
unseen, prostrating himself in shame and repentance. After 
that he recovered his spirits, and resumed the administration 
of affairs with his former liberality, clemency, and justice, al- 
most rivalling the glory of Feridun and Jemshid, 

One day Rustem made a splendid feast ; and whilst he and 
his brother warriors, Giw and Gudarz, and Tiis, were quaffing 
their wine, it was determined upon to form a pretended hunting 
party, and repair to the sporting grounds of Afrasiyab. The 
feast lasted seven days ; and on the eighth, preparations were 
made for the march, an advance party being pushed on to re- 
connoitre the motions of the enemy. Afrasiyab was soon 
informed of what was going on, and flattered himself with the 
hopes of getting Rustem and his seven champions into his 
thrall, for which purpose he called together his wise men and 
warriors, and said to them : " You have only to secure these 
invaders, and Kaus will soon cease to be the sovereign of Per- 
sia." To accomplish this object, a Turanian army of thirty 
thousand veterans was assembled, and ordered to occupy all 
the positions and avenues in the vicinity of the sporting 
grounds. An immense clamor, and thick clouds of dust, which 
darkened the skies, announced their approach ; and when intel- 
ligence of their numbers was brought to Rustem, the undaunt- 
ed champion smiled, and said to Garaz : " Fortune favors me ; 
what cause is there to fear the king of Turan? his army does 
not exceed a hundred thousand men. Were I alone, with 
Rakush, with my armor, and battle-axe, I would not shrink 
from his legions. Have I not seven companions in arms, and 
is not one of them equal to five hundred Turanian heroes? 



THE SHAh nAmEH H3 

Let Afrasiyab dare to cross the boundary-river, and the contest 
will presently convince him that he has only sought his own 
defeat." Promptly at a signal the cup-bearer produced gob- 
lets of the red wine of Zabul ; and in one of them Rustem 
pledged his royal master with loyalty, and Tus and Zuara 
joined in the convivial and social demonstration of attachment 
to the king. 

The champion arrayed in his buburiyan, mounted Rakush, 
and advanced towards the Turanian army. Afrasiyab, when 
he beheld him in all his terrible strength and vigor, was 
amazed and disheartened, accompanied, as he was, by Tus, and 
Gudarz, and Giirgin, and Giw, and Bahram, and Berzin, and 
Ferhad. The drums and trumpets of Rustem were now heard, 
and immediately the hostile forces engaged with dagger, 
sword, and javelin. Dreadful was the onset, and the fury with 
which the conflict was continued. In truth, so sanguinary 
and destructive was the battle that Afrasiyab exclaimed in 
grief and terror: "If this carnage lasts till the close of day, 
not a man of my army will remain alive. Have I not one war- 
rior endued with sufficient bravery to oppose and subdue this 
mighty Rustem? What! not one fit to be rewarded with a 
diadem, with my own throne and kingdom, which I will freely 
give to the victor ! " Pilsum heard the promise, and was am- 
bitious of earning the reward ; but fate decreed it otherwise. 
His prodigious efforts were of no avail. Alkus was equally 
unsuccessful, though the bravest of the brave among the Tu- 
ranian warriors. Encountering Rustem, his brain was pierced 
by a javelin wielded by the Persian hero, and he fell dead from 
his saddle. This signal achievement astonished and terrified 
the Turanians, who, however, made a further despairing eflfort 
against the champion and his seven conquering companions, 
but with no better result than before, and nothing remained to 
them excepting destruction or flight. Choosing the latter 
they wheeled round, and endeavored to escape from the san- 
guinary fate that awaited them. 

Seeing this precipitate movement of the enemy, Rustem 
impelled Rakush forward in pursuit, addressing his favorite 
horse with fondness and enthusiasm : — 

" My valued friend — put forth thy speed. 

This is a time of pressing need; 

Bear me away amidst the strife, 
Vol. I.— 8 



114 FIRDUSI 

That I may take that despot's life; 
And with my mace and javelin, flood 
This dusty plain with foe-man's blood." 

Excited by his master's cry, 

The war-horse bounded o'er the plain, 
So swiftly that he seemed to fly, 
Snorting with pride, and tossing high 

His streaming mane. 

And soon he reached that despot's side, 
" Now is the time! " the Champion cried, 

" This is the hour to victory given," 
And flung his noose — which bound the king 
Fast for a moment in its ring; 

But soon, alas! the bond was riven. 

Haply the Tartar-monarch slipt away, 
Not doomed to suffer on that bloody day; 
And freed from thrall, he hurrying led 

His legions cross the boundary-stream. 
Leaving his countless heaps of dead 

To rot beneath the solar beam. 

Onward he rushed with heart opprest, 

And broken fortunes; he had quaffed 
Bright pleasure's cup — but now, unblest. 

Poison was mingled with the draught! 

The booty in horses, treasure, armor, pavilions, and tents, 
was immense ; and when the whole was secured, Rustem and 
his companions fell back to the sporting-grounds already men- 
tioned, from whence he informed Kai-kaiis by letter of the vic- 
tory that had been gained. After remaining two weeks there, 
resting from the toils of war and enjoying the pleasures of 
hunting, the party returned home to pay their respects to the 
Persian king: 

And this is life! Thus conquest and defeat, 

Vary the lights and shades of human scenes. 

And human thought. Whilst some, immersed in pleasure. 

Enjoy the sweets, others again endure 

The miseries of the world. Hope is deceived 

In this frail dwelling; certainty and safety 

Are only dreams which mock the credulous mind; 

Time sweeps o'er all things; why then should the wise 

Mourn o'er events which roll resistless on. 

And set at nought all mortal opposition? 



THE SHAH NAMEH 115 



STORY OF SOHRAB 

OYE, who dwell in Youth's inviting bowers, 
Waste not, in useless joy, your fleeting hours. 
But rather let the tears of sorrow roll. 
And sad reflection fill the conscious soul. 
For many a jocund spring has passed away, 
And many a flower has blossomed, to decay; 
And human life, still hastening to a close, 
Finds in the worthless dust its last repose. 
Still the vain world abounds in strife and hate. 
And sire and son provoke each other's fate; 
And kindred blood by kindred hands is shed, 
And vengeance sleeps not — dies not, with the dead. 
All nature fades — the garden's treasures fall, 
Young bud, and citron ripe — all perish, all. 

And now a tale of sorrow must be told, 
A tale of tears, derived from Mubid old. 
And thus remembered. — 

With the dawn of day, 
Rustem arose, and wandering took his way, 
Armed for the chase, where sloping to the sky, 
Turin's lone wilds in sullen grandeur lie; 
There, to dispel his melancholy mood. 
He urged his matchless steed through glen and wood. 
Flushed with the noble game which met his view, 
He starts the wild-ass o'er the glistening dew; 
And, oft exulting, sees his quivering dart, 
Plunge through the glossy skin, and pierce the heart- 
Tired of the sport, at length, he sought the shade. 
Which near a stream embowering trees displayed, 
And with his arrow's point, a fire he raised. 
And thorns and grass before him quickly blazed. 
The severed parts upon a bough he cast, 
To catch the flames; and when the rich repast 
Was drest; with flesh and marrow, savory food. 
He quelled his hunger; and the sparkling flood 
That murmured at his feet, his thirst represt; 
Then gentle sleep composed his limbs to rest. 

Meanwhile his horse, for speed and form renown'd, 
Ranged o'er the plain with flowery herbage crown'd. 
Encumbering arms no more his sides opprest. 
No folding mail confined his ample chest,* 
Gallant and free, he left the Champion's side, 
And cropp'd the mead, or sought the cooling tide; 

* The armor called Burgustuwan almost covered the horse, and was usually 
made of leather and felt-cloth. 



ii6 FIRDUSI 

When lo! It chanced amid that woodland chase, 
A band of horsemen, rambling near the place, 
Saw, with surprise, superior game astray, 
And rushed at once to seize the noble prey; 
But, in the imminent struggle, two beneath 
His steel-clad hoofs received the stroke of death; 
One proved a sterner fate — for downward borne, 
The mangled head was from the shoulders torn. 
Still undismayed, again they nimbly sprung. 
And round his neck the noose entangling flung: 
Now, all in vain, he spurns the smoking ground. 
In vain the tumult echoes all around; 
They bear him off, and view, with ardent eyes. 
His matchless beauty and majestic size; 
Then soothe his fury, anxious to obtain, 
A bounding steed of his immortal strain. 

When Rustem woke, and miss'd his favourite horse. 
The loved companion of his glorious course; 
Sorrowing he rose, and, hastening thence, began 
To shape his dubious way to Samengan; 
" Reduced to journey thus, alone! " he said, 
" How pierce the gloom which thickens round my head; 
Burthen'd, on foot, a dreary waste in view. 
Where shall I bend my steps, what path pursue? 
The scoffing Turks will cry, ' Behold our might! 
We won the trophy from the Champion-knight! 
From him who, reckless of his fame and pride, 
Thus idly slept, and thus ignobly died.' " 
Girding his loins he gathered from the field. 
His quivered stores, his beamy sword and shield, 
Harness and saddle-gear were o'er him slung, 
Bridle and mail across his shoulders hung.* 
Then looking round, with anxious eye, to meet, 
The broad impression of his charger's feet. 
The track he hail'd, and following, onward prest. 
While grief and hope alternate filled his breast. 

O'er vale and wild-wood led, he soon descries. 
The regal city's shining turrets rise. 
And when the Champion's near approach is known, 
The usual homage waits him to the throne. 
The king, on foot, received his welcome guest 
With preferred friendship, and his coming blest: 

• In this hunting excursion he is com- adventure now describing: is highly 
pletely armed, being supplied with characteristic of a chivalrous age. In 
spear, sword, shield, mace, bow and the Dissertation prefixed to Richard- 
arrows. Like the knight-errants of after son's Dictionary, mention is made of a 
times, he seldom even slept unarmed. famous Arabian Knight-errant called 
Single combat and the romantic enter- Abu Mahommud Albatal, " who wan- 
prises of European Chivalry may indeed dered everywhere in quest of advent- 
be traced to the East. Rustem was a ures, and redressing grievances. He 
most illustrious example of all that is was killed in the year 738." 
pious, disinterested, and heroic. The 



THE SHAH NAMEH 117 

But Rustem frowned, and with resentment fired, 

Spoke of his wrongs, the plundered steed required. 

" I've traced his footsteps to your royal town, 

Here must he be, protected by your crown; 

But if retained, if not from fetters freed. 

My vengeance shall o'ertake the felon-deed." 

" My honored guest! " the wondering King replied — 

" Shall Rustem's wants or wishes be denied? 

But let not anger, headlong, fierce, and blind, 

O'ercloud the virtues of a generous mind. 

If still within the limits of my reign. 

The well known courser shall be thine again: 

For Rakush never can remain concealed. 

No more than Rustem in the battle-field! 

Then cease to nourish useless rage, and share 

With joyous heart my hospitable fare." 

The son of Zal now felt his wrath subdued, 
And glad sensations in his soul renewed. 
The ready herald by the King's command, 
Convened the Chiefs and Warriors of the land; 
And soon the banquet social glee restored, 
And China wine-cups glittered on the board; 
And cheerful song, and music's magic power. 
And sparkling wine, beguiled the festive hour. 
The dulcet draughts o'er Rustem's senses stole, 
And melting strains absorbed his softened soul. 
But when approached the period of repose, 
All, prompt and mindful, from the banquet rose; 
A couch was spread well worthy such a guest, 
Perfumed with rose and musk; and whilst at rest. 
In deep sound sleep, the wearied Champion lay. 
Forgot were all the sorrows of the way. 

One watch had passed, and still sweet slumber shed 
Its magic power around the hero's head — 
When forth Tahmineh came — a damsel held 
An amber taper, which the gloom dispelled, 
And near his pillow stood; in beauty bright. 
The monarch's daughter struck his wondering sight. 
Clear as the moon, in glowing charms arrayed. 
Her winning eyes the light of heaven displayed; 
Her cypress form entranced the gazers view, 
Her waving curls, the heart, resistless, drew, 
Her eye-brows like the Archer's bended bow; 
Her ringlets, snares; her cheek, the rose's glow, 
Mixed with the lily — from her ear-tips hung 
Rings rich and glittering, star-like; and her tongue. 
And lips, all sugared sweetness — pearls the while 
Sparkled within a mouth formed to beguile. 
Her presence dimmed the stars, and breathing round 
Fragrance and joy, she scarcely touched the ground. 



ii8 FIRDUSI 

So light her step, so graceful — every part 
Perfect, and suited to her spotless heart. 

Rustem, surprised, the gentle maid addressed, 
And asked what lovely stranger broke his rest. 
" What is thy name," he said — " what dost thou seek 
Amidst the gloom of night? Fair vision, speak! " 

" O thou," she softly sigh'd, " of matchless fame ! 
With pity hear, Tahmineh is my name ! 
The pangs of love my anxious heart employ, 
And flattering promise long-expected joy; 
No curious eye has yet these features seen. 
My voice unheard, beyond the sacred screen.* 
How often have I listened with amaze. 
To thy great deeds, enamoured of thy praise; 
How oft from every tongue I've heard the strain. 
And thought of thee — and sighed, and sighed again. 
The ravenous eagle, hovering o'er his prey, 
Starts at thy gleaming sword and flies away: 
Thou art the slayer of the Demon brood. 
And the fierce monsters of the echoing wood. 
Where'er thy mace is seen, shrink back the bold. 
Thy javelin's flash all tremble to behold. 
Enchanted with the stories of thy fame. 
My fluttering heart responded to thy name; 
And whilst their magic influence I felt. 
In prayer for thee devotedly I knelt; 
And fervent vowed, thus powerful glory charms, 
No other spouse should bless my longing arms. 
Indulgent heaven propitious to my prayer. 
Now brings thee hither to reward my care. 
Turin's dominions thou hast sought, alone. 
By night, in darkness — thou, the mighty one! 
O claim my hand, and grant my soul's desire; 
Ask me in marriage of my royal sire; 
Perhaps a boy our wedded love may crown. 
Whose strength like thine may gain the world's renown. 
Nay more — for Samengan will keep my word — 
Rakush to thee again shall be restored." 

The damsel thus her ardent thought expressed. 
And Rustem's heart beat joyous in his breast. 
Hearing her passion — not a word was lost. 
And Rakush safe, by him still valued most; 

* As a proof of her innocence Tah- happy. It has nothing of the unprofita- 
mineh declares to Rustem, " No person ble severity of the cloister. The Zen- 
has ever seen me out of my private anas are supplied with everything that 
chamber, or even heard the sound of can please and gratify a reasonable wish, 
my voice." It is but just to remark, that and it is well known that the women of 
the seclusion in which women of rank the East have influence and power, 
continue in Persia, and other parts of more flattering and solid, than the free 
the East, is not, by them, considered unsecluded beauties of the Western 
intolerable, or even a hardship. Custom world, 
has not only rendered it familiar, but 



THE SHAh NAMEH 119 



He called her near; with graceful step she came, 
And marked with throbbing pulse his kindled flame. 

And now a Mtibid, from the Champion-knight, 
Requests the royal sanction to the rite; 
O'erjoyed, the King the honoured suit approves, 
O'erjoyed to bless the doting child he loves. 
And happier still, in showering smiles around. 
To be allied to warrior so renowned. 
When the delighted father, doubly blest. 
Resigned his daughter to his glorious guest. 
The people shared the gladness which it gave. 
The union of the beauteous and the brave. 
To grace their nuptial day — both old and young. 
The hymeneal gratulations sung: 
" May this young moon bring happiness and joy, 
And every source of enmity destroy." 
The marriage-bower received the happy pair, 
And love and transport shower'd their blessings there. 

Ere from his lofty sphere the morn had thrown 
His glittering radiance, and in splendour shone. 
The mindful Champion, from his sinewy arm. 
His bracelet drew, the soul-ennobling charm; 
And, as he held the wondrous gift with pride. 
He thus address'd his love-devoted bride! 
" Take this," he said, " and if, by gracious heaven, 
A daughter for thy solace should be given. 
Let it among her ringlets be displayed. 
And joy and honour will await the maid; 
But should kind fate increase the nuptial-joy. 
And make thee mother of a blooming boy. 
Around his arm this magic bracelet bind. 
To fire with virtuous deeds his ripening mind; 
The strength of Sam will nerve his manly form, 
In temper mild, in valour like the storm; 
His not the dastard fate to shrink, or turn 
From where the lions of the battle burn; 
To him the soaring eagle from the sky 
Will stoop, the bravest yield to him, or fly; 
Thus shall his bright career imperious claim 
The well-won honours of immortal fame! " 
Ardent he said, and kissed her eyes and face. 
And lingering held her in a fond embrace. 

When the bright sun his radiant brow displayed. 
And earth in all its loveliest hues arrayed, 
The Champion rose to leave his spouse's side, 
The warm aflfections of his weeping bride. 
For her, too soon the winged moments flew, 
Too soon, alas! the parting hour she knew; 
Clasped in his arms, with many a streaming tear. 
She tried, in vain, to win his deafen'd ear; 



lao FIRDUSI 

Still tried, ah fruitless struggle! to impart, 
The swelling anguish of her bursting heart. 

The father now with gratulations due 
Rustem approaches, and displays to view 
The fiery war-horse — welcome as the light 
Of heaven, to one immersed in deepest night; 
The Champion, wild with joy, fits on the rein, 
And girds the saddle on his back again; 
Then mounts, and leaving sire and wife behind, 
Onward to Sistan rushes like the wind. 

But when returned to Zabul's friendly shade. 
None knew what joys the Warrior had delayed; 
Still, fond remembrance, with endearing thought, 
Oft to his mind the scene of rapture brought. 

When nine slow-circling months had roU'd away, 
Sweet-smiling pleasure hailed the brightening day— 
A wondrous boy Tahmineh's tears supprest. 
And lull'd the sorrows of her heart to rest; 
To him, predestined to be great and brave. 
The name Sohrab his tender mother gave; 
And as he grew, amazed, the gathering throng, 
View'd his large limbs, his sinews firm and strong; 
His infant years no soft endearment claimed: 
Athletic sports his eager soul inflamed; 
Broad at the chest and taper round the loins. 
Where to the rising hip the body joins; 
Hunter and wrestler; and so great his speed. 
He could o'ertake, and hold the swiftest steed. 
His noble aspect, and majestic grace, 
Betrayed the offspring of a glorious race. 
How, with a mother's ever anxious love, 
Still to retain him near her heart she strove! 
For when the father's fond inquiry came. 
Cautious, she still concealed his birth and name. 
And feign'd a daughter born, the evil fraught 
With misery to avert — but vain the thought; 
Not many years had passed, with downy flight. 
Ere he, Tahmineh's wonder and delight, 
With glistening eye, and youthful ardour warm, 
Filled her foreboding bosom with alarm. 
" O now relieve my heart! " he said, " declare. 
From whom I sprang and breathe the vital air. 
Since, from my childhood I have ever been. 
Amidst my play-mates of superior mien; 
Should friend or foe demand my father's name. 
Let not my silence testify my shame! 
If still concealed, you falter, still delay, 
A mother's blood shall wash the crime away." 

" This wrath forego," the mother answering cried. 
And joyful hear to whom thou art allied. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 121 

A glorious line precedes thy destined birth. 
The mightiest heroes of the sons of earth. 
The deeds of Sana remotest realms admire, 
And Zal, and Rustem thy illustrious sire! " 

In private, then, she Rustem's letter placed 
Before his view, and brought with eager haste 
Three sparkling rubies, wedges three of gold. 
From Persia sent — " Behold," she said, " behold 
Thy father's gifts, will these thy doubts remove 
The costly pledges of paternal love! 
Behold this bracelet charm, of sovereign power 
To baffle fate in danger's awful hour; 
But thou must still the perilous secret keep, 
Nor ask the harvest of renown to reap; 
For when, by this peculiar signet known. 
Thy glorious father shall demand his son. 
Doomed from her only joy in life to part, 
O think what pangs will rend thy mother's heart! — 
Seek not the fame which only teems with woe; 
Afrasiyab is Rustem's deadliest foe! 
And if by him discovered, him I dread, 
Revenge will fail upon thy guiltless head." 

The youth replied: " In vain thy sighs and tears, 
The secret breathes and mocks thy idle fears. 
No human power can fate's decrees control, 
Or check the kindled ardour of my soul. 
Then why from me the bursting truth conceal? 
My father's foes even now my vengeance feel; 
Even now in wrath my native legions rise. 
And sounds of desolation strike the skies; 
Kaus himself, hurled from his ivory throne, 
Shall yield to Rustem the imperial crown, 
And thou, my mother, still in triumph seen, 
Of lovely Persia hailed the honoured queen 1 
Then shall Turan unite beneath my band, 
And drive this proud oppressor from the land! 
Father and Son, in virtuous league combined, 
No savage despot shall enslave mankind; 
When Sun and Moon o'er heaven refulgent blaze, 
Shall little stars obtrude their feeble rays?"* 

He paused, and then: " O mother, I must now 
My father seek, and see his lofty brow; 
Be mine a horse, such as a prince demands. 
Fit for the dusty field, a warrior's hands; 

• In Percy's Collection, there is an old song which contains a similar idea. 

You meaner beauties of the night, 

That poorly satisfie our eies. 
More by your number, than your light; 

You common people of the skies. 

What are you when the Moon shall rise? 
Sir Hknry Wotton. 



laa FIRDUSI 

Strong as an elephant his form should be. 
And chested like the stag, in motion free, 
And swift as bird, or fish; it would disgrace 
A warrior bold on foot to show his face." 

The mother, seeing how his heart was bent, 
His day-star rising in the firmament. 
Commands the stables to be searched to find 
Among the steeds one suited to his mind; 
Pressing their backs he tries their strength and nerve, 
Bent double to the ground their bellies curve; 
Not one, from neighbouring plain and mountain brought. 
Equals the wish with which his soul is fraught; 
Fruitless on every side he anxious turns. 
Fruitless, his brain with wild impatience burns. 
But when at length they bring the destined steed, 
From Rakush bred, of lightning's winged speed. 
Fleet, as the arrow from the bow-string flies. 
Fleet, as the eagle darting through the skies. 
Rejoiced he springs, and, with a nimble bound. 
Vaults in his seat, and wheels the courser round; 
" With such a horse — thus mounted, what remains? 
Kaus, the Persian King, no longer reigns! " 
High flushed he speaks — with youthful pride elate. 
Eager to crush the Monarch's glittering state; 
He grasps his javelin with a hero's might, 
And pants with ardour for the field of fight. 

Soon o'er the realm his fame expanding spread, 
And gathering thousands hasten'd to his aid. 
His Grand-sire, pleased, beheld the warrior-train 
Successive throng and darken all the plain; 
And bounteously his treasures he supplied. 
Camels, and steeds, and gold. — In martial pride, 
Sohrab was seen — a Grecian helmet graced 
His brow — and costliest mail his limbs embraced. 

Afrasiyab now hears with ardent joy. 
The bold ambition of the warrior-boy, 
Of him who, perfumed with the milky breath 
Of infancy, was threatening war and death. 
And bursting sudden from his mother's side. 
Had launched his bark upon the perilous tide. 

The insidious King sees well the tempting hour, 
Favouring his arms against the Persian power. 
And thence, in haste, the enterprise to share. 
Twelve thousand veterans selects with care; 
To Human and Barman the charge consigns, 
And thus his force with Samengan combines; 
But treacherous first his martial chiefs he prest. 
To keep the secret fast within their breast: — 
" For this bold youth must not his father know. 
Each must confront the other as his foe — 



THE SHXh NAMEH 123 



Such is my vengeance ! With unhallowed rage. 
Father and Son shall dreadful battle wage! 
Unknown the youth shall Rustem's force withstand, 
And soon o'erwhelm the bulwark of the land. 
Rustem removed, the Persian throne is ours. 
An easy conquest to confederate powers; 
And then, secured by some propitious snare, 
Sohrab himself our galling bonds shall wear. 
Or should the Son by Rustem's falchion bleed, 
The father's horror at that fatal deed. 
Will rend his soul, and 'midst his sacred grief, 
Kaus in vain will supplicate relief." 

The tutored chiefs advance with speed, and bring 
Imperial presents to the future king; 
In stately pomp the embassy proceeds; 
Ten loaded camels, ten unrivalled steeds, 
A golden crown, and throne, whose jewels bright 
Gleam in the sun, and shed a sparkling light. 
A letter too the crafty tyrant sends. 
And fraudful thus the glorious aim commends. — 
" If Persia's spoils invite thee to the field. 
Accept the aid my conquering legions yield; 
Led by two Chiefs of valour and renown. 
Upon thy head to place the kingly crown." 

Elate with promised fame, the youth surveys 
The regal vest, the throne's irradiant blaze. 
The golden crown, the steeds, the sumptuous load 
Of ten strong camels, craftily bestowed; 
Salutes the Chiefs, and views on every side. 
The lengthening ranks with various arms supplied. 
The march begins — the brazen drums resound,* 
His moving thousands hide the trembling ground; 
For Persia's verdant land he wields the spear. 
And blood and havoc mark his groaning rear.t 

To check the Invader's horror-spreading course, 
The barrier-fort opposed unequal force; 
That fort whose walls, extending wide, contained 
The stay of Persia, men to battle trained. 
Soon as Hujir the dusky crowd descried. 
He on his own presumptuous arm relied, 
And left the fort; in mail with shield and spear. 
Vaunting he spoke — " What hostile force is here? 
What Chieftain dares our war-like realms invade? " 
"And who art thou?" Sohrab indignant said. 
Rushing towards him with undaunted look — 
" Hast thou, audacious! nerve and soul to brook 

• Kus is a tymbal, or large brass drum, in motion, the inhabitants and the coun- 

which is beat in the palaces or camps of try, whether hostile or friendly, were 

Eastern Princes. equally given up to plunder and devas- 

t It appears throughout the ShSh tation, and " Everything in their prog- 

N&meh that whenever any army was put ress was burnt and destroyed." 



124 FIRDUSI 

The crocodile in fight, that to the strife 
Singly thou comest, reckless of thy life? " 

To this this foe replied — " A Turk and I 
Have never yet been bound in friendly tie; 
And soon thy head shall, severed by my sword, 
Gladden the sight of Persia's mighty lord, 
While thy torn limbs to vultures shall be given, 
Or bleach beneath the parching blast of heaven." 

The youthful hero laughing hears the boast, 
And now by each continual spears are tost, 
Mingling together; like a flood of fire 
The boaster meets his adversary's ire; 
The horse on which he rides, with thundering pace, 
Seems like a mountain moving from its base; 
Sternly he seeks the stripling's loins to wound, 
But the lance hurtless drops upon the ground; 
Sohrab, advancing, hurls his steady spear 
Full on the middle of the vain Hujir, 
Who staggers in his seat. With proud disdain 
The youth now flings him headlong on the plain. 
And quick dismounting, on his heaving breast 
Triumphant stands, his Khunjer firmly prest. 
To strike the head off — but the blow was stayed — 
Trembling, for life, the craven boaster prayed. 
That mercy granted eased his coward mind, 
Though, dire disgrace, in captive bonds confined, 
And sent to Human, who amazed beheld 
How soon Sohrab his daring soul had quelled. 

When Gurd-afrid, a peerless warrior-dame. 
Heard of the conflict, and the hero's shame. 
Groans heaved her breast, and tears of anger flowed, 
Her tulip cheek with deeper crimson glowed; 
Speedful, in arms magnificent arrayed, 
A foaming palfrey bore the martial maid; 
The burnished mail her tender limbs embraced. 
Beneath her helm her clustering locks she placed; 
Poised in her hand an iron javelin gleamed. 
And o'er the ground its sparkling lustre streamed; 
Accoutred thus in manly guise, no eye 
However piercing could her sex descry; 
Now, like a lion, from the fort she bends. 
And 'midst the foe impetuously descends; 
Fearless of soul, demands with haughty tone. 
The bravest chief, for war-like valour known. 
To try the chance of fight. In shining arms. 
Again Sohrab the glow of battle warms; 
With scornful smiles, " Another deer! " he cries, 
" Come to my victor-toils, another prize! " 
The damsel saw his noose insidious spread. 
And soon her arrows whizzed around his head; 



THE SHAh nAmEH I2S 

With steady skill the twanging bow she drew. 
And still her pointed darts unerring flew; 
For when in forest sports she touched the string, 
Never escaped even bird upon the wing; 
Furious he burned, and high his buckler held, 
To ward the storm, by growing force impell'd; 
And tilted forward with augmented wrath, 
But Giird-afrid aspires to cross his path; 
Now o'er her back the slacken'd bow resounds; 
She grasps her lance, her goaded courser bounds, 
Driven on the youth with persevering might — 
Unconquer'd courage still prolongs the fight; 
The stripling Chief shields of? the threaten'd blow, 
Reins in his steed, then rushes on the foe; 
With outstretch'd arm, he bending backwards hung, 
And, gathering strength, his pointed javelin flung; 
Firm through her girdle belt the weapon went, 
And glancing down the polish'd armour rent. 
Staggering, and stunned by his superior force, 
She almost tumbled from her foaming horse. 
Yet unsubdued, she cut the spear in two. 
And from her side the quivering fragment drew, 
Then gain'd her seat, and onward urged her steed, 
But strong and fleet Sohrab arrests her speed: 
Strikes off her helm, and sees — a woman's face, 
Radiant with blushes and commanding grace! 
Thus undeceived, in admiration lost. 
He cries, " A woman, from the Persian host! 
If Persian damsels thus in arms engage, 
Who shall repel their warrior's fiercer rage?" 
Then from his saddle thong — his noose he drew. 
And round her waist the twisted loop he threw — 
" Now seek not to escape," he sharply said, 
" Such is the fate of war, unthinking maid! 
And, as such beauty seldom swells our pride. 
Vain thy attempt to cast my toils aside." 

In this extreme, but one resource remained. 
Only one remedy her hope sustained — 
Expert in wiles each siren-art she knew. 
And thence exposed her blooming face to view; 
Raising her full black orbs, serenely bright, 
In all her charms she blazed before his sight; 
And thus addressed Sohrab—" O warrior brave. 
Hear me, and thy imperilled honour save, 
These curling tresses seen by either host, 
A woman conquered, whence the glorious boast? 
Thy startled troops will know, with inward grief, 
A woman's arm resists their towering chief. 
Better preserve a warrior's fair renown. 
And let our struggle still remain unknown, 



ia6 FIRDUSI 

For who with wanton folly would expose 
A helpless maid, to aggravate her woes; 
The fort, the treasure, shall thy toils repay, 
The chief, and garrison, thy will obey, 
And thine the honours of this dreadful day." 

Raptured he gazed, her smiles resistless move 
The wildest transports of ungoverned love. 
Her face disclosed a paradise to view, 
Eyes like the fawn, and cheeks of rosy hue — 
Thus vanquished, lost, unconscious of her aim, 
And only struggling with his amorous flame, 
He rode behind, as if compelled by fate, 
And heedless saw her gain the castle-gate. 

Safe with her friends, escaped from brand and spear. 
Smiling she stands, as if unknown to fear. 
— The father now, with tearful pleasure wild. 
Clasps to his heart his fondly-foster'd child; 
The crowding warriors round her eager bend, 
And grateful prayers to favouring heaven ascend. 

Now from the walls, she, with majestic air, 
Exclaims : " Thou warrior of Turin ! forbear. 
Why vex thy soul, and useless strife demand! 
Go, and in peace enjoy thy native land." 
Stern he rejoins: " Thou beauteous tyrant! say, 
Though crown'd with charms, devoted to betray, 
When these proud walls, in dust and ruins laid. 
Yield no defence, and thou a captive maid. 
Will not repentance through thy bosom dart. 
And sorrow soften that disdainful heart? " 

Quick she replied: " O'er Persia's fertile fields 
The savage Turk in vain his falchion wields; 
When King Katis this bold invasion hears. 
And mighty Rustem clad in arms appears! 
Destruction wide will glut the slippery plain. 
And not one man of all thy host remain. 
Alas! that bravery, high as thine, should meet 
Amidst such promise, with a sure defeat. 
But not a gleam of hope remains for thee. 
Thy wondrous valour cannot keep thee free. 
Avert the fate which o'er thy head impends. 
Return, return, and save thy martial friends! " 

Thus to be scorned, defrauded of his prey, 
With victory in his grasp — to lose the day! 
Shame and revenge alternate filled his mind; 
The suburb-town to pillage he consigned, 
And devastation — not a dwelling spared; 
The very owl was from her covert scared; 
Then thus: " Though luckless in my aim to-day, 
To-morrow shall behold a sterner fray; 
This fort, in ashes, scattered o'er the plain." 



THE SHAh NAmEH 127 

He ceased — ^and turned towards his troops again; 
There, at a distance from the hostile power, 
He brooding waits the slaughter-breathing hour. 

Meanwhile the sire of Giird-afrid, who now 
Governed the fort, and feared the warrior's vow; 
Mournful and pale, with gathering woes opprest, 
His distant Monarch trembling thus addrest. 
But first invoked the heavenly power to shed 
Its choicest blessings o'er his royal head. 
" Against our realm with numerous foot and horse, 
A stripling warrior holds his ruthless course. 
His lion-breast unequalled strength betrays, 
And o'er his mien the sun's eflfulgence plays: 
Sohrab his name; like Sam Suwar he shows. 
Or Rustem terrible amidst his foes. 
The bold Hujir lies vanquished on the plain. 
And drags a captive's ignominious chain; 
Myriads of troops besiege our tottering wall. 
And vain the effort to suspend its fall. 
Haste, arm for fight, this Tartar-power withstand. 
Let sweeping Vengeance lift her flickering brand; 
Rustem alone may stem the roaring wave. 
And, prompt as bold, his groaning country save. 
Meanwhile in flight we place our only trust. 
Ere the proud ramparts crumble in the dust." 

Swift flies the messenger through secret ways, 
And to the King the dreadful tale conveys, 
Then passed, unseen, in night's concealing shade, 
The mournful heroes and the warrior maid. 

Soon as the sun with vivifying ray. 
Gleams o'er the landscape, and renews the day; 
The flaming troops the lofty walls surround, 
With thundering crash the bursting gates resound. 
Already are the captives bound, in thought. 
And like a herd before the conqueror brought; 
Sohrab, terrific o'er the ruin, views 
His hopes deceived, but restless still pursues. 
An empty fortress mocks his searching eye. 
No steel-clad chiefs his burning wrath defy; 
No warrior-maid reviving passion warms, 
And soothes his soul with fondly-valued charms. 
Deep in his breast he feels the amorous smart, 
And hugs her image closer to his heart. 
"Alas! that Fate should thus invidious shroud 
The moon's soft radiance in a gloomy cloud; 
Should to my eyes such winning grace display. 
Then snatch the enchanter of my soul away! 
A beauteous roe my toils enclosed in vain, 
Now I, her victim, drag the captive's chain; 
Strange the eflfects that from her charms proceed. 



128 FIRDUSI 

I gave the wound, and I afflicted bleed ! 
Vanquished by her, I mourn the luckless strife; 
Dark, dark, and bitter, frowns my morn of life. 
A fair unknown my tortured bosom rends, 
Withers each joy, and every hope suspends." 
Impassioned thus Sohrab in secret sighed. 
And sought, in vain, o'er-mastering grief to hide. 
Can the heart bleed and throb from day to day, 
And yet no trace its inmost pangs betray? 
Love scorns control, and prompts the labouring sigh, 
Pales the red lip, and dims the lucid eye; 
His look alarmed the stern Turanian Chief, 
Closely he mark'd his heart-corroding grief;-* 
And though he knew not that the martial dame, 
Had in his bosom lit the tender flame; 
Full well he knew such deep repinings prove. 
The hapless thraldom of disastrous love. 
Full well he knew some idol's musky hair. 
Had to his youthful heart become a snare. 
But still unnoted was the gushing tear. 
Till haply he had gained his private ear: — 
" In ancient times, no hero known to fame, 
Not dead to glory e'er indulged the flame; 
Though beauty's smiles might charm a fleeting hour. 
The heart, unsway'd, repelled their lasting power. 
A warrior Chief to trembling love a prey? 
What! weep for woman one inglorious day? 
Canst thou for love's effeminate control. 
Barter the glory of a warrior's soul? 
Although a hundred damsels might be gained, 
The hero's heart shall still be free, unchained. 
Thou art our leader, and thy place the field 
Where soldiers love to fight with spear and shield; 
And what hast thou to do with tears and smiles. 
The silly victim to a woman's wiles? 
Our progress, mark! from far Tiiran we came, 
Through seas of blood to gain immortal fame; 
And wilt thou now the tempting conquest shun, 
When our brave arms this Barrier-fort have won? 
Why linger here, and trickling sorrows shed. 
Till mighty Kaus thunders o'er thy head! 
Till Tus, and Giw, and Gudarz, and Bahram, 
And Rustem brave, Feramurz, and Reham, 
Shall aid the war! A great emprise is thine. 
At once, then, every other thought resign; 
For know the task which first inspired thy zeal, 
Transcends in glory all that love can feel. 

* Literally, Human was not at first as the Greek and Roman poets, place 
aware that Sohrab was wounded in the the residence of love. 
UVBR. In this organ. Oriental as well 



THE SHAh NAMEH 139 



Rise, lead the war, prodigious toils require 
Unyielding strength, and unextinguished fire; 
Pursue the triumph with tempestuous rage, 
Against the world in glorious strife engage, 
And when an empire sinks beneath thy sway 
(O quickly may we hail the prosperous day), 
The fickle sex will then with blooming charms. 
Adoring throng to bless thy circling arms ! " 

Human's warm speech, the spirit-stirring theme. 
Awoke Sohrab from his inglorious dream. 
No more the tear his faded cheek bedewed. 
Again ambition all his hopes renewed: 
Swell'd his bold heart with unforgotten zeal, 
The noble wrath which heroes only feel; 
Fiercely he vowed at one tremendous stroke. 
To bow the world beneath the tyrant's yoke! 
" Afrasiyab," he cried, " shall reign alone. 
The mighty lord of Persia's gorgeous throne! " 

Burning, himself, to rule this nether sphere. 
These welcome tidings charmed the despot's ear. 
Meantime Kaus, this dire invasion known. 
Had called his chiefs around his ivory throne: 
There stood Gurgin, and Bahram, and Gushwad, 
And Tus, and Giw, and Gudarz, and Ferhad; 
To them he read the melancholy tale, 
Gust'hem had written of the rising bale; 
Besought their aid and prudent choice, to form 
Some sure defence against the threatening storm. 
With one consent they urge the strong request. 
To summon Rustem from his rural rest. — 
Instant a warrior-delegate they send, 
And thus the King invites his patriot-friend, 

" To thee all praise, whose mighty arm alone, 
Preserves the glory of the Persian throne! 
Lo! Tartar hordes our happy realms invade; 
The tottering state requires thy powerful aid; 
A youthful Champion leads the ruthless host. 
His savage country's widely-rumoured boast 
The Barrier-fortress sinks beneath his sway, 
Hujir is vanquished, ruin tracks his way; 
Strong as a raging elephant in fight. 
No arm but thine can match his furious might 
Mazinderan thy conquering prowess knew ; 
The Demon-king thy trenchant falchion slew, 
The rolling heavens, abash'd with fear, behold 
Thy biting sword, thy mace adorned with goldl 
Fly to the succour of a King distress'd. 
Proud of thy love, with thy protection blest. 
When o'er the nation dread misfortunes lower 
Thou art the refuge, thou the saving power. 
Vol. I.— 9 



13© FIRDUSI 

The chiefs assembled claim thy patriot vows, 
Give to thy glory all that life allows; 
And while no whisper breathes the direful tale, 
O, let thy Monarch's anxious prayers prevail." 

Closing the fragrant page* o'ercome with dread, 
The afflicted King to Giw, the warrior, said: — 
" Go, bind the saddle on thy fleetest horse. 
Outstrip the tempest in thy rapid course, 
To Rustem swift his country's woes convey. 
Too true art thou to linger on the way; 
Speed, day and night — and not one instant wait. 
Whatever hour may bring thee to his gate." 

Followed no pause — to Giw enough was said. 
Nor rest, nor taste of food, his speed delayed. 
And when arrived, where Zabul's bowers exhale 
Ambrosial sweets and scent the balmy gale. 
The sentinel's loud voice in Rustem's ear. 
Announced a messenger from Persia, near; 
The Chief himself amidst his warriors stood. 
Dispensing honours to the brave and good, 
And soon as Giw had joined the martial ring, 
(The sacred envoy of the Persian King), 
He, with becoming loyalty inspired, 
Asked what the monarch, what the state required; 
But Giw, apart, his secret mission told — 
The written page was speedily unrolled. 

Struck with amazement, Rustem — " Now on earth 
A warrior-knight of Sam's excelling worth? 
Whence comes this hero of the prosperous star? 
I know no Turk renowned, like him, in war; 
He bears the port of Rustem too, 'tis said, 
Like Sam, like Nariman, a warrior bred! 
He cannot be my son, unknown to me; 
Reason forbids the thought — it cannot be! 
At Samengan, where once affection smiled. 
To me Tahmineh bore her only child, 
That was a daughter? " Pondering thus he spoke, 
And then aloud — " Why fear the invader's yoke? 
Why trembling shrink, by coward thoughts dismayed. 
Must we not all in dust, at length, be laid? 
But come, to Nirum's palace, haste with me. 
And there partake the feast — from sorrow free; 
Breathe, but awhile — ere we our toils renew, 
And moisten the parched lip with needful dew. 
Let plans of war another day decide, 
We soon shall quell this youthful hero's pride. 

• The paper upon which the letters of in gold. This •was scented with amber, 

royal and distinguished personages in The degree of embellishment is gen- 

the East are written is usually per- erally regulated according to the rank 

fumed, and covered with curious devices of the party. 



THE SHXh nAmEH 131 

The force of fire soon flutters and decays 
When ocean, swelled by storms, its wrath displays. 
What danger threatens ! whence the dastard fear 1 
Rest, and at leisure share a warrior's cheer." 

In vain the Envoy prest the Monarch's grief; 
The matchless prowess of the stripling chief; 
How brave Hujir had felt his furious hand; 
What thickening woes beset the shuddering land. 
But Rustem, still, delayed the parting day, 
And mirth and feasting rolled the hours away; 
Morn following morn beheld the banquet bright, 
Music and wine prolonged the genial rite; 
Rapt by the witchery of the melting strain. 
No thought of Kaus touch'd his swimming brain.* 

The trumpet's clang, on fragrant breezes borne. 
Now loud salutes the fifth revolving morn; 
The softer tones which charm'd the jocund feast, 
And all the noise of revelry, had ceased. 
The generous horse, with rich embroidery deckt. 
Whose gilded trappings sparkling light reflect. 
Bears with majestic port the Champion brave. 
And high in air the victor-banners wave. 
Prompt at the martial call, Ziiara leads 
His veteran troops from Zabul's verdant meads.t 

Ere Rustem had approached his journey's end, 
Tus, Giidarz, Gushwad, met their champion-friend 
With customary honours; pleased to bring 
The shield of Persia to the anxious King. 
But foaming wrath the senseless monarch swayed; 
His friendship scorned, his mandate disobeyed. 
Beneath dark brows o'er-shadowing deep, his eye 
Red gleaming shone, like lightning through the sky 
And when the warriors met his sullen view. 
Frowning revenge, still more enraged he grew: — 
Loud to the Envoy thus he fiercely cried: — 
" Since Rustem has my royal power defied, 
Had I a sword, this instant should his head 
Roll on the ground; but let him now be led 
Hence, and impaled alive." t Astounded Giw 
Shrunk from such treatment of a knight so true; 
But this resistance added to the flame, 
And both were branded with revolt and shame; 
Both were condemned, and Tus, the stern decree 

• Four days were consumed in unin- t The original is, " Seize and inflict 

terrupted feasting. This seems to have upon him the punishment of the dar." 

been an ancient practice previous to the According to Burh4ni-katia, dar is a 

commencement of any important under- tree upon which felons are hanged. But 

taking, or at setting out on a journey. the general accejjtation of the term is 

t Zuara, it will be remembered, was breaking or tearing the body upon a 

the brother of Rustem, and had the im- stake, 
mediate superintendence of the Z&bul 
troops. 



I3« FIRDUSI 

Received, to break them on the felon-tree. 
Could daring insult, thus deliberate given. 
Escape the rage of one to frenzy driven ? 
No, from his side the nerveless Chief was flung. 
Bent to the ground. Away the Champion sprung; 
Mounted his foaming horse, and looking round — 
His boiling wrath thus rapid utterance found: — 
" Ungrateful King, thy tyrant acts disgrace 
The sacred throne, and more, the human race; 
Midst clashing swords thy recreant life I saved. 
And am I now by Tiis contemptuous braved? * 
On me shall Tiis, shall Kaiis dare to frown? 
On me, the bulwark of the regal crown? 
Wherefore should fear in Rustem's breast have birth, 
Kaus, to me, a worthless clod of earth! 
Go, and thyself Sohrab's invasion stay, 
Go, seize the plunderers growling o'er their prey! 
Wherefore to others give the base command? 
Go, break him on the tree with thine own hand. 
Know, thou hast roused a warrior, great and free. 
Who never bends to tyrant Kings like thee! 
Was not this untired arm triumphant seen, 
In Misser, Rum, Mazinderan, and Chin ! 
And must I shrink at thy imperious nod! 
Slave to no Prince, I only bow to God. 
Whatever wrath from thee, proud King! may fall, 
For thee I fought, and I deserve it all. 
The regal sceptre might have graced my hand, 
I kept the laws, and scorned supreme command. 
When Kai-kobad and Alberz mountain strayed, 
I drew him thence, and gave a warrior's aid; 
Placed on his brows the long-contested crown. 
Worn by his sires, by sacred right his own; 
Strong in the cause, my conquering arms prevailed, 
Wouldst thou have reign'd had Rustem's valour failed 
When the White Demon raged in battle-fray, 
Wouldst thou have lived had Rustem lost the day? " 
Then to his friends: " Be wise, and shun your fate, 
Fly the wide ruin which o'erwhelms the state; 
The conqueror comes — the scourge of great and small, 
And vultures, following fast, will gorge on all. 
Persia no more its injured Chief shall view " — 
He said, and sternly from the court withdrew. 
The warriors now, with sad forebodings wrung, 

• In this speech Rustem recounts the I sacked twelve ample cities on the 
services which he had performed for main, 

Kaus. He speaks of his conquests in And twelve lay smoking on the Trojan 
Egypt, China, Hamaveran, Rum, Suk- plain. 

sar, and M4zinderan. Thus Achilles Pope.— Iliad ix. 328. 

boasts of his unrequited achievements in 
the cause of Greece. 



THE SHAh NAMEH ,33 

Torn from that hope to which they proudly clung, 

On Gudarz rest, to soothe with gentle sway, 

The frantic King, and Rustem's wrath allay. 

With bitter grief they wail misfortune's shock. 

No shepherd now to guard the timorous flock. 

Gudarz at length, with boding cares imprest. 

Thus soothed the anger in the royal breast. 

" Say, what has Rustem done, that he should be 

Impaled upon the ignominious tree? 

Degrading thought, unworthy to be bred 

Within a royal heart, a royal head. 

Hast thou forgot when near the Caspian-wave, 

Defeat and ruin had appalled the brave, 

When mighty Rustem struck the dreadful blow. 

And nobly freed thee from the savage foe? 

Did Demons huge escape his flaming brand? 

Their reeking limbs bestrew'd the slippery strand. 

Shall he for this resign his vital breath? 

What! shall the hero's recompense be death? 

But who will dare a threatening step advance. 

What earthly power can bear his withering glance? 

Should he to Zabul fired with wrongs return, 

The plunder'd land will long in sorrow mourn! 

This direful presage all our warriors feel. 

For who can now oppose the invader's steel; 

Thus is it wise thy champion to oflfend, 

To urge to this extreme thy warrior-friend? 

Remember, passion ever scorns control. 

And wisdom's mild decrees should rule a Monarch's soul." * 

Kaiis, relenting, heard with anxious ear, 

And groundless wrath gave place to shame and fear; 

" Go then," he cried, " his generous aid implore. 

And to your King the mighty Chief restore!" 

When Gudarz rose, and seized his courser's rein, 
A crowd of heroes followed in his train. 
To Rustem, now (respectful homage paid). 
The royal prayer he anxious thus conveyed. 
The King, repentant, seeks thy aid again. 
Grieved to the heart that he has given thee pain; 
But though his anger was unjust and strong, 
Thy country still is guiltless of the wrong, 
And, therefore, why abandoned thus by thee? 
Thy help the King himself implores through me." 
Rustem rejoined: "Unworthy the pretence, 

• Literally, " Kings ought to be _ en- wars against Afr4siy4b under the Kings 

4owed with judgment and discretion; of the second dynasty. He was the 

no advantage can arise from impetu- father of Giw, who is also celebrated for 

osity and rage." Gudarz was one of the his valor in the following reigns. The 

greatest generals of Persia, he con- opinion of this venerable and distin- 

quered Judea, and took Jerusalem under guished warrior appears to have had 

the reign of Lohurisp, of the first considerable weight and influence with 

dynasty of Persia, and sustained many K4us. 



134 FIRDUSI 

And scorn and insult all my recompense? 
Must I be galled by his capricious mood? 
I, who have still his firmest champion stood? 
But all is past, to heaven alone resigned, 
No human cares shall more disturb my mind! " 
Then Gudarz thus (consummate art inspired 
His prudent tongue, with all that zeal required); 
" When Rustem dreads Sohrab's resistless power, 
Well may inferiors fly the trying hour! 
The dire suspicion now pervades us all. 
Thus, unavenged, shall beauteous Persia fall! 
Yet, generous still, avert the lasting shame, 
O, still preserve thy country's glorious fame! 
Or wilt thou, deaf to all our fears excite, 
Forsake thy friends, and shun the pending fight? 
And worse, O grief! in thy declining days, 
Forfeit the honours of thy country's praise?" 
This artful censure set his soul on fire. 
But patriot firmness calm'd his burning ire; 
And thus he said — " Inured to war's alarms, 
Did ever Rustem shun the din of arms? 
Though frowns from Kaus I disdain to bear, 
My threaten'd country claims a warrior's care." 
He ceased, and prudent joined the circling throng, 
And in the public good forgot the private wrong. 

From far the King the generous Champion viewed, 
And rising, mildly thus his speech pursued: — 
" Since various tempers govern all mankind, 
Me, nature fashioned of a froward mind; * 
And what the heavens spontaneously bestow. 
Sown by their bounty must for ever grow. 
The fit of wrath which burst within me, soon 
Shrunk up my heart as thin as the new moon ; t 
Else had I deemed thee still my army's boast, 
Source of my regal power, beloved the most. 
Unequalled. Every day, remembering thee, 
I drain the wine cup, thou art all to me; 
I wished thee to perform that lofty part, 
Claimed by thy valour, sanctioned by my heart; 
Hence thy delay my better thoughts supprest. 
And boisterous passions revelled in my breast; 
But when I saw thee from my Court retire 
In wrath, repentance quenched my burning ire. 
O, let me now my keen contrition prove, 

• Kins, in acknowledging the violence "Ashes have fallen into my meat": 

of his disposition, uses a singular meaning, that his happiness is gone, 

phrase: " When you departed in anger, t This is one of Firdusi's favorite 

O Champion I I repented; ashes fell into similes. 

my mouth." A similar metaphor is used " My heart became as slender as the 

in Hindustani: If a person falls under new moort" 
the displeasure of his friend, he says. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 135 



Again enjoy thy fellowship and love: 
And while to thee my gratitude is known, 
Still be the pride and glory of my throne." 

Rustem, thus answering said: — " Thou art the King, 
Source of command, pure honour's sacred spring; 
And here I stand to follow thy behest, 
Obedient ever — be thy will expressed, 
And services required — Old age shall see 
My loins still bound in fealty to thee." 

To this the King: — " Rejoice we then to-day. 
And on the morrow marshal our array." 
The monarch quick commands the feast of joy, 
And social cares his buoyant mind employ. 
Within a bower, beside a crystal spring,* 
Where opening flowers, refreshing odours fling, 
Cheerful he sits, and forms the banquet scene. 
In regal splendour on the crowded green; 
And as around he greets his valiant bands. 
Showers golden presents from his bounteous hands; t 
Voluptuous damsels trill the sportive lay. 
Whose sparkling glances beam celestial day; 
Fill'd with delight the heroes closer join. 
And quaff till midnight cups of generous wine. 

Soon as the Sun had pierced the veil of night, 
And o'er the prospect shed his earliest light, 
Kaus, impatient, bids the clarions sound. 
The sprightly notes from hills and rocks rebound; 
His treasure gates are opened: — and to all 
A largess given; obedient to the call. 
His subjects gathering crowd the mountain's brow. 
And following thousands shade the vales below; 
With shields, in armor, numerous legions bend; 
And troops of horse the threatening lines extend. 
Beneath the tread of heroes fierce and strong. 
By war's tumultuous fury borne along, 

• The beautiful arbors referred to in the custom still exists, to throw money 

the text are often included within the amongst the people. In Hafiz, the term 

walls of Eastern palaces. They are fanci- used is nisar, which is of the same im- 

fully fitted up, and supplied with reser- port. Clarke, in the second volume of 

voirs, fountains, and flower-trees. These his Travels, speaks of the four principal 

romantic garden-pavilions are called Sultanas of the Seraglio at Constan- 

Kiosks in Turkey, and are generally tinople being powdered with diamonds: 

situated upon an eminence near a run- " Long spangled robes, open in front, 

ning stream. with pantaloons embroidered in gold 

t Milton alludes to this custom in and silver, and covered by a profusion 

Paradise Lost: of pearls and precious stones, displayed 

Where the gorgeous east with richest their persons to great advantage. Their 

hand hair hung in loose and very thick tresses 

Showers on her Kings barbaric pearl on_ each side of their cheeks, falling 

and gold. quite down to the waist, and covering 

In the note on this passage by War- their shoulders behind. Those tresses 

burton, it is said to have been an east- were quite powdered with diamonds, not 

em ceremony, at the coronation of their displayed according to any studied 

Kings, to powder them with gold-dust arrangement, but as if carelessly scat- 

and seed-pearl. The expression in Fir- tered, by handfuls, among their flowing 

dusi is, " he showered or scattered locks." — Vol. ii. p. 14. 
gems." It was usual at festivals, and 



1^ FIRDUSI 

The firm earth shook: the dust, in eddies driven, 

Whirled high in air, obscured the face of heaven; 

Nor earth, nor sky appeared — all, seeming lost, 

And swallowed up by that wide-spreading host. 

The steely armour glitter'd o'er the fields,* 

And lightnings ilash'd from gold emblazoned shields; 

Thou wouldst have said, the clouds had burst in showers. 

Of sparkling amber o'er the martial powers.t 

Thus, close embodied, they pursued their way, 

And reached the Barrier-fort in terrible array. 

The legions of Turan, with dread surprise. 
Saw o'er the plain successive myriads rise; 
And showed them to Sohrab; he, mounting high 
The fort, surveyed them with a fearless eye; 
To Human, who, with withering terror pale. 
Had marked their progress through the distant vale, 
He pointed out the sight, and ardent said: — 
" Dispel these woe-fraught broodings from thy head, 
I wage the war, Afrasiyab! for thee. 
And make this desert seem a rolling sea." 
Thus, while amazement every bosom quell'd, 
Sohrab, unmoved, the coming storm beheld. 
And boldly gazing on the camp around. 
Raised high the cup with wine nectareous crowned: 
O'er him no dreams of woe insidious stole, 
No thought but joy engaged his ardent soul. 

The Persian legions had restrained their course, 
Tents and pavilions, countless foot and horse, 
Clothed all the spacious plain, and gleaming threw 
Terrific splendours on the gazer's view. 
But when the Sun had faded in the west, 
And night assumed her ebon-coloured vest, 
The mighty Chief approached the sacred throne. 
And generous thus made danger all his own: 
" The rules of war demand a previous task, 
To watch this dreadful foe I boldly ask; 
With wary step the wondrous youth to view. 
And mark the heroes who his path pursue." 
The King assents: " The task is justly thine, 
Favourite of heaven, inspired by power divine." 
In Turkish habit, secretly arrayed, 
The lurking Champion wandered through the shade 
And, cautious, standing near the palace gate, 
Saw how the chiefs were ranged in princely state. 

What time Sohrab his thoughts to battle turned, 
And for the first proud fruits of conquest burned, 

• In his descriptions of battle-array, t The original is SandurOs, sandaraca; 

Firdusi seldom omits " golden slip- for which I have substituted amber, 

pers," which, however, I have not pre- Sandurus is the Arabic name for Gum 

served in this place. Juniper. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 137 

His mother called a warrior to his aid, 
And Zinda-ruzm his sister's call obeyed. 
To him Tahmineh gave her only joy, 
And bade him shield the bold adventurous boy: 
" But, in the dreadful strife, should danger rise, 
Present my child before his father's eyes ! 
By him protected, war may rage in vain. 
Though he may never bless these arms again ! " 
This guardian prince sat on the stripling's right. 
Viewing the imperial banquet with delight. 
Human and Barman, near the hero placed. 
In joyous pomp the full assembly graced; 
A hundred valiant Chiefs begirt the throne, 
And, all elate, were chaunting his renown. 
Closely concealed, the gay and splendid scene, 
Rustem contemplates with astonished mien; 
When Zind, retiring, marks the listener nigh, 
Watching the festal train with curious eye; 
And well he knew, amongst his Tartar host. 
Such towering stature not a Chief could boast — 
" What spy is here, close shrouded by the night? 
Art thou afraid to face the beams of light? " 
But scarcely from his lips these words had past, 
Ere, fell'd to earth, he groaning breathed his last; 
Unseen he perish'd, fate decreed the blow, 
To add fresh keenness to a parent's woe. 

Meantime Sohrab, perceiving the delay 
In Zind's return, looked round him with dismay; 
The seat still vacant — but the bitter truth. 
Full soon was known to the distracted youth; 
Full soon he found that Zinda-ruzm was gone, 
His day of feasting and of glory done; 
Speedful towards the fatal spot he ran, 
Where slept in bloody vest the slaughtered man. 

The lighted torches now displayed the dead, . 
Stiflf on the ground his graceful limbs were spread; 
Sad sight to him who knew his guardian care, 
Now doom'd a kinsman's early loss to bear; 
Anguish and rage devour his breast by turns, 
He vows revenge, then o'er the warrior mourns: 
And thus exclaims to each afflicted Chief: — 
" No time, to-night, my friends, for useless grief; 
The ravenous wolf has watched his helpless prey. 
Sprung o'er the fold, and borne its flower away; 
But if the heavens my lifted arm befriend, 
Upon the guilty shall my wrath descend — 
Unsheathed, this sword shall dire revenge pursue, 
And Persian blood the thirsty land bedew." 
Frowning he paused, and check'd the spreading woe, 
Resumed the feast, and bid the wine-cup flow! 



138 FIRDUSI 

The valiant Giw was sentinel that night, 
And marking dimly by the dubious light, 
A warrior form approach, he claps his hands, 
With naked sword and lifted shield he stands. 
To front the foe; but Rustem now appears, 
And Giw the secret tale astonished hears; 
From thence the Champion on the Monarch waits. 
The power and splendour of Sohrab relates: 
" Circled by Chiefs this glorious youth was seen. 
Of lofty stature and majestic mien; 
No Tartar region gave the hero birth: 
Some happier portion of the spacious earth; 
Tall, as the graceful cypress he appears; 
Like Sam, the brave, his warrior-front he rears ! ** 
Then having told how, while the banquet shone, 
Unhappy Zind had sunk, without a groan; 
He forms his conquering bands in close array, 
And, cheer'd by wine, awaits the coming day. 

When now the Sun his golden buckler raised, 
And genial light through heaven diffusive blazed, 
Sohrab in mail his nervous limbs attired. 
For dreadful wrath his soul to vengeance fired; 
With anxious haste he bent the yielding cord. 
Ring within ring, more fateful than the sword; 
Around his brows a regal helm he bound; 
His dappled steed impatient stampt the ground. 
Thus armed, ascending where the eye could trace 
The hostile force, and mark each leader's place, 
He called Hujir, the captive Chief addressed. 
And anxious thus, his soul's desire expressed: 
" A prisoner thou, if freedom's voice can charm, 
And dungeon darkness fill thee with alarm, 
That freedom merit, shun severest woe, 
And truly answer what I ask to know! 
If rigid truth thy ready speech attend, 
Honours and wealth shall dignify my friend." 

" Obedient to thy wish," Hujir replied, 
" Truth thou shalt hear, whatever chance betide; 
For what on earth to praise has better claim? 
Falsehood but leads to sorrow and to shame! " 

" Then say, what heroes lead the adverse host, 
Where they command, what dignities they boast ; 
Say, where does Katis hold his kingly state. 
Where Ttis, and Gudarz, on his bidding wait; 
Giw, Gust'hem, and Bahram — all known to thee, 
And where is mighty Rustem, where is he? 
Look round with care, their names and power display 
Or instant death shall end thy vital day." 

" Where yonder splendid tapestries extend, 
And o'er pavilions bright infolding bend. 



THE SHAh NAMEH 139 

A throne triumphal shines with sapphire rays. 
And golden suns upon the banners blaze; 
Full in the centre of the hosts — and round 
The tent a hundred elephants are bound, 
As if, in pomp, he mocked the power of fate; 
There royal Kaus holds his kingly state. 

In yonder tent which numerous guards protect. 
Where front and rear illustrious Chiefs collect; 
Where horsemen wheeling seem prepared for fight, 
Their golden armour ghttering in the light; 
Tiis lifts his banners, deck'd with royal pride. 
Feared by the brave, the soldier's friend and guide.* 

That crimson tent where spear-men frowning stand. 
And steel-clad veterans form a threatening band. 
Holds mighty Gudarz, famed for martial fire. 
Of eighty valiant sons the valiant sire; 
Yet strong in arms, he shuns inglorious ease, 
His lion-banners floating in the breeze." 

But mark, that green pavilion; girt around 
By Persian nobles, speaks the Chief renowned; 
Fierce on the standard, worked with curious art, 
A hideous dragon writhing seems to start; 
Throned in his tent the warrior's form is seen. 
Towering above the assembled host between! 
A generous horse before him snorts and neighs. 
The trembling earth the echoing sound conveys. 
Like him no Champion ever met my eyes, 
No horse like that for majesty and size; 
What Chief illustrious bears a port so high? 
Mark, how his standard flickers through the sky! " 

Thus ardent spoke Sohrab. Hujir dismayed, 
Paused ere reply the dangerous truth betrayed. 
Trembling for Rustem's life the captive groaned; 
Basely his country's glorious boast disowned. 
And said the Chief from distant China came — 
Sohrab abrupt demands the hero's name; 
The name unknown, grief wrings his aching heart. 
And yearning anguish speeds her venom'd dart; 
To him his mother gave the tokens true. 
He sees them all, and all but mock his view. 
When gloomy fate descends in evil hour, 
Can human wisdom bribe her favouring power? 
Yet, gathering hope, again with restless mien 
He marks the Chiefs who crowd the warlike scene. 

" Where numerous heroes, horse and foot, appear. 
And brazen trumpets thrill the listening ear. 
Behold the proud pavilion of the brave! 
With wolves emboss'd the silken banners wave. 

*The banners were adorned with the fig^ure of an elephant, to denote his royal 

descent. 



14© FIRDUSI 

The throne's bright gems with radiant lustre glow. 
Slaves rank'd around with duteous homage bow. 
What mighty Chieftain rules his cohorts there? 
His name and lineage, free from guile, declare! " 

" Giw, son of Giidarz, long a glorious name, 
Whose prowess even transcends his father's fame." * 

" Mark yonder tent of pure and dazzling white, 
Whose rich brocade reflects a quivering light; 
An ebon seat surmounts the ivory throne; 
There frowns in state a warrior of renown. 
The crowding slaves his awful nod obey, 
And silver moons around his banners play; 
What Chief, or Prince, has grasped the hostile sword? 
Friburz, the son of Persia's mighty lord." 
Again: "These standards show one champion more, 
Upon their centre flames the savage boar; t 
The saffron-hued pavilion bright ascends, 
Whence many a fold of tasselled fringe depends; 
Who there presides? " 

"Guraz, from heroes sprung, 
Whose praise exceeds the power of mortal tongue." 

Thus, anxious, he explored the crowded field, 
Nor once the secret of his birth revealed; J 
Heaven will'd it so. Pressed down by silent grief. 
Surrounding objects promised no relief. 
This world to mortals still denies repose. 
And life is still the scene of many woes. 
Again his eye, instinctive turned, descried 
The green pavilion, and the warrior's pride. 
Again he cries: " O tell his glorious name; 
Yon gallant horse declares the hero's fame! " 
But false Hujir the aspiring hope repelled, 
Crushed the fond wish, the soothing balm withheld, 
" And why should I conceal his name from thee? 
His name and title are unknown to me." 

Then thus Sohrab — " In all that thou hast said, 

• The text says that he was also the recognized, and the family to which he 

son-in-law of Rustem. belongs easily ascertained. A young 

t The word Guraz signifies a wild lady wears her father's arms until after 

boar, but this acceptation is not very her marriage, when she assumes those 

accordant to Mussulman notions, and of her husband. The greatest mark of 

consequently it is not supposed, by the honor which a Prince or a Governor can 

orthodox, to have that meaning in the confer upon any one, is to give him a 

text. It_ is curious that the name of cloak with his arms upon it, the person 

the warrior, Guraz, should correspond having such a one wearing his own 

with the bearings on the standard. This arms upon his under dress." 

frequently obtains in the heraldry of J Firdusi considers this to be des- 

Europe. Family bearings seem to be tiny! It would have been natural in 

used in every country of any degree of Sohrab to have gloried in the fame of 

civilization. Krusenstern, the Russian his father, but from an inevitable dis- 

circumnavigator, speaking of the Japan- pensation, his lips are here sealed on 

ese, says, " Everyone has his family that subject; and he inquires of Rustem 

arms worked into his clothes, in differ- as if he only wanted to single him out 

ent places, about the size of a half for the purpose of destroying him. The 

dollar, a practice usual to both sexes; people of Persia are all fatalists, 
and in this manner any person may be 



THE SHAh nXmEH 141 



No sign of Rustem have thy words conveyed; 
Thou sayest he leads the Persian host to arms, 
With him has battle lost its boisterous charms? 
Of him no trace thy guiding hand has shown ; 
Can power supreme remain unmark'd, unknown? " 

" Perhaps returned to Zabul's verdant bowers, 
He undisturbed enjoys his peaceful hours, 
The vernal banquets may constrain his stay, 
And rural sports invite prolonged delay." 

" Ah! say not thus; the Champion of the world, 
Shrink from the kindling war with banners furled! 
It cannot be ! Say where his lightnings dart, 
Show me the warrior, all thou know'st impart; 
Treasures uncounted shall be thy reward. 
Death changed to life, my friendship more than shared. 
Dost thou not know what, in the royal ear, 
The Mubid said — befitting Kings to hear? 
' Untold, a secret is a jewel bright. 
Yet profitless whilst hidden from the light; 
But when revealed, in words distinctly given, 
It shines refulgent as the sun through heaven.' " * 

To him, Hujir evasive thus replies: 
" Through all the extended earth his glory flies! 
Whenever dangers round the nation close, 
Rustem approaches, and repels its foes; 
And shouldst thou see him mix in mortal strife, 
Thou'dst think 'twere easier to escape with life 
From tiger fell, or demon — or the fold 
Of the chafed dragon, than his dreadful hold — 
When fiercest battle clothes the fields with fire, 
Before his rage embodied hosts retire! " 

" And where didst thou encountering armies see? 
Why Rustem's praise so proudly urge to me? 
Let us but meet and thou shalt trembling know. 
How fierce that wrath which bids my bosom glow: 
If living flames express his boundless ire, 
O'erwhelming waters quench consuming fire! 
And deepest darkness, glooms of ten-fold night, 
Fly from the piercing beams of radiant light." 

Hujir shrunk back with undissembled dread. 
And thus communing with himself, he said — 
" Shall I, regardless of my country, guide 
To Rustem's tent this furious homicide? 

• This passage will remind the classical figures ; but when it is folded ap. they are 

reader of the speech of Themistocles, in hidden and lost ; therefore he begged time. 

Plutarch, addressed to Xerxes. The Per- The King, delighted with the comparison, 

sian King had assured him of his protec- bade him take what time he pleased ; and 

tion. and ordered him to declare freely he desired a year; in which space he 

whatever he had to propose concern- learned the Persian language, so as to be 

ing Greece. Themistocles replied, that a able to converse with the King without «n 

man's discourse was like a piece of tapes- interpreter. 
try which, when spread open, displays its 



142 FIRDUSI 

And witness there destruction to our host? 
The bulwark of the land for ever lost! 
What Chief can then the Tartar power restrain! 
Kaiis dethroned, the mighty Rustem slain! 
Better a thousand deaths should lay me low, 
Than, living, yield such triumph to the foe. 
For in this struggle should my blood be shed, 
No foul dishonour can pursue me, dead; 
No lasting shame my father's age oppress. 
Whom eighty sons of martial courage bless! * 
They for their brother slain, incensed will rise, 
And pour their vengeance on my enemies." 
Then thus aloud — " Can idle words avail? 
Why still of Rustem urge the frequent tale? 
Why for the elephant-bodied hero ask? 
Thee, he will find — no uncongenial task. 
Why seek pretences to destroy my life? 
Strike, for no Rustem views th' unequal strife! ** 

Sohrab confused, with hopeless anguish mourned, 
Back from the lofty walls he quick returned. 
And stood amazed. 

Now war and vengeance claim. 
Collected thought and deeds of mighty name; 
The jointed mail his vigorous body clasps, 
His sinewy hand the shining javelin grasps; 
Like a mad elephant he meets the foe, 
His steed a moving mountain — deeply glow 
His cheeks with passionate ardour, as he flies 
Resistless onwards, and with sparkling eyes. 
Full on the centre drives his daring horse — t 
The yielding Persians fly his furious course; 
As the wild ass impetuous springs away, 
When the fierce lion thunders on his prey. 
By every sign of strength and martial power. 
They think him Rustem in his direst hour; 
On Kaiis now his proud defiance falls, 
Scornful to him the stripling warrior calls: 
" And why art thou misnamed of royal strain? 
What work of thine befits the tented plain? 
This thirsty javelin seeks thy coward breast; 
Thou and thy thousands doomed to endless rest. 
True to my oath, which time can never change. 
On thee, proud King! I hurl my just revenge. 
The blood of Zind inspires my burning hate. 
And dire resentment hurries on thy fate; 

• Hujir was the son of Gudarz. A sians make no account of females, it is 

family of the extent mentioned in the not known how many daughters he had. 

text IS not of rare occurrence amongst t The Kulub-gah is the centre or heart 

the Princes of the East. The King of of the army, where the Sovereign or 

Persia had, in 1809, according to Mr. Chief of the troops usually remains. 
Morier, " sucty-five sons!" As the Per- 



THE ShXh nXmEH 143 

Whom canst thou send to try the desperate strife? 
What valiant Chief, regardless of his life? 
Where now can Friburz, Tiis, Giw, Gudarz, be, 
And the world-conquering Rustem, where is he? " 

No prompt reply from Persian lip ensued — 
Then rushing on, with demon-strength endued, 
Sohrab elate his javelin waved around, 
And hurled the bright pavilion to the ground; 
With horror Kaiis feels destruction nigh, 
And cries: " For Rustem's needful succour fly! 

This frantic Turk, triumphant on the plain, 

Withers the souls of all my warrior train." 
That instant Tiis the mighty Champion sought, 
And told the deeds the Tartar Chief had wrought ; 
" 'Tis ever thus, the brainless Monarch's due! 
Shame and disaster still his steps pursue! " 
This saying, from his tent he soon descried. 
The wild confusion spreading far and wide; 
And saddled Rakush — whilst, in deep dismay, 
Girgin incessant cried — " Speed, speed, away." 
Reham bound on the mace, Tiis promptly ran, 
And buckled on the broad Burgustuwan. 
Rustem, meanwhile, the thickening tumult hears 
And in his heart, untouched by human fears, 
Says: " What is this, that feeling seems to stun! 
This battle must be led by Ahirmun,* 
The awful day of doom must have begun." 
In haste he arms, and mounts his bounding steed. 
The growing rage demands redoubled speed; 
The leopard's skin he o'er his shoulders throws. 
The regal girdle round his middle glows.t 
High wave his glorious banners; broad revealed. 
The pictured dragons glare along the field 
Borne by Ziiara. When, surprised, he views 
Sohrab, endued with ample breast and thews. 
Like Sam Suwar, he beckons him apart; 
The youth advances with a gallant heart, 
Willing to prove his adversary's might, 
By single combat to decide the fight; 
And eagerly, " Together brought," he cries, 
" Remote from us be foemen, and allies. 
And though at once by either host surveyed. 
Ours be the strife which asks no mortal aid." 

Rustem, considerate, view'd him o'er and o'er. 
So wondrous graceful was the form he bore. 
And frankly said: " Experience flows with age, 

•Ahirmun, a demon, the prindple of Jonathan gives to David, among other 

evil. things, his girdle: " Because he loved 

t This girdle was the gift of the king, him as his own »oiiL"— I Samuel, xviii. 

as a token of affection and gratitude. 3, 4. 



>44 FIRDUSI 

And many a foe has felt my conquering rage; 
Much have I seen, superior strength and art 
Have borne my spear thro' many a demon's heart; 
Only behold me on the battle plain, 
Wait till thou see'st this hand the war sustain. 
And if on thee should changeful fortune smile. 
Thou needst not fear the monster of the Nile! * 
But soft compassion melts my soul to save, 
A youth so blooming with a mind so brave! " 

The generous speech Sohrab attentive heard, 
His heart expanding glowed at every word: 
" One question answer, and in answering show, 
That truth should ever from a warrior flow; 
Art thou not Rustem, whose exploits sublime. 
Endear his name thro' every distant clime? " 

" I boast no station of exalted birth. 
No proud pretensions to distinguished worth; 
To him inferior, no such powers are mine, 
No offspring I of Nirum's glorious line ! " t 

The prompt denial dampt his filial joy, 
All hope at once forsook the Warrior-boy, 
His opening day of pleasure, and the bloom 
Of cherished life, immersed in shadowy gloom. 
Perplexed with what his mother's words implied; — 
A narrow space is now prepared, aside. 
For single combat. With disdainful glance 
Each boldly shakes his death-devoting lance. 
And rushes forward to the dubious fight; 
Thoughts high and brave their burning souls excite; 
Now sword to sword; continuous strokes resound, 
Till glittering fragments strew the dusty ground. 
Each grasps his massive club with added force,t 
The folding mail is rent from either horse; 
It seemed as if the fearful day of doom 
Had, clothed in all its withering terrors, come. 
Their shattered corslets yield defence no more — 
At length they breathe, defiled with dust and gore; 
Their gasping throats with parching thirst are dry, 
Gloomy and fierce they roll the lowering eye, 
And frown defiance. Son and Father driven 
To mortal strife! are these the ways of Heaven? 
The various swarms which boundless ocean breeds, 
The countless tribes which crop the flowery meads, 
All know their kind, but hapless man alone 
Has no instinctive feeling for his own! 

*A crocodile in war, with Firdusi, is are as much distinguished for their 

a figure of great power and strength. address and cunning, as their bravery. 

t It is difficult to account for this de- t The original is Umud, which appears 

nial of his name, as there appears to be to have been a weapon made of iron. 

no equivalent cause. But all the famous UmQd also signifies a column, a beam. 
heroes, described in the Shah Nameh, 



THE ShAh nAmEH 145 

Compell'd to pause, by every eye surveyed, 
Rustem, with shame, his wearied strength betrayed; 
Foil'd by a youth in battle's mid career, 
His groaning spirit almost sunk with fear; 
Recovering strength, again they fiercely meet; 
Again they struggle with redoubled heat; 
With bended bows they furious now contend; 
And feather'd shafts in rattling showers descend; 
Thick as autumnal leaves they strew the plain. 
Harmless their points, and all their fury vain. 
And now they seize each other's girdle-band; 
Rustem, who, if he moved his iron hand. 
Could shake a mountain, and to whom a rock 
Seemed soft as wax, tried, with one mighty stroke. 
To hurl him thundering from his fiery steed. 
But Fate forbids the gallant youth should bleed; 
Finding his wonted nerves relaxed, amazed 
That hand he drops which never had been raised 
Uncrowned with victory, even when demons fought, 
And pauses, wildered with despairing thought. 
Sohrab again springs with terrific grace. 
And lifts, from saddle-bow, his ponderous mace; 
With gather'd strength the quick-descending blow 
Wounds in its fall, and stuns the unwary foe; 
Then thus contemptuous: " All thy power is gone; 
Thy charger's strength exhausted as thy own; 
Thy bleeding wounds with pity I behold; 
O seek no more the combat of the bold! " 

Rustem to this reproach made no reply. 
But stood confused — meanwhile, tumultuously 
The legions closed; with soul-appalling force. 
Troop rushed on troop, o'erwhelming man and horse; 
Sohrab, incensed, the Persian host engaged. 
Furious along the scattered lines he raged; 
Fierce as a wolf he rode on every side. 
The thirsty earth with streaming gore was dyed. 
Midst the Turanians, then, the Champion sped, 
And like a tiger heaped the fields with dead. 
But when the Monarch's danger struck his thought. 
Returning swift, the stripling youth he sought; 
Grieved to the soul, the mighty Champion view'd 
His hands and mail with Persian blood imbrued; 
And thus exclaimed with lion-voice — " O say. 
Why with the Persians dost thou war to-day? 
Why not with me alone decide the fight, 
Thou'rt like a wolf that seek'st the fold by night." 

To this Sohrab his proud assent expressed — 
And Rustem, answering, thus the youth addressed. 
" Night-shadows now are thickening o'er the plain, 
The morrow's sun must see our strife again; 
Vol. I, — 10 



146 FIRDUSI 

In wrestling let us then exert our might! " 
He said, and eve's last glimmer sunk in night 

Thus as the skies a deeper gloom displayed, 
The stripling's life was hastening into shade! 

The gallant heroes to their tents retired, 
The sweets of rest their wearied limbs required: 
Sohrab, delighted with his brave career, 
Describes the fight in Human's anxious ear: 
Tells how he forced unnumbered Chiefs to yield, 
And stood himself the victor of the field! 
" But let the morrow's dawn," he cried, " arrive. 
And not one Persian shall the day survive; 
Meanwhile let wine its strengthening balm impart. 
And add new zeal to every drooping heart." 
The valiant Giw with Rustem pondering stood. 
And, sad, recalled the scene of death and blood; 
Grief and amazement heaved the frequent sigh. 
And almost froze the crimson current dry. 
Rustem, oppressed by Giw's desponding thought, 
Amidst his Chiefs the mournful Monarch sought; 
To him he told Sohrab's tremendous sway, 
The dire misfortunes of this luckless day; 
Told with what grasping force he tried, in vain, 
To hurl the wondrous stripling to the plain: 
" The whispering zephyr might as well aspire 
To shake a mountain — such his strength and fire. 
But night came on — and, by agreement, we 
Must meet again to-morrow — who shall be 
Victorious, Heaven knows only: — for by Heaven, 
Victory or death to man is ever given." 
This said, the King, o'erwhelmed in deep despair. 
Passed the dread night in agony and prayer. 

The Champion, silent, joined his bands at rest, 
And spurned at length despondence from his breast; 
Removed from all, he cheered Ziiara's heart. 
And nerved his soul to bear a trying part: — 
" Ere early morning gilds the ethereal plain, 
In martial order range my warrior-train; 
And when I meet in all his glorious pride, 
This valiant Turk whom late my rage defied, 
Should fortune's smiles my arduous task requite, 
Bring them to share the triumph of my might; 
But should success the stripling's arm attend. 
And dire defeat and death my glories end, 
To their loved homes my brave associates guide; 
Let bowery Zabul all their sorrows hide — 
Comfort my venerable father's heart; 
In gentlest words my heavy fate impart. 
The dreadful tidings to my mother bear, 
And soothe her anguish with the tenderest care; 



THE SHAh nAmEH 147 



Say, that the will of righteous Heaven decreed. 
That thus in arms her mighty son should bleed. 
Enough of fame my various toils acquired, 
When warring demons, bathed in blood, expired. 
Were life prolonged a thousand lingering years, 
Death comes at last and ends our mortal fears; 
Kirshasp, and Sam, and Nariman, the best 
And bravest heroes, who have ever blest 
This fleeting world, were not endued with power. 
To stay the march of fate one single hour; 
The world for them possessed no fixed abode. 
The path to death's cold regions must be trod; 
Then, why lament the doom ordained for all? 
Thus Jemshid fell, and thus must Rustem fall." 

When the bright dawn proclaimed the rising day. 
The warriors armed, impatient of delay; 
But first Sohrab, his proud confederate nigh, 
Thus wistful spoke, as swelled the boding sigh — 
" Now, mark my great antagonist in arms! 
His noble form my filial bosom warms; 
My mother's tokens shine conspicuous here. 
And all the proofs my heart demands, appear; 
Sure this is Rustem, whom my eyes engage! 
Shall I, O grief! provoke my Father's rage? 
Offended Nature then would curse my name. 
And shuddering nations echo with my shame." 
He ceased, then Human: " Vain, fantastic thought, 
Oft have I been where Persia's Champion fought; 
And thou hast heard, what wonders he performed, 
When, in his prime, Mazinderan was stormed; 
That horse resembles Rustem's, it is true. 
But not so strong, nor beautiful to view." 

Sohrab now buckles on his war attire, 
His heart all softness, and his brain all fire; 
Around his lips such smiles benignant played, 
He seemed to greet a friend, as thus he said: — 
" Here let us sit together on the plain, 
Here, social sit, and from the fight refrain; 
Ask we from heaven forgiveness of the past, 
And bind our souls in friendship that may last; 
Ours be the feast — let us be warm and free, 
For powerful instinct draws me still to thee; 
Fain would my heart in bland affection join, 
Then let thy generous ardour equal mine; 
And kindly say, with whom I now contend — 
What name distinguished boasts my warrior-friend! 
Thy name unfit for champion brave to hide, 
Thy name so long, long sought, and still denied; 
Say, art thou Rustem, whom I burn to know? 
Ingenuous say, and cease to be my foe! " 



148 FIRDUSI 

Sternly the mighty Champion cried, " Away — 
Hence with thy wiles — now practised to delay; 
The promised struggle, resolute, I claim, 
Then cease to move me to an act of shame." 
Sohrab rejoined — " Old man! thou wilt not hear 
The words of prudence uttered in thine ear; 
Then, Heaven! look on." 

Preparing for the shock, 
Each binds his charger to a neighbouring rock; 
And girds his loins, and rubs his wrists, and tries 
Their suppleness and force, with angry eyes; 
And now they meet — now rise, and now descend, 
And strong and fierce their sinewy arms extend; 
Wrestling with all their strength they grasp and strain, 
And blood and sweat flow copious on the plain; 
Like raging elephants they furious close; 
Commutual wounds are given, and wrenching blows. 
Sohrab now clasps his hands, and forward springs 
Impatiently, and round the Champion clings; 
Seizes his girdle belt, with power to tear 
The very earth asunder; in despair 
Rustem, defeated, feels his nerves give way. 
And thundering falls. Sohrab bestrides his prey: 
Grim as the lion, prowling through the wood. 
Upon a wild ass springs, and pants for blood. 
His lifted sword had lopt the gory head. 
But Rustem, quick, with crafty ardour said: — 
"One moment, hold! what, are our laws unknown? 
A Chief may fight till he is twice o'erthrown; 
The second fall, his recreant blood is spilt. 
These are our laws, avoid the menaced guilt." 

Proud of his strength, and easily deceived, 
The wondering youth the artful tale believed; 
Released his prey, and, wild as wind or wave. 
Neglecting all the prudence of the brave. 
Turned from the place, nor once the strife renewed, 
But bounded o'er the plain and other cares pursued. 
As if all memory of the war had died, 
All thoughts of him with whom his strength was tried. 

Human, confounded at the stripling's stay. 
Went forth, and heard the fortune of the day; 
Amazed to find the mighty Rustem freed. 
With deepest grief he wailed the luckless deed. 
" What! loose a raging lion from the snare, 
And let him growling hasten to his lair? 
Bethink thee well; in war, from this unwise. 
This thoughtless act what countless woes may rise; 
Never again suspend the final blow, 



THE SHAH NAMEH X49 

Nor trust the seeming weakness of a foe I " ♦ 

" Hence with complaint," the dauntless youth replied. 

To-morrow's contest shall his fate decide." 

When Rustem was released, in altered mood 
He sought the coolness of the murmuring flood; 
There quenched his thirst; and bathed his limbs, and prayed, 
Beseeching Heaven to yield its strengthening aid. 
His pious prayer indulgent Heaven approved, 
And growing strength through all his sinews moved; t 
Such as erewhile his towering structure knew, 
When his bold arm unconquered demons slew. 
Yet in his mien no confidence appeared, 
No ardent hope his wounded spirits cheered. 

Again they met. A glow of youthful grace. 
Diffused its radiance o'er the stripling's face. 
And when he saw in renovated guise, 
The foe so lately mastered; with surprise. 
He cried — " What! rescued from my power, again 
Dost thou confront me on the battle plain? 
Or, dost thou, wearied, draw thy vital breath. 
And seek, from warrior bold, the shaft of death? 
Truth has no charms for thee, old man; even now, 
Some further cheat may lurk upon thy brow; 
Twice have I shown thee mercy, twice thy age 
Hath been thy safety — twice it soothed my rage." 
Then mild the Champion: " Youth is proud and vain! 
The idle boast a warrior would disdain; 
This aged arm perhaps may yet control. 
The wanton fury that inflames thy soul! " 

Again, dismounting, each the other viewed 
With sullen glance, and swift the fight renewed; 
Clenched front to front, again they tug and bend, 
Twist their broad limbs as every nerve would rend; 
With rage convulsive Rustem grasps him round; 
Bends his strong back, and hurls him to the ground; 
Him, who had deemed the triumph all his own; 
But dubious of his power to keep him down, 
Like lightning quick he gives the deadly thrust. 
And spurns the Stripling weltering in the dust. 
— Thus as his blood that shining stee! imbrues, 
Thine too shall flow, when Destiny pursues ; t 

• Thus also Sa'di " Knowest thou t The expression in the original is re- 

what Zal said to Rustem the Cham- markable. ** Assuredly, as thou hast 

pion? Never calculate upon the weak- thirsted for blood, Destiny will also 

ness or insignificance of an enemy." thirst for thine, and the very hairs upon 

t Rustem is as much distinguished for thy body will become daggers to de- 
piety as bravery. Every success is at- stroy thee." This passage is quoted in 
tributed by him to the favor of Heaven. the preface to the Shkh Nameh, col- 
In the achievement of his labors in the lated by order of Bayisunghur Khan, 
Heft-Khan, his devotion is constant as the production of the poet Unsari. 
and he everywhere justly acknowledges Unsariwas one of the seven poets whom 
that power and victory are derived from Mahmiid appointed to give specimens of 
God alone. their powers in versifying the History 



I50 FIRDUSI 

For when she marks the victim of her power, 

A thousand daggers speed the dying hour. 

Writhing with pain Sohrab in murmurs sighed — 

And thus to Rustem — " Vaunt not, in thy pride; 

Upon myself this sorrow have I brought, 

Thou but the instrument of fate — which wrought 

My downfall; thou are guiltless — guiltless quite; 

O ! had I seen my father in the fight, 

My glorious father! Life will soon be o'er, 

And his great deeds enchant my soul no morel 

Of him my mother gave the mark and sign, 

For him I sought, and what an end is mine! 

My only wish on earth, my constant sigh, 

Him to behold, and with that wish I die. 

But hope not to elude his piercing sight, 

In vain for thee the deepest glooms of night; 

Couldst thou through Ocean's depths for refuge fly. 

Or midst the star-beams track the upper sky! 

Rustem, with vengeance armed, will reach thee there. 

His soul the prey of anguish and despair." 

An icy horror chills the Champion's heart. 
His brain whirls round with agonizing smart; 
O'er his wan cheek no gushing sorrows flow. 
Senseless he sinks beneath the weight of woe; 
Relieved at length, with frenzied look, he cries: 
" Prove thou art mine, confirm my doubting eyes! 
For I am Rustem ! " Piercing was the groan. 
Which burst from his torn heart — as wild and lone. 
He gazed upon him. Dire amazement shook 
The dying youth, and mournful thus he spoke: 
" If thou art Rustem, cruel is thy part. 
No warmth paternal seems to fill thy heart; 
Else hadst thou known me when, with strong desire, 
I fondly claimed thee for my vaHant sire; 
Now from my body strip the shining mail. 
Untie these bands, ere life and feeling fail; 
And on my arm the direful proof behold! 
Thy sacred bracelet of refulgent gold I 
When the loud brazen drums were heard afar. 
And, echoing round, proclaimed the pending war, 
Whilst parting tears my mother's eyes o'erflowed, 
This mystic gift her bursting heart bestowed: 
* Take this,' she said, ' thy father's token wear. 
And promised glory will reward thy care.' 
The hour is come, but fraught with bitterest woe, 

of the Kings of Persia. The story of before Firdusi was introduced at Court 
Rustem and Sohr4b fell to Unsari, and and eclipsed" every competitor. In com- 
his arrangement of it contained the pliment to Mahmud, perhaps he ingraft- 
above verses, which so delighted the ed them on his own poem, or more prob- 
Sultan that he directed the poet to un- ably they have been int'?Tpolated since, 
dertake the whole work. This occurred 



THE SHAH NAMEH 151 

We meet in blood to wail the fatal blow." 
The loosened mail unfolds the bracelet bright, 

Unhappy gift ! to Rustem's wildered sight, 

Prostrate he falls — " By my unnatural hand, 

My son, my son is slain — and from the land 

Uprooted." — Frantic, in the dust his hair 

He rends in agony and deep despair; 

The western sun had disappeared in gloom, 

And still, the Champion wept his cruel doom; 

His wondering legions marked the long delay, 

And, seeing Rakush riderless astray, 

The rumour quick to Persia's Monarch spread, 

And there described the mighty Rustem dead. 

Kaiis, alarmed, the fatal tidings hears; 

His bosom quivers with increasing fears. 

" Speed, speed, and see what has befallen to-day 

To cause these groans and tears — what fatal fray! 

If he be lost, if breathless on the ground. 

And this young warrior, with the conquest crowned — • 

Then must I, humbled, from my kingdom torn. 

Wander like Jemshid, through the world forlorn."* 
The army roused, rushed o'er the dusty plain, 

Urged by the Monarch to revenge the slain; 

Wild consternation saddened every face, 

Tiis winged with horror sought the fatal place. 

And there beheld the agonizing sight — 

The murderous end of that unnatural fight. 

Sohrab, still breathing, hears the shrill alarms. 

His gentle speech suspends the clang of arms: 

" My light of life now fluttering sinks in shade, 

Let vengeance sleep, and peaceful vows be made. 

Beseech the King to spare this Tartar host. 

For they are guiltless, all to them is lost; 

I led them on, their souls with glory fired, 

While mad ambition all my thoughts inspired. 

In search of thee, the world before my eyes, 

War was my choice, and thou the sacred prize; 

With thee, my sire! in virtuous league combined, 

No tyrant King should persecute mankind. 

That hope is past — the storm has ceased to rave — 

My ripening honours wither in the grave; 

Then let no vengeance on my comrades fall. 

Mine was the guilt, and mine the sorrow, all; 

How often have I sought thee — oft my mind 

Figured thee to my sight — o'er joyed to find 

My mother's token; disappointment came. 

When thou denied thy lineage and thy name; 

Oh! still o'er thee my soul impassioned hung, 

* Jemshid's glory and misfortunes, a» said before, are the constant theme of 
admiration and reflection amongst the poets of Persia. 



»sa 



FIRDUSI 

Still to my father fond affection clung! 
But fate, remorseless, all my hopes withstood. 
And stained thy reeking hands in kindred blood." 
His faltering breath protracted speech denied: 
Still from his eye-lids flowed a gushing tide; 
Through Rustem's soul redoubled horror ran, 
Heart-rending thoughts subdued the mighty man, 
And now, at last, with joy-illumined eye, 
The Zabul bands their glorious Chief descry; 
But when they saw his pale and haggard look. 
Knew from what mournful cause he gazed and shook. 
With downcast mien they moaned and wept aloud; 
While Rustem thus addressed the weeping crowd: 
" Here ends the war! let gentle peace succeed, 
Enough of death, I — I have done the deed! " 
Then to his brother, groaning deep, he said — 
" O what a curse upon a parent's head! 
But go — and to the Tartar say — no more, 
Let war between us steep the earth with gore." 
Ziiara flew and wildly spoke his grief. 
To crafty Human, the Turanian Chief, 
Who, with dissembled sorrow, heard him tell 
The dismal tidings which he knew too well; 
" And who," he said, " has caused these tears to flow? 
Who, but Hujir? He might have stayed the blow, 
But when Sohrab his Father's banners sought; 
He still denied that here the Champion fought; 
He spread the ruin, he the secret knew. 
Hence should his crime receive the vengeance due! " 
Zuara, frantic, breathed in Rustem's ear, 
The treachery of the captive Chief, Hujir; 
Whose headless trunk had weltered on the strand. 
But prayers and force withheld the lifted hand. 
Then to his dying son the Champion turned. 
Remorse more deep within his bosom burned; 
A burst of frenzy fired his throbbing brain; 
He clenched his sword, but found his fury vain; 
The Persian Chiefs the desperate act represt, 
And tried to calm the tumult in his breast: 
Thus Gudarz spoke — "Alas! wert thou to give 
Thyself a thousand wounds, and cease to live; 
What would it be to him thou sorrowest o'er? 
It would not save one pang — then weep no more; 
For if removed by death, O say, to whom 
Has ever been vouchsafed a different doom? 
All are the prey of death — the crowned, the low, 
And man, through life, the victim still of woe." 
Then Rustem: "Fly! and to the King relate, 
The pressing horrors which involve my fate; 
And if the memory of my deeds e'er swayed 



THE ShAh NAMEH 153 

His mind, O supplicate his generous aid; 

A sovereign balm he has whose wondrous power. 

All wounds can heal, and fleeting life restore; * 

Swift from his tent the potent medicine bring." 

— But mark the malice of the brainless King! 

Hard as the flinty rock, he stern denies 

The healthful draught, and gloomy thus replies: 

" Can I forgive his foul and slanderous tongue? 

The sharp disdain on me contemptuous flung? 

Scorned 'midst my army by a shameless boy. 

Who sought my throne, my sceptre to destroy! 

Nothing but mischief from his heart can flow. 

Is it, then, wise to cherish such a foe? 

The fool who warms his enemy to life. 

Only prepares for scenes of future strife." 

Gudarz, returning, told the hopeless tale — 
And thinking Rustem's presence might prevail; 
The Champion rose, but ere he reached the throne, 
Sohrab had breathed the last expiring groan. 

Now keener anguish rack'd the father's mind. 
Reft of his son, a murderer of his kind; 
His guilty sword distained with filial gore. 
He beat his burning breast, his hair he tore; 
The breathless corse before his shuddering view, 
A shower of ashes o'er his head he threw; 
" In my old age," he cried, " what have I done? 
Why have I slain my son, my innocent son! 
Why o'er his splendid dawning did I roll 
The clouds of death — and plunge my burthened soul 
In agony? My son! from heroes sprung; 
Better these hands were from my body wrung; 
And solitude and darkness, deep and drear. 
Fold me from sight than hated linger here. 
But when his mother hears, with horror wild, 
That I have shed the life-blood of her child. 
So nobly brave, so dearly loved, in vain. 
How can her heart that rending shock sustain?" 

Now on a bier the Persian warriors place 
The breathless Youth, and shade his pallid face; 
And turning from that fatal field away. 
Move towards the Champion's home in long array. 
Then Rustem, sick of martial pomp and show. 
Himself the spring of all this scene of woe, 
Doomed to the flames the pageantry he loved. 
Shield, spear, and mace, so oft in battle proved; 
Now lost to all, encompassed by despair; 

• These medicated draughts are often cures which had been performed upon 

mentioned in Romances. The reader many valorous chamfiions, covered with 

will recollect the banter upon them in wounds. The Hindus, in their books 

Don Quixote, where the Knight of La on medicine, talk of drugs for the re- 

Mancna enumerates to Sancho the covery of the dead I 



154 FIRDUSI 

His bright pavilion crackling blazed in air; 
The sparkling throne the ascending column fed; 
In smoking fragments fell the golden bed; 
The raging fire red glimmering died away, 
And all the Warrior's pride in dust and ashes lay. 

Kaiis, the King, now joins the mournful Chief, 
And tries to soothe his deep and settled grief; 
For soon or late we yield our vital breath. 
And all our worldly troubles end in death! 
" When first I saw him, graceful in his might. 
He looked far other than a Tartar knight; 
Wondering I gazed — now Destiny has thrown 
Him on thy sword — he fought, and he is gone; 
And should even Heaven against the earth be hurled, 
Or fire inwrap in crackling flames the world, 
That which is past — we never can restore. 
His soul has travelled to some happier shore. 
Alas! no good from sorrow canst thou reap, 
Then wherefore thus in gloom and misery weep?" 

But Rustem's mighty woes disdained his aid, 
His heart was drowned in grief, and thus he said: 
" Yes, he is gone! to me for ever lost! 
O then protect his brave unguided host; 
From war removed and this detested place, 
Let them, unharmed, their mountain-wilds retrace; 
Bid them secure my brother's will obey, 
The careful guardian of their weary way,* 
To where the Jihiin's distant waters stray." 
To this the King: " My soul is sad to see 
Thy hopeless grief — but, since approved by thee. 
The war shall cease — though the Turanian brand 
Has spread dismay and terror through the land." 

The King, appeased, no more with vengeance burned, 
The Tartar legions to their homes returned; 
The Persian warriors, gathering round the dead, 
Grovelled in dust, and tears of sorrow shed; 
Then back to loved Iran their steps the monarch led. 

But Rustem, midst his native bands, remained. 

And further rites of sacrifice maintained; 

A thousand horses bled at his command. 

And the torn drums were scattered o'er the sand; 

And now through Zabul's deep and bowery groves. 

In mournful pomp the sad procession moves. 

The mighty Chief on foot precedes the bier; 

His Warrior-friends, in grief assembled near: 

The dismal cadence rose upon the gale, 

And Zal astonished heard the piercing wail; 

He and his kindred joined the solemn train; 

• Zfi&ra conducted the troops of remained on the field of battle till his 
Afrisiyab across the Jihun. Rustem return. 



THE ShXh NAMEH 155 



Hung round the bier and wondering viewed the slain. 
" There gaze, and weep! " the sorrowing Father said, 
" For there, behold my glorious offspring dead! " 
The hoary Sire shrunk backward with surprise, 
And tears of blood o'erflowed his aged eyes; 
And now the Champion's rural palace gate 
Receives the funeral group in gloomy state; 
Riidabeh loud bemoaned the Stripling's doom; 
Sweet flower, all drooping in the hour of bloom. 
His tender youth in distant bowers had past. 
Sheltered at home he felt no withering blast; 
In the soft prison of his mother's arms. 
Secure from danger and the world's alarms. 
O ruthless Fortune! flushed with generous pride. 
He sought his sire, and thus unhappy, died. 

Rustem again the sacred bier unclosed; 
Again Sohrab to public view exposed; 
Husbands, and wives, and warriors, old and young. 
Struck with amaze, around the body hung, 
With garments rent and loosely flowing hair; 
Their shrieks and clamours filled the echoing air; 
Frequent they cried: " Thus Sam the Champion slept! 
Thus sleeps Sohrab! " Again they groaned, and wept. 

Now o'er the corpse a yellow robe is spread. 
The aloes bier is closed upon the dead; 
And, to preserve the hapless hero's name, 
Fragrant and fresh, that his unblemished fame 
Might live and bloom through all succeeding days, 
A mound sepulchral on the spot they raise. 
Formed like a charger's hoof. 

In every ear 
The story has been told — and many a tear. 
Shed at the sad recital. Through Tiiran, 
Afrasiyab's wide realm, and Samengan, 
Deep sunk the tidings — nuptial bower, and bed. 
And all that promised happiness, had fled! 

But when Tahmineh heard this tale of woe. 
Think how a mother bore the mortal blow! 
Distracted, wild, she sprang from place to place; 
With frenzied hands deformed her beauteous face; 
The musky locks her polished temples crowned. 
Furious she tore, and flung upon the ground; 
Starting, in agony of grief, she gazed — 
Her swimming eyes to Heaven imploring raised; 
And groaning cried: " Sole comfort of my life! 
Doomed the sad victim of unnatural strife, 
Where art thou now with dust and blood defiled? 
Thou darling boy, my lost, my murdered child! 
When thou wert gone — how, night and lingering day. 
Did thy fond mother watch the time away; 



IS6 FIRDUSI 

For hope still pictured all I wished to see, 
Thy father found, and thou returned to me, 
Yes — thou, exulting in thy father's fame! 
And yet, nor sire nor son, nor tidings, came: 
How could I dream of this? ye met — but how? 
That noble aspect — that ingenuous brow. 
Moved not a nerve in him — ye met — to part, 
Alas! the life-blood issuing from the heart. 
Short was the day which gave to me delight, 
Soon, soon, succeeds a long and dismal night; 
On whom shall now devolve my tender care? 
Who, loved like thee, my bosom-sorrows share? 
Whom shall I take to fill thy vacant place. 
To whom extend a mother's soft embrace? 
Sad fate! for one so young, so fair, so brave, 
Seeking thy father thus to find a grave. 
These arms no more shall fold thee to my breast. 
No more with thee my soul be doubly blest; 
No, drowned in blood thy lifeless body lies. 
For ever torn from these desiring eyes; 
Friendless, alone, beneath a foreign sky, 
Thy mail thy death-clothes — and thy father, by; 
Why did not I conduct thee on the way. 
And point where Rustem's bright pavilion lay? 
Thou hadst the tokens — why didst thou withhold 
Those dear remembrances — that pledge of gold? 
Hadst thou the bracelet to his view restored. 
Thy precious blood had never stained his sword." 
The strong emotion choked her panting breath. 
Her veins seemed withered by the cold of death: 
The trembling matrons hastening round her mourned, 
With piercing cries, till fluttering life returned; 
Then gazing up, distraught, she wept again. 
And frantic, seeing 'midst her pitying train. 
The favourite steed — now more than ever dear, 
The hoofs she kissed, and bathed with many a tear; 
Clasping the mail Sohrab in battle wore. 
With burning lips she kissed it o'er and o'er; 
His martial robes she in her arms comprest. 
And like an infant strained them to her breast; 
The reins, and trappings, club, and spear, were brought. 
The sword, and shield, with which the Stripling fought, 
These she embraced with melancholy joy. 
In sad remembrance of her darling boy. 
And still she beat her face, and o'er them hung. 
As in a trance — or to them wildly clung — 
Day after day she thus indulged her grief, 
Night after night, disdaining all relief; 
At length worn out — from earthly anguish riven, 
The mother's spirit joined her child in Heaven. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 157 



THE STORY OF SAIAWUSH 

EARLY one morning as the cock crew, Tus arose, and 
accompanied by Giw and Gudarz and a company of 
horsemen, proceeded on a hunting excursion, not far 
from the banks of the Jihun, where, after ranging about the 
forest for some time, they happened to fall in with a damsel 
of extreme beauty, with smiling lips, blooming cheeks, and fas- 
cinating mien. They said to her : 

" Never was seen so sweet a flower, 
In garden, vale, or fairy bower; 
The moon is on thy lovely face, 
Thy cypress-form is full of grace; 
But why, with charms so soft and meek. 
Dost thou the lonely forest seek? " 

She replied that her father was a violent man, and that she 
had left her home to escape his anger. She had crossed the 
river Jihun, and had travelled several leagues on foot, in con- 
sequence of her horse being too much fatigued to bear her 
farther. She had at that time been three days in the forest. 
On being questioned respecting her parentage, she said her 
father's name was Shiwer, of the race of Feridiin. Many sov- 
ereigns had been suitors for her hand, but she did not approve 
of one of them. At last he wanted to marry her to Poshang, 
the ruler of Turan, but she refused him on account of his ugli- 
ness and bad temper! This she said was the cause of her 
father's violence, and of her flight from home. 

" But when his angry mood is o'er. 
He'll love his daughter as before; 
And send his horsemen far and near, 
To take me to my mother dear; 
Therefore, I would not further stray, 
But here, without a murmur, stay." 

The hearts of both Tus and Giw were equally inflamed with 
love for the damsel, and each was equally determined to sup- 
port his own pretensions, in consequence of which a quarrel 
arose between them. At length it was agreed to refer the mat- 
ter to the king, and to abide by his decision. When, however, 



158 FIRDUSI 

the king beheld the lovely object of contention, he was not 
disposed to give her to either claimant, but without hesitation 
took her to himself, after having first ascertained that she was 
of distinguished family and connection. In due time a son 
was born to him, who was, according to the calculations of the 
astrologers, of wonderful promise, and named Saiawush. The 
prophecies about his surprising virtues, and his future renown, 
made Kaus anxious that justice should be done to his opening 
talents, and he was highly gratified when Rustem agreed to 
take him to Zabulistan, and there instruct him in all the accom- 
plishments which were suitable to his illustrious rank. He 
was accordingly taught horsemanship and archery, how to 
conduct himself at banquets, how to hunt with the falcon and 
the leopard, and made familiar with the manners and duty of 
kings, and the hardy chivalry of the age. His progress in the 
attainment of every species of knowledge and science was sur- 
prising, and in hunting he never stooped to the pursuit of ani- 
mals inferior to the lion or the tiger. It was not long before 
the youth felt anxious to pay a visit to his father, and Rustem 
willingly complying with his wishes, accompanied his accom- 
plished pupil to the royal court, where they were both received 
with becoming distinction, Saiawush having fulfilled Kaiis's 
expectations in the highest degree, and the king's gratitude to 
the champion being in proportion to the eminent merit of his 
services on the interesting occasion. After this, however, pre- 
ceptors were continued to enlighten his mind seven years 
longer, and then he was emancipated from further application 
and study. 

One day Sudaveh, the daughter of the Shah of Hamaveran, 
happening to see Saiawush sitting with his father, the beauty 
of his person made an instantaneous impression on her heart. 

The fire of love consumed her breast, 
The thoughts of him denied her rest. 
For him alone she pined in grief, 
From him alone she sought relief, 
And called him to her secret bower. 
To while away the passing hour: 
But Saiawush refused the call, 
He would not shame his father's hall. 

The enamoured Sudaveh, however, was not to be disappoint- 
ed without further eflfort, and on a subsequent day she boldly 



THE SHXH NXmEH 159 

went to the king, and praising- the character and attainments 
of his son, proposed that he should be united in marriage to 
one of the damsels of royal lineage under her care. For the 
pretended purpose therefore of making his choice, she request- 
ed he might be sent to the harem, to see all the ladies and fix 
on one the most suited to his taste. The king approved of the 
proposal, and intimated it to Saiawush ; but Saiawush was 
modest, timid, and bashful, and mentally suspected in this 
overture some artifice of Siidaveh. He accordingly hesitated, 
but the king overcame his scruples, and the youth at length 
repaired to the shubistan, as the retired apartments of the 
women are called, with fear and trembling. When he entered 
within the precincts of the sacred place, he was surprised by the 
richness and magnificence of everything that struck his sight. 
He was delighted with the company of beautiful women, and 
he observed Sudaveh sitting on a splendid throne in an interior 
chamber, like Heaven in beauty and loveliness, with a coronet 
on her head, and her hair floating round her in musky ringlets. 
Seeing him she descended gracefully, and clasping him in her 
arms, kissed his eyes and face with such ardor and enthusiasm 
that he thought proper to retire from her endearments and 
mix among the other damsels, who placed him on a golden 
chair and kept him in agreeable conversation for some time. 
After this pleasing interview he returned to the king, and gave 
him a very favorable account of his reception, and the heavenly 
splendor of the retirement, worthy of Jemshid, Feridun, or 
Husheng, which gladdened his father's heart. Kaus repeated 
to him his wish that he would at once choose one of the fights 
of the harem for his wife, as the astrologers had prophesied 
on his marriage the birth of a prince. But Saiawush endeav- 
ored to excuse himself from going again to Sudaveh's apart- 
ments. The king smiled at his weakness, and assured him 
that Sudaveh was alone anxious for his happiness, upon which 
the youth found himself again in her power. She was sur- 
rounded by the damsels as before, but, whilst his eyes were cast 
down, they shortly disappeared, leaving him and the enamoured 
Sudaveh together. She soon approached him, and lovingly 

said : — 

" O why the secret keep from one, 
Whose heart is fixed on thee alone! 
Say who thou art, from whom descended, 
Some Peri with a mortal blended. 



l6o FIRDUSI 

For every maid who sees that face, 
That cypress-form replete with grace, 
Becomes a victim to the wiles 
Which nestle in those dimpled smiles; 
Becomes thy own adoring slave, 
Whom nothing but thy love can save." 

To this Saiawush made no reply. The history of the advent- 
ure of Kaus at Hamaveran, and what the king and his warriors 
endured in consequence of the treachery of the father of Siida- 
veh, flashed upon his mind. He therefore was full of appre- 
hension, and breathed not a word in answer to her fondness. 
Siidaveh observing his silence and reluctance, threw away from 
herself the veil of modesty, 

And said: " O be my own, for I am thine, 

And clasp me in thy arms! " And then she sprang 

To the astonished boy, and eagerly 

Kissed his deep crimsoned cheek, which filled his soul 

With strange confusion. " When the king is dead, 

take me to thyself; see how I stand, 
Body and soul devoted unto thee." 

In his heart he said: " This never can be: 
This is a demon's work — shall I be treacherous? 
What! to my own dear father? Never, never; 

1 will not thus be tempted by the devil; 
Yet must I not be cold to this wild woman. 
For fear of further folly." 

Saiawush then expressed his readiness to be united in mar- 
riage to her daughter, and to no other ; and when this inteUi- 
gence was conveyed to Kaus by Siidaveh herself. His Majesty 
was extremely pleased, and munificently opened his treasury 
on the happy occasion. But Siidaveh still kept in view her 
own design, and still laboring for its success, sedulously read 
her own incantations to prevent disappointment, at any rate 
to punish the uncomplying youth if she failed. On another 
day she sent for him, and exclaimed : — 

" I cannot now dissemble; since I saw thee 
I seem to be as dead — my heart all withered. 
Seven years have passed in unrequited love — 
Seven long, long years. O ! be not still obdurate, 
But with the generous impulse of aflFection, 
Oh, bless my anxious spirit, or, refusing, 
Thy life will be in peril; thou shalt die! " 
" Never," replied the youth; " O, never, never; 
Oh, ask me not, for this can never be." 



THE SHAH NAMEH i6i 

Saiawush then rose to depart precipitately, but Siidaveh ob- 
serving him, endeavored to cHng round him and arrest his 
flight. The endeavor, however, was fruitless ; and finding at 
length her situation desperate, she determined to turn the ad- 
venture into her own favor, by accusing Saiawush of an atro- 
cious outrage on her own person and virtue. She accordingly 
tore her dress, screamed aloud, and rushed out of her apart- 
ment to inform Kaus of the indignity she had suffered. 
Among her women the most clamorous lamentations arose, 
and echoed on every side. The king, on hearing that Saia- 
wush had preferred Sudaveh to her daughter, and that he had 
meditated so abominable an offence, thought that death alone 
could expiate his crime. He therefore summoned him to his 
presence ; but satisfied that it would be difficult, if not impossi- 
ble, to ascertain the truth of the case from either party con- 
cerned, he had recourse to a test which he thought would be 
infallible and conclusive. He first smelt the hands of Saia- 
wush, and then his garments, which had the scent of rose- 
water; and then he took the garments of Sudaveh, which, on 
the contrary, had a strong flavor of wine and musk. Upon 
this discovery, the king resolved on the death of Sudaveh, 
being convinced of the falsehood of the accusation she had 
made against his son. But when his indignation subsided, he 
was induced on various accounts to forego that resolution. 
Yet he said to her, " I am sure that Saiawush is innocent, but 
let that remain concealed." Sudaveh, however, persisted in 
asserting his guilt, and continually urged him to punish the 
reputed offender, but without being attended to. 

At length he resolved to ascertain the innocence of Saiawush 
by the ordeal of fire ; and the fearless youth prepared to under- 
go the terrible trial to which he was sentenced, telling his 
father to be under no alarm. 

"The truth (and its reward I claim), 
Will bear me safe through fiercest flame." 

A tremendous fire was accordingly lighted on the adjacent 
plain, which blazed to an immense distance. The youth was 
attired in his golden helmet and a white robe, and mounted on 
a black horse. He put up a prayer to the Almighty for protec- 
tion, and then rushed amidst the conflagration, as collectedly 
as if the act had been entirely free from peril. When Sudaveh 
Vol. I.— II 



i62 FIRDUSI 

heard the confused exclamations that were uttered at that 
moment, she hurried upon the terrace of the palace and wit- 
nessed the appalling sight, and in the fondness of her heart, 
wished even that she could share his fate, the fate of him of 
whom she was so deeply enamoured. The king himself fell 
from his throne in horror on seeing him surrounded and en- 
veloped in the flames, from which there seemed no chance of 
extrication; but the gallant youth soon rose up, like the moon 
from the bursting element, and went through the ordeal un- 
harmed and untouched by the fire. Kaus, on coming to his 
senses, rejoiced exceedingly on the happy occasion, and his 
severest anger was directed against Siidaveh, whom he now 
determined to put to death, not only for her own guilt, but for 
exposing his son to such imminent danger. The noble youth, 
however, interceded for her. Siidaveh, notwithstanding, still 
continued to practise her charms and incantations in secret, to 
the end that Saiawush might be put out of the way; and in 
this pursuit she was indeed indefatigable. 

Suddenly intelligence was received that Afrasiyab had as- 
sembled another army, for the purpose of making an irruption 
into Iran ; and Kaus, seeing that a Tartar could neither be 
bound by promise nor oath, resolved that he would on this 
occasion take the field himself, penetrate as far as Balkh, and 
seizing the country, make an example of the inhabitants. But 
Saiawush perceiving in this prospect of afifairs an opportunity 
of becoming free from the machinations and witchery of Siida- 
veh, earnestly requested to be employed, adding that, with the 
advice and bravery of Rustem, he would be sure of success. 
The king referred the matter to Rustem, who candidly de- 
clared that there was no necessity whatever for His Majesty 
proceeding personally to the war ; and upon this assurance he 
threw open his treasury, and supplied all the resources of the 
empire to equip the troops appointed to accompany them. 
After one month the army marched toward Balkh, the point 
of attack. 

On the other side Gersiwaz, the ruler of Balghar, joined the 
Tartar legions at Balkh, commanded by Barman, who both 
sallied forth to oppose the Persian host, and after a conflict of 
three days were defeated, and obliged to abandon the fort. 
When the accounts of this calamity reached Afrasiyab, he was 
seized with the utmost terror, which was increased by a dread- 



THE ShAh nAmEH 163 

ful dream. He thought he was in a forest abounding with 
serpents, and that the air was darkened by the appearance of 
countless eagles. The ground was parched up with heat, and 
a whirlwind hurled down his tent and overthrew his banners. 
On every side flowed a river of blood, and the whole of his 
army had been defeated and butchered in his sight. He was 
afterwards taken prisoner, and ignominiously conducted to 
Kaus, in whose company he beheld a gallant youth, not more 
than fourteen years of age, who, the moment he saw him, 
plunged a dagger in his loins, and with the scream of agony 
produced by the wound, he awoke. Gersiwaz had in the mean- 
time returned with the remnant of his force ; and being in- 
formed of these particulars, endeavored to console Afrasiyab, 
by assuring him that the true interpretation of dreams was the 
reverse of appearances. But Afrasiyab was not to be con- 
soled in this manner. He referred to his astrologers, who, 
however, hesitated, and were unwilling to afford an explana- 
tion of the mysterious vision. At length one of them, upon 
the solicited promise that the king would not punish him for 
divulging the truth, described the nature of the warning im- 
plied in what had been witnessed. 

" And now I throw aside the veil, 
Which hides the darkly shadowed tale. 
Led by a prince of prosperous star, 
The Persian legions speed to war. 
And in his horoscope we scan 
The lordly victor of Turin. 
If thou shouldst to the conflict rush, 
Opposed to conquering Saiawush, 
Thy Turkish cohorts will be slain, 
And all thy saving efforts vain. 
For if he, in the threatened strife, 
Should haply chance to lose his life; 
Thy country's fate will be the same, 
Stripped of its throne and diadem." 

Afrasiyab was satisfied with this interpretation, and felt the 
prudence of avoiding a war so pregnant with evil consequences 
to himself and his kingdom. He therefore deputed Gersiwaz 
to the headquarters of Saiawush, with splendid presents, con- 
sisting of horses richly caparisoned, armor, swords, and other 
costly articles, and a written dispatch, proposing a termination 
to hostilities. 



i64 FIRDUSI 

In the meantime Saiawush was anxious to pursue the enemy 
across the Jihun, but was dissuaded by his friends. When 
Gersiwaz arrived on his embassy he was received with distinc- 
tion, and the object of his mission being understood, a secret 
council was held upon what answer should be given. It was 
then deemed proper to demand: first, one hundred distin- 
guished heroes as hostages; and secondly, the restoration of 
all the provinces which the Turanians had taken from Iran. 
Gersiwaz sent immediately to Afrasiyab to inform him of the 
conditions required, and without the least delay they were 
approved. A hundred warriors were soon on their way ; and 
Bokhara, and Samerkand, and Haj, and the Punjab, were 
faithfully delivered over to Saiawush. Afrasiyab himself re- 
tired towards Gungduz, saying, " I have had a terrible dream, 
and I will surrender whatever may be required from me, rather 
than go to war." 

The negotiations being concluded, Saiawush sent a letter to 
his father by the hands of Rustem. Rumor, however, had 
already told Kaus of Afrasiyab's dream, and the terror he had 
been thrown into in consequence. The astrologers in his ser- 
vice having prognosticated from it the certain ruin of the Tu- 
ranian king, the object of Rustem's mission was directly con- 
trary to the wishes of Kaus ; but Rustem contended that the 
policy was good, and the terms were good, and he thereby in- 
curred His Majesty's displeasure. On this account Kaus ap- 
pointed Tus the leader of the Persian army, and commanded 
him to march against Afrasiyab, ordering Saiawush at the same 
time to return, and bring with him his hundred hostages. At 
this command Saiawush was grievously offended, and consult- 
ed with his chieftains, Bahram, and Zinga, and Shaweran, on 
the fittest course to be pursued, saying, " I have pledged my 
word to the fulfilment of the terms, and what will the world say 
if I do not keep my faith ? " The chiefs tried to quiet his mind, 
and recommended him to write again to Kaus, expressing his 
readiness to renew the war, and return the hundred hostages. 
But Saiawush was in a different humor, and thought as Tus 
had been actually appointed to the command of the Persian 
army, it would be most advisable for him to abandon his coun- 
try and join Afrasiyab. The chiefs, upon hearing this singular 
resolution, unanimously attempted to dissuade him from pur- 
suing so wild a course as throwing himself into the power of 



THE SHXh nAmEH 165 

his enemy ; but he was deaf to their entreaties, and in the stub- 
bornness of his spirit, wrote to Afrasiyab, informing him that 
Kaiis had refused to ratify the treaty of peace, that he was com- 
pelled to return the hostages, and even himself to seek protec- 
tion in Turan from the resentment of his father, the warrior 
Tus having been already entrusted with the charge of the army. 
This unexpected intelligence excited considerable surprise in 
the mind of Afrasiyab, but he had no hesitation in selecting the 
course to be followed. The ambassadors, Zinga and Sha- 
weran, were soon furnished with a reply, which was to this ef- 
fect : — " I settled the terms of peace with thee, not with thy 
father. With him I have nothing to do. If thy choice be re- 
tirement and tranquillity, thou shalt have a peaceful and inde- 
pendent province allotted to thee ; but if war be thy object, I 
will furnish thee with a large army: thy father is old and in- 
firm, and with the aid of Rustem, Persia will be an easy con- 
quest." Having thus obtained the promised favor and support 
of Afrasiyab, Saiawush gave in charge to Bahram the city of 
Balkh, the army and treasure, in order that they might be 
delivered over to Tus on his arrival ; and taking with him 
three hundred chosen horsemen, passed the Jihiin, in progress 
to the court of Afrasiyab. On taking this decisive step, he 
again wrote to Kaus, saying : — 

" From my youth upward I have suffered wrong 
At first Siidaveh, false and treacherous. 
Sought to destroy my happiness and fame; 
And thou hadst nearly sacrificed my life 
To glut her vengeance. The astrologers 
Were all unheeded, who pronounced me innocent, 
And I was doomed to brave devouring fire, 
To testify that I was free from guilt; 
But God was my deliverer! Victory now 
Has marked my progress. Balkh, and all its spoils, 
Are mine, and so reduced the enemy, 
That I have gained a hundred hostages, 
To guarantee the peace which I have made; 
And what my recompense! a father's anger, 
Which takes me from my glory. Thus deprived 
Of thy affection, whither can I fly? 
Be it to friend or foe, the will of fate 
Must be my only guide — condemned by thee." 

The reception of Saiawush by Afrasiyab was warm and flat- 
tering. From the gates of the city to the palace, gold and 



i66 FIRDUSI 

incense were scattered over his head in the customary manner, 
and exclamations of welcome uttered on every side. 

" Thy presence gives joy to the land, 
Which awaits thy command; 
■ It is thine! it is thine! 

All the chiefs of the state have assembled to meet thee, 
All the flowers of the land are in blossom to greet thee! " 

The youth was placed on a golden throne next to Afrasiyab, 
and a magnificent banquet prepared in honor of the stranger, 
and music and the songs of beautiful women enlivened the 
festive scene. They chanted the praises of Saiawush, distin- 
guished, as they said, among men for three things: first, for 
being of the line of Kai-kobad; secondly, for his faith and 
honor; and, thirdly, for the wonderful beauty of his person, 
which had gained universal love and admiration. The favor- 
able sentiments which characterized the first introduction of 
Saiawush to Afrasiyab continued to prevail, and indeed the 
king of Turan seemed to regard him with increased attachment 
and friendship, as the time passed away, and showed him all 
the respect and honor to which his royal birth would have 
entitled him in his own country. After the lapse of a year, 
Piran-wisah, one of Afrasiyab's generals, said to him : 
" Young prince, thou art now high in the favor of the king, 
and at a great distance from Persia, and thy father is old; 
would it not therefore be better for thee to marry and take up 
thy residence among us for life ? " The suggestion was a ra- 
tional one, and Saiawush readily expressed his acquiescence ; 
accordingly, the lovely Gulshaher, who was also named Jarira, 
having been introduced to him, he was delighted with her per- 
son, and both consenting to a union, the marriage ceremony 
was immediately performed. 

And many a warm delicious kiss, 
Told how he loved the wedded bliss. 

Some time after this union, Piran suggested another alliance, 
for the purpose of strengthening his political interest and 
power, and this was with Ferangis, the daughter of Afrasiyab. 
But Saiawush was so devoted to Gulshaher that he first con- 
sulted with her on the subject, although the hospitality and 
aflfection of the king constituted such strong claims on his 



THE SHAH NAMEH 167 

gratitude that refusal was impossible. Gulshaher, however, 
was a heroine, and willingly sacrificed her own feelings for the 
good of Saiawush, saying she would rather condescend to be 
the very handmaid of Ferangis than that the happiness and 
prosperity of her lord should be compromised. The second 
marriage accordingly took place, and Afrasiyab was so pleased 
with the match that he bestowed on the bride and her husband 
the sovereignty of Khoten, together with countless treasure in 
gold, and a great number of horses, camels, and elephants. 
In a short time they proceeded to the seat of the new govern- 
ment. 

Meanwhile Kaus suffered the keenest distress and sorrow 
when he heard of the flight of Saiawush into Turan, and Rus- 
tem felt such strong indignation at the conduct of the king that 
he abruptly quitted the court, without permission, and retired 
to Sistan. Kaus thus found himself in an embarrassed condi- 
tion, and deemed it prudent to recall both Tiis and the army 
from Balkh, and relinquish further hostile measures against 
Afrasiyab. 

The first thing that Saiawush undertook after his arrival at 
Khoten, was to order the selection of a beautiful site for his 
residence, and Piran devoted his services to fulfil that object, 
exploring all the provinces, hills, and dales, on every side. At 
last he discovered a beautiful spot, at the distance of about a 
month's journey, which combined all the qualities and advan- 
tages required by the anxious prince. It was situated on a 
mountain, and surrounded by scenery of exquisite richness and 
variety. The trees were fresh and green, birds warbled on 
every spray, transparent rivulets murmured through the mead- 
ows, the air was neither oppressively hot in summer, nor cold 
in winter, so that the temperature, and the attractive objects 
which presented themselves at every glance, seemed to realize 
the imagined charms and fascinations of Paradise. The in- 
habitants enjoyed perpetual health, and every breeze was laden 
with music and perfume. So lovely a place could not fail to 
yield pleasure to Saiawush, who immediately set about build- 
ing a palace there, and garden-temples, in which he had pict- 
ures painted of the most remarkable persons of his time, and also 
the portraits of ancient kings. The walls were decorated with the 
likenesses of Kai-kobad, of Kai-kaiis, Poshang, Afrasiyab, 
and Sam, and Zal, and Rustem, and other champions of Persia 



i68 FIRDUSI 

and Turan. When completed, it was a gorgeous retreat, and 
the sight of it sufficient to give youthful vigor to the withered 
faculties of age. And yet Saiawush was not happy! Tears 
started into his eyes and sorrow weighed upon his heart, when- 
ever he thought upon his own estrangement from home ! 

It happened that the lovely Gulshaher, who had been left 
in the house of her father, was delivered of a son in due time, 
and he was named Ferud. 

Afrasiyab, on being informed of the proceedings of Saia- 
wush, and of the heart-expanding residence he had chosen, 
was highly gratified; and to show his affectionate regard, des- 
patched to him with the intelHgence of the birth of a son, pres- 
ents of great value and variety. Gersiwaz, the brother of Afra- 
siyab, and who had from the first looked upon Saiawush with a 
jealous and malignant eye, being afraid of his interfering with 
his own prospects in Turan, was the person sent on this occa- 
sion. But he hid his secret thoughts under the veil of outward 
praise and approbation. Saiawush was pleased with the intel- 
ligence and the presents, but failed to pay the customary re- 
spect to Gersiwaz on his arrival, and, in consequence, the lurk- 
ing indignation and hatred formerly felt by the latter were 
considerably augmented. The attention of Saiawush respect- 
ing his army and the concerns of the state, was unremitting, 
and noted by the visitor with a jealous and scrutinizing eye, 
so that Gersiwaz, on his return to the court of Afrasiyab, art- 
fully talked much of the pomp and splendor of the prince, and 
added : " Saiawush is far from being the amiable character 
thou hast supposed ; he is artful and ambitious, and he has col- 
lected an immense army ; he is in fact dissatisfied. As a proof 
of his haughtiness, he paid me but little attention, and doubt- 
less very heavy calamity will soon befall Turan, should he 
break out, as I apprehend he will, into open rebellion : — 

!For he is proud, and thou has yet to learn 
The temper of thy daughter Ferangis, 
Now bound to him in duty and affection; 
Their purpose is the same, to overthrow 
The kingdom of Tiiran, and thy dominion; 
To merge the glory of this happy realm 
Into the Persian empire ! " 

But plausible and persuasive as were the observations and 
positive declarations of Gersiwaz, Afrasiyab would not believe 



THE SHAh NAMEH 169 

the imputed ingratitude and hostility of Saiawush. " He has 
sought my protection," said he ; " he has thrown himself upon 
my generosity, and I cannot think him treacherous. But if he 
has meditated anything unmerited by me, and unworthy of 
himself, it will be better to send him back to Kai-kaus, his 
father." The "artful Gersiwaz, however, was not to be diverted 
from his object : he said that Saiawush had become personally 
acquainted with Turan, its position, its weakness, its strength, 
and resources, and aided by Rustem, would soon be able to 
overrun the country if he was suffered to return, and therefore 
he recommended Afrasiyab to bring him from Khoten by some 
artifice, and secure him. In conformity with this suggestion, 
Gersiwaz was again deputed to the young prince, and a letter 
of a friendly nature written for the purpose of bhnding him to 
the real intentions of his father-in-law. The letter was no 
sooner read than Saiawush expressed his desire to comply 
with the request contained in it, saying that Afrasiyab had been 
a father to him, and that he would lose no time in fulfilling in 
all respects the wishes he had received. 

This compliance and promptitude, however, was not in har- 
mony with the sinister views of Gersiwaz, for he foresaw that 
the very fact of answering the call immediately would show 
that some misrepresentation had been practised, and conse- 
quently it was his business now to promote procrastination, 
and an appearance of evasive delay. He therefore said to him 
privately that it would be advisable for him to wait a Httle, and 
not manifest such implicit obedience to the will of Afrasiyab ; 
but Saiawush replied, that both his duty and affection urged 
him to a ready compliance. Then Gersiwaz pressed him more 
warmly, and represented how inconsistent, how unworthy of 
his illustrious lineage it would be to betray so meek a spirit, 
especially as he had a considerable army at his command, and 
could vindicate his dignity and his rights. And he addressed 
to him these specious arguments so incessantly and with such 
earnestness, that the deluded prince was at last induced to put 
off his departure, on account of his wife Ferangis pretending 
that she was ill, and saying that the moment she was better he 
would return to Turan. This was quite enough for treachery 
to work upon ; and as soon as the dispatch was sealed, Gersiwaz 
conveyed it with the utmost expedition to Afrasiyab. Appear- 
ances, at least, were thus made strong against Saiawush, and 



I70 FIRDUSI 

the tyrant of Turan, now easily convinced of his falsehood, and 
feeling in consequence his former enmity renewed, forthwith 
assembled an army to punish his refractory son-in-law. Ger- 
siwaz was appointed the leader of that army, which was put in 
motion without delay against the unoffending youth. The 
news of Afrasiyab's warlike preparations satisfied the mind of 
Saiawush that Gersiwaz had given him good advice, and that 
he had been a faithful monitor, for immediate compliance, he 
now concluded, would have been his utter ruin. When he 
communicated this unwelcome intelHgence to Ferangis, she 
was thrown into the greatest alarm and agitation; but ever 
fruitful in expedients, suggested the course that it seemed nec- 
essary he should instantly adopt, which was to fly by a circuit- 
ous route back to Iran. To this he expressed no dissent, pro- 
vided she would accompany him ; but she said it was impossible 
to do so on account of the condition she was in. " Leave me," 
she added, " and save thy own life ! " He therefore called to- 
gether his three hundred Iranians, and requesting Ferangis, 
if she happened to be delivered of a son, to call him Kai-khos- 
rau, set off on his journey. 

" I go, surrounded by my enemies; 
The hand of merciless Afrasiyab 
Lifted against me." 

It was not the fortune of Saiawush, however, to escape so 
easily as had been anticipated by Ferangis. Gersiwaz was 
soon at his heels, and in the battle that ensued, all the Iranians 
were killed, and also the horse upon which the unfortunate 
prince rode, so that on foot he could make but little progress. 
In the meantime Afrasiyab came up, and surrounding him, 
wanted to shoot him with an arrow, but he was restrained from 
the violent act by the intercession of his people, who recom- 
mended his being taken alive, and only kept in prison. Ac- 
cordingly he was again attacked and secured, and still Afra- 
siyab wished to put him to death ; but Pilsam, one of his war- 
riors, and the brother of Piran, induced him to relinquish that 
diabolical intention, and to convey him back to his own palace. 
Saiawush was then ignominiously fettered and conducted to 
the royal residence, which he had himself erected and orna- 
mented with such richness and magnificence. The sight of 
the city and its splendid buildings filled every one with wonder 



THE SHAH nAmEH 171 

and admiration. Upon the arrival of Afrasiyab, Ferangis has- 
tened to him in a state of the deepest distress, and implored his 
clemency and compassion in favor of Saiawush. 

" O father, he is not to blame, 
Still pure and spotless is his name; 
Faithful and generous still to me. 
And never — never false to thee. 
This hate to Gersiwaz he owes, 
The worst, the bitterest of his foes; 
Did he not thy protection seek, 
And wilt thou overpower the weak? 
Spill royal blood thou shouldest bless, 
In cruel sport and wantonness? 
And earn the curses of mankind. 
Living, in this precarious state. 
And dead, the torments of the mind. 

Which hell inflicts upon the great 
Who revel in a murderous course. 
And rule by cruelty and force. 

" It scarce becomes me now to tell. 
What the accursed Zohak befel. 
Or what the punishment which hurled 
Silim and Tiir from out the world. 
And is not Kaus living now, 
With rightful vengeance on his brow? 
And Rustem, who alone can make 
Thy kingdom to its centre quake? 
Giidarz, Ziiara, and Friburz, 
And Tus, and Girgin, and Framurz; 
And others too of fearless might. 
To challenge thee to mortal fight? 
O, from this peril turn away. 
Close not in gloom so bright a day; 
Some heed to thy poor daughter give. 
And let thy guiltless captive live." 

The effect of this appeal, solemnly and urgently delivered, 
was only transitory. Afrasiyab felt a little compunction at the 
moment, but soon resumed his ferocious spirit, and to ensure, 
without interruption, the accomplishment of his purpose, con- 
fined Ferangis is one of the remotest parts of the palace: — 

And thus to Gersiwaz unfeeling spoke: 

" Off with his head, down with the enemy; 

But take especial notice that his blood 

Stains not the earth, lest it should cry aloud 

For vengeance on us. Take good care of that! " 



lya FIRDUSI 

Gersiwaz, who was but too ready an instrument, immedi- 
ately directed Karii-zira, a kinsman of Afrasiyab, who had 
been also one of the most zealous in promoting the ruin of the 
Persian prince, to inflict the deadly blow ; and Saiawush, whilst 
under the grasp of the executioner, had but time to put up a 
prayer to Heaven, in which he hoped that a son might be born 
to him to vindicate his good name, and be revenged on his 
murderer. The executioner then seized him by the hair, and 
throwing him on the ground, severed the head from the body. 
A golden vessel was ready to receive the blood, as commanded 
by Afrasiyab ; but a few drops happened to be spilt on the soil, 
and upon that spot a tree grew up, which was afterwards called 
Saiawush, and believed to possess many wonderful virtues ! 
The blood was carefully conveyed to Afrasiyab, the head fixed 
on the point of a javelin, and the body was buried with respect 
and affection by his friend Pilsam, who had witnessed the mel- 
ancholy catastrophe. It is also related that a tremendous tem- 
pest occurred at the time this amiable prince was murdered, 
and that a total darkness covered the face of the earth, so that 
the people could not distinguish each other's faces. Then was 
the name of Afrasiyab truly execrated and abhorred for the 
cruel act he had committed, and all the inhabitants of Khoten 
long cherished the memory of Saiawush. 

Ferangis was frantic with grief when she was told of the sad 
fate of her husband, and all her household uttered the loudest 
lamentations. Pilsam gave the intelligence to Piran and the 
proverb was then remembered : " It is better to be in hell, 
than under the rule of Afrasiyab ! " When the deep sorrow of 
Ferangis reached the ears of her father, he determined on a 
summary procedure, and ordered Gersiwaz to have her pri- 
vately made away with, so that there might be no issue of her 
marriage with Saiawush. 

Piran with horror heard this stern command, 

And hasten'd to the king, and thus addressed him: 

"What! wouldst thou hurl thy vengeance on a woman, 

That woman, too, thy daughter? Is it wise. 

Or natural, thus to sport with human hfe? 

Already hast thou taken from her arms 

Her unoffending husband — that was cruel; 

But thus to shed an innocent woman's blood. 

And kill her unborn infant — that would be 

Too dreadful to imagine! Is she not 



THE SHAh NAMEH 173 

Thy own fair daughter, given in happier time 
To him who won thy favour and affection? 
Think but of that, and from thy heart root out 
This demon wish, which leads thee to a crime, 
Mocking concealment; vain were the endeavour 
To keep the, murder secret, and when known, 
The world's opprobrium would pursue thy name. 
And after death, what would thy portion be! 
No more of this — honour me with the charge, 
And I will keep her with a father's care. 
In my own mansion." Then Afrasiyab 
Readily answered: " Take her to thy home, 
But when the child is born, let it be brought 
Promptly to me — my will must be obeyed." 

Piran rejoiced at his success ; and assenting to the command 
of Afrasiyab, took Ferangis with him to Khoten, where in due 
time a child was born, and being a son, was called Kai-khosrau. 
As soon as he was born, Piran took measures to prevent his 
being carried off to Afrasiyab, and committed him to the care 
of some peasants on the mountain Kalun. On the same night 
Afrasiyab had a dream, in which he received intimation of the 
birth of Kai-khosrau; and upon this intimation he sent for 
Piran to know why his commands had not been complied with. 
Piran replied, that he had cast away the child in the wilder- 
ness. " And why was he not sent to me ? " inquired the 
despot. " Because," said Piran, " I considered thy own future 
happiness ; thou hast unjustly killed the father, and God forbid 
that thou shouldst also kill the son ! " Afrasiyab was abashed, 
and it is said that ever after the atrocious murder of Saiawush, 
he had been tormented with the most terrible and harrowing 
dreams. Gersiwaz now became hateful to his sight, and he 
began at last deeply to repent of his violence and inhumanity. 

Kai-khosrau grew up under the fostering protection of the 
peasants, and showed early marks of surprising talent and 
activity. He excelled in manly exercises ; and hunting fero- 
cious animals was his peculiar delight. Instructors had been 
provided to initiate him in all the arts and pursuits cultivated by 
the warriors of those days, and even in his twelfth year accounts 
were forwarded to Piran of several wonderful feats which he 
had performed. 

Then smiled the good old man, and joyful said: 
" 'Tis ever thus — the youth of royal blood 
Will not disgrace his lineage, but betray 



174 FIRDUSI 

By his superior mien and gallant deeds 

From whence he sprung. 'Tis by the luscious fruit 

We know the tree, and glory in its ripeness ! " 

Piran could not resist paying a visit to the youth in his 
mountainous retreat, and, happy to find him, beyond all 
expectation, distinguished for the elegance of his external 
appearance, and the superior qualities of his mind, related to 
him the circumstances under which he had been exposed, and 
the rank and misfortunes of his father. An artifice then 
occurred to him which promised to be of ultimate advantage. 
He afterwards told Afrasiyab that the offspring of Ferangis, 
thrown by him into the wilderness to perish, had been found 
by a peasant and brought up, but that he understood the boy 
was little better than an idiot. Afrasiyab, upon this informa- 
tion, desired that he might be sent for, and in the meantime 
Piran took especial care to instruct Kai-khosrau how he should 
act ; which was to seem in all respects insane, and he accord- 
ingly appeared before the king in the dress of a prince with a 
golden crown on his head, and the royal girdle round his loins. 
Kai-khosrau proceeded on horseback to the court of Afrasiyab, 
and having performed the usual salutations, was suitably 
received, though with strong feelings of shame and remorse on 
the part of the tyrant. Afrasiyab put several questions to him, 
which were answered in a wild and incoherent manner, entirely 
at variance with the subject proposed. The king could not 
help smiling, and supposing him to be totally deranged, allowed 
him to be sent with presents to his mother, for no harm, he 
thought, could possibly be apprehended from one so forlorn in 
mind. Piran triumphed in the success of his scheme, and lost 
no time in taking Kai-khosrau to his mother. All the people 
of Khoten poured blessings on the head of the youth, and 
imprecations on the merciless spirit of Afrasiyab. The city 
built by Saiawush had been razed to the ground by the exter- 
minating fury of his enemies, and wild animals and reptiles 
occupied the place on which it stood. The mother and son 
visited the spot where Saiawush was barbarously killed, and the 
tree, which grew up from the soil enriched by his blood, was 
found verdant and flourishing, and continued to possess in per- 
fection its marvellous virtues. 

The tale of Saiawush is told; 
And now the pages bright unfold, 



THE SHAh nAmEH 175 

Rustem's revenge — Sudaveh's fate — 
Afrasiyab's degraded state, 
And that terrific curse and ban 
Which fell at last upon Tiiran! 

When Kai-kaus heard of the fate of his son, and all its hor- 
rible details were pictured to his mind, he was thrown into 
the deepest affliction. His warriors, Tiis, and Giidarz, and 
Bahram, and Friburz, and Ferhad, felt with equal keenness the 
loss of the amiable prince, and Rustem, as soon as the dread- 
ful intelligence reached Sistan, set off with his troops to the 
court of the king, still full of indignation at the conduct of 
Kaus, and oppressed with sorrow respecting the calamity which 
had occurred. On his arrival he thus addressed the weeping 
and disconsolate father of Saiawush, himself at the same time 
drowned in tears : — 

" How has thy temper turned to nought, the seed 
Which might have grown, and cast a glorious shadow; 
How is it scattered to the barren winds! 
Thy love for false Sudaveh was the cause 
Of all this misery; she, the Sorceress, 
O'er whom thou hast so oft in rapture hung, 
Enchanted by her charms; she was the cause 
Of this destruction. Thou art woman's slave! 
Woman, the bane of man's felicity! 
Who ever trusted woman? Death were better 
Than being under woman's influence; 
She places man upon the foamy ridge 
Of the tempestuous wave, which rolls to ruin. 
Who ever trusted woman? — Woman! woman! " 
Kaus looked down with melancholy mien, 
And, half consenting, thus to Rustem said: — 
" Sudaveh's blandishments absorbed my soul, 
And she has brought this wretchedness upon me." 
Rustem rejoined — " The world must be revenged 
Upon this false Sudaveh; — she must die." 
Kaus was silent; but his tears flowed fast. 
And shame withheld resistance. Rustem rushed 
Without a pause towards the shubistan; 
Impatient, nothing could obstruct his speed 
To slay Sudaveh; — her he quickly found, 
And rapidly his sanguinary sword 
Performed its office. Thus the Sorceress died. 
Such was the punishment her crimes received. 



176 FIRDUSI 

Having thus accomplished the first part of his vengeance, he 
proceeded with the Persian army against Afrasiyab, and all the 
Iranian warriors followed his example. When he had pene- 
trated as far as Tiiran, the enemy sent forward thirty thousand 
men to oppose his progress ; and in the conflict which ensued, 
Feramurz took Sarkha, the son of Afrasiyab, prisoner. Rustem 
delivered him over to Tus to be put to death precisely in the 
same manner as Saiawush ; but the captive represented himself 
as the particular friend of Saiawush, and begged to be par- 
doned on that account. Rustem, however, had sworn that he 
would take his revenge, without pity or remorse, and accord- 
ingly death was inflicted upon the unhappy prisoner, whose 
blood was received in a dish, and sent to Kaus, and the severed 
head suspended over the gates of the king's palace. Afrasiyab 
hearing of this catastrophe, which sealed the fate of his favorite 
son, immediately collected together the whole of the Turanian 
army, and hastened himself to resist the conquering career of 
the enemy. 

As on they moved; with loud and dissonant clang; 
His numerous troops shut out the prospect round; 
No sun was visible by day; no moon, 
Nor stars by night. The tramp of men and steeds. 
And rattling drums, and shouts, were only heard, 
And the bright gleams of armour only seen. 

Ere long the two armies met, when Pilsam, the brother of 
Piran, was ambitious of opposing his single arm against Rus- 
tem, upon which Afrasiyab said : — " Subdue Rustem, and thy 
reward shall be my daughter, and half my kingdom." Piran, 
however, observed that he was too young to be a fit match for 
the experience and valor of the Persian champion, and would 
have dissuaded him from the unequal contest, but the choice 
was his own, and he was consequently permitted by Afrasiyab 
to put his bravery to the test. Pilsam accordingly went forth 
and summoned Rustem to the fight ; but Giw, hearing the call, 
accepted the challenge himself, and had nearly been thrown 
from his horse by the superior activity of his opponent. Fera- 
murz luckily saw him at the perilous moment, and darting for- 
ward, with one stroke of his sword shattered Pilsam's javelin 
to pieces, and then a new strife began. Pilsam and Feramurz 
fought together with desperation, till both were almost ex- 
hausted, and Rustem himself was surprised to see the display 



THE ShAh nAmEH 177 

of so much valor. Perceiving the wearied state of the two 
warriors he pushed forward Rakush, and called aloud to Pil- 
sam : — " Am I not the person challenged ? " and immediately 
the Turanian chief proceeded to encounter him, striking with 
all his might at the head of the champion ; but though the sword 
was broken by the blow, not a hair of his head was disordered. 

Then Rustem urging on his gallant steed, 

Fixed his long javelin in the girdle band 

Of his ambitious foe, and quick unhorsed him; 

Then dragged him on towards Afrasiyab, 

And, scoflfing, cast him at the despot's feet. 

" Here comes the glorious conqueror," he said; 

" Now give to him thy daughter and thy treasure. 

Thy kingdom and thy soldiers; has he not 

Done honour to thy country? — Is he not 

A jewel in thy crown of sovereignty? 

What arrogance inspired the fruitless hope! 

Think of thy treachery to Saiawush; 

Thy savage cruelty, and never look 

For aught but deadly hatred from mankind; 

And in the field of fight defeat and ruin." 

Thus scornfully he spoke, and not a man, 

Though in the presence of Afrasiyab, 

Had soul to meet him; fear o'ercame them all 

Monarch and warriors, for a time. At length 

Shame was awakened, and the king appeared 

In arms against the champion. Fiercely they 

Hurled their sharp javelins — Rustem's struck the head 

Of his opponent's horse, which floundering fell, 

And overturned his rider. Anxious then 

The champion sprang to seize the royal prize; 

But Human rushed between, and saved his master. 

Who vaulted on another horse and fled. 

Having thus rescued Afrasiyab, the wary chief exercised all 
his cunning and adroitness to escape himself, and at last 
succeeded. Rustem pursued him, and the Turanian troops, 
who had followed the example of the king ; but though 
thousands were slain in the chase which continued for many 
farsangs, no further advantage was obtained on that day. 
Next morning, however, Rustem resumed his pursuit ; and the 
enemy hearing of his approach, retreated into Chinese Tartary, 
to secure, among other advantages, the person of Kai-khosrau ; 
leaving the kingdom of Turan at the mercy of the invader, 
who mounted the throne, and ruled there, it is said, about 
Vol. I, — 12 



178 FIRDUSI 

seven years, with memorable severity, proscribing and putting 
to death every person who mentioned the name of Afrasiyab. 
In the meantime he made splendid presents to Tus and Gudarz, 
suitable to their rank and services ; and Ziiara, in revenge for 
the monstrous outrage committed upon Saiawush, burnt and 
destroyed everything that came in his way ; his wrath being 
exasperated by the sight of the places in which the young 
prince had resided, and recreated himself with hunting and 
other sports of the field. The whole realm, in fact, was deliv- 
ered over to plunder and devastation ; and every individual of 
the army was enriched by the appropriation of public and 
private wealth. The companions of Rustem, however, grew 
weary of residing in Tiiran, and they strongly represented to 
him the neglect which Kai-kaus had suffered for so many years, 
recommending his return to Persia, as being more honorable 
than the exile they endured in an ungenial climate. Rustem's 
abandonment of the kingdom was at length carried into effect ; 
and he and his warriors did not fail to take away with them all 
the immense property that remained in jewels and gold ; part 
of which was conveyed by the champion to Zabul and Sistan, 
and a goodly proportion to the king of kings in Persia. 

When to Afrasiyab was known 

The plunder of his realm and throne. 

That the destroyer's reckless hand 

With fire and sword had scathed the land, 

Sorrow and anguish filled his soul, 

And passion raged beyond control; 

And thus he to his warriors said: — 

" At such a time, is valour dead? 

The man who hears the mournful tale, 

And is not by his country's bale 

Urged on to vengeance, cannot be 

Of woman born; accursed is he! 

The time will come when I shall reap 

The harvest of resentment deep; 

And till arrives that fated hour, 

Farewell to joy in hall or bower." 

Rustem, in taking revenge for the murder of Saiawush, had 
not been unmindful of Kai-khosrau, and had actually sent to 
the remote parts of Tartary in quest of him. 

It is said that Gudarz beheld in a dream the young prince, 
who pointed out to him his actual residence, and intimated 



THE SHAH NAMEH 179 

that of all the warriors of Kaus, Giw was the only one destined 
to restore him to the world and his birth-right. The old man 
immediately requested his son Giw to go to the place where the 
stranger would be found. Giw readily complied, and in his 
progress provided himself at every stage successively with a 
guide, whom he afterwards slew to prevent discovery, and in 
this manner he proceeded till he reached the boundary of Chin, 
enjoying no comfort by day, or sleep by night. His only food 
was the flesh of the wild ass, and his only covering the skin of 
the same animal. He went on traversing mountain and forest, 
enduring every privation, and often did he hesitate, often did 
he think of returning, but honor urged him forward in spite 
of the trouble and impediments with which he was continually 
assailed. Arriving in a desert one day, he happened to meet 
with several persons, who upon being interrogated, said that 
they were sent by Piran-wisah in search of Kai-kaiis. Giw 
kept his own secret, saying that he was amusing himself with 
hunting the wild ass, but took care to ascertain from them the 
direction in which they were going. During the night the 
parties separated, and in the morning Giw proceeded rapidly 
on his route, and after some time discovered a youth sitting by 
the side of a fountain, with a cup in his hand, whom he sup- 
posed to be Kai-khosrau. The youth also spontaneously 
thought " This must be Giw " ; and when the traveller ap- 
proached him, and said, " I am sure thou art the son of Saia- 
wush"; the youth observed, " I am equally sure that thou art 
Giw, the son of Gudarz." At this Giw was amazed, and falling 
at his feet, asked how, and from what circumstance, he recog- 
nized him. The youth replied that he knew all the warriors of 
Kaus; Rustem, and Kishwad, and Tus, and Gudarz, and the 
rest, from their portraits in his father's gallery, they being 
deeply impressed on his mind. He then asked in what way 
Giw had discovered him to be Kai-khosrau, and Giw answered, 
" Because I perceived something kingly in thy countenance. 
But let me again examine thee ! " The youth, at this request, 
removed his garments, and Giw beheld that mark on his body 
which was the heritage of the race of Kai-kobad. Upon this 
discovery he rejoiced, and congratulating himself and the 
young prince on the success of his mission, related to him the 
purpose for which he had come. Kai-khosrau was soon 
mounted on horseback, and Giw accompanied him respectfully 



i8o FIRDUSI 

on foot. They, in the first instance, pursued their way towards 
the abode of Ferangis, his mother. The persons sent by Piran- 
wisah did not arrive at the place where Kai-khosrau had been 
kept till long after Giw and the prince departed; and then 
they were told that a Persian horseman had come and carried 
off the youth, upon which they immediately returned, and 
communicated to Piran what had occurred. Ferangis, in re- 
covering her son, mentioned to Giw, with the fondness of a 
mother, the absolute necessity of going on without delay, and 
pointed out to him the meadow in which some of Afrasiyab's 
horses were to be met with, particularly one called Behzad, 
which once belonged to Saiawush, and which her father had 
kept in good condition for his own riding. Giw, therefore, 
went to the meadow, and throwing his kamund, secured Beh- 
zad and another horse ; and all three being thus accommodated, 
hastily proceeded on their journey towards Iran. 

Tidings of the escape of Kai-khosrau having reached Afra- 
siyab, he despatched Kulbad with three hundred horsemen after 
him ; and so rapid were his movements that he overtook the 
fugitives in the vicinity of Bulgharia. Khosrau and his mother 
were asleep, but Giw being awake, and seeing an armed force 
evidently in pursuit of his party, boldly put on his armor, 
mounted Behzad, and before the enemy came up, advanced to 
the charge. He attacked the horsemen furiously with sword 
and mace, for he had heard the prophecy, which declared that 
Kai-khosrau was destined to be the king of kings, and therefore 
he braved the direst peril with confidence, and the certainty of 
success. It was this feeling which enabled him to perform such 
a prodigy of valor, in putting Kulbad and his three hundred 
horsemen to the rout. They all fled defeated, and dispersed 
precipitately before him. After this surprising victory, he re- 
turned to the halting place, and told Kai-khosrau what he had 
done. The prince was disappointed at not having been awak- 
ened to participate in the exploit, but Giw said, " I did not 
wish to disturb thy sweet slumbers unnecessarily. It was thy 
good fortune and prosperous star, however, which made me 
triumph over the enemy." The three travellers then resuming 
their journey : 

Through dreary track, and pathless waste, 
And wood and wild, their way they traced. 



THE SHAh NAMEH i8i 

The return of the defeated Kulbad excited the greatest 
indignation in the breast of Piran. " What ! three hundred 
soldiers to fly from the valor of one man ! Had Giw possessed 
even the activity and might of Rustem and Sam, such a shame- 
ful discomfiture could scarcely have happened." Saying this, 
he ordered the whole force under his command to be got ready, 
and set off himself to overtake and intercept the fugitives, who, 
fatigued with the toilsome march, were only able to proceed 
one stage in the day. Piran, therefore, who travelled at the rate 
of one hundred leagues a day, overtook them before they had 
passed through Bulgharia. Ferangis, who saw the enemy's 
banner floating in the air, knew that it belonged to Piran, 
and instantly awoke the two young men from sleep. Upon 
this occasion, Khosrau insisted on acting his part, instead 
of being left ignominiously idle ; but Giw was still resolute and 
determined to preserve him from all risk, at the peril of his 
own life. " Thou art destined to be the king of the world ; 
thou art yet young, and a novice, and hast never known the 
toils of war ; Heaven forbid that any misfortune should befall 
thee : indeed, whilst I live, I will never suffer thee to go into 
battle ! " Khosrau then proposed to give him assistance ; but 
Giw said he wanted no assistance, not even from Rustem; 
" for," he added, " in art and strength we are equal, having 
frequently tried our skill together." Rustem had given his 
daughter in marriage to Giw, he himself being married to Giw's 
sister. " Be of good cheer," resumed he, " get upon some high 
place, and witness the battle between us. 

Fortune will still from Heaven descend, 
The god of victory is my friend." 

As soon as he took the field, Piran thus addressed him : 
" Thou hast once, singly, defeated three hundred of my 
soldiers ; thou shalt now see what punishment awaits thee at 
my hands. 

For should a warrior be a rock of steel, 

A thousand ants, gathered on every side, 

In time will make him but a heap of dust." 

In reply, Giw said to Piran, " I am the man who bound thy 
two women, and sent them from China to Persia — Rustem and 
I are the same in battle. Thou knowest, when he encountered 



i82 FIRDUSI 

a thousand horsemen, what was the result, and what he accom- 
plished ! Thou wilt find me the same : is not a lion enough to 
overthrow a thousand kids ? 

If but a man survive of thy proud host, 

Brand me with coward — say I'm not a warrior. 

Already have I triumphed o'er Kulbad, 

And now I'll take thee prisoner, yea, alive! 

And send thee to Kaus — there thou wilt be 

Slain to avenge the death of Saiawush; 

Turin shall perish, and Afrasiyab, 

And every earthly hope extinguished quite." 

Hearing this awful threat, Piran turned pale 

And shook with terror — trembling like a reed; 

And saying: " Go, I will not fight with thee! " 

But Giw asked fiercely: " Why? " And on he rushed 

Against the foe, who fled — but 'twas in vain. 

The kamund round the old man's neck was thrown, 

And he was taken captive. Then his troops 

Showered their sharp arrows on triumphant Giw, 

To free their master, who was quickly brought 

Before Kai-khosrau, and the kamund placed 

Within his royal hands. This service done, 

Giw sped against the Tartars, and full soon 

Defeated and dispersed them. 

On his return, Giw expressed his astonishment that Piran 
was still alive; when Ferangis interposed, and weeping, said 
how much she had been indebted to his interposition and the 
most active humanity on various occasions, and particularly in 
saving herself and Kai-khosrau from the wrath of Afrasiyab 
after the death of Saiawush. " If," said she, " after so much 
generosity he has committed one fault, let it be forgiven. 

Let not the man of many virtues die. 

For being guilty of one trifling error. 

Let not the friend who nobly saved my life. 

And more, the dearer life of Kai-khosrau, 

Suflfer from us. O, he must never, never. 

Feel the sharp pang of foul ingratitude, 

From a true prince of the Kaianian race." 

But Giw paused, and said, " I have sworn to crimson the 
earth with his blood, and I must not pass from my oath." 
Khosrau then suggested to him to pierce the lobes of Piran's 
ears, and drop the blood on the ground to stain it, in order that 
he might not depart from his word; and this humane fraud 



THE SHXh nAmEH 183 

was accordingly committed. Khosrau further interceded ; and 
instead of being sent a captive to Kaus, the good old man was 
set at liberty. 

When the particulars of this event were described to Afra- 
siyab by Piran-wisah, he was exceedingly sorrowful, and 
lamented deeply that Kai-khosrau had so successfully effected 
his escape. But he had recourse to a further expedient, and 
sent instructions to all the ferrymen of the Jihiin, with a 
minute description of the three travellers, to prevent their 
passing that river, announcing at the same time that he himself 
was in pursuit of them. Not a moment was lost in preparing 
his army for the march, and he moved forward with the utmost 
expedition, night and day. At the period when Giw arrived on 
the banks of the Jihiin, the stream was very rapid and for- 
midable, and he requested the ferrymen to produce their cer- 
tificates to show themselves equal to their duty. They pre- 
tended that their certificates were lost, but demanded for their 
fare the black horse upon which Giw rode. Giw replied, that 
he could not part with his favorite horse ; and they rejoined, 
" Then give us the damsel who accompanies you." Giw an- 
swered, and said, " This is not a damsel, but the mother of that 
youth ! " — " Then," observed they, " give us the youth's 
crown." But Giw told them that he could not comply with 
their demand ; yet he was ready to reward them with money to 
any extent. The pertinacious ferrymen, who were not anxious 
for money, then demanded his armor, and this was also re- 
fused ; and such was their independence or their effrontery, 
that they replied, " If not one of these four things you are 
disposed to grant, cross the river as best you may." Giw whis- 
pered to Kai-khosrau, and told him that there was no time for 
delay. " When Kavah, the blacksmith," said he, " rescued thy 
great ancestor, Feridun, he passed the stream in his armor with- 
out impediment ; and why should we, in a cause of equal glory, 
hesitate for a moment ? " Under the inspiring influence of an 
auspicious omen, and confiding in the protection of the Al- 
mighty, Kai-khosrau at once impelled his foaming horse into 
the river; his mother, Ferangis, followed with equal intrepidity, 
and then Giw; and notwithstanding the perilous passage, they 
all successfully overcame the boiling surge, and landed in 
safety, to the utter amazement of the ferrymen, who of course 
had expected they would be drowned. 



l84 FIRDUSI 

It so happened that at the moment they touched the shore, 
Afrasiyab with his army arrived, and had the mortification to 
see the fugitives on the other bank, beyond his reach. His 
wonder was equal to his disappointment. 

" What spirits must they have to brave 
The terrors of that boiling wave — 
With steed and harness, riding o'er 
The billows to the further shore." 

It was a cheering sight, they say. 
To see how well they kept their way, 
How Ferangis impelled her horse 
Across that awful torrent's course, 
Guiding him with heroic hand, 
To reach unhurt the friendly strand. 

Afrasiyab continued for some time mute with astonishment 
and vexation, and when he recovered, ordered the ferrymen to 
get ready their boats to pass him over the river ; but Human 
dissuaded him from that measure, saying that they could only 
convey a few troops, and they would doubtless be received by 
a large force of the enemy on the other side. At these words, 
Afrasiyab seemed to devour his own blood with grief and in- 
dignation, and immediately retracing his steps, returned to 
Turan. 

As soon as Giw entered within the boundary of the Persian 
empire, he poured out thanksgivings to God for his protection, 
and sent intelligence to Kaiis of the safe arrival of the party 
in his dominions. The king rejoiced exceedingly, and ap- 
pointed an honorary deputation under the direction of Gudarz, 
to meet the young prince on the road. On first seeing him, the 
king moved forward to receive him ; and weeping affectionately, 
kissed his eyes and face, and had a throne prepared for him 
exactly like his own, upon which he seated him; and calling 
the nobles and warriors of the land together, commanded them 
to obey him. All readily promised their allegiance, excepting 
Tus, who left the court in disgust, and repairing forthwith to 
the house of Friburz, one of the sons of Kaus, told him that he 
would only pay homage and obedience to him, and not to the 
infant whom Giw had just brought out of a desert. Next 
day the great men and leaders were again assembled to declare 
publicly by an official act their fealty to Kai-khosrau, and 
Tus was also invited to the banquet, which was held on the 



THE SHXh NAMEH 185 

occasion, but he refused to go. Giw was deputed to repeat the 
invitation ; and he then said, " I shall pay homage to Friburz, 
as the heir to the throne, and to no other. 

" For is he not the son of Kai-kaiis, 
And worthy of the regal crown and throne? 
I want not any of the race of Poshang — 
None of the proud Turanian dynasty — 
Fruitless has been thy peril, Giw, to bring 
A silly child among us, to defraud 
The rightful prince of his inheritance! " 

Giw, in reply, vindicated the character and attainments of 
Khosrau, but Tiis was not to be appeased. He therefore re- 
turned to his father and communicated to him what had oc- 
curred. Gudarz was roused to great wrath by this resistance to 
the will of the king, and at once took twelve thousand men and 
his seventy-eight kinsmen, together with Giw, and proceeded 
to support his cause by force of arms. Tiis, apprised of his in- 
tentions, prepared to meet him, but was reluctant to commit 
himself by engaging in a civil war, and said, internally : — 

" If I unsheath the sword of strife, 
Numbers on either side will fall, 
I would not sacrifice the life 

Of one who owns my sovereign's thrall. 

My country would abhor the deed, 

And may I never see the hour 
When Persia's sons are doomed to bleed. 

But when opposed to foreign power. 

The cause must be both good and true, 

And if their blood in war must flow, 
Will it not seem of brighter hue, 

When shed to crush the Tartar foe?" 

Possessing these sentiments, Tus sent an envoy to Gudarz, 
suggesting the suspension of any hostile proceedings until in- 
formation on the subject had been first communicated to the 
king. Kaus was extremely displeased with Gudarz for his pre- 
cipitancy and folly, and directed both him and Tus to repair 
immediately to court. Tus there said frankly, " I now owe 
honor and allegiance to king Kaus ; but should he happen to 
lay aside the throne and the diadem, my obedience and loyalty 
will be due to Friburz his heir, and not to a stranger." To 
this, Gudarz replied, " Saiawush was the eldest son of the king, 



i86 FIRDUSI 

and unjustly murdered, and therefore it becomes his majesty to 
appease and rejoice the soul of the deceased, by putting Kai- 
khosrau in his place. Kai-khosrau, like Feridun, is worthy of 
empire ; all the nobles of the land are of this opinion, excepting 
thyself, which must arise from ignorance and vanity. 

From Nauder certainly thou are descended, 
Not from a stranger, not from foreign loins; 
But though thy ancestor was wise and mighty 
Art thou of equal merit? No, not thou! 
Regarding Khosrau, thou hast neither shown 
Reason nor sense — but most surprising folly! " 
To this contemptuous speech, Tiis thus replied: 
" Ungenerous warrior! wherefore thus employ 
Such scornful words to me? Who art thou, pray! 
Who, but the low descendant of a blacksmith? 
No Khosrau claims thee for his son, no chief 
Of noble blood; whilst I can truly boast 
Kindred to princes of the highest worth, 
And merit not to be obscured by thee! " 
To him then Gudarz: " Hear me for this once, 
Then shut thy ears for ever. Need I blush 
To be the kinsman of the glorious Kavah? 
It is my humour to be proud of him. 
Although he was a blacksmith — that same man, 
Who, when the world could still boast of valour, 
Tore up the name-roll of the fiend Zohak, 
And gave the Persians freedom from the fangs 
Of the devouring serpents. He it was, 
Who raised the banner, and proclaimed aloud, 
Freedom for Persia! Need I blush for him? 
To him the empire owes its greatest blessing. 
The prosperous rule of virtuous Feridun." 
Tus wrathfully rejoined: " Old man! thy arrow 
May pierce an anvil — mine can pierce the heart 
Of the Kaf mountain! If thy mace can break 
A rock asunder — mine can strike the sun ! " 

The anger of the two heroes beginning to exceed all proper 
bounds, Kaus commanded silence ; when Gudarz came forward, 
and asked permission to say one word more : " Call Khosrau 
and Friburz before thee, and decide impartially between them 
which is the most worthy of sovereignty — let the wisest and 
the bravest only be thy successor to the throne of Persia." 
Kaus replied : 

" The father has no choice among his children. 
He loves them all alike — his only care 



THE SHAh nAmEH 187 

t 

Is to prevent disunion; to preserve 
Brotherly kindness and respect among them." 

After a pause, he requested the attendance of Friburz and 
Khosrau, and told them that there was a demon-fortress in the 
vicinity of his dominions called Bahmen, from which fire was 
continually issuing. " Go, each of you," said he, " against this 
fortress, supported by an army with which you shall each be 
equally provided, and the conqueror shall be the sovereign of 
Persia." Friburz was not sorry to hear of this probationary 
scheme, and only solicited to be sent first on the expedition. He 
and Tiis looked upon the task as perfectly easy, and promised to 
be back triumphant in a short time. 

But when the army reached that awful fort, 

The ground seemed all in flames on every side; 

One universal fire raged round and round, 

And the hot wind was like the scorching breath 

Which issues from red furnaces, where spirits 

Infernal dwell. Full many a warrior brave, 

And many a soldier perished in that heat, 

Consumed to ashes. Nearer to the fort 

Advancing, they beheld it in mid-air. 

But not a living thing — nor gate, nor door; 

Yet they remained one week, hoping to find 

Some hidden inlet, suffering cruel loss 

Hour after hour — but none could they descry. 

At length, despairing, they returned, worn out, 

Scorched, and half-dead with watching, care, and toil. 

And thus Friburz and Tus, discomfited 

And sad, appeared before the Persian king. 

Then was it Khosrau's turn, and him Kaus 
Despatched with Giw, and Gudarz, and the troops 
Appointed for that enterprise, and blessed them. 
When the young prince approached the destined scene 
Of his exploit, he saw the blazing fort 
Reddening the sky and earth, and well he knew 
This was the work of sorcery, the spell 
Of demon-spirits. In a heavenly dream. 
He had been taught how to destroy the charms 
Of fell magicians, and defy their power, 
Though by the devil, the devil himself, sustained. 
He wrote the name of God, and piously 
Bound it upon his javelin's point, and pressed 
Fearlessly forward, showing it on high; 
And Giw displayed it on the magic walls 
Of that proud fortress — breathing forth a prayer 
Craving the aid of the Almighty arm; 



x88 FIRDUSI 

When suddenly the red fires died away, 

And all the world was darkness. Khosrau's troops 

Following the orders of their prince, then shot 

Thick clouds of arrows from ten thousand bows. 

In the direction of the enchanted tower. 

The arrows fell like rain, and quickly slew 

A host of demons — presently bright light 

Dispelled the gloom, and as the mist rolled off 

In sulphury circles, the surviving fiends 

Were seen in rapid flight; the fortress, too. 

Distinctly shone, and its prodigious gate. 

Through which the conquerors passed. Great wealth they found, 

And having sacked the place, Khosrau erected 

A lofty temple, to commemorate 

His name and victory there, then back returned 

Triumphantly to gladden king Kaiis, 

Whose heart expanded at the joyous news. 

The result of Kai-khosrau's expedition against the enchanted 
castle, compared with that of Friburz, was sufficient of itself to 
establish the former in the king's estimation, and accordingly 
it was announced to the princes and nobles and warriors of the 
land, that he should succeed to the throne, and be crowned on 
a fortunate day. A short time afterwards the coronation took 
place with great pomp and splendor ; and Khosrau conducted 
himself towards men of every rank and station with such perfect 
kindness and benevolence, that he gained the affections of all 
and never failed daily to pay a visit to his grandfather Kaiis, 
and to familiarize himself with the affairs of the kingdom which 
he was destined to govern. 

Justice he spread with equal hand. 
Rooting oppression from the land; 
And every desert, wood, and wild. 
With early cultivation smiled; 
And every plain, with verdure clad, 
And every Persian heart was glad. 



THE SHXh NAMEH 189 



KAI-KHOSRAU 

THE tidings of Khosrau's accession to the throne were 
received at Sistan by Zal and Rustem with heartfelt 
pleasure, and they forthwith hastened to court with 
rich presents, to pay him their homage, and congratulate him 
on the occasion of his elevation. The heroes were met on the 
road with suitable honors, and Khosrau embracing Rustem 
affectionately, lost no time in asking for his assistance in tak- 
ing vengeance for the death of Saiawush. The request was 
no sooner made than granted, and the champion having de- 
livered his presents, then proceeded with his father Zal to wait 
upon Kaus, who prepared a royal banquet, and entertained 
Khosrau and them in the most sumptuous manner. It was 
there agreed to march a large army against Afrasiyab ; and all 
the warriors zealously came forward with their best services, 
except Zal, who on account of his age requested to remain 
tranquilly in his own province. Khosrau said to Kaus : 

" The throne can yield no happiness for me, 
Nor can I sleep the sleep of health and joy 
Till I have been revenged on that destroyer. 
The tyrant of Turin; to please the spirit 
Of my poor butchered father." 

Kaus, on delivering over to him the imperial army, made 
him acquainted with the character and merits of every individ- 
ual of importance. He appointed Friburz, and a hundred 
warriors, who were the prince's friends and relatives, to situa- 
tions of trust and command, and Tus was among them, Gu- 
darz and his seventy-eight sons and grandsons were placed on 
the right, and Gustahem, the brother of Tus, with an immense 
levy on the left. There were also close to Khosrau's person, 
in the centre of the hosts, thirty-three warriors of the race of 
Poshang, and a separate guard under Byzun. 

In their progress Khosrau said to Friburz and Tus, " Ferud, 
who is my brother, has built a strong fort in Bokhara, called 
Kullab, which stands on the way to the enemy, and there he 
resides with his mother, Giilshaher. Let him not be molested, 
for he is also the son of Saiawush, but pass on one side of his 



190 



FIRDUSI 



possessions." Friburz did pass on one side as requested ; but 
Tus, not liking to proceed by the way of the desert, and prefer- 
ring a cultivated and pleasant country, went directly on through 
the places which led to the very fort in question. When Feriid 
was informed of the approach of Tus with an armed force, he 
naturally concluded that he was coming to fight him, and con- 
sequently determined to oppose his progress. Tus, however, 
sent Riu, his son-in-law, to explain to Ferud that he had no 
quarrel or business with him, and only wished to pass peacea- 
bly through his province ; but Ferud thought this was merely 
an idle pretext, and proceeding to hostilities, Riu was killed by 
him in the conflict that ensued. Tus, upon being informed of 
this result, drew up his army, and besieged the fort into which 
Ferud had precipitately retired. When Ferud, however, found 
that Tus himself was in the field, he sallied forth from his fast- 
ness, and assailed him with his bow and arrows. One of the 
darts struck and killed the horse of Tus, and tumbled his rider 
to the ground. Upon this occurrence Giw rushed forward in 
the hopes of capturing the prince ; but it so happened that he 
was unhorsed in the same way. Byzun, the son of Giw, seeing 
with great indignation this signal overthrow, wished to be 
revenged on the victor; and though his father endeavored to 
restrain him, nothing could control his wrath. He sprung 
speedily forward to fulfil his menace, but by the bravery and 
expertness of Feriid, his horse was killed, and he too was 
thrown headlong from his saddle. Unsubdued, however, he 
rose upon his feet, and invited his antagonist to single combat. 
In consequence of this challenge, they fought a short time with 
spears till Ferud deemed it advisable to retire into his fort, 
from the lofty walls of which he cast down so many stones, that 
Byzun was desperately wounded, and compelled to leave the 
place. When he informed Tus of the misfortune which had 
befallen him, that warrior vowed that on the following day not 
a man should remain alive in the fort. The mother of Ferud, 
who was the daughter of Wisah, had at this period a dream 
which informed her that the fortress had taken fire, and that 
the whole of the inhabitants had been consumed to death. 
This dream she communicated to Ferud, who said in reply: — 

" Mother! I have no dread of death; 
What is there in this vital breath? 
My sire was wounded, and he died; 



THE SHAH NAMEH 191 

And fate may lay me by his side! 
Was ever man immortal? — never! 
We cannot, mother, live for ever. 
Mine be the task in life to claim 
In war a bright and spotless name. 
What boots it to be pale with fear. 
And dread each grief that waits us here? 
Protected by the power divine. 
Our lot is written — why repine? " 

Tus, according to his threat, attacked the fort, and burst 
open the gates. Ferud defended himself with great valor against 
Byzun; and whilst they were engaged in deadly battle, Bah- 
ram, the hero, sprang up from his ambuscade, and striking 
furiously upon the head of Ferud, killed that unfortunate 
youth on the spot. The mother, the beautiful Giilshaher, see- 
ing what had befallen her son, rushed out of the fort in a state 
of frenzy, and flying to him, clasped him in her arms in an 
agony of grief. Unable to survive his loss, she plunged a dag- 
ger in her own breast, and died at his feet. The Persians then 
burst open the gates, and plundered the city. Bahram, when he 
saw what had been done, reproached Tiis with being the cause 
of this melancholy tragedy, and asked him what account he 
would give of his conduct to Kai-khosrau. Ttis was extreme- 
ly concerned, and remaining three days at that place, erected a 
lofty monument to the memory of the unfortunate youth, and 
scented it with musk and camphor. He then pushed forward 
his army to attack another fort. That 'fort gave way, the com- 
mandant being killed in the attack ; and he then hastened on 
toward Afrasiyab, who had ordered Nizad with thirty thousand 
horsemen to meet him. Byzun distinguished himself in the 
contest which followed, but would have fallen into the hands 
of the enemy if he had not been rescued by his men, and con- 
veyed from the field of battle. Afrasiyab pushed forward 
another force of forty thousand horsemen under Piran-wisah, 
who suffered considerable loss in an engagement with Giw; 
and in consequence fell back for the purpose of retrieving him- 
self by a shubkhun, or night attack. The resolution proved 
to be a good one ; for when night came on, the Persians were 
found off their guard, many of them being intoxicated, and 
the havoc and destruction committed among them by the Tar- 
tars was dreadful. The survivors were in a miserable state of 
despondency, but it was not till morning dawned that Tus be- 



19a 



FIRDUSI 



held the full extent of his defeat and the ruin that surrounded 
him. When Kai-khosrau heard of this heavy reverse, he 
wrote to Friburz, saying, " I warned Tiis not to proceed by the 
way of Kullab, because my brother and his mother dwelt in 
that place, and their residence ought to have been kept sacred. 
He has not only despised my orders, but he has cruelly occa- 
sioned the untimely death of both. Let him be bound, and 
sent to me a prisoner, and do thou assume the command of the 
army." Friburz accordingly placed Tus in confinement, and 
sent him to Khosrau, who received and treated him with re- 
proaches and wrath, and consigned him to a dungeon. He 
then wrote to Piran, reproaching him for resorting to a night 
attack so unworthy of a brave man, and challenging him to 
resume the battle with him. Piran said that he would meet 
him after the lapse of a month, and at the expiration of that 
period both armies were opposed to each other. The contest 
commenced with arrows, then swords, and then with javelins ; 
and Giw and Byzun were the foremost in bearing down the 
warriors of the enemy, who suffered so severely that they 
turned aside to attack Friburz, against whom they hoped to be 
more successful. The assault which they made was over- 
whelming, and vast numbers were slain, so that Friburz, find- 
ing himself driven to extremity, was obliged to shelter himself 
and his remaining troops on the skirts of a mountain. In the 
meantime Gudarz and Giw determined to keep their ground or 
perish, and sent Byzun to Friburz to desire him to join them, 
or if that was impracticable, to save the imperial banner by 
despatching it to their care. To this message, Friburz replied: 
" The traitors are triumphant over me on every side, and I 
cannot go, nor will I give up the imperial banner, but tell 
Gudarz to come to my aid." Upon receiving this answer, 
Byzun struck the standard-bearer dead, and snatching up the 
Derafsh Gavahni, conveyed it to Gudarz, who, raising it on 
high, directed his troops against the enemy ; and so impetuous 
was the charge, that the carnage on both sides was prodigious. 
Only eight of the sons of Gudarz remained alive, seventy of his 
kindred having been slain on that day, and many of the family 
of Kaus were also killed. Nor did the relations of Afrasiyab 
and Piran suffer in a less degree, nine hundred of them, war- 
riors and cavaliers, were sent out of the world; yet victory 
remained with the Turanians. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 193 

When Afrasiyab was informed of the result of this battle, he 
sent presents and honorary dresses to his officers, saying, " We 
must not be contented with this triumph ; you have yet to ob- 
scure the martial glory of Rustem and Khosrau." Piran re- 
plied, " No doubt that object will be accomplished with equal 
facility." 

After the defeat of the Persian army, Friburz retired under 
the cover of night, and at length arrived at the court of Khos- 
rau, who was afflicted with the deepest sorrow, both on account 
of his loss in battle and the death of his brother Fenid. Rus- 
tem was now as usual applied to for the purpose of consoling 
the king, and extricating the empire from its present misfort- 
unes. Khosrau was induced to liberate Tus from his confine- 
ment, and requested Rustem to head the army against Piran, 
but Tus offered his services, and the champion observed, " He 
is fully competent to oppose the arms of Piran ; but if Afrasiyab 
takes the field, I will myself instantly follow to the war." 
Khosrau accordingly deputed Tus and Giidarz with a large 
army, and the two hostile powers were soon placed in opposi- 
tion to each other. It is said that they were engaged seven 
days and nights, and that on the eighth Human came forward, 
and challenged several warriors to fight singly, all of whom 
he successively slew. He then called upon Tus, but Gudarz 
not permitting him to accept the challenge, sent Giw in his 
stead. The combatants met; and after being wounded and 
exhausted by their struggles for mastery, each returned to his 
own post. The armies again engaged with arrows, and again 
the carnage was great, but the battle remained undecided. 

Piran had now recourse to supernatural agency, and sent 
Baru, a renowned magician, perfect in his art, upon the neigh- 
boring mountains, to involve them in darkness, and produce 
by his conjuration tempestuous showers of snow and hail. He 
ordered him to direct all their intense severity against the 
enemy, and to avoid giving any annoyance to the Turanian 
army. Accordingly when Human and Piran-wisah made 
their attack, they had the co-operation of the elements, and the 
consequence was a desperate overthrow of the Persian army. 

So dreadful was the carnage, that the plain 

Was crimsoned with the blood of warriors slain. 

Vol. I.— 13 



194 



FIRDUSI 



In this extremity, Tiis and Gudarz piously put up a prayer 
to God, earnestly soliciting protection from the horrors with 
which they were surrounded. 

O Thou ! the clement, the compassionate, 

We are thy servants, succor our distress, 

And save us from the sorcery that now 

Yields triumph to the foe. In thee alone 

We place our trust; graciously hear our prayer! 

Scarcely had this petition been uttered, when a mysterious 
person appeared to Reham from the invisible world, and 
pointed to the mountain from whence the tempest descended. 
Reham immediately attended to the sign, and galloped for- 
ward to the mountain, where he discovered the magician upon 
its summit, deeply engaged in incantations and witchcraft. 
Forthwith he drew his sword and cut off this wizard's arms. 
Suddenly a whirlwind arose, which dissipated the utter dark- 
ness that prevailed ; and then nothing remained of the preter- 
natural gloom, not a particle of the hail or snow was to be 
seen : Reham, however, brought him down from the mountain 
and after presenting him before Tiis, put an end to his wicked 
existence. The armies were now on a more equal footing: 
they beheld more clearly the ravages that had been committed 
by each, and each had great need of rest. They accordingly 
retired till the following day, and then again opposed each 
other with renewed vigor and animosity. But fortune would 
not smile on the exertions of the Persian hosts, they being 
obliged to fall back upon the mountain Hamawun, and in the 
fortress situated there Tus deposited all his sick and wounded, 
continuing himself in advance to ensure their protection. Pi- 
ran seeing this, ordered his troops to besiege the place where 
Tus had posted himself. This was objected to by Human, but 
Piran was resolved upon the measure, and had several conflicts 
with the enemy without obtaining any advantage over them. 
In the mountain-fortress there happened to be wells of water 
and abundance of grain and provisions, so that the Persians 
were in no danger of being reduced by starvation. Khosrau, 
however, being informed of their situation, sent Rustem, ac- 
companied by Friburz, to their assistance, and they were both 
welcomed, and received with rejoicing, and cordial satisfaction. 
The fortress gates were thrown open, and Rustem was pres- 



THE SHXh nAmEH 195 

ently seen seated upon a throne in the public hall, deliberating 
on the state of affairs, surrounded by the most distinguished 
leaders of the army. 

In the meanwhile Piran-wisah had written to Afrasiyab, 
informing him that he had reduced the Persian army to great 
distress, had forced them to take refuge in a mountain fort, and 
requested a further reinforcement to complete the victory, and 
make them all prisoners. Afrasiyab in consequence des- 
patched three illustrious confederates from different regions. 
There was Shinkul of Sugsar, the Khakan of Chin, whose 
crown was the starry heavens, and Kamiis of Kushan, a hero 
of high renown and wondrous in every deed. 

For when he frowned, the air grew freezing cold; « 

And when he smiled, the genial spring showered down 
Roses and hyacinths, and all was brightness! 

Piran went first to pay a visit to Kamiis, to whom he, almost 
trembling, described the amazing strength and courage of 
Rustem : but Kamiis was too powerful to express alarm ; on 
the contrary, he said : 

" Is praise like this to Rustem due? 
And what, if all thou say'st be true? 
Are his large limbs of iron made? 
Will they resist my trenchant blade? 
His head may now his shoulders grace. 
But will it long retain its place? 
Let me but meet him in the fight, 
And thou shalt see Kamiis's might! " 

Piran's spirits rose at this bold speech, and encouraged by 
its effects, he repaired to the Khakan of Chin, with whom he 
settled the necessary arrangements for commencing battle on 
the following day. Early in the morning the different armies 
under Kamiis, the Khakan, and Piran-wisah, were drawn out, 
and Rustem was also prepared with the troops under his com- 
mand for the impending conflict. He saw that the force ar- 
rayed against him was prodigious, and most tremendous in 
aspect ; and offering a prayer to the Creator, he plunged into 

the battle. 

'Twas at mid-day the strife began, 
With steed to steed and man to man ; 
The clouds of dust which rolled on high, 
Threw darkness o'er the earth and sky. 



196 FIRDUSI 

Each soldier on the other rushed, 
And every blade with crimson blushed; 
And valiant hearts were trod upon, 

Like sand beneath the horse's feet. 
And when the warrior's life was gone, 

His mail became his winding sheet. 

The first leader who advanced conspicuously from among 
the Tartar army was Ushkabus, against whom Reham boldly 
opposed himself; but after a short conflict, in which he had 
some difficulty in defending his life from the assaults of his 
antagonist, he thought it prudent to retire. When Ushkabus 
saw this he turned round with the intention of rejoining his 
own troops ; but Rustem having witnessed the triumph over 
his friend, sallied forth on foot, taking up his bow, and placing 
a few arrows in his girdle, and asked him whither he was 
going. 

Astonished, Ushkabus cried, " Who art thou? 

What kindred hast thou to lament thy fall? " 

Rustem replied: — " Why madly seek to know 

That which can never yield thee benefit? 

My name is death to thee, thy hour is come ! " 

" Indeed! and thou on foot, mid mounted warriors, 

To talk so bravely! " — " Yes," the champion said; 

" And hast thou never heard of men on foot. 

Who conquered horsemen? I am sent by Tus, 

To take for him the horse of Ushkabus." 

" What! and unarmed? " inquired the Tartar chief; 

" No! " cried the champion, " Mark, my bow and arrow! 

Mark, too, with what effect they may be used! " 

So saying, Rustem drew the string, and straight 

The arrow flew, and faithful to its aim. 

Struck dead the foeman's horse. This done, he laughed. 

But Ushkabus was wroth, and showered upon 

His bold antagonist his quivered store — 

Then Rustem raised his bow, with eager eye 

Choosing a dart, and placed it on the string, 

A thong of elk-skin; to his ear he drew 

The feathered notch, and when the point had touched 

The other hand, the bended horn recoiled, 

And twang the arrow sped, piercing the breast 

Of Ushkabus, who fell a lifeless corse. 

As if he never had been born! Erect, 

And firm, the champion stood upon the plain. 

Towering like mount Alberz, immovable. 

The gaze and wonder of the adverse host! 



THE SHAh nAmEH 197 

When Rustem, still unknown to the Turanian forces, re- 
turned to his own army, the Tartars carried away the body of 
Ushkabus, and took it to the Khakan of Chin, who ordered the 
arrow to be drawn out before him ; and when he and Kamus 
saw how deeply it had penetrated, and that the feathered end 
was wet with blood, they were amazed at the immense power 
which had driven it from the bow; they had never witnessed 
or heard of anything so astonishing. The fight was, in conse- 
quence, suspended till the following day. The Khakan of 
Chin then inquired who was disposed or ready to be revenged 
on the enemy for the death of Ushkabus, when Kamus ad- 
vanced, and, soliciting permission, urged forward his horse to 
the middle of the plain. He then called aloud for Rustem, but 
a Kabul hero, named Alwund, a pupil of Rustem's, asked his 
master's permission to oppose the challenger, which being 
granted, he rushed headlong to the combat. Luckless how- 
ever were his efforts, for he was soon overthrown and slain, and 
then Rustem appeared in arms before the conqueror, who 
hearing his voice, cried : " Why this arrogance and clamor ! 
I am not like Ushkabus, a trembler in thy presence.". Rustem 
replied ; 

" When the Hon sees his prey, 
Sees the elk-deer cross his way, 
Roars he not? The very ground 
Trembles at the dreadful sound. 
And art thou from terror free, 
When opposed in fight to me? " 

Kamus now examined him with a stem eye, and was satisfied 
that he had to contend against a powerful warrior: he there- 
fore with the utmost alacrity threw his kamund, which Rus- 
tem avoided, but it fell over the head of his horse Rakush. 
Anxious to extricate himself from this dilemma, Rustem dex- 
terously caught hold of one end of the kamund, whilst Kamus 
dragged and strained at the other ; and so much strength was 
applied that the line broke in the middle, and Kamus in conse- 
quence tumbled backwards to the ground. The boaster had 
almost succeeded in remounting his horse, when he was se- 
cured round the neck by Rustem's own kamund, and conveyed 
a prisoner to the Persian army, where he was put to death ! 

The fate of Kamus produced a deep sensation among the 
Turanians, and Piran-wisah, partaking of the general alarm. 



198 FIRDUSI 

and thinking it impossible to resist the power of Rustem, pro- 
posed to retire from the contest, but the Khakan of Chin was 
of a different opinion, and offered himself to remedy the evil 
which threatened them all. Moreover the warrior, Chingush, 
volunteered to fight with Rustem ; and having obtained the 
Khakan's permission, he took the field, and boldly challenged 
the champion. Rustem received the foe with a smiling coun- 
tenance, and the struggle began with arrows. After a smart 
attack on both sides, Chingush thought it prudent to fly from 
the overwhelming force of Rustem, who, however, steadily pur- 
sued him, and adroitly seizing the horse by the tail, hurled him 
from his saddle. 

He grasped the charger's flowing tail, 
And all were struck with terror pale, 
To see a sight so strange; the foe, 
Dismounted by one desperate blow; 
The captive asked for life in vain, 
His recreant blood bedewed the plain. 
His head was from his shoulders wrung. 
His body to the vultures flung. 

Rustem, after this exploit, invited some other hero to single 
combat; but at the moment not one replied to his challenge. 
At last Human came forward, not however to fight, but to 
remonstrate, and make an effort to put an end to the war which 
threatened total destruction to his country. " Why such bit- 
ter enmity ? why such a whirlwind of resentment ? " said he ; 
" to this I ascribe the calamities under which we suffer ; but is 
there no way by which this sanguinary career of vengeance 
can be checked or moderated ? " Rustem, in answer, enumer- 
ated the aggressions and the crimes of Afrasiyab, and espe- 
cially dwelt on the atrocious murder of Saiawush, which he 
declared could never be pardoned. Human wished to know 
his name; but Rustem refused to tell him, and requested Piran- 
wlsah might be sent to him, to whom he would communicate 
his thoughts, and the secrets of his heart freely. Human ac- 
cordingly returned, and informed Piran of the champion's 
wishes. 

" This must be Rustem, stronger than the pard. 
The lion, or the Egyptian crocodile, 
Or fell Iblis; dreams never painted hero 
Half so tremendous on the battle plain." 



THE SHAh nAmEH 199 

The old man said to him : 

" If this be Rustem, then the time has come, 
Dreaded so long — for what but fire and sword. 
Can now await us? Every town laid waste, 
Soldier and peasant, husband, wife, and child, 
Sharing the miseries of a ravaged land! " 

With tears in his eyes and a heavy heart, Piran repaired to 
the Khakan, who, after some discussion, permitted him in 
these terms to go and confer with Rustem. 

" Depart then speedful on thy embassy. 
And if he seeks for peace, adjust the terms, 
And presents to be sent us. If he talks 
Of war and vengeance, and is clothed in mail, 
No sign of peace, why we must trust in Heaven 
For strength to crush his hopes of victory. 
He is not formed of iron, nor of brass. 
But flesh and blood, with human nerves and hair, 
He does not in the battle tread the clouds, 
Nor can he vanish, like the demon race — 
Then why this sorrow, why these marks of grief? 
He is not stronger than an elephant; 
Not he, but I will show him what it is 
To fight or gambol with an elephant! 
Besides, for every man his army boasts. 
We have three hundred — wherefore then be sad? " 

Notwithstanding these expressions of confidence, Piran's 
heart was full of alarm and terror ; but he hastened to the Per- 
sian camp, and made himself known to the champion of the 
host, who frankly said, after he had heard Piran's name, " I 
am Rustem of Zabul, armed as thou seest for battle ! " Upon 
which Piran respectfully dismounted, and paid the usual hom- 
age to his illustrious rank and distinction. Rustem said to 
him, " I bring thee the blessings of Kai-khosrau and Ferang^s, 
his mother, who nightly see thy face in their dreams." 

" Blessings from me, upon that royal youth! " 
Exclaimed the good old man. " Blessings on her, 
The daughter of Afrasiyab, his mother, 
Who saved my life — and blessings upon thee, 
Thou matchless hero! Thou hast come for vengeance. 
In the dear name of gallant Saiawush, 
Of Saiawush, the husband of my child, 
(The beautiful Gulshaher), of him who loved me 



SOO FIRDUSI 

As I had been his father. His brave son, 

Ferud, was slaughtered, and his mother too, 

And Khosrau was his brother, now the king. 

By whom he fell, or if not by his sword, 

Whose was the guilty hand? Has punishment 

Been meted to the offender? I protected. 

In mine own house, the princess Ferangis; 

And when her son was born, Kai-khosrau, still 

I, at the risk of my existence, kept them 

Safe from the fury of Afrasiyab, 

Who would have sacrificed the child, or both! 

And night and day I watched them, till the hour 

When they escaped and crossed the boundary-stream. 

Enough of this! Now let us speak of peace. 

Since the confederates in this mighty war 

Are guiltless of the blood of Saiawush! " 

Rustem, in answer to Piran, observed, that in negotiating 
the terms of pacification, several important points were to be 
considered, and several indispensable matters to be attended 
to. No peace could be made unless the principal actors in 
the bloody tragedy of Saiawush's death were first given up, 
particularly Gersiwaz ; vast sums of money were also required 
to be presented to the king of kings ; and, moreover, Rustem 
said he would disdain making peace at all, but that it enabled 
Piran to do service to Kai-khosrau. Piran saw the difficulty 
of acceding to these demands, but he speedily laid them before 
the Khakan, who consulted his confederates on the subject, 
and after due consideration, their pride and shame resisted the 
overtures, which they thought ignominious. Shinkul, a king 
of Ind, was a violent opposer of the terms, and declared against 
peace on any such conditions. Several other warriors ex- 
pressed their readiness to contend against Rustem, and they 
flattered themselves that by a rapid succession of attacks, one 
after the other, they would easily overpower him. The Kha- 
kan was pleased with this conceit and permitted Shinkul to 
begin the struggle. Accordingly he entered the plain, and 
summoned Rustem to renew the fight. The champion came 
and struck him with a spear, which, penetrating his breast, 
threw him oflf his horse to the ground. The dagger was al- 
ready raised to finish his career, but he sprang on his feet, and 
quickly ran away to tell his misfortune to the Khakan of Chin. 

And thus he cried, in look forlorn, 
" This foe is not of mortal born; 



THE SHAH nAmEH 201 

A furious elephant in fight, 

A very mountain to the sight; 

No warrior of the human race. 

That ever wielded spear or mace, 

Alone this dragon could withstand. 

Or live beneath his conquering brand!" 

The Khakan reminded him how different were his feelings 
and sentiments in the morning, and having asked him what he 
now proposed to do, he said that without a considerable force it 
would be useless to return to the field ; five thousand men were 
therefore assigned to him, and with them he proceeded to en- 
gage the champion. Rustem had also been joined by his val- 
iant companions, and a general battle ensued. The heavens 
were obscured by the dust which ascended from the tramp of 
the horses, and the plain was crimsoned with the blood of the 
slain. In the midst of the contest, Sawa, a relation of Kamus, 
burst forward and sought to be revenged on Rustem for the 
fate of his friend. The champion raised his battle-axe, and 
giving Rakush the rein, with one blow of his mace removed 
him to the other world. No sooner had he killed this as- 
sailant than he was attacked by another of the kindred of 
Kamus, named Kahar, whom he also slew, and thus humbled 
the pride of the Kushanians. Elated with his success, and 
having further displayed his valor among the enemy's troops, 
he vowed that he would now encounter the Khakan himself, 
and despoil him of all his pomp and treasure. For this pur- 
pose he selected a thousand horsemen, and thus supported, 
approached the kulubgah, or headquarters of the monarch of 
Chin. The clamor of the cavalry, and the clash of spears and 
swords, resounded afar. The air became as dark as the visage 
of an Ethiopian, and the field was covered with several heads, 
broken armor, and the bodies of the slain. Amidst the con- 
flict Rustem called aloud to the Khakan: — 

" Surrender to my arms those elephants, 
That ivory throne, that crown, and chain of gold; 
Fit trophies for Kai-khosrau, Persia's king; 
For what hast thou to do with diadem 
And sovereign power! My noose shall soon secure thee, 
And I will send thee living to his presence; 
Since, looking on my valour and my strength, 
Life is enough to grant thee. If thou wilt not 
Resign thy crown and throne — thy doom is sealed," 



202 FIRDUSI 

The Khakan, filled with indignation at these haughty words, 
cautioned Rustem to parry off his own danger, and then com- 
manded his troops to assail the enemy with a shower of arrows. 
The attack was so tremendous and terrifying, even beyond the 
picturings of a dream, that Gudarz was alarmed for the safety 
of Rustem, and sent Reham and Giw to his aid. Rustem said 
to Reham : — " I fear that my horse Rakush is becoming weary 
of exertion, in which case what shall I do in this conflict with 
the enemy? I must attack on foot the Khakan of Chin, 
though he has an army here as countless as legions of ants or 
locusts; but if Heaven continues my friend, I shall stretch 
many of them in the dust, and take many prisoners. The cap- 
tives I will send to Khosrau, and all the spoils of Chin." Say- 
ing this he pushed forward, roaring like a tiger, towards the 
Khakan, and exclaiming with a stern voice : — " The Turks are 
allied to the devil, and the wicked are always unprosperous. 
Thou hast not yet fallen in with Rustem, or thy brain would 
have been bewildered. He is a never-dying dragon, always 
seeking the strongest in battle. But thou hast not yet had 
enough of even me ! " He then drew his kamund from the sad- 
dle-strap, and praying to God to grant him victory over his foes, 
urged on Rakush, and wherever he threw the noose, his aim 
was successful. Great was the slaughter, and the Khakan, 
seeing from the back of his white elephant the extent of his 
loss, and beginning to be apprehensive about his own safety, 
ordered one of his warriors, well acquainted with the language 
of Iran, to solicit from the enemy a cessation of hostilities. 

" Say whence this wrath on us, this keen revenge? 
We never injured Saiawush; the kings 
Of Ind and Chin are guiltless of his blood; 
Then why this wrath on strangers? Spells and charms, 
Used by Afrasiyab — the cause of all — 
Have brought us hither to contend against 
The champion Rustem; and since peace is better 
Than war and bloodshed, let us part in peace." 

The messenger having delivered his message, Rustem re- 
plied : — 

" My words are few. Let him give up his crown. 
His golden collar, throne, and elephants ; 
These are the terms I grant. He came for plunder, 
And now he asks for peace. Tell him again. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 203 

Till all his treasure and his crown are mine. 
His throne and elephants, he seeks in vain 
For peace with Rustem, or the Persian king! " 

When the Khakan was informed of these reiterated condi- 
tions, he burst out into bitter reproaches and abuse ; and with 
so loud a voice, that the wind conveyed them distinctly to Rus- 
tem's ear. The champion immediately prepared for the at- 
tack ; and approaching the enemy, flung his kamund, by which 
he at once dragged the Khakan from his white elephant. The 
hands of the captured monarch were straightway bound behind 
his back. Degraded and helpless he stood, and a single stroke 
deprived him of his crown, and throne, and life. 

Such are, since time began, the ways of Heaven; 
Sudi the decrees of fate! Sometimes raised up, 
And sometimes hunted down by enemies, 
Men, struggling, pass through this precarious life. 
Exalted now to sovereign power; and now 
Steeped in the gulf of poverty and sorrow. 
To one is given the affluence of Karun; 
Another dies in want. How little know we 
What form our future fortune may assume! 
The world is all deceit, deception all ! 

Piran-wisah beheld the disasters of the day, he saw the 
Khakan of Chin delivered over to Tiis, his death, and the 
banners of the confederates overthrown ; and sorrowing said : — 
" This day is the day of flight, not of victory to us ! This is 
no time for son to protect father, nor father son — we must 
fly ! " In the meanwhile Rustem, animated by feelings of a 
very different kind, gave a banquet to his warrior friends, in 
celebration of the triumph. 

When the intelligence of the overthrow and death of Kamus 
and the Khakan of Chin, and the dispersion of their armies, 
reached Afrasiyab, he was overwhelmed with distress and con- 
sternation, and expressed his determination to be revenged on 
the conquerors. Not an Iranian, he said, should remain alive ; 
and the doors of his treasury were thrown open to equip and 
reward the new army, which was to consist of a hundred 
thousand men. 

Rustem having communicated to Kai-khosrau, through 
Friburz, the account of his success, received the most satis- 
factory marks of his sovereign's applause; but still anxious 



204 FIRDUSI 

to promote the glory of his country, he engaged in new ex- 
ploits. He went against Kafur, the king of the city of Bidad, 
a cannibal, who feasted on human flesh, especially on the young 
women of his country, and those of the greatest beauty, being 
the richest morsels, were first destroyed. He soon overpowered 
and slew the monster, and having given his body to be de- 
voured by dogs, plundered and razed his castle to the ground. 
After this he invaded and ravaged the province of Khoten, 
one of the dependencies of Turan, and recently the posses- 
sion of Saiawush, which was a new affliction to Afrasiyab, who, 
alarmed about his own empire, dispatched a trusty person 
secretly to Rustem's camp, to obtain private intelligence of his 
hostile movements. The answer of the spy added considerably 
to his distress, and in the dilemma he consulted with Piran- 
wisah, that he might have the benefit of the old man's ex- 
perience and wisdom. Piran told him that he had failed to 
make an impression upon the Persians, even assisted by Kamus 
the Kashanian, and the Khakan of Chin ; both had been slain 
in battle, and therefore it would be in vain to attempt further 
offensive measures without the most powerful aid. There was, 
he added, a neighboring king, named Piiladwund, who alone 
seemed equal to contend with Rustem. He was of immense 
stature, and of prodigious strength, and might by the favor of 
heaven, be able to subdue him. Afrasiyab was pleased with 
this information, and immediately invited Piiladwund, by letter, 
to assist him in exterminating the champion of Persia. Piilad- 
wund was proud of the honor conferred upon him, and readily 
complied; hastening the preparation of his own army to co- 
operate with that of Afrasiyab. He presently joined him, and 
the whole of the combined forces rapidly marched against the 
enemy. The first warrior he encountered was Giw, whom he 
caught with his kamund. Reham and Byzun seeing this, in- 
stantly rushed forward to extricate their brother and champion 
in arms ; but they too were also secured in the same manner ! 
In the struggle, however, the kamunds gave way, and then 
Piiladwund drew his sword, and by several strokes wounded 
them all. The father, Gudarz, apprised of this disaster, which 
had unfortunately happened to three of his sons, applied to Rus- 
tem for succor. The champion, the refuge, the protector of all, 
was, as usual, ready to repel the enemy. He forthwith ad- 
vanced, liberated his friends, and dreadful was the conflict 



THE ShAh NAMEH 205 

which followed. The club was used with great dexterity on 
both sides ; but at length Puladwund struck his antagonist such 
a blow that the sound of it was heard by the troops at a dis- 
tance, and Rustem, stunned by its severity, thought himself 
opposed with so much vigor, that he prayed to the Almighty for 
a prosperous issue to the engagement. 

" Should I be in this struggle slain, 

What stay for Persia will be left? 
None to defend Kai-khosrau's reign, 

Of me, his warrior-chief, bereft. 
Then village, town, and city gay, 
Will feel the cruel Tartar's sway! " 

Puladwund wishing to follow up the blow by a final stroke of 
his sword, found to his amazement that it recoiled from the 
armor of Rustem, and thence he proposed another mode of 
fighting, which he hoped would be more successful. He wished 
to try his power in wrestling. The challenge was accepted. By 
agreement both armies retired, and left the space of a farsang 
between them, and no one was allowed to afford assistance to 
either combatant. Afrasiyab was present, and sent word to 
Puladwund, the moment he got Rustem under him, to plunge 
a sword in his heart. The contest began, but Puladwund had 
no opportunity of fulfilling the wishes of Afrasiyab. Rustem 
grasped him with such vigor, lifted him up in his arms, and 
dashed him so furiously on the plain, that the boaster seemed to 
be killed on the spot. Rustem indeed thought he had put a 
period to his life; and with that impression left him, and re- 
mounted Rakush : but the crafty Puladwund only pretended to 
be dead ; and as soon as he found himself released, sprang up 
and escaped, flying like an arrow to his own side. He then told 
Afrasiyab how he had saved his life by counterfeiting death, 
and assured him that it was useless to contend against Rustem. 
The champion having witnessed this subterfuge, turned round 
in pursuit, and the Tartars received him with a shower of 
arrows ; but the attack was well answered, Puladwund being so 
alarmed that, without saying a word to Afrasiyab, he fled from 
the field. Piran now counselled Afrasiyab to escape also to the 
remotest part of Tartary. As the flight of Puladwund had dis- 
heartened the Turanian troops, and there was no chance of 
profiting by further resistance, Afrasiyab took his advice, and 



2o6 FIRDUSI 

so precipitate was his retreat, that he entirely abandoned his 
standards, tents, horses, arms, and treasure to an immense 
amount. The most valuable booty was sent by Rustem to the 
king of Iran, and a considerable portion of it was divided 
among the chiefs and the soldiers of the army. He then 
mounted Rakush, and proceeded to the court of Kai-khosrau, 
where he was received with the highest honors and with un- 
bounded rejoicings. The king opened his jewel chamber, and 
gave him the richest rubies, and vessels of gold filled with musk 
and aloes, and also splendid garments ; a hundred beautiful 
damsels wearing crowns and ear-rings, a hundred horses, and a 
hundred camels. Having thus terminated triumphantly the 
campaign, Rustem carried with him to Zabul the blessings and 
admiration of his country. 



akwAn diw 

And now we come to Akwan Diw, 
Whom Rustem next in combat slew. 

ONE day as Kai-khosrau was sitting in his beautiful gar- 
den, abounding in roses and the balmy luxuriance of 
spring, surrounded by his warriors, and enjoying the 
pleasures of the banquet with music and singing, a peasant ap- 
proached, and informed him of a most mysterious apparition. 
A wild ass, he said, had come in from the neighboring forest ; 
it had at least the external appearance of a wild ass, but pos- 
sessed such supernatural strength, that it had rushed among the 
horses in the royal stables with the ferocity of a lion or a demon, 
doing extensive injury, and in fact appeared to be an evil spirit ! 
Kai-khosrau felt assured that it was something more than it 
seemed to be, and looked round among his warriors to know 
what should be done. It was soon found that Rustem was the 
only person capable of giving effectual assistance in this emer- 
gency, and accordingly a message was forwarded to request his 
services. The champion instantly complied, and it was not 
long before he occupied himself upon the important enterprise. 
Guided by the peasant, he proceeded in the first place towards 



THE SHAH NAMEH 207 

the spot where the mysterious animal had been seen; but it 
was not till the fourth day of his search that he fell in with 
him, and then, being anxious to secure him alive, and send 
him as a trophy to Kai-khosrau, he threw his kamund ; but it 
was in vain : the wild ass in a moment vanished out of sight ! 
From this circumstance Rustem observed, " This can be no 
other than Akwan Diw, and my weapon must now be either 
dagger or sword." The next time the wild ass appeared he 
pursued him with his drawn sword; but on lifting it up to 
strike, nothing was to be seen. He tried again, when he came 
near him, both spear and arrow : still the animal vanished, dis- 
appointing his blow; and thus three days and nights he con- 
tinued fighting, as it were against a shadow. Wearied at length 
with his exertions, he dismounted, and leading Rakush to a 
green spot near a limpid fountain or rivulet of spring water, 
allowed him to graze, and then went to sleep. Akwan Diw 
seeing from a distance that Rustem had fallen asleep, rushed 
towards him like a whirlwind, and rapidly digging up the 
ground on every side of him, took up the plot of ground and 
the champion together, placed them upon his head, and walked 
away with them. Rustem being awakened with the motion, he 
was thus addressed by the giant-demon : — 

" Warrior! now no longer free! 
Tell me what thy wish may be; 
Shall I plunge thee in the sea, 

Or leave thee on the mountain drear. 
None to give thee succour, near? 
Tell thy wish to me!" 

Rustem, thus deplorably in the power of the demon, began 
to consider what was best to be done, and recollecting that it 
was customary with that supernatural race to act by the rule 
of contraries, in opposition to an expressed desire, said in reply, 
for he knew that if he was thrown into the sea there would be 
a good chance of escape : — 

" O, plunge me not in the roaring sea, 
The maw of a fish is no home for me; 
But cast me forth on the mountain; there 
Is the lion's haunt and the tiger's lair; 
And for them I shall be a morsel of food, 
They will eat my flesh and drink my blood; 



ao8 -!«»• FIRDUSI 

But my bones will be left, to show the place 
Where this form was devoured by the feline race; 
Yes, something will then remain of me, 
Whilst nothing escapes from the roaring sea! " 

Akwan Diw having heard this particular desire of Rustem, 
determined at once to thwart him, and for this purpose he 
raised him up with his hands, and flung him from his lofty- 
position headlong into the deep and roaring ocean. Down he 
fell, and a crocodile speedily darted upon him with the eager 
intention of devouring him alive ; but Rustem drew his sword 
with alacrity, and severed the monster's head from his body. 
Another came, and was put to death in the same manner, and 
the water was crimsoned with blood. At last he succeeded in 
swimming safely on shore, and instantly returned thanks to 
Heaven for the signal protection he had experienced. 

Breasting the wave, with fearless skill 

He used his glittering brand; 
And glorious and triumphant still. 

He quickly reached the strand. 

He then moved towards the fountain where he had left 
Rakush; but, to his great alarm and vexation his matchless 
horse was not there. He wandered about for some time, and 
in the end found him among a herd of horses belonging to 
Afrasiyab. Having first caught him, and resumed his seat in 
the saddle, he resolved upon capturing and driving away the 
whole herd, and conveying them to Kai-khosrau. He was 
carrying into effect this resolution when the noise awoke the 
keepers specially employed by Afrasiyab, and they, indignant 
at this outrageous proceeding, called together a strong party to 
pursue the aggressor. When they had nearly reached him, he 
turned boldly round, and said aloud : — " I am Rustem, the 
descendant of Sam. I have conquered Afrasiyab in battle, and 
after that dost thou presume to oppose me ? " Hearing this, 
the keepers of the Tartar stud instantly turned their backs, and 
ran away. 

It so happened that at this period Afrasiyab paid his annual 
visit to his nursery of horses, and on his coming to the meadows 
in which they were kept, neither horses nor keepers were to be 
seen. In a short time, however, he was informed by those who 
had returned from the pursuit, that Rustem was the person who 



THE SHAh nAmEH 209 

had carried off the herd, and upon hearing of this outrage, he 
proceeded with his troops at once to attack him. Impatient at 
the indignity, he approached Rustem with great fury, but was 
presently compelled to fly to save his life, and thus allow his 
herd of favorite steeds, together with four elephants, to be 
placed in the possession of Kai-khosrau. Rustem then returned 
to the meadows and the fountain near the habitation of Akwan 
Diw; and there he again met the demon, who thus accosted 
him: — 

"What! art thou then aroused from death's dark sleep? 
Hast thou escaped the monsters of the deep? 
And dost thou seek upon the dusty plain 
To struggle with a demon's power again? 
Of flint, or brass, or iron is thy form? 
Or canst thou, like the demons, raise the dreadful battle storm?" 

Rustem, hearing this taunt from the tongue of Akwan Diw, 
prepared for fight, and threw his kamund with such precision 
and force, that the demon was entangled in it, and then he 
struck him such a mighty blow with his sword, that it severed 
the head from the body. The severed head of the unclean 
monster he transmitted as a trophy to Kai-khosrau, by whom 
it was regarded with amazement, on account of its hideous ex- 
pression and its vast size. After this extraordinary feat, Rus- 
tem paid his respects to the king, and was received as usual with 
distinguished honor and affection ; and having enjoyed the 
magnificent hospitality of the court for some time, he returned 
to Zabulistan, accompanied part of the way by Kai-khosrau 
himself and a crowd of valiant warriors, ever anxious to ac- 
knowledge his superior worth and prodigious strength. 

Vol. I. — 14 



210 FIRDUSI 



THE STORY OF BYZUN AND MANIJEH* 

ONE day the people of Arman petitioned Kai-khosrau to 
remove from them a grievous calamity. The country 
they inhabited was overrun with herds of wild boars, 
which not only destroyed the produce of their fields, but the 
fruit and flowers in their orchards and gardens, and so extreme 
was the ferocity of the animals that it was dangerous to go 
abroad; they therefore solicited protection from this disastrous 
visitation, and hoped for relief. The king was at the time en- 
joying himself amidst his warriors at a banquet, drinking wine, 
and listening to music and the songs of bewitching damsels. 

The glance of beauty, and the charm 
Of heavenly sounds, so soft and thrilling. 

And ruby wine, must ever warm 
The heart, with love and rapture filling. 

Can aught more sweet, more genial prove. 

Than melting music, wine, and love? 

The moment he was made acquainted with the grievances 
endured by the Armenians, he referred the matter to the con- 
sideration of his counsellors and nobles, in order that a remedy 
might be immediately applied. Byzun, when he heard what 
was required, and had learned the disposition of the king, rose 
up at once with all the enthusiasm of youth, and offered to 
undertake the extermination of the wild boars himself. But 
Giw objected to so great a hazard, for he was too young, he 
said ; a hero of greater experience being necessary for such an 
arduous enterprise. Byzun, however, was not to be rejected on 
this account, and observed, that though young, he was mature 
in judgment and discretion, and he relied on the liberal decision 
of the king, who at length permitted him to go, but he was to be 
accompanied by the veteran warrior Girgin. Accordingly 
Byzun and Girgin set off on the perilous expedition ; and after 
a journey of several days arrived at the place situated between 
Iran and Turan, where the wild boars were the most destruc- 
tive. In a short time a great number were hunted down and 
killed, and Byzun, utterly to destroy the sustenance of the de- 

l * Manijeh was the daughter of Afrasiyab. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 211 

predators, set fire to the forest, and reduced the whole of the 
cultivation to ashes. His exertions were, in short, entirely suc- 
cessful, and the country was thus freed from the visitation 
which had occasioned so much distress and ruin. To give in- 
contestable proof of this exploit, he cut off the heads of all the 
wild boars, and took out the tusks, to send to Kai-khosrau. 
When Girgin had witnessed the intrepidity and boldness of 
Byzun, and found him determined to send the evidence of his 
bravery to Kai-khosrau, he became envious of the youth's suc- 
cess, and anticipated by comparison the ruin of his own name 
and the gratification of his foes. He therefore attempted to 
dissuade him from sending the trophies to the king, and having 
failed, he resolved upon getting him out of the way. To effect 
this purpose he worked upon the feelings and the passions of 
Byzun with consummate art, and whilst his victim was warm 
with wine, praised him beyond all the warriors of the age. He 
then told him he had heard that at no great distance from them 
there was a beautiful place, a garden of perpetual spring, which 
was visited every vernal season by Manijeh, the lovely daughter 
of Afrasiyab. 

" It is a spot beyond imagination 
Delightful to the heart, where roses bloom, 
And sparkling fountains murmur — where the earth 
Is rich with many-colored flowers; and musk 
Floats on the gentle breezes, hyacinths 
And lilies add their perfume — golden fruits 
Weigh down the branches of the lofty trees, 
The glittering pheasant moves in stately pomp, 
The bulbul warbles from the cypress bough, 
And love-inspiring damsels may be seen 
O'er hill and dale, their lips all winning smiles, 
Their cheeks like roses — in their sleepy eyes 
Delicious languor dwelling. Over them 
Presides the daughter of Afrasiyab, 
The beautiful Manijeh; should we go, 
('Tis but a little distance), and encamp 
Among the lovely groups — in that retreat 
Which blooms like Paradise — we may secure 
A bevy of fair virgins for the king! " 

Byzun was excited by this description; and impatient to 
realize what it promised, repaired without delay, accompanied 
by Girgin, to the romantic retirement of the princess. They 
approached so close to the summer-tent in which she dwelt that 



212 FIRDUSI 

she had a full view of Byzun, and immediately becoming deeply 
enamoured of his person despatched a confidential domestic, 
her nurse, to inquire who he was, and from whence he came. 

" Go, and beneath that cypress tree, 
Where now he sits so gracefully, 
Ask him his name, that radiant moon. 
And he may grant another boon! 
Perchance he may to me impart 
The secret wishes of his heart! 
Tell him he must, and further say, 
That I have lived here many a day; 
That every year, whilst spring discloses 
The fragrant breath of budding roses, 
I pass my time in rural pleasure; 
But never — never such a treasure, 
A mortal of such perfect mould, 
Did these admiring eyes behold! 
Never, since it has been my lot 
To dwell in this sequestered spot, 
A youth by nature so designed 
To soothe a love-lorn damsel's mind! 
His wondrous looks my bosom thrill 
Can Saiawush be living still? " 

The nurse communicated faithfully the message of Manijeh, 
and Byzun's countenance glowed with delight when he heard it. 
" Tell thy fair mistress," he said in reply, " that I am not 
Saiawush, but the son of Giw. I came from Iran, with the 
express permission of the king, to exterminate a terrible and 
destructive herd of wild boars in this neighborhood ; and I 
have cut ofif their heads, and torn out their tusks to be sent to 
Kai-khosrau, that the king and his warriors may fully appreci- 
ate the exploit I have performed. But having heard afterwards 
of thy mistress's beauty and attractions, home and my father 
were forgotten, and I have preferred following my own desires 
by coming hither. If thou wilt therefore forward my views ; 
if thou wilt become my friend by introducing me to thy mistress, 
who is possessed of such matchless charms, these precious 
gems are thine and this coronet of gold. Perhaps the daughter 
of Afrasiyab may be induced to listen to my suit." The nurse 
was not long in making known the sentiments of the stranger, 
and Manijeh was equally prompt in expressing her consent. 
The message was full of ardor and affection. 



THE SHAh nAmEH ai3 

" O gallant youth, no farther roam, 
This summer-tent shall be thy home; 
Then will the clouds of grief depart 
From this enamoured, anxious heart. 
For thee I live — thou art the light 
Which makes my future fortune bright. 
Should arrows pour like showers of rain 
Upon my head — 'twould be in vain; 
Nothing can ever injure me. 
Blessed with thy love — possessed of thee!" 

Byzun therefore proceeded unobserved to the tent of the 
princess, who on meeting and receiving him, pressed him to her 
bosom; and taking off his Kaiani girdle, that he might be 
more at his ease, asked him to sit down and relate the particulars 
of his enterprise among the wild boars of the forest. Having 
done so, he added that he had left Girgin behind him. 

" Enraptured, and impatient to survey 
Thy charms, I brook'd no pause upon the way." 

He was immediately perfumed with musk and rose-water, 
and refreshments of every kind were set before him ; musicians 
played their sweetest airs, and dark-eyed damsels waited upon 
him. The walls of the tent were gorgeously adorned with 
amber, and gold, and rubies ; and the sparkling old wine was 
drunk out of crystal goblets. The feast of joy lasted three 
nights and three days, Byzun and Manijeh enjoying the 
precious moments with unspeakable rapture. Overcome with 
wine and the felicity of the scene, he at length sunk into 
repose, and on the fourth day came the time of departure ; but 
the princess, unable to relinquish the society of her lover, 
ordered a narcotic draught to be administered to him, and 
whilst he continued in a state of slumber and insensibility, he 
was conveyed secretly and in disguise into Turan. He was 
taken even to the palace of Afrasiyab, unknown to all but to the 
emissaries and domestics of the princess, and there he awoke 
from the trance into which he had been thrown, and found 
himself clasped in the arms of his idol. Considering, on com- 
ing to his senses, that he had been betrayed by some witchery, 
he made an attempt to get out of the seclusion : above all, he 
was apprehensive of a fatal termination to the adventure ; but 
Manijeh's blandishments induced him to remain, and for some 



814 FIRDUSI 

time he was contented to be immersed in continual enjoyment 
— such pleasure as arises from the social banquet and the at- 
tractions of a fascinating woman. 

" Grieve not my love — be not so sad, 
'Tis now the season to be glad; 
There is a time for war and strife, 
A time to soothe the ills of life. 
Drink of the cup which yields delight. 
The ruby glitters in thy sight; 
Steep not thy heart in fruitless care, 
But in the wine-flask sparkling there." 

At length, however, the love of the princess for a Persian 
youth was discovered, and the keepers and guards of the palace 
were in the greatest terror, expecting the most signal punish- 
ment for their neglect or treachery. Dreadful indeed was the 
rage of the king when he was first told the tidings ; he trem- 
bled like a reed in the wind, and the color fled from his cheeks. 
Groaning, he exclaimed : — 

" A daughter, even from a royal stock, 
Is ever a misfortune — hast thou one? 
The grave will be thy fittest son-in-law! 
Rejoice not in the wisdom of a daughter; 
Who ever finds a daughter good and virtuous? 
Who ever looks on woman-kind for aught 
Save wickedness and folly? Hence how few 
Ever enjoy the bliss of Paradise: 
Such the sad destiny of erring woman! " 

Afrasiyab consulted the nobles of his household upon the 
measures to be pursued on this occasion, and Gersiwaz was in 
consequence deputed to secure Byzun, and put him to death. 
The guilty retreat was first surrounded by troops, and then 
Gersiwaz entered the private apartments, and with surprise and 
indignation saw Byzun in all his glory, Manijeh at his side, 
his lips stained with wine, his face full of mirth and gladness, 
and encircled by the damsels of the shubistan. He accosted 
him in severe terms, and was promptly answered by Byzun, 
who, drawing his sword, gave his name and family, and declared 
that if any violence or insult was oflfered, he would slay 
every man that came before him with hostile intentions. 
Gersiwaz, on hearing this, thought it prudent to change his 
plan, and conduct him to Afrasiyab, and he was permitted to 



THE SHAh NAMEIi 81$ 

do so on the promise of pardon for the alleged ofifence. When 
brought before Afrasiyab, he was assailed with further oppro- 
brium, and called a dog and a wicked remorseless demon. 

" Thou caitiff wretch, of monstrous birth. 
Allied to hell, and not of earth! " 

But he thus answered the king : — 

" Listen awhile, if justice be thy aim. 
And thou wilt find me guiltless. I was sent 
From Persia to destroy herds of wild boars, 
Which laid the country waste. That labour done, 
I lost my way, and weary with the toil, 
Weary with wandering in a wildering maze. 
Haply reposed beneath a shady cypress; 
Thither a Peri came, and whilst I slept. 
Lifted me from the ground, and quick as thought 
Conveyed me to a summer-tent, where dwelt 
A princess of incomparable beauty. 
From thence, by hands unknown, I was removed. 
Still slumbering in a litter — still unconscious; 
And when I woke, I found myself reclining 
In a retired pavilion of thy palace, 
Attended by that soul-entrancing beauty ! 
My heart was filled with sorrow, and I shed 
Showers of vain tears, and desolate I sate, 
Thinking of Persia, with no power to fly 
From my imprisonment, though soft and kind. 
Being the victim of a sorcerer's art. 
Yes, I am guiltless, and Manijeh too, 
Both by some magic influence pursued. 
And led away against our will or choice ! " 

Afrasiyab listened to this speech with distrust, and hesitated 
not to charge him with falsehood and cowardice. Byzun's 
indignation was roused by this insulting accusation; and he 
said to him aloud, " Cowardice, what ! cowardice ! I have en- 
countered the tusks of the formidable wild boar and the claws 
of the raging lion. I have met the bravest in battle with sword 
and arrow ; and if it be thy desire to witness the strength of my 
arm, give me but a horse and a battle-axe, and marshal twice 
five hundred Turanians against me, and not a man of them 
shall survive the contest. If this be not thy pleasure, do thy 
worst, but remember my blood will be avenged. Thou know- 
est the power of Rustem ! " The mention of Rustem's name 



2i6 FIRDUSI 

newed all the deep feelings of resentment and animosity in the 
mind of Afrasiyab, who, resolved upon the immediate execution 
of his purpose, commanded Gersiwaz to bind the youth, and 
put an end to his life on the gallows tree. The good old man 
Piran-wisah happened to be passing by the place to which 
Byzun had just been conveyed to suffer death; and seeing a 
great concourse of people, and a lofty dar erected, from which 
hung a noose, he inquired for whom it was intended. Gersiwaz 
heard the question, and replied that it was for a Persian, an 
enemy of Turan, a son of Giw, and related to Rustem. Piran 
straightway rode up to the youth, who was standing in deep 
affliction, almost naked, and with his hands bound behind his 
back, and he said to him : — 

" Why didst thou quit thy country, why come hither. 
Why choose the road to an untimely grave? " 

Upon this Byzun told him his whole story, and the treachery 
of Girgin. Piran wept at the recital, and remembering the 
circumstances under which he had encountered Giw, and how 
he had been himself delivered from death by the interposition 
of Ferangis, he requested the execution to be stayed until he 
had seen the king, which was accordingly done. The king 
received him with honor, praised his wisdom and prudence, 
and conjecturing from his manner that something was heavy 
at his heart, expressed his readiness to grant any favor which 
he might have come to solicit. Piran said : " Then, my only 
desire is this : do not put Byzun to death ; do not repeat the 
tragedy of Saiawush, and again consign Turan and Iran to all 
the horrors of war and desolation. Remember how I warned 
thee against taking the life of that young prince ; but malignant 
and evil advisers exerted their influence, were trium.phant, and 
brought upon thee and thy kingdom the vengeance of Kaus, 
of Rustem, and all the warriors of the Persian empire. The 
swords now sleeping in their scabbards are ready to flash forth 
again, for assuredly if the blood of Byzun be spilt the land will 
be depopulated by fire and sword. The honor of a king is 
sacred ; when that is lost, all is lost." But Afrasiyab replied : 
" I fear not the thousands that can be brought against me. 
Byzun has committed an offence which can never be pardoned ; 
it covers me with shame, and I shall be universally despised if I 
suffer him to live. Death were better for me than life in dis- 



THE SHXh nAmEH 217 

grace. He must die." — "That is not necessary," rejoined Piran, 
" let him be imprisoned in a deep cavern ; he will never be heard 
of more, and then thou canst not be accused of having shed his 
blood." After some deliberation, Afrasiyab altered his deter- 
mination, and commanded Gersiwaz to bind the youth with 
chains from head to foot, and hang him within a deep pit with 
his head downwards, that he might never see sun or moon 
again ; and he sentenced Manijeh to share the same fate : and 
to make their death more sure, he ordered the enormous frag- 
ment of rock which Akwan Diw had dragged out of the ocean 
and flung upon the plain of Tartary, to be placed over the 
mouth of the pit. In respect to Byzun, Gersiwaz did as he was 
commanded ; but the lamentations in the shubistan were so loud 
and distressing upon Manijeh being sentenced to the same pun- 
ishment, that the tyrant was induced to change her doomj 
allowing her to dwell near the pit, but forbidding, by proclama^ 
tion, anyone going to her or supplying her with food. Gersiwaz 
conducted her to the place ; and stripping her of her rich gar- 
ments and jewels, left her bareheaded and barefooted, weeping 
torrents of tears. 

He left her — the unhappy maid; 
Her head upon the earth was laid, 
In bitterness of grief, and lone, 
Beside that dreadful demon-stone. 

There happened, however, to be a fissure in the huge rock 
that covered the mouth of the pit, which allowed -of Byzun's 
voice being heard, and bread and water was let down to him, 
so that they had the melancholy satisfaction of hearing each 
other's woes. 

The story now relates to Girgin, who finding after several 
days that Byzun had not returned, began to repent of his 
treachery ; but what is the advantage of such repentance ? it 
is like the smoke that rises from a conflagration. 

When flames have done their worst, thick clouds arise 
Of lurid smoke, which useless mount the skies. 

He sought everywhere for him ; went to the romantic retreat 
where the daughter of Afrasiyab resided ; but the place was 
deserted, nothing was to be seen, and nothing to be heard. At 



2i8 FIRDUSI 

length he saw Byzun's horse astray, and securing him with his 
kamund, thought it useless to remain in Turan, and therefore 
proceeded in sorrow back to Iran. Giw, finding that his son 
had not returned with him from Arman, was frantic with 
grief ; he tore his garments and his hair, and threw ashes over 
his head; and seeing the horse his son had ridden, caressed 
it in the fondest manner, demanding from Girgin a full account 
of what he knew of his fate. " O Heaven forbid," said he, 
" that my son should have fallen into the power of the merci- 
less demons ! " Girgin could not safely confess the truth, and 
therefore told a falsehood, in the hope of escaping from the 
consequences of his own guilt. " When we arrived at Arman," 
said he, " we entered a large forest, and cutting down the trees, 
set them on fire. We then attacked the wild boars, which were 
found in vast numbers ; and as soon as they were all destroyed, 
left the place on our return. Sporting all the way, we fell in 
with an elk, of a most beautiful and wonderful form. It was 
Hke the Simurgh ; it had hoofs of steel, and the head and ears 
and tail of a horse. It was strong as a lion and fleet as the 
wind, and came fiercely before us, yet seemed to be a thing of 
air. Byzun threw his kamund over him ; and when entangled 
in the noose, the animal became furious and sprung away, 
dragging Byzun after him. Presently the prospect was envel- 
oped in smoke, the earth looked like the ocean, and Byzun and 
the phantom-elk disappeared. I wandered about in search of 
my companion, but found him not: his horse only remained. 
My heart was rent with anguish, for it seemed to me that the 
furious elk must have been the White Demon." But Giw was 
not to be deceived by this fabricated tale ; on the contrary, he 
felt convinced that treachery had been at work, and in his rage 
seized Girgin by the beard, dragged him to and fro, and inflicted 
on him two hundred strokes with a scourge. The unhappy 
wretch, from the wounds he had received, fell senseless on the 
ground. Giw then hastened to Kai-khosrau to inform him of 
his misfortune; and though the first resolve was to put the 
traitor to death, the king was contented to load him with 
chains and cast him into prison. The astrologers being now 
consulted, pronounced that Byzun was still living, and Giw was 
consoled and cheered by the promptitude with which the king 
despatched troops in every quarter in search of his son. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 219 

** Weep no longer, warrior bold. 
Thou shalt soon thy son behold. 
In this Cup, this mirror bright, 
All that's dark is brought to light; 
All above and under ground, 
All that's lost is quickly found." 
Thus spake the monarch, and held up 
Before his view that wondrous Cup 
Which first to Jemshid's eye revealed 
All that was in the world concealed. 
And first before him lay exposed 
All that the seven climes enclosed, 
Whether in ocean or amid 
The stars the secret things were hid, 
Whether in rock or cavern placed, 
In that bright Cup were clearly traced. 
And now his eye Karugsar surveys. 
The Cup the province wide displays. 
He sees within that dismal cave 
Byzun the good, the bold, the brave; 
And sitting on that demon-stone 
Lovely Manijeh sad and lone. 
And now he smiles and looks on Giw, 
And cries: " My prophecy was true. 
Thy Byzun lives; no longer grieve, 
I see him there, my words believe; 
And though bound fast in fetters, he 
Shall soon regain his liberty." 

Kai-khosrau, thinking the services of Rustem requisite on 
this occasion, dispatched Giw with an invitation to him, ex- 
plaining the circumstance of Byzun's capture. Rustem had 
made up his mind to continue in peace and tranquilHty at his 
Zabul principahty, and not to be withdrawn again from its 
comforts by any emergency ; but the reported situation of his 
near relative altered his purpose, and he hesitated not to give 
his best aid to restore him to freedom. Giw rejoiced at this, 
and both repaired without delay to the royal residence, where 
Khosrau gratified the champion with the most cordial welcome, 
placing him on a throne before him. The king asked him what 
force he would require, and he replied that he did not require 
any army ; he preferred going in disguise as a merchant. Ac- 
cordingly the necessary materials were prepared ; a thousand 
camels were laden with jewels and brocades, and other mer- 
chandise, and a thousand warriors were habited like camel- 
drivers. Girgin had prayed to be released from his bonds, and 



220 FIRDUSI 

by the intercession of Rustem was allowed to be of the party ; 
but his children were kept in prison as hostages and security 
for his honorable conduct. When the champion, with his 
kafila, arrived within the territory of the enemy, and approached 
the spot where Byzun was imprisoned, a loud clamor arose 
that a caravan of merchandise had come from Iran, such as was 
never seen before. The tidings having reached the ear of 
Manijeh, she went immediately to Rustem, and inquired 
whether the imprisonment of Byzun was yet known at the 
Persian court ? Rustem replied in anger : " I am a merchant 
employed in traffic, what can I know of such things? Go 
avvay, I have no acquaintance with either the king or his 
warriors." This answer overwhelmed Manijeh with disap- 
pointment and grief, and she wept bitterly. Her tears began 
to soften the heart of Rustem, and he said to her in a soothing 
voice : — " I am not an inhabitant of the city in which the court 
is held, and on that account I know nothing of these matters ; 
but tell me the cause of thy grief." Manijeh sighed deeply, and 
endeavored to avoid giving him any reply, which increased the 
curiosity of the champion ; but she at length complied. She told 
him who she was, the daughter of Afrasiyab, the story of her 
love, and the misfortunes of Byzun, and pointed out to him the 
pit in which he was imprisoned and bound down with heavy 
chains. 

" For the sake of him has been my fall 
From royal state, and bovver, and hall. 
And hence this pale and haggard face. 
This safifron hue thy eye may trace, 
Where bud of rose was wont to bloom. 

But withered now and gone; 
And I must sit in sorrow's gloom 

Unsuccoured and alone." 

Rustem asked with deep interest if any food could be con- 
veyed to him, and she said that she had been accustomed to 
supply him with bread and water through a fissure in the huge 
stone which covered the mouth of the pit. Upon receiving 
this welcome information, Rustem brought a roasted fowl, and 
inclosing in it his own seal-ring, gave it to Manijeh to take to 
Byzun. The poor captive, on receiving it, inquired by whom 
such a blessing could have been sent, and when she informed 
him that it had been given to her by the chief of a caravan 



THE SHAH NAMEH 22t 

from Iran, who had manifested great anxiety about him, his 
smiles spoke the joyous feelings of his heart, for the name of 
Rustem was engraved on the ring. Manijeh was surprised to 
see him smile, considering his melancholy situation, and could 
not imagine the cause. " If thou wilt keep my secret," said 
he, " I will tell thee the cause." " What ! " she replied, " have I 
not devoted my heart and soul to thee ? — have I not sacrificed 
everything for thy love, and is my fidelity now to be suspected ? 

Can I be faithless, then, to thee, 

The choice of this fond heart of mine; 

Why sought I bonds, when I was free, 
But to be thine — forever thine?" 

" True, true ! then hear me : — the chief of the caravan is 
Rustem, who has undoubtedly come to release me from this 
dreadful pit. Go to him, and concert with him the manner in 
which my deliverance may be soonest effected." Manijeh ac- 
cordingly went and communicated with the champion ; and it 
was agreed between them that she should light a large fire to 
guide him on his way. He was prompt as well as valiant, and 
repaired in the middle of the following night, accompanied by 
seven of his warriors, directed by the blaze, to the place where 
Byzun was confined. The neighborhood was infested by 
demons with long nails, and long hair on their bodies like the 
hair of a goat, and horny feet, and with heads like dogs, and 
the chief of them was the son of Akwan Diw. The father 
having been slain by Rustem, the son nourished the hope of 
revenge, and perpetually longed for an opportunity of meeting 
him in battle. Well knowing that the champion was engaged 
in the enterprise to liberate Byzun, he commanded his demons 
to give him intelligence of his approach. His height was 
tremendous, his face was black, his mouth yawned like a 
cavern, his eyes were fountains of blood, his teeth like those 
of a wild boar, and the hair on his body like needles. The 
monster advanced, and reproaching Rustem disdainfully for 
having slain Akwan Diw, and many other warriors in the 
Turanian interest, pulled up a tree by the roots and challenged 
him to combat. The struggle began, but the Demon frequently 
escaped the fury of the champion by vanishing into air. At 
length Rustem struck a fortunate blow, which cut the body of 
his towering adversary in two. His path being now free from 



332 FIRDUSI 

interruption, he sped onward, and presently beheld the pro- 
digious demon-stone which covered the mouth of the pit, in 
which Byzun was imprisoned. 

And praying to the Almighty to infuse 
Strength through his limbs, he raised it up, and flung 
The ponderous mass of rock upon the plain. 
Which shuddered to receive that magic load! 

The mouth of the cavern being thus exposed, Rustem apphed 
himself to the extrication of Byzun from his miserable condi- 
tion, and letting down his kamund, he had soon the pleasure of 
drawing up the unfortunate captive, whom he embraced with 
great affection; and instantly stripped oflf the chains with 
which he was bound. After mutual congratulations had been 
exchanged, Rustem proposed that Byzun and Manijeh should 
go immediately to Iran, whilst he and his companions in arms 
attacked the palace of Afrasiyab ; but though wasted as he was 
by long suffering, Byzun could not on any consideration con- 
sent to avoid the perils of the intended assault, and determined, 
at all hazards, to accompany his deliverer. 

" Full well I know thy superhuman power 
Needs no assistance from an arm like mine; 
But grateful as I am for this great service, 
I cannot leave thee now, and shrink from peril, 
That would be baseness which I could not bear." 

It was on the same night that Rustem and Byzun, and seven 
of his warriors, proceeded against that part of the palace in 
which the tyrant slept. He first put to death the watchman, 
and also killed a great number of the guard, and a loud voice 
presently resounded in the chamber of the king : — " Awake 
from thy slumbers, Afrasiyab, Byzun has been freed from his 
chains." Rustem now entered the royal palace, and openly 
declaring his name, exclaimed : — " I am come, Afrasiyab, to 
destroy thee, and Byzun is also here to do thee service for thy 
cruelty to him." The death-note awoke the trembling Afra- 
siyab, and he rose up, and fled in dismay. Rustem and his 
companions rushed into the inner apartments, and captured all 
the blooming damsels of the shubistan, and all the jewels and 
golden ornaments which fell in their way. The moon-faced 
beauties were sent to Zabul ; but the jewels and other valuable 
property were reserved for the king. 



THE SHAh nXmEH 223 

In the morning Afrasiyab hastily collected together his troops 
and marched against Rustem, who, with Byzun and his thou- 
sand warriors, met him on the plain prepared for battle. The 
champion challenged any one who would come forward to 
single combat; but though frequently repeated, no attention 
was paid to the call. At length Rustem said to Afrasiyab : — 
" Art thou not ashamed to avoid a contest with so inferior a 
force, a hundred thousand against one thousand ? We two, and 
our armies, have often met, and dost thou now shrink from the 
fight ? " The reproach had its effect. 

For the tyrant at once, and his heroes, began 
Their attack like the demons of Mazinderan. 

But the valor and the bravery of Rustem were so eminently 
shown, that he overthrew thousands of the enemy. 

In the tempest of battle, disdaining all fear, 

With his kamund, and khanjer, his garz, and shamshir, 

How he bound, stabbed, and crushed, and dissevered the foe. 

So mighty his arm, and so fatal his blow. 

And so dreadful was the carnage, that Afrasiyab, unable to 
resist his victorious career, was compelled to seek safety in 
flight. 

The field was red with blood, the Tartar banners 
Cast on the ground, and when, with grief, he saw 
The face of Fortune turned, his cohorts slain, 
He hurried back, and sought Turan again. 

Rustem having obtained another triumph, returned to Iran 
with the spoils of his conquest, and was again honored with 
the smiles and rewards of his sovereign. Manijeh was not for- 
gotten ; she, too, received a present worthy of the virtue and 
fidelity she had displayed, and of the magnanimity of her spirit ; 
and the happy conclusion of the enterprise was celebrated with 
festivity and rejoicing. 



224 FIRDUSI 



BARZU, AND HIS CONFLICT WITH RUSTEM 

AFRASIYAB after his defeat pursued his way in despair 
towards Chin and Ma-chin, and on the road happened 
to fall in with a man of huge and terrific stature. 
Amazed at the sight of so extraordinary a being, he asked him 
who and what he was." " I am a villager," replied the stranger. 
" And thy father ? " — " I do not know my father. My mother 
has never mentioned his name, and my birth is wrapped in 
mystery." Afrasiyab then addressed him as follows : — '* It is 
my misfortune to have a bitter and invincible enemy, who has 
plunged me into the greatest distress. If he could be subdued, 
there would be no impediment to my conquest of Iran ; and I 
feel assured that thou, apparently endued with such prodigious 
strength, hast the power to master him. His name is Rustem." 
" What ! " rejoined Barzu, " is all this concern and affliction 
about one man — about one man only ? " " Yes," answered 
Afrasiyab ; " but that one man is equal to a hundred strong 
men. Upon him neither sword, nor mace, nor javelin has any 
eflfect. In battle he is like a mountain of steel." At this Barzu 
exclaimed in gamesome mood : — " A mountain of steel ! — I can 
reduce to dust a hundred mountains of steel ! — What is a moun- 
tain of steel to me ! " Afrasiyab rejoiced to find such confidence 
in the stranger, and instantly promised him his own daughter in 
marriage, and the monarchy of Chin and Ma-chin, if he suc- 
ceeded in destroying Rustem. Barzu replied : — 

" Thou art but a coward slave, 
Thus a stranger's aid to crave. 
And thy soldiers, what are they? 
Heartless on the battle-day. 
Thou, the prince of such a host! 
What, alas! hast thou to boast? 
Art thou not ashamed to wear 
The regal crown that glitters there? 
And dost thou not disgrace the throne 
Thus to be awed, and crushed by one; 
By one, whate'er his name or might. 
Thus to be put to shameful flight! " 



THE SHAh NAMEH 225 

Afrasiyab felt keenly the reproaches which he heard; but, 
nevertheless, solicited the assistance of Barzu, who declared 
that he would soon overpower Rustem, and place the empire of 
Iran under the dominion of the Tartar king. He would, he 
said, overflow the land of Persia with blood, and take posses- 
sion of the throne ! The despot was intoxicated with delight, 
and expecting his most sanguine wishes would be realized, 
made him the costliest presents, consisting of gold and jewels, 
and horses, and elephants, so that the besotted stranger thought 
himself the greatest personage in all the world. But his mother, 
when she heard these things, implored him to be cautious : — 

" My son, these presents, though so rich and rare. 
Will be thy winding-sheet; beware, beware! 
They'll drive to madness thy poor giddy brain. 
And thou wilt never be restored again. 
Never; for wert thou bravest of the brave, 
They only lead to an untimely grave. 
Then give them back, nor such a doom provoke. 
Beware of Rustem's host-destroying stroke. 
Has he not conquered demons! — and, alone, 
Afrasiyab's best warriors overthrown! 
And canst thou equal them? — Alas! the day 
That thy sweet life should thus be thrown away." 

Barzu, however, was too much dazzled by the presents he had 
received, and too vain of his own personal strength to attend to 
his mother's advice. " Certainly," said he, " the disposal of 
our lives is in the hands of the Almighty, and as certain it is 
that my strength is superior to that of Rustem. Would it not 
then be cowardly to decline the contest with him ? " The 
mother still continued to dissuade him from the enterprise, and 
assured him that Rustem was above all mankind distinguished 
for the art, and skill, and dexterity, with which he attacked his 
enemy, and defended himself ; and that there was no chance of 
his being overcome by a man entirely ignorant of the science 
of fighting; but Barzii remained unmoved: yet he told the 
king what his mother had said ; and Afrasiyab, in consequence, 
deemed it proper to appoint two celebrated masters to instruct 
him in the use of the bow, the sword, and the javelin, and also 
in wrestling and throwing the noose. Every day, clothed in 
armor, he tried his skill and strength with the warriors, and 
after ten days he was sufficiently accomplished to overthrow 
Vol. I.— 15 



226 FIRDUSI 

eighteen of them at one time. Proud of the progress he had 
made, he told the king that he would seize and bind eighteen 
of his stoutest and most experienced teachers, and bring them 
before him, if he wished, when all the assembly exclaimed : — 
" No doubt he is fully equal to the task ; 

He does not seem of human birth, but wears 
The aspect of the Evil One; and looks 
Like Alberz mountain, clad in folds of mail; 
Unwearied in the fight he conquers all." 

Afrasiyab's satisfaction was increased by this testimony to 
the merit of Barzu, and he heaped upon him further tokens of 
his good-will and munificence. The vain, newly-made warrior 
was all exultation and delight, and said impatiently: — 

" Delays are ever dangerous — let us meet 
The foe betimes, this Rustem and the king, 
Kai-khosrau. If we linger in a cause 
Demanding instant action, prompt appliance, 
And rapid execution, we are lost. 
Advance, and I will soon lop ofif the heads 
Of this belauded champion and his king, 
And cast them, with the Persian crown and throne 
Trophies of glory, at thy royal feet; 
So that Tiiran alone shall rule the world." 

Speedily ten thousand experienced horsemen were selected 
and placed under the command of Barzu; and Human and 
Barman were appointed to accompany him ; Af rasiyab himself 
intending to follow with the reserve. 

When the intelligence of this new expedition reached the 
court of Kai-khosrau, he was astonished, and could not conceive 
how, after so signal a defeat and overthrow, Afrasiyab had the 
means of collecting another army, and boldly invading his 
kingdom. To oppose this invasion, however, he ordered Tus 
and Friburz, with twelve thousand horsemen, and marched 
after them himself with a large army. As soon as Tus fell in 
with the enemy the battle commenced, and lasted, with great 
carnage, a whole day and night, and in the end Barzu was 
victorious. The warriors of the Persian force fled, and left Tiis 
and Friburz alone on the field, where they were encountered by 
the conqueror, taken prisoners, and bound, and placed in the 
charge of Human. The tidings of the result of this conflict 



THE SHXh nAmEH 227 

were received with as much rejoicing. by Afrasiyab, as with sor- 
row and consternation by Kai-khosrau. And now the emer- 
gency, on the Persian side, demanded the assistance of Rustem, 
whose indignation was roused, and who determined on revenge 
for the insult that had been given. He took with him Gusta- 
hem, the brother of Tus, and at midnight thought he had come 
to the tent of Barzu, but it proved to be the paviHon of Afra- 
siyab, who was seen seated on his throne, with Barzu on his 
right hand, and Piran-wisah on his left, and Tus and Friburz 
standing in chains before them. The king said to the captive 
warriors : " To-morrow you shall both be put to death in 
the manner I slew Saiawush." He then retired. Meanwhile 
Rustem returned thanks to Heaven that his friends were still 
alive, and requesting Gustahem to follow cautiously, he waited 
awhile for a fit opportunity, till the watchman was off his 
guard, and then killing him, he and Gustahem took up and 
conveyed the two prisoners to a short distance, where they 
knocked off their chains, and then conducted them back to 
Kai-khosrau. 

When Afrasiyab arose from sleep, he found his warriors in 
close and earnest conversation, and was told that a champion 
from Persia had come and killed the watchman, and carried 
off the prisoners. Piran exclaimed : " Then assuredly that 
champion is Rustem, and no other." Afrasiyab writhed with 
anger and mortification at this intelligence, and sending for 
Barzu, despatched his army to attack the enemy, and challenge 
Rustem to single combat. Rustem was with the Persian 
troops, and, answering the summons, said : " Young man, if 
thou art calling for Rustem, behold I come in his place to lay 
thee prostrate on the earth." " Ah ! " rejoined Barzu, " and 
why this threat? It is true I am but of tender years, whilst 
thou art aged and experienced. But if thou art fire, I am 
water, and able to quench thy flames." Saying this he wielded 
his bow, and fixed the arrow in its notch, and commenced the 
strife. Rustem also engaged with bow and arrows ; and then 
they each had recourse to their maces, which from repeated 
strokes were soon bent as crooked as their bows, and they were 
themselves nearly exhausted. Their next encounter was by 
wrestling, and dreadful were the wrenches and grasps they 
received from each other. Barzu finding no advantage from 
this struggle, raised his mace, and struck Rustem such a pro- 



228 FIRDUSI 

digious blow on the head, that the champion thought a whole 
mountain had fallen upon him. One arm was disabled, but 
though the wound was desperate, Rustem had the address to 
conceal its effects, and Barzu wondered that he had made ap- 
parently so little impression on his antagonist. " Thou art," 
said he, " a surprising warrior, and seemingly invulnerable. 
Had I struck such a blow on a mountain, it would have been 
broken into a thousand fragments, and yet it makes no impres- 
sion upon thee. Heaven forbid ! " he continued to himself, 
" that I should ever receive so bewildering a stroke upon my 
own head ! " Rustem having successfully concealed the an- 
guish of his wound, artfully observed that it would be better 
to finish the combat on the following day, to which Barzu read- 
ily agreed, and then they both parted. 

Barzu declared to Afrasiyab that his extraordinary vigor 
and strength had been of no account, for both his antagonist 
and his horse appeared to be composed of materials as hard as 
flint. Every blow was without effect ; and " Heaven only 
knows," added he, " what may be the result of to-morrow's 
conflict." On the other hand Rustem showed his lacerated 
arm to Khosrau, and said : " I have escaped from him ; but 
who else is there now to meet him, and finish the struggle? 
Feramurz, my son, cannot fulfil my promise with Barzu, as he, 
alas! is fighting in Hindustan. Let me, however, call him 
hither, and in the meanwhile, on some pretext or other, delay 
the engagement." The king, in great sorrow and affliction, 
sanctioned his departure, and then said to his warriors : " I 
will fight this Barzu myself to-morrow ; " but Gudarz would 
not consent to it, saying : " As long as we live, the king must 
not be exposed to such hazard. Giw and Byzun, and the other 
chiefs, must first successively encounter the enemy." 

When Rustem reached his tent, he told his brother Zuara to 
get ready a litter, that he might proceed to Sistan for the pur- 
pose of obtaining a remedy for his wound from the Simurgh. 
Pain and grief kept him awake all night, and he prayed inces- 
santly to the Supreme Being. In the morning early, Zuara 
brought him intelligence of the welcome arrival of Feramurz, 
which gladdened his heart; and as the youth had undergone 
great fatigue on his long journey, Rustem requested him to 
repose awhile, and he himself, freed from anxiety, also sought 
relief in a sound sleep. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



229 



A few hours afterwards both armies were again drawn up, 
and Barzu, Hke a mad elephant, full of confidence and pride, 
rode forward to resume the combat; whilst Rustem gave in- 
structions to Feramurz how he was to act. He attired him in 
his own armor, supplied him with his own weapons, and 
mounted him on Rakush, and told him to represent himself to 
Barzu as the warrior who had engaged him the day before. 
Accordingly Feramurz entered the middle space, clothed in 
his father's mail, raised his bow, ready bent, and shot an arrow 
at Barzu, crying : " Behold thy adversary ! I am the man 
come to try thy strength again. Advance ! " To this Barzii 
replied: "Why this hilarity, and great flow of spirits? Art 
thou reckless of thy life?" " In the eyes of warriors," said 
Feramurz, " the field of fight is the mansion of pleasure. After 
I yesterday parted from thee I drank wine with my compan- 
ions, and the impression of delight still remains on my heart. 

" Wine exhilarates the soul, 
Makes the eye with pleasure roll; 
Lightens up the darkest mien, 
Fills with joy the dullest scene; 
Hence it is I meet thee now 
With a smile upon my brow." 

Barzu, however, thought that the voice and action of his 
adversary were not the same as he had heard and seen the pre- 
ceding day, although there was no difference in the armor or 
the horse, and therefore he said : " Perhaps the cavalier whom 
I encountered yesterday is wounded or dead, that thou hast 
mounted his charger, and attired thyself in his mail." " In- 
deed," rejoined Feramurz, " perhaps thou hast lost thy wits ; I 
am certainly the person who engaged thee yesterday, and almost 
extinguished thee ; and with God's favor thou shalt be a dead 
man to-day." " What is thy name ? " " My name is Rustem, 
descended from a race of warriors, and my pleasure consists in 
contending with the lions of battle, and shedding the blood of 
heroes." Thus saying, Feramurz rushed on his adversary, 
struck him several blows with his battle-axe, and drawing his 
noose from the saddle-strap with the quickness of lightning, 
secured his prize. He might have put an end to his existence 
in a moment, but preferred taking him alive, and showing him 
as a captive. Afrasiyab seeing the perilous condition of 



230 FIRDUSI 

Barzu, came up with his whole army to his rescue ; but Kai- 
khosrau was equally on the alert, accompanied by Rustem, 
who, advancing to the support of Feramurz, threw another 
noose round the neck of the already-captured Barzu, to pre- 
vent the possibility of his escape. Both armies now engaged, 
and the Turanians made many desperate efforts to recover 
their gigantic leader, but all their manoeuvres were fruitless. 
The struggle continued fiercely, and with great slaughter, till 
it was dark, and then ceased ; the two kings returned back to 
the respective positions they had taken up before the conflict 
took place. The Turanians were in the deepest grief for the 
loss of Barzu; and Piran-wisah having recommended an im- 
mediate retreat across the Jihiin, Afrasiyab followed his coun- 
sel, and precipitately quitted Persia with all his troops. 

Kai-khosrau ordered a grand banquet on the occasion of the 
victory ; and when Barzii was brought before him, he com- 
manded his immediate execution ; but Rustem, seeing that he 
was very young, and thinking that he had not yet been cor- 
rupted and debased by the savage example of the Turanians, 
requested that he might be spared, and given to him to send 
into Sistan ; and his request was promptly complied with. 

When the mother of Barzu, whose name was Shah-ru, heard 
that her son was a prisoner, she wept bitterly, and hastened to 
Iran, and from thence to Sistan. There happened to be in 
Rustem's employ a singing-girl,* an old acquaintance of hers, 
to whom she was much attached, and to whom she made large 
presents, calHng her by the most endearing epithets, in order 
that she might be brought to serve her in the important matter 
she had in contemplation. Her object was soon explained, 
and the preliminaries at once adjusted, and by the hands of 
this singing-girl she secretly sent some food to Barzu, in which 
she concealed a ring, to apprise him of her being near him. 
On finding the ring, he asked who had supplied him with the 
food, and her answer was : " A woman recently arrived from 
Ma-chin." This was to him delightful intelligence, and he 
could not help exclaiming, " That woman is my mother, I am 
grateful for thy services, but another time bring me, if thou 
canst, a large file, that I may be able to free myself from these 
chains." The singing-girl promised her assistance ; and hav- 

* Theocritus introduces a Greek sing- Caliph is represented at his feasts sur- 
ing-girl in Idyllium xv, at the festival rounded by troops of the most beautiful 
of Adonis. In the Arabian Nights, the females playing on various instruments. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



231 



ing told Shah-ru what her son required, conveyed to him a file, 
and resolved to accompany him in his flight. Barzii then re- 
quested that three fleet horses might be provided and kept 
ready under the walls, at a short distance ; and this being also 
done, in the night, he and his mother, and the singing-girl, 
effected their escape, and pursued their course towards Turan. 
It so happened that Rustem was at this time in progress 
between Iran and Sistan, hunting for his own pleasure the elk 
or wild ass, and he accidentally fell in with the refugees, who 
made an attempt to avoid him, but, unable to effect their pur- 
pose, thought proper to oppose him with all their might, and 
a sharp contest ensued. Both parties becoming fatigued, they 
rested awhile, when Rustem asked Barzii how he had obtained 
his liberty. " The Almighty freed me from the bondage I 
endured." " And who are these two women ? " " One of 
them," replied Barzu, " is my mother, and that is a singing- 
girl of thy own house." Rustem went aside, and called for 
breakfast, and thinking in his own mind that it would be ex- 
pedient to poison Barzu, mixed up a deleterious substance in 
some food, and sent it to him to eat. He was just going to 
take it, when his mother cried, " My son, beware ! " and he 
drew his hand from the dish. But the singing-girl did eat part 
of it, and died on the spot. Upon witnessing this appalling 
scene, Barzu sprang forward with indignation, and reproached 
Rustem for his treachery in the severest terms. 

" Old man! hast thou mid warrior-chiefs a place, 
And dost thou practice that which brings disgrace? 
Hast thou no fear of a degraded name, 
No fear of lasting obloquy and shame? 
O, thou canst have no hope in God, when thou 
Stand'st thus defiled — dishonoured, false, as now; 
Unfair, perfidious, art thou too, in strife. 
By any pretext thou wouldst take my life! " 

■ He then in a menacing attitude exclaimed : " If thou art 
a man, rise and fight I " Rustem felt ashamed on being thus 
detected, and rose up frowning in scorn. They met, brandish- 
ing their battle-axes, and looking as black as the clouds of 
night. They then dismounted to wrestle, and fastening the 
bridles, each to his own girdle, furiously grasped each other's 
loins and limbs, straining and struggling for the mastery. 
Whilst they were thus engaged, their horses betrayed equal ani- 



339 



FIRDUSI 



mosity, and attacked each other with gfreat violence. Rakush 
bit and kicked Barzu's steed so severely that he strove to gal- 
lop away, dragging his master, who was at the same time under 
the excruciating^ grip of Rustem. " O, release me for a mo- 
ment till I am disentangled from my horse," exclaimed Barzu ; 
but Rustem heeding him not, now pressed him down beneath 
him, and was preparing to give him the finishing blow by cut- 
ting off his head, when the mother seeing the fatal moment 
approach, shrieked, and cried out, " Forbear, Rustem ! this 
youth is the son of Sohrab, and thy own grandchild ! Forbear, 
and bring not on thyself the devouring anguish which followed 
the death of his unhappy father. 

" Think of Sohrab! take not the precious life 
Of sire and son — unnatural is the strife; 
Restrain, for mercy's sake, that furious mood. 
And pause before thou shedd'st a kinsman's blood." 

" Ah ! " rejoined Rustem, " can that be true ? " upon which 
Shah-ru showed him Sohrab's brilliant finger-ring and he was 
satisfied. He then pressed Barzii warmly and affectionately 
to his breast, and kissed his head and eyes, and took him along 
with him to Sistan, where he placed him in a station of honor, 
and introduced him to his great-grandfather Zal, who received 
and caressed him with becoming tenderness and regard. 



THE SHAH nXmEH 233 



SUSEN AND AFRASIYAB 

SOON after Afrasiyab had returned defeated into Turan, 
grievously lamenting the misfortune which had de- 
prived him of the assistance of Barzu, a woman named 
Siisen, deeply versed in magic and sorcery, came to him, and 
promised by her potent art to put him in the way of destroying 
Rustem and his whole family. 

" Fighting disappointment brings, 
Sword and mace are useless things; 
If thou wouldst a conqueror be, 
Monarch! put thy trust in me; 
Soon the mighty chief shall bleed — 
Spells and charms will do the deed! " 

Afrasiyab at first refused to avail himself of her power, but was 
presently induced, by a manifestation of her skill, to consent 
to what she proposed. She required that a distinguished war- 
rior should be sent along with her, furnished with abundance 
of treasure, honorary tokens and presents, so that none might 
be aware that she was employed on the occasion. Afrasiyab 
appointed Pilsam, duly supplied with the requisites, and the 
warrior and the sorceress set ofif on their journey, people being 
stationed conveniently on the road to hasten the first tidings 
of their success to the king. Their course was towards Sistan, 
and arriving at a fort, they took possession of a commodious 
residence, in which they placed the wealth and property they 
had brought, and, establishing a house of entertainment, all 
travellers who passed that way were hospitably and sumptu- 
ously regaled by them. 

For sparkling wine, and viands rare, 
And mellow fruit, abounded there. 

It is recorded that Rustem had invited to a magnificent feast 
at his palace in Sistan a large company of the most celebrated 
heroes of the kingdom, and amongst them happened to be Tiis, 
whom the king had deputed to the champion on some im- 
portant state afifairs. Gudarz was also present; and between 



234 



FIRDUSI 



him and Tus, ever hostile to each other, a dispute as usual took 
place. The latter, always boasting of his ancestry, reviled the 
old warrior and said, " I am the son of Nauder, and the grand- 
son of Feridun, whilst thou art but the son of Kavah, the black- 
smith ; — why then dost thou put thyself on a footing with 
me ? " Gudarz, in reply, poured upon him reproaches equally 
irritating, accused him of ignorance and folly, and roused the 
anger of the prince to such a degree that he drew his dagger 
to punish the offender, when Reham started up and prevented 
the intended bloodshed. This interposition increased his 
rage, and in serious dudgeon he retired from the banquet, and 
set off on his return to Iran. 

Rustem was not present at the time, but when he heard of 
the altercation and the result of it, he was very angry, saying 
that Gudarz was a relation of the family, and Tus his guest, 
and therefore wrong had been done, since a guest ought al- 
ways to be protected. " A guest," he said, " ought to be held 
as sacred as the king, and it is the custom of heroes to treat a 
guest with the most scrupulous respect and consideration — 

For a guest is the king of the feast." 

He then requested Gudarz to go after Tiis, and by fair words 
and proper excuses bring him back to his festive board. Ac- 
cordingly Gudarz departed. No sooner had he gone than Giw 
rose up, and said, " Tus is little better than a madman, and my 
father of a hasty temper ; I should therefore wish to follow, to 
prevent the possibihty of further disagreement." To this 
Rustem consented. Byzun was now also anxious to go, and 
he too got permission. When all the three had departed, Rus- 
tem began to be apprehensive that something unpleasant 
would occur, and thought it prudent to send Feramurz to pre- 
serve the peace. Zal then came forward, and thinking that 
Tus, the descendant of the Kais and his revered guest, might 
not be easily prevailed upon to return either by Gudarz, Giw, 
Byzun, or Feramurz, resolved to go himself and soothe the 
temper which had been so injudiciously and rudely ruffled at the 
banquet. 

When Tus, on his journey from Rustem's palace, ap- 
proached the residence of Susen the sorceress, he beheld num- 
erous cooks and confectioners on every side, preparing all 



THE SHAH nXmEH 235 

kinds of rich and rare dishes of food, and every species of 
sweetmeat ; and enquiring to whom they belonged, he was told 
that the place was occupied by the wife of a merchant from 
Turan, who was extremely wealthy, and who entertained in 
the most sumptuous manner every traveller who passed that 
way. Hungry, and curious to see what was going on, Tus 
dismounted, and leaving his horse with the attendants, entered 
the principal apartment, where he saw a fascinating female, 
and was transported with joy. — She was 

Tall as the graceful cypress, and as bright. 
As ever struck a lover's ravished sight; 
Why of her musky locks or ringlets tell? 
Each silky hair itself contained a spell. 
Why of her face so beautifully fair? 
Wondering he saw the moon's refulgence there. 

As soon as his transports had subsided he sat down before 
her, and asked her who she was, and upon what adventure she 
was engaged ; and she answered that she was a singing-girl, 
that a wealthy merchant some time ago had fallen in love with 
and married her, and soon afterwards died ; that Afrasiyab, the 
king, had since wished to take her into his harem, which 
alarmed her, and she had in consequence fled from his country ; 
she was willing, however, she said, to become the handmaid 
of Kai-khosrau, he being a true king, and of a sweet and gentle 
temper. 

" A persecuted damsel I, 

Thus the detested tyrant fly, 

And hastening from impending woes. 

In happy Persia seek repose; 

For long as cherished life remains. 

Pleasure must smile where Khosrau reigns. 

Thence did I from my home depart, 

To please and bless a Persian heart." 

The deception worked effectually on the mind of Tus, and 
he at once entered into the notion of escorting her to Kai- 
khosrau. But he was immediately supplied with charmed 
viands and goblets of rich wine, which he had not the power 
to resist, till his senses forsook him, and then Pilsam appeared, 
and, binding him with cords, conveyed him safely and secretly 
into the interior of the fort. In a short time Giidarz arrived, 
and he too was received and treated in the same manner. Then 



236 FIRDUSI 

Giw and Byzun were seized and secured ; and after them came 
Zal : but notwithstanding the enticements that were used, and 
the attractions that presented themselves, he would neither 
enter the enchanted apartment, nor taste the enchanted food 
or wine. 

The bewitching cup was filled to the brim, 
But the magic draught had no charms for him. 

A person whispered in his ear that the woman had already 
wickedly got into her power several warriors, and he felt as- 
sured that they were his own friends. To be revenged for this 
treachery he rushed forward, and would have seized hold of 
the sorceress, but she fled into the fort and fastened the gate. 
He instantly sent a messenger to Rustem, explaining the per- 
plexity in which he was involved, and exerting all his strength, 
broke down the gate that had just been closed against him. 
as soon as the passage was opened, out rushed Pilsam, who 
with his mace commenced a furious battle with Zal, in which 
he nearly overpowered him, when Feramurz reached the spot, 
and telling the venerable old warrior to stand aside, took his 
place, and fought with Pilsam without intermission all day, 
and till they were parted by the darkness of night. 

Early in the morning Rustem, accompanied by Barzu, ar- 
rived from Sistan, and entering the fort, called aloud for Pil- 
sam, He also sent Feramurz to Kai-khosrau to inform him 
of what had occurred. Pilsam at length issued forth, and at- 
tacked the champion. They first fought with bows and 
arrows, with javeHns next, and then successively with maces, 
and swords, and daggers. The contest lasted the whole day ; 
and when at night they parted, neither had gained the victory. 
The next morning immense clouds of dust were seen, and they 
were found to be occasioned by Afrasiyab and his army march- 
ing to the spot. Rustem appointed Barzu to proceed with his 
Zabul troops against him, whilst he himself encountered Pil- 
sam. The strife between the two was dreadful. Rustem 
struck him several times furiously upon the head, and at length 
stretched him lifeless on the sand. He then impelled Rakush 
towards the Turanian army, and aided by Zal and Barzu, com- 
mitted tremendous havoc among them. 

So thick the arrows fell, helmet, and mail, 
,And shield, pierced through, looked like a field of reeds. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 237 

In the meantime Susen, the sorceress, escaped from the fort, 
and fled to Afrasiyab. 

Another cloud of dust spreading from earth to heaven, was 
observed in the direction of Persia, and the waving banners 
becoming more distinct, presently showed the approach of the 
king, Kai-khosrau. 

The steely javelins sparkled in the sun, 
Helmet and shield, and joyous seemed the sight. 
Banners, all gorgeous, floating on the breeze, 
And horns shrill echoing, and the tramp of steeds. 
Proclaimed to dazzled eye and half-stunned ear. 
The mighty preparation. 

The hostile armies soon met, and there was a sanguinary 
conflict, but the Turanians were obliged to give way. Upon 
this common result, Piran-wisah declared to Afrasiyab that 
perseverance was as ridiculous as unprofitable. " Our army 
has no heart, nor confidence, when opposed to Rustem ; how 
often have we been defeated by him — how often have we been 
scattered like sheep before that lion in battle ! We have just 
lost the aid of Barzu, and now is it not deplorable to put any 
trust in the dreams of a singing-girl, to accelerate on her ac- 
count the ruin of the country, and to hazard thy own personal 

safety. 

What! risk an empire on a woman's word! " 

Afrasiyab replied, " So it is ; " and instantly urged his horse 
into the middle of the plain, where he loudly challenged Kai- 
khosrau to single combat, saying, " Why should we uselessly 
shed the blood of our warriors and people. Let us ourselves 
decide the day. God will give the triumph to him who merits 
it." Kai-khosrau was ashamed to refuse this challenge, and 
descending from his elephant, mounted his horse and prepared 
for the onset. But his warriors seized the bridle, and would 
not allow him to fight. He declared, however, that he would 
himself take revenge for the blood of Saiawush, and struggled 
to overcome the friends who were opposing his progress. 
" Forbear awhile," said Rustem, " Afrasiyab is expert in all the 
arts of the warrior, fighting with the sword, the dagger, in 
archery, and wrestling. When I wrestled with him, and held 
him down, he could not have escaped, excepting by the exer- 
cise of the most consummate dexterity. Allow thy warriors 



238 FIRDUSI 

to tight for thee." But the king was angry, and said, " The 
monarch who does not fight for himself, is unworthy of the 
crown." Upon hearing this, Rustem wept tears of blood. 
Barzu now took hold of the king's stirrup, and knocked his 
forehead against it, and drawing his dagger, threatened to put 
an end to himself, saying, " My blood will be upon thy neck, if 
thou goest ; " and he continued in a strain so eloquent and per- 
suasive that Khosrau relaxed in his determination, and ob- 
served to Rustem : " There can be no doubt that Barzii is de- 
scended from thee." Barzu now respectfully kissed the ground 
before the king, and vaulting on his saddle with admirable 
agility, rushed onwards to the middle space where Afrasiyab 
was waiting, and roared aloud. Afrasiyab burned with indig- 
nation at the sight, and said in his heart : " It seems that I have 
nurtured and instructed this ingrate, to shed my own blood. 
Thou wretch of demon-birth, thou knowest not thy father's 
name! and yet thou comest to wage war against me! Art 
thou not ashamed to look upon the king of Turan after what 
he has done for thee ? " Barzu replied : " Although thou didst 
protect me, thou spilt the blood of Saiawush and Aghriras un- 
justly. When I ate thy salt, I served thee faithfully, and 
fought for thee. I now eat the salt of Kai-khosrau, and my 
allegiance is due to him." 

He spoke, and raised his battle-axe, and rushed, 
Swift as a demon of Mazinderan, 
Against Afrasiyab, who, frowning, cried: — 
" Approach not like a furious elephant, 
Heedless what may befall thee — nor provoke 
The wrath of him whose certain aim is death." 
Then placed he on the string a pointed dart, 
And shot it from the bow; whizzing it flew. 
And pierced the armor of the wondering youth. 
Inflicting on his side a painful wound, 
Which made his heart with trepidation throb; 
High exultation marked the despot's brow, 
Seeing the gush of blood his loins distain. 

Barzii was now anxious to assail Afrasiyab with his mace, 
instead of arrows ; but whenever he tried to get near enough, 
he was disappointed by the adroitness of his adversary, whom 
he could not reach. He was at last compelled to lay aside the 
battle-axe, and have recourse to his bow, but every arrow was 
dexterously received by Afrasiyab on his shield ; and Barzu, on 



THE SHAh nAmEH 239 

his part, became equally active and successful. Afrasiyab soon 
emptied his quiver, and then he grasped his mace with the 
intention of extinguishing his antagonist at once, but at the 
moment Human came up, and said : " O, king ! do not bring 
thyself into jeopardy by contending against a person of no 
account; thy proper adversary is Kai-khosrau, and not him, 
for if thou gainest the victory, it can only be a victory over a 
fatherless soldier, and if thou art killed, the whole of Turan 
will be at the feet of Persia." Both Piran and Human dis- 
suaded the king from continuing the engagement singly, and 
directed the Turanians to commence a general attack. Afra- 
siyab told them that if Barzii was not slain, it would be a great 
misfortune to their country ; in consequence, they surrounded 
him, and inflicted on him many severe wounds. But Rustem 
and Feramurz, beholding the dilemma into which Barzii was 
thrown, hastened to his support, and many of the enemy were 
killed by them, and great carnage followed the advance of 
the Persian army. 

The noise of clashing swords, and ponderous maces 
Ringing upon the iron mail, seemed Hke 
The busy work-shop of an armorer; 
Tumultuous as the sea the field appeared. 
All crimsoned with the blood of heroes slain. 

Kai-khosrau himself hurried to the assistance of Barzii, and 
the powerful force which he brought along with him soon put 
the Turanians to flight. Afrasiyab too made his escape in the 
confusion that prevailed. The king wished to pursue the ene- 
my, but Rustem observed that their defeat and dispersion was 
enough. The battle having ceased, and the army being in the 
neighborhood of Sistan, the champion solicited permission to 
return to his home ; " for I am now," said he, " four hundred 
years old, and require a little rest. In the meantime Feramurz 
and Barzii may take my place." The king consented, and dis- 
tributing his favors to each of his distinguished warriors for 
their prodigious exertions, left Zal and Rustem to proceed to 
Sistan, and returned to the capital of his kingdonu 



840 FIRDUSI 



THE EXPEDITION OF GUDARZ 

THE overthrow of the sovereign of Tiiran had only a tem- 
porary eflfect, as it was not long before he was enabled 
to collect further supplies, and another army for the 
defence of his kingdom ; and Kai-khosrau's ambition to reduce 
the power of his rival being animated by new hopes of success, 
another expedition was entrusted to the command of Gudarz. 
Rustem, he said, had done his duty in repeated campaigns 
against Afrasiyab, and the extraordinary gallantry and wisdom 
with which they were conducted, entitled him to the highest 
applause. " It is now, Gudarz, thy turn to vanquish the en- 
emy.' Accordingly Gudarz, accompanied by Giw, and Tus, 
and Byzun, and an immense army, proceeded towards Turan, 
Feramurz was directed previously to invade and conquer Hin- 
dustan, and from thence to march to the borders of Chin and 
Ma-chin, for the purpose of uniting and co-operating with the 
army under Gudarz, and, finally, to capture Afrasiyab. 

As soon as it was known in Turan that Gudarz was in motion 
to resume hostilities against the king, Human was appointed 
with a large force to resist his progress, and a second army of 
reserve was gathered together under the command of Piran. 
The first conflict which occurred was between the troops of 
Gudarz and Human. Gudarz directed Byzun to attack Hu- 
man. The two chiefs joined in battle, when Human fell 
under the sword of his adversary, and his army, being de- 
feated, retired, and united in the rear with the legions of 
Piran. The enemy thus became of formidable strength, and 
in consequence it was thought proper to communicate the 
inequality to Kai-khosrau, that reinforcements might be sent 
without loss of time. The king immediately complied, and 
also wrote to SIstan to request the aid of Rustem. The war 
lasted two years, the army on each side being continually 
recruited as necessity required, so that the numbers were reg- 
ularly kept up, till a great battle took place, in which the ven- 
erable Piran was killed, and nearly the whole of his army de- 
stroyed. This victory was obtained without the assistance of 
Rustem, who, notwithstanding the message of the king, had 



THE SHAH NAMEH 241 

Still remained in Sistan. The loss of Piran, the counsellor and 
warrior, proved to be a great affliction to Afrasiyab : he felt as 
if his whole support was taken away, and deemed it the signal 
of approaching ruin to his cause. 

" Thou wert my refuge, thou my friend and brother; 

Wise in thy counsel, gallant in the field. 

My monitor and guide — and thou art gone! 

The glory of my kingdom is eclipsed. 

Since thou hast vanished from this world, and left me 

All wretched to myself. But food, nor sleep 

Nor rest will I indulge in, till just vengeance 

Has been inflicted on the cruel foe." 

When the news of Piran's death reached Kai-khosrau, he 
rapidly marched forward, crossed the Jihun without delay, and 
passed through Samerkand and Bokhara, to encounter the 
Turanians. Afrasiyab, in the meantime, had not been neglect- 
ful. He had all his hidden treasure dug up, with which he 
assembled a prodigious army, and appointed his son Shydah- 
Poshang to the command of a hundred thousand horsemen. 
To oppose this force, Khosrau appointed his young relative, 
Lohurasp, with eight thousand horsemen, and passing through 
Sistan, desired Rustem, on account of Lohurasp's tender age 
and inexperience, to afford him such good counsel as he re- 
quired. When Afrasiyab heard this, he added to the force of 
Shydah another hundred thousand men, but first sent his son 
to Kai-khosrau in the character of an ambassador to offer terms 
of peace. " Tell him," said he, " that to secure this object, I 
will deliver to him one of my sons as a hostage, and a number 
of troops for his service, with the sacred promise never to 
depart from my engagements again. — But, a word in thy ear, 
Shydah ; if Khosrau is not disposed to accept these terms, say, 
to prevent unnecessary bloodshed, he and I must personally 
decide the day by single combat. If he refuses to fight with 
me, say that thou wilt meet him ; and shouldst thou be slain in 
the strife, I will surrender to him the kingdom of Turan, 
and retire myself from the world." He further commanded 
him to propound these terms with a gallant and fearless 
bearing, and not to betray the least apprehension. Shydah 
entered fully into the spirit of his father's instructions, and 
declared that he would devote his life to the cause, t|;iat he 
would boldly before the whole assembly dare Kai-khosrau to 
Vol. I.— 16 



242 FIRDUSI 

battle ; so that Afrasiyab was delighted with the valorous dis- 
position he displayed. 

Kai-khosrau smiled when he heard of what Afrasiyab in- 
tended, and viewed the proposal as a proof of his weakness. 
" But never," said he, " will I consent to a peace till I have 
inflicted on him the death which Saiawush was made to suffer. 
When Shydah arrived, and with proper ceremony and respect 
had delivered his message, Kai-khosrau invited him to retire 
to his chamber and go to rest, and he would send an answer by 
one of his people. Shydah accordingly retired, and the king 
proceeded to consult his warrior-friends on the offers that had 
been made. " Afrasiyab tells me," said he, " that if I do not 
wish for peace, I must fight either him or his son. I have 
seen Shydah — his eyes are red and blood-shot, and he has a 
fierce expression of feature; if I do not accept his terms, I 
shall probably soon have a dagger lodged in my breast." 
Saying this, he ordered his mail to be got ready ; but Rustem 
and all the g^eat men about him exclaimed, unanimously: 
" This must not be allowed ; Afrasiyab is full of fraud, artifice, 
and sorcery, and notoriously faithless to his engagements. The 
sending of Shydah is all a trick, and his letter of proposal 
all deceit: his object is simply to induce thee to fight him 
alone. 

If thou shouldst kill this Shydah — what of that! 
There would be one Turanian warrior less, 
To vex the world withal; would that be triumph? 
And to a Persian king? But if it chanced, 
That thou shouldst meet with an untimely death, 
By dart or javelin, at the stripling's hands, 
What scathe and ruin would this realm befall! " 

By the advice of Rustem, Kai-khosrau gave Shydah per- 
mission to depart, and said that he would send his answer to 
Afrasiyab by Karun. " But," observed the youth, " I have 
come to fight thee ! " which touched the honor of the king, 
and he replied : " Be it so, let us then meet to-morrow." 

In the meantime Khosrau prepared his letter to Afrasiyab, in 
which he said: — 

" Our quarrel now is dark to view. 
It bears the fiercest, gloomiest hue; 
And vain have speech and promise been 
To change for peace the battle scene; 



THE SHAh NAMEH 243 

For thou art still to treachery prone. 

Though gentle now in word and tone; 

But that imperial crown thou wearest. 

That mace which thou in battle bearest, 

Thy kingdom, all, thou must resign; 

Thy army too — for all are mine! 

Thou talk'st of strength, and might, and power. 

When revelling in a prosperous hour; 

But know, that strength of nerve and limb 

We owe to God — it comes from Him! 

And victory's palm, and regal sway, 

Alike the will of Heaven obey. 

Hence thy lost throne, no longer thine, 

Will soon, perfidious king! be mine!" 

In giving this letter to Kariin, Kai-khosrau directed him, in 
the first place, to deliver a message from him to Shydah, to the 
following effect: — 

" Driven art thou out from home and life, 
Doomed to engage in mortal strife. 
For deeply lours misfortune's cloud; 
That gay attire will be thy shroud; 
Blood from thy father's eyes will gush, 
As Kaus wept for Saiawush," 

In the morning Khosrau went to the appointed place, and 
when he approached Shydah, the latter said, " Thou hast come 
on foot, let our trial be in wrestling ; " and the proposal being 
agreed to, both applied themselves fiercely to the encounter, at 
a distance from the troops. 

The youth appeared with joyous mien, 
And bounding heart, for life was new; 

By either host the strife was seen, 
And strong and fierce the combat grew. 

Shydah exerted his utmost might, but was unable to move 
his antagonist from the ground ; whilst Khosrau lifted him up 
without difficulty, and, dashing him on the plain. 

He sprang upon him as the lion fierce 

Springs on the nimble gor, then quickly drew 

His deadly dagger, and with cruel aim, 

Thrust the keen weapon through the stripling's heart. 



244 



FIRDUSI 



Khosrau, immediately after slaying him, ordered the body to 
be washed with musk and rose-water, and, after burial, a tomb 
to be raised to his memory. 

When Karun reached the court of Afrasiyab with the answer 
to the offer of peace, intelligence had previously arrived that 
Shydah had fallen in the combat, which produced in the mind 
of the father the greatest anguish. He gave no reply to 
Karun, but ordered the drums and trumpets to be sounded, 
and instantly marched with a large army against the enemy. 
The two hosts were soon engaged, the anger of the Turanians 
being so much roused and sharpened by the death of the 
prince, that they were utterly regardless of their lives. The 
battle, therefore, was fought with unusual fury. 

Two sovereigns in the field, in desperate strife, 

Each by a grievous cause of wrath, urged on 

To glut revenge; this, for a father's life 

Wantonly sacrificed; that for a son 

Slain in his prime. — The carnage has begun. 

And blood is seen to flow on every side; 

Thousands are slaughtered ere the day is done, 

And weltering swell the sanguinary tide; 

And why? To soothe man's hate, his cruelty, and pride. 

The battle terminated in the discomfiture and defeat of the 
Tiiranians, who fled from the conquerors in the utmost con- 
fusion. The people seized hold of the bridle of Afrasiyab's 
horse, and obliged him to follow his scattered army. 

Kai-khosrau having despatched an account of his victory to 
Kaus, went in pursuit of Afrasiyab, traversing various countries 
and provinces, till he arrived on the borders of Chin. The 
Khakan, or sovereign of that state, became in consequence 
greatly alarmed, and presented to him large presents to gain 
his favor, but the only object of Khosrau was to secure Afra- 
siyab, and he told the ambassador that if his master dared to 
afford him protection, he would lay waste the whole kingdom. 
The Khakan therefore withdrew his hospitable services, and 
the abandoned king was compelled to seek another place of 
refuge. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 245 



THE DEATH OF AFRASIYAB 

MELANCHOLY and afflicted, Afrasiyab penetrated 
through wood and desert, and entered the province 
of Mikran, whither he was followed by Kai-khosrau 
and his army. He then quitted Mikran, but his followers had 
fallen oflf to a small number and to whatever country or region 
he repaired for rest and protection, none was given, lest the 
vengeance of Kai-khosrau should be hurled upon the offender. 
Still pursued and hunted like a wild beast, and still flying from 
his enemies, the small retinue which remained with him at last 
left him, and he was left alone, dejected, destitute, and truly 
forlorn. In this state of desertion he retired into a cave, where 
he hoped to continue undiscovered and unseen. 

It chanced, however, that a man named Hum, of the race of 
Feridun, dwelt hard by. He was remarkable for his strength 
and bravery, but had peacefully taken up his abode upon the 
neighboring mountain, and was passing a religious life with- 
out any communication with the busy world. His dwelling 
was a little way above the cave of Afrasiyab. One night he 
heard a voice of lamentation below, and anxious to ascertain 
from whom and whence it proceeded, he stole down to the spot 
and listened. The mourner spoke in the Turkish language, and 
said : — " O king of Tiiran and Chin, where is now thy pomp 
and power ! How has Fortune cast away thy throne and thy 
treasure to the winds ? " Hearing these words Hum con- 
jectured that this must be Afrasiyab ; and as he had suffered 
severely from the tyranny of that monarch, his feelings of 
vengeance were awakened, and he approached nearer to be 
certain that it was he. The same lamentations were repeated, 
and he felt assured that it was Afrasiyab himself. He waited 
patiently, however, till morning dawned, and then he called 
out at the mouth of the cave : — " O, king of the world ! come 
out of thy cave, and obtain thy desires ! I have left the in- 
visible sphere to accomplish thy wishes. Appear ! " Afra- 
siyab thinking this a spiritual call, went out of the cave and 
was instantly recognized by Hum, who at the same moment 
struck him a severe blow on the forehead, which felled him 



346 FIRDUSI 

to the earth, and then secured his hands behind his back. 
When the monarch found himself in fetters and powerless, 
he complained of the cruelty inflicted upon him, and asked 
Hum why he had treated a stranger in that manner. Hum 
replied : " How many a prince of the race of Feridun hast 
thou sacrificed to thy ambition ? How many a heart hast thou 
broken? I, too, am one who was compelled to fly from thy 
persecutions, and take refuge here on this desert mountain, and 
constantly have I prayed for thy ruin that I might be released 
from this miserable mode of existence, and be permitted to 
return to my paternal home. My prayer has been heard at 
last, and God has delivered thee into my hands. But how 
camest thou hither, and by what strange vicissitudes art thou 
thus placed before me ? " Afrasiyab communicated to him the 
story of his misfortunes, and begged of him rather to put him 
to death on the spot than convey him to Kai-khosrau. But 
Hum was too much delighted with having the tyrant under 
his feet to consider either his safety or his feelings, and was 
not long in bringing him to the Persian king. Kai-khosrau 
received the prisoner with exultation, and made Hum a 
magnificent present. He well recollected the basin and the 
dagger used in the murder of Saiawush, and commanded the 
presence of the treacherous Gersiwaz, that he and Afrasiyab 
might suffer, in every respect, the same fate together. The 
basin was brought, and the two victims were put to death, like 
two goats, their heads being chopped off from their bodies. 

After this sanguinary catastrophe, Kai-khosrau returned to 
Iran, leaving Rustem to proceed to his own principality. Kai- 
kaus quitted his palace, according to his established custom, to 
welcome back the conqueror. He kissed his head and face, 
and showered upon him praises and blessings for the valor he 
had displayed, and the deeds he had done, and especially for 
having so signally revenged the cruel murder of his father 
Saiawush. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 347 



THE DEATH OF KAI-KHOSRAU 

KAI-KHOSRAU at last became inspired by an insur- 
mountable attachment to a religious life, and thought 
only of devotion to God. Thus influenced by a disposi- 
tion peculiar to ascetics, he abandoned the duties of sovereignty, 
and committed all state affairs to the care of his ministers. The 
chiefs and warriors remonstrated respectfully against this mode 
of government, and trusted that he would devote only a few 
hours in the day to the transactions of the kingdom, and the 
remainder to prayer and religious exercises; but this he re- 
fused, saying : — " One heart is not equal to both duties ; my 
affections indeed are not for this transitory world, and I trust 
to be an inhabitant of the world to come." The nobles were in 
great sorrow at this declaration, and anxiously applied to Zal 
and Rustem, in the hopes of working some change in the king's 
disposition. On their arrival the people cried to them : — 

" Some evil eye has smote the king; — Iblis 
By wicked wiles has led his soul astray, 
And withered all life's pleasures. O release 
Our country from the sorrow, the dismay 
Which darkens every heart: — his ruin stay. 
Is it not mournful thus to see him cold 
And gloomy, casting pomp and joy away? 
Restore him to himself; let us behold 
Again the victor-king, the generous, just and bold." 

Zal and Rustem went to the palace of the king in a melan- 
choly mood, and Khosrau having heard of their approach, 
enquired of them why they had left Sistan. They replied that 
the news of his having relinquished all concern in the affairs of 
the kingdom had induced them to wait upon him. " I am 
weary of the troubles of this life," said he composedly, " and 
anxious to prepare for a future state." " But death," observed 
Zal, " is a great evil. It is dreadful to die ! " Upon this the 
king said : — " I cannot endure any longer the deceptions and 
the perfidy of mankind. My love of heaven is so great that I 
cannot exist one moment without devotion and prayer. Last 
night a mysterious voice whispered in my ear: — The time of 



a48 FIRDUSI 

thy departure is nigh, prepare the load for thy journey, and 
neglect not thy warning angel, or the opportunity will be lost." 
When Zal and Rustem saw that Khosrau was resolved, and 
solemnly occupied in his devotions, they were for some time 
silent. But Zal was at length moved, and said : — " I will go 
into retirement and solitude with the king, and by continual 
prayer, and through his blessing, I too may be forgiven." 
" This, indeed," said the king, " is not the place for me. I 
must seek out a solitary cell, and there resign my soul to 
heaven." Zal and Rustem wept, and quitted the palace, and 
all the warriors were in the deepest affliction. 

The next day Kai-khosrau left his apartment, and called to- 
gether his great men and warriors, and said to them : — 

" That which I sought for, I have now obtained. 
Nothing remains of worldly wish, or hope. 
To disappoint or vex me. I resign 
The pageantry of kings, and turn away 
From all the pomp of the Kaianian throne. 
Sated with human grandeur. — Now, farewell! 
Such is my destiny. To those brave friends, 
Who, ever faithful, have my power upheld, 
I will discharge the duty of a king, 
Paying the pleasing debt of gratitude." 

He then ordered his tents to be pitched in the desert, and 
opened his treasury, and for seven days made a sumptuous 
feast, and distributed food and money among the indigent, the 
widows, and orphans, and every destitute person was abun- 
dantly supplied with the necessaries of life, so that there was 
no one left in a state of want throughout the empire. He also 
attended to the claims of his warriors. To Rustem he gave 
Zabul, and Kabul, and Nim-ruz. He appointed Lohurasp, the 
son-in-law of Kai-kaus, successor to his throne, and directed 
all his people to pay the same allegiance to him as they had 
done to himself; and they unanimously consented, declaring 
their firm attachment to his person and government. He ap- 
pointed Gudarz the chief minister, and Giw to the chief com- 
mand of the armies. To Tus he gave Khorassan ; and he said 
to Friburz, the son of Kaus : — " Be thou obedient, I beseech 
thee, to the commands of Lohurasp, whom I have instructed, 
and brought up with paternal care ; for I know of no one so 
well qualified in the art of governing a kingdom." The warriors 



THE SHAh nXmEH 249 

of Iran were surprised, and murmured together, that the son of 
Kai-kaus should be thus placed under the authority of Lohu- 
rasp. But Zal observed to them : — " If it be the king's will, it 
is enough ! " The murmurs of the warriors having reached 
Kai-khosrau, he sent for them, and addressed them thus: — 
" Friburz is well known to be unequal to the functions of 
sovereignty; but Lohurasp is enlightened, and fully compre- 
hends all the duties of regal sway. He is a descendant of 
Husheng, wise and merciful, and God is my witness, I think 
him perfectly calculated to make a nation happy." Hearing 
this eulogium on the character of the new king from Kai- 
khosrau, all the warriors expressed their satisfaction, and 
anticipated a glorious reign. Khosrau further said : — " I must 
now address you on another subject. In my dreams a fountain 
has been pointed out to me; and when I visit that fountain, 
my Hfe will be resigned to its Creator." He then bid farewell 
to all the people around him, and commenced his journey ; and 
when he had accomplished one stage he pitched his tent. Next 
day he resumed his task, and took leave of Zal and Rustem ; 
who wept bitterly as they parted from him. 

" Alas ! " they said, " that one on whom 

Heaven has bestowed a mind so great, 
A heart so brave, should seek the tomb. 

And not his hour in patience wait. 
The wise in wonder gaze, and say. 

No mortal being ever trod 
Before, the dim supernal way. 

And living, saw the face of God! " 

After Zal and Rustem, then Khosrau took leave of Gudarz 
and Giw and Tus, and Gustahem, but unwilling to go back, 
they continued with him. He soon arrived at the promised 
fountain, in which he bathed. He then said to his followers : — 
" Now is the time for our separation ; — you must go ; " but 
they still remained. Again he said : — " You must go quickly ; 
for presently heavy showers of snow will fall, and a tempestuous 
wind will arise, and you will perish in the storm." Saying 
this, he went into the fountain, and vanished 1 

And not a trace was left behind, 

And not a dimple on the wave; 
All sought, but sought in vain, to find 

The spot which proved Kai-khosrau's grave! 



350 FIRDUSI 

The king having disappeared in this extraordinary manner, 
a loud lamentation ascended from his followers ; and when the 
paroxysm of amazement and sorrow had ceased, Friburz said : 
— " Let us now refresh ourselves with food, and rest awhile." 
Accordingly those that remained ate a little, and were soon 
afterwards overcome with sleep. Suddenly a great wind arose, 
and the snow fell and clothed the earth in white, and all the 
warriors and soldiers who accompanied Kai-khosrau to the 
mysterious fountain, and amongst them Tus and Friburz, and 
Giw, were while asleep overwhelmed in the drifts of snow. Not 
a man survived. Gudarz had returned when about half-way on 
the road ; and not hearing for a long time any tidings of his 
companions, sent a person to ascertain the cause of their delay. 
Upon proceeding to the fatal place, the messenger, to his 
amazement and horror, found them all stiff and lifeless under 
the snow 1 



LOHURASP 

THE reputation of Lohurasp was of the highest order, 
and it is said that his administration of the afifairs of 
his kingdom was more just and paternal than even that 
of Kai-khosrau. " The counsel which Khosrau gave me," said 
he, " was wise and admirable ; but I find that I must go beyond 
him in moderation and clemency to the poor." Lohurasp had 
four sons, two by the daughter of Kai-kaus, one named Ardshir, 
and the other Shydasp ; and two by another woman, and they 
were named Gushtasp and Zarir. But Gushtasp was intrepid, 
acute, and apparently marked out for sovereignty, and on ac- 
count of his independent conduct, no favorite with his father ; 
in defiance of whom, with a rebellious spirit, he collected 
together a hundred thousand horsemen, and proceeded with 
them towards Hindustan of his own accord. Lohurasp sent 
after him his brother Zarir, with a thousand horsemen, in the 
hopes of influencing him to return ; but when Zarir overtook 
him and endeavored to persuade him not to proceed any 
further, he said to him, with an animated look : — 

" Proceed no farther! — Well thou know'st 
We've no Kaianian blood to boast, 



THE SHAH NAMEH 251 

And, therefore, but a minor part 
In Lohurasp's paternal heart. 
Nor thou, nor I, can ever own 
From him the diadem or throne. 
The brothers of Kaiis's race 
By birth command the brightest place. 
Then what remains for us? We must 
To other means our fortunes trust. 
We cannot linger here, and bear 
A life of discontent — despair." 

Zarir, however, reasoned with him so winningly and effect- 
ually, that at last he consented to return; but only upon the 
condition that he should be nominated heir to the throne, and 
treated with becoming respect and ceremony. Zarir agreed to 
interpose his efforts to this end, and brought him back to his 
father ; but it was soon apparent that Lohurasp had no inclina- 
tion to promote the elevation of Gushtasp in preference to the 
claims of his other sons ; and indeed shortly afterwards mani- 
fested to what quarter his determination on this subject was 
directed. It was indeed enough that his determination was un- 
favorable to the views of Gushtasp, who now, in disgust, fled 
from his father's house, but without any attendants, and shaped 
his course towards Rum. Lohurasp again sent Zarir in quest 
of him ; but the youth, after a tedious search, returned without 
success. Upon his arrival in Rum, Gushtasp chose a solitary 
retirement, where he remained some time, and was at length 
compelled by poverty and want, to ask for employment in the 
establishment of the sovereign of that country, stating that he 
was an accomplished scribe, and wrote a beautiful hand. He 
was told to wait a few days, as at that time there was no vacancy. 
But hunger was pressing, and he could not suffer delay; he 
therefore went to the master of the camel-drivers and asked for 
service, but he too had no vacancy. However, commiserating 
the distressed condition of the applicant, he generously sup- 
plied him with a hearty meal. After that, Gushtasp went into a 
blacksmith's shop, and asked for work, and his services were 
accepted. The blacksmith put the hammer into his hands, and 
the first blow he struck was given with such force, that he broke 
the anvil to pieces. The blacksmith was amazed and angry, 
and indignantly turned him out of his shop, uttering upon him 
a thousand violent reproaches. 



■vv 



353 FIRDUSI 

Wounded in spirit, broken-hearted, 
Misfortune darkening o'er his head, 

To other lands he then departed, 
To seek another home for bread. 

Disconsolate and wretched, he proceeded on his journey, and 
observing a husbandman standing in a field of corn, he ap- 
proached the spot and sat down. The husbandman seeing a 
strong muscular youth, apparently a Turanian, sitting in 
sorrow and tears, went up to him and asked him the cause of 
his grief, and he soon became acquainted with all the circum- 
stances of the stranger's life. Pitying his distress, he took him 
home and gave him some food. 

After having partaken sufficiently of the refreshments placed 
before him, Gushtasp inquired of his host to what tribe he 
belonged, and from whom he was descended. " I am descended 
from Feridun," rejoined he, " and I belong to the Kaianian 
tribe. My occupation in this retired spot is, as thou seest, the 
cultivation of the ground, and the customs and duties of 
husbandry." Gushtasp said, " I am myself descended from 
Husheng, who was the ancestor of Feridun ; we are, therefore, 
of the same origin." In consequence of this connection, Gush- 
tasp and the husbandman lived together on the most friendly 
footing for a considerable time. At length the star of his 
fortune began to illumine his path, and the favor of Heaven 
became manifest. 

It was the custom of the king of Rum, when his daughters 
came of age, to give a splendid banquet, and to invite to it all the 
youths of illustrious birth in the kingdom, in order that each 
might select one of them most suited to her taste, for her 
future husband. His daughter Kitabiin was now of age, and 
in conformity with the established practice, the feast was 
prepared, and the youths of royal descent invited; but it so 
happened that not one of them was sufficiently attractive for 
her choice, and the day passed over unprofitably. She had 
been told in a dream that a youth of a certain figure and aspect 
had arrived in the kingdom from Iran, and that to him she 
was destined to be married. But there was not one at her 
father's banquet who answered to the description of the man 
she had seen in her dream, and in consequence she was dis- 
appointed. On the following day the feast was resumed. She 
had again dreamt of the youth to whom she was to be united. 



THE SHAH nXmEH 253 

She had presented to him a bunch of roses, and he had given 
her a rose-branch, and each regarded the other with smiles of 
mutual satisfaction. In the morning Kitabun issued a proc- 
lamation, inviting all the young men of royal extraction, 
whether natives of the kingdom or strangers, to her father's 
feast. On that day Gushtasp and the husbandman had come 
into the city from the country, and hearing the proclamation 
the latter said : " Let us go, for in this lottery the prize may be 
drawn in thy name." They accordingly went. Kitabun's 
handmaid was in waiting at the door, and kept every young 
man standing awhile, that her mistress might mark him well 
before she allowed him to pass into the banquet. The keen 
eyes of Kitabun soon saw Gushtasp, and her heart instantly 
acknowledged him as her promised lord, for he was the same 
person she had seen in her dream. 

As near the graceful stripling drew, 
She cried: — " My dream, my dream is true! 
Fortune from visions of the night 
Has brought him to my longing sight. 
Truth has portrayed his form divine; 
He lives — ^he lives — and he is mine ! " 

She presently descended from her balcony, and gave him a 
bunch of roses, the token by which her choice was made known, 
and then retired. The king, when he heard of what she had 
done, was exceedingly irritated, thinking that her affections 
were placed on a beggar, or some nameless stranger of no birth 
or fortune, and his first impulse was to have her put to death. 
But his people assembled around him, and said : — " What can 
be the use of killing her? — It is in vain to resist the flood of 
destiny, for what will be, will be. 

The world itself is governed still by Fate, 
Fate rules the warrior's and the monarch's state; 
And woman's heart, the passions of her soul, 
Own the same power, obey the same control; 
For what can love's impetuous force restrain? 
Blood may be shed, but what will be thy gain? 

After this remonstrance he desired enquiries to be made into 
the character and parentage of his proposed son-in-law, and 
was told his name, the name of his father, and of his ancestors, 
and the causes which led to his present condition. But he 



254 



FIRDUSI 



would not believe a word of the narration. He was then in- 
formed of his daughter's dream, and other particulars : and he 
so far relented as to sanction the marriage; but indignantly 
drove her from his house, with her husband, without a dowry, 
or any money to supply themselves with food. 

Gushtasp and his wife took refuge in a miserable cell, which 
they inhabited, and when necessity pressed, he used to cross 
the river, and bring in an elk or wild ass from the forest, give 
half of it to the ferryman for his trouble, and keep the remain- 
der for his own board, so that he and the ferryman became 
great friends by these mutual obligations. It is related that 
a person of distinction, named Mabrin, solicited the king's sec- 
ond daughter in marriage ; and Ahrun, another man of rank, 
was anxious to be espoused to the third, or youngest ; but the 
king was unwilling to part with either of them, and openly 
declared his sentiments to that effect. Mabrin, however, was 
most assiduous and persevering in his attentions, and at last 
made some impression on the father, who consented to permit 
the marriage of the second daughter, but only on the following 
conditions : " There is," said he, " a monstrous wolf in the 
neighboring forest, extremely ferocious, and destructive to my 
property. I have frequently endeavored to hunt him down, 
but without success. If Mabrin can destroy the animal, I will 
give him my daughter." When these conditions were com- 
municated to Mabrin, he considered it impossible that they 
could be fulfilled, and looked upon the proposal as an evasion 
of the question. One day, however, the ferryman having 
heard of Mabrin's disappointment, told him that there was 
no reason to despair, for he knew a young man, married to 
one of the king's daughters, who crossed the river every day, 
and though only a pedestrian, brought home regularly an elk- 
deer on his back. " He is truly," added he, " a wonderful 
youth, and if you can by any means secure his assistance, I 
have no doubt but that his activity and strength will soon put 
an end to the wolf's depredations, by depriving him of life." 

This intelligence was received with great pleasure by Mabrin, 
who hastened to Gushtasp, and described to him his situation, 
and the conditions required. Gushtasp in reply said, that he 
would be glad to accomplish for him the object of his desires, 
and at an appointed time proceeded towards the forest, accom- 
panied by Mabrin and the ferryman. When the party arrived at 



THE SHXh nXmEH 255 

the borders of the wilderness which the wolf frequented, Gush- 
tasp left his companions behind, and advanced alone into the in- 
terior, where he soon found the dreadful monster, in size larger 
than an elephant, and howling terribly, ready to spring upon 
him. But the hand and eye of Gushtasp were too active to 
allow of his being surprised, and in an instant he shot two 
arrows at once into the foaming beast, which, irritated by the 
deep wound, now rushed furiously upon him, without, however, 
doing him any serious injury; then with the rapidity of light- 
ning, Gushtasp drew his sharp sword, and with one tremendous 
stroke cut the wolf in two, deluging the ground with bubbling 
blood. Having performed this prodigious exploit, he called 
Mabrin and the ferryman to see what he had done, and they 
were amazed at his extraordinary intrepidity and muscular 
power, but requested, in order that the special object of the 
lover might be obtained, that he would conceal his name, for a 
time at least. Mabrin, satisfied on this point, then repaired to 
the emperor, and claimed his promised bride, as the reward for 
his labor. The king of Rum little expected this result, and 
to assure himself of the truth of what he had heard, bent his 
way to the forest, where he was convinced, seeing with as- 
tonishment and delight that the wolf was really killed. He 
had now no further pretext, and therefore fulfilled his engage- 
ment, by giving his daughter to Mabrin. 

It was now Ahrun's turn to repeat his solicitations for the 
youngest daughter. The king of Rum had another evil to 
root out, so that he was prepared to propose another condition. 
This was to destroy a hideous dragon that had taken possession 
of a neighboring mountain. Ahrun, on hearing the con- 
dition was in as deep distress as Mabrin had been, until he 
accidentally became acquainted with the ferryman, who de- 
scribed to him the generosity and fearless bravery of Gushtasp. 
He immediately applied to him, and the youth readily under- 
took the enterprise, saying : — " No doubt the monster's teeth 
are long and sharp, bring me therefore a dagger, and fasten 
round it a number of knives." Ahrun did so accordingly, and 
Gushtasp proceeded to the mountain. As soon as the dragon 
smelt the approach of a human being, flames issued from his 
nostrils, and he darted forward to devour the intruder, but was 
driven back by a number of arrows, rapidly discharged into 
his head and mouth. Again he advanced, but Gushtasp 



256 FIRDUSI 

dodged round him, and continued driving arrows into him to 
the extent of forty, which subdued his strength, and made him 
writhe in agony. He then fixed the dagger, which was armed 
at right angles with knives, upon his spear, and going nearer, 
thrust it down his gasping throat. 

Dreadful the weapon each two-edged blade 
Cut deep into the jaws on either side, 
And the fierce monster, thinking to dislodge it, 
Crushed it between his teeth with all his strength, 
Which pressed it deeper in the flesh, when blood 
♦ And poison issued from the gaping wounds;-. 
Then, as he floundered on the earth exhausted. 
Seizing the fragment of a flinty rock, 
Gushtasp beat out the brains, and soon the beast 
In terrible struggles died. Two deadly fangs 
Then wrenched he from the jaws, to testify 
The wonderful exploit he had performed. 

When he descended from the mountain, these two teeth were 
delivered to Ahrun, and they were afterwards conveyed to the 
king, who could not believe his own eyes, but ascended the 
mountain himself to ascertain the fact, and there he beheld 
with amazement the dragon lifeless, and covered with blood. 
" And didst thou thyself kill this terrific dragon ? " said he. 
" Yes," replied Ahrun. " And wilt thou swear to God that 
this is thy own achievement? It must be either the exploit of 
a demon, or of a certain Kaianian, who resides in this neigh- 
borhood." But there was no one to disprove his assertion, and 
therefore the king could no longer refuse to surrender to him 
his youngest daughter. 

And now between Gushtasp, and Mabrin, and Ahrun, the 
warmest friendship subsisted. Indeed they were seldom parted ; 
and the three sisters remained together with equal aflFection. 
One day Kitabun, the wife of Gushtasp, in conversation with 
some of her female acquaintance, let out the secret that her 
husband was the person who killed the wolf and the dragon. 

No sooner was this story told, than it spread, and in the end 
reached the ears of the queen, who immediately communicated 
it to the king, saying : — " This is the work of Gushtasp, thy 
son-in-law, of him thou hast banished from thy presence — of 
him who nobly would not disclose his name, before Mabrin and 
Ahrun had attained the object of their wishes." The king said 



THE SHXh nXmEH 257 

in reply that it was just as he had suspected ; and sending for 
Gushtasp, conferred upon him great honor, and appointed him 
to the chief command of his army. 

Having thus possessed himself of a leader of such skill and 
intrepidity, he thought it necessary to turn his attention to 
external conquest, and accordingly addressed a letter to Alias, 
the ruler of Khuz, in which he said : — " Thou hast hitherto 
enjoyed thy kingdom in peace and tranquillity ; but thou must 
now resign it to me, or prepare for war." Alias on receiving 
this imperious and haughty menace collected his forces to- 
gether, and advanced to the contest, and the king of Rum as- 
sembled his own troops with equal expedition, under the direc- 
tion of Gushtasp. The battle was fought with great valor on 
both sides, and blood flowed in torrents. Gushtasp challenged 
Alias to single combat, and the warriors met; but in a short 
time the enemy was thrown from his horse, and dragged by the 
young conqueror, in fetters, before the king. The troops wit- 
nessing the prowess of Gushtasp, quickly fled ; and the king 
commencing a hot pursuit, soon entered their city victoriously, 
subdued the whole kingdom, and plundered it of all its property 
and wealth. He also gained over the army, and with this 
powerful addition to his own forces, and with the booty he had 
secured, returned triumphantly to Rum. 

In consequence of this brilliant success, the king conferred 
additional honors on Gushtasp, who now began to display the 
ambition which he had long cherished. Aspiring to the sov- 
ereignty of Iran, he spoke to the Rumi warriors on the subject 
of an invasion of that country, but they refused to enter into 
his schemes, conceiving that there was no chance of success. 
At this Gushtasp took fire, and declared that he knew the 
power and resources of his father perfectly, and that the con- 
quest would be attended with no difficulty. He then went to 
the king, and said : " Thy chiefs are afraid to fight against 
Lohurasp; I will myself undertake the task with even an in- 
considerable army," The king was overjoyed, and kissed his 
head and face, and loaded him with presents, and ordered his 
secretary to write to Lohurasp in the following terms : " I am 
anxious to meet thee in battle, but if thou art not disposed to 
fight, I will permit thee to remain at peace, on condition of 
surrendering to me half thy kingdom. Should this be refused, 
I will myself deprive thee of thy whole sovereignty," When 
Vol. I.— 17 



258 FIRDUSI 

this letter was conveyed by the hands of Kabus to Iran, Lohu- 
rasp, upon reading it, was moved to laughter, and exclaimed, 
" What is all this? The king of Rum has happened to obtain 
possession of the little kingdom of Khuz, and he has become 
insane with pride ! " He then asked Kabus by what means he 
accomplished the capture of Khuz, and how he managed to kill 
Alias. The messenger replied, that his success was owing to a 
youth of noble aspect and invincible courage, who had first 
destroyed a ferocious wolf, then a dragon, and had afterwards 
dragged Alias from his horse, with as much ease as if he had 
been a chicken, and laid him prostrate at the feet of the king 
of Rum. Lohurasp enquired his name, and he answered, 
Gushtasp. " Does he resemble in feature any person in this 
assembly ? " Kabus looked round about him, and pointed to 
Zarir, from which Lohurasp concluded that it must be his own 
son, and sat silent. But he soon determined on what answer 
to send, and it was contained in the following words : " Do not 
take me for an Alias, nor think that one hero of thine is com- 
petent to oppose me. I have a hundred equal to him. Con- 
tinue, therefore, to pay me tribute, or I will lay waste thy whole 
country." With this letter he dismissed Kabus ; and as soon 
as the messenger had departed, addressed himself to Zarir, say- 
ing : " Thou must go in the character of an ambassador from 
me to the king of Rum, and represent to him the justice and 
propriety of preserving peace. After thy conference with him 
repair to the house of Gushtasp, and in my name ask his for- 
giveness for what I have done. I was not before aware of his 
merit, and day and night I think of him with repentance and 
sorrow. Tell him to pardon his old father's infirmities, and 
come back to Iran, to his own country and home, that I may 
resign to him my crown and throne, and like Kai-khosrau, take 
leave of the world. It is my desire to deliver myself up to 
prayer and devotion, and to appoint Gushtasp my successor, for 
he appears to be eminently worthy of that honor." Zarir 
acted scrupulously, in conformity with his instructions ; and 
having first had an interview with the king, hastened to the 
house of his brother, by whom he was received with affection 
and gladness. After the usual interchange of congratulations 
and enquiry, he stated to him the views and the resolutions of 
his father, who on the faith of his royal word promised to 
appoint him his successor, and thought of him with the most 



THE ShAh nAmEH 259 

cordial attachment. Gushtasp was as much astonished as de- 
lighted with this information, and his anxiety being great to 
return to his own country, he that very night, accompanied by 
his wife Kitabiin, and Zarir, set out for Iran. Approaching the 
city, he was met by an istakbal, or honorary deputation of 
warriors, sent by the king; and when he arrived at court, 
Lohurasp descended from his throne and embraced him with 
paternal affection, shedding tears of contrition for having pre- 
viously treated him not only with neglect but severity. How- 
ever he now made him ample atonement, and ordering a golden 
chair of royalty to be constructed and placed close to his own, 
they both sat together, and the people by command tendered to 
him unanimously their respect and allegiance. Lohurasp re- 
peatedly said to him : — 

" What has been done was Fate's decree, 
Man cannot strive with destiny. 
To be unfeeling once was mine. 
At length to be a sovereign thine." 

Thus spoke the king, and kissed the crown. 
And gave it to his valiant son. 

Soon afterwards he relinquished all authority in the empire, 
assumed the coarse habit of a recluse, retired to a celebrated 
place of pilgrimage, near Balkh. There, in a solitary cell, he 
devoted the remainder of his life to prayer and the worship 
of God. The period of Lohurasp's government lasted one hun- 
dred and twenty years. 



26o FIRDUSI 



GUSHTASP, AND THE FAITH OF ZERDUSHT 

I've said preceding sovereigns worshipped God, 

By whom their crowns were given to protect 

The people from oppressors; Him they served, 

Acknowledging His goodness — for to Him, 

The pure, unchangeable, the Holy One! 

They owed their greatness and their earthly power. 

But after times produced idolatry. 

And Pagan faith, and then His name was lost 

In adoration of created things. 

GUSHTASP had by his wife Kitabun, the daughter of 
the king of Rum, two sons named Isfendiyar and 
Bashutan, who were remarkable for their piety and 
devotion to the Almighty. Being the great king, all the minor 
sovereigns paid him tribute, excepting Arjasp, the ruler of Chin 
and Ma-chin, whose army consisted of Diws, and Peris, and 
men ; for considering him of superior importance, he sent him 
yearly the usual tributary present. In those days lived Zer- 
dusht, the Guber, who was highly accomplished in the knowl- 
edge of divine things ; and having waited upon Gushtasp, the 
king became greatly pleased with his learning and piety, and 
took him into his confidence. The philosopher explained to 
him the doctrines of the fire-worshippers, and by his art he 
reared a tree before the house of Gushtasp, beautiful in its foli- 
age and branches, and whoever ate of the leaves of that tree 
became learned and accomplished in the mysteries of the future 
world, and those who ate of the fruit thereof became perfect in 
wisdom and holiness. 

In consequence of the illness of Lohurasp, who was nearly at 
the point of death, Zerdusht went to Balkh for the purpose of 
administering relief to him, and he happily succeeded in restor- 
ing him to health. On his return he was received with addi- 
tional favor by Gushtasp, who immediately afterwards became 
his disciple. Zerdusht then told him that he was the prophet 
of God, and promised to show him miracles. He said he had 
been to heaven and to hell. He could send anyone, by prayer, 
to heaven ; and whomsoever he was angry with he could send 
to hell. He had seen the seven mansions of the celestial re- 



THE SHAH nAmEH 36i 

gions, and the thrones of sapphires, and all the secrets of 
heaven were made known to him by his attendant angel. He 
said that the sacred book, called Zendavesta, descended from 
above expressly for him, and that if Gushtasp followed the 
precepts in that blessed volume, he would attain celestial fe- 
licity. Gushtasp readily became a convert to his principles, 
forsaking the pure adoration of God for the religion of the fire- 
worshippers. The philosopher further said that he had pre- 
pared a ladder, by which he had ascended into heaven and had 
seen the Almighty. This made the disciple still more obedient 
to Zerdusht. One day he asked Gushtasp why he condescended 
to pay tribute to Arjasp ; " God is on thy side," said he, " and 
if thou desirest an extension of territory, the whole country of 
Chin may be easily conquered." Gushtasp felt ashamed at this 
reproof, and to restore his character, sent a dispatch to Arjasp, 
in which he said, " Former kings who paid thee tribute did so 
from terror only, but now the empire is mine ; and it is my 
will, and I have the power, to resist the payment of it in 
future." This letter gave great ofifence to Arjasp ; who at once 
suspected that the fire-worshipper, Zerdusht, had poisoned his 
mind, and seduced him from his pure and ancient reHgion, and 
was attempting to circumvent and lead him to his ruin. He 
answered him thus : " It is well known that thou hast now 
forsaken the right path, and involved thyself in darkness. 
Thou hast chosen a guide possessed of the attributes of Iblis, 
who with the art of a magician has seduced thee from the 
worship of the true God, from that God who gave thee thy 
kingdom and thy grandeur. Thy father feared God, and 
became a holy Dirvesh, whilst thou hast lost thy way in 
wickedness and impiety. It will therefore be a meritorious 
action in me to vindicate the true worship and oppose thy 
blasphemous career with all my demons. In a month or two 
I will enter thy kingdom with fire and sword, and destroy thy 
authority and thee. I would give thee good advice ; do not be 
influenced by a wicked counsellor, but return to thy former 
religious practices. Weigh well, therefore, what I say." Arjasp 
sent this letter by two of his demons, familiar with sorcery; 
and when it was delivered into the hands of Gushtasp, a council 
was held to consider its contents, to which Zerdusht was im- 
mediately summoned. Jamasp, the minister, said that the sub- 
ject required deep thought, and great prudence was necessary 



a62 FIRDUSI 

in framing a reply ; but Zerdusht observed, that the only reply 
was obvious — nothing but war could be thought of. At this 
moment Isfendiyar gallantly offered to lead the army, but Zarir, 
his uncle, objected to him on account of his extreme youth, and 
proposed to take the command himself, which Gushtasp agreed 
to, and the two demon-envoys were dismissed. The answer was 
briefly as follows : — 

" Thy boast is that thou wilt in two short months 
Ravage my country, scathe with fire and sword 
The empire of Iran; but on thyself 
Heap not destruction; pause before thy pride 
Hurries thee to thy ruin. I will open 
The countless treasures of the realm; my warriors, 
A thousand thousand, armed with shining steel, 
Shall overrun thy kingdom; I myself 
Will crush that head of thine beneath my feet." 

The result of these menaces was the immediate prosecution 
of the war, and no time was lost by Arjasp in hastening into 
Iran. 

Plunder and devastation marked his course, 

The villages were all involved in flames, 

Palace of pride, low cot, and lofty tower; 

The trees dug up, and root and branch destroyed. 

Gushtasp then hastened to repel his foes; 

But to his legions they seemed wild and strange, 

And terrible in aspect, and no light 

Could struggle through the gloom they had diffused, 

To hide their progress. 

Zerdusht said to Gushtasp, " Ask thy vizir, Jamasp, what is 
written in thy horoscope, that he may relate to thee the dis- 
pensations of heaven." Jamasp, in reply to the inquiry, took 
the king aside and whispered softly to him : " A great num- 
ber of thy brethren, thy relations, and warriors will be slain 
in the conflict, but in the end thou wilt be victorious." Gush- 
tasp deeply lamented the coming event, which involved the 
destruction of his kinsmen, but did not shrink from the battle, 
for he exulted in the anticipation of obtaining the victory. 
The contest was begun with indescribable eagerness and im- 
petuosity. 

Approaching, each a prayer addrest 

To Heaven, and thundering forward prest; 



THE SHAH NAMEH 263 

Thick showers of arrows gloomed the sky. 
The battle-storm raged long and high; 
Above, black clouds their darkness spread. 
Below, the earth with blood was red. 

Ardshir, the son of Lohurasp, and descended from Kai-kaiis, 
was one of the first to engage ; he killed many, and was at last 
killed himself. After him, his brother Shydasp was killed. 
Then Bishu, the son of Jamasp, urged on his steed, and with 
consummate bravery destroyed a great number of warriors. 
Zarir, equally bold and intrepid, also rushed amidst the host, 
and whether demons or men opposed him, they were all laid 
lifeless on the field. He then rode up towards Arjasp, scat- 
tered the ranks, and penetrated the headquarters, which put 
the king into great alarm : for he exclaimed : — " What, have 
ye no courage, no shame ! whoever kills Zarir shall have a 
magnificent reward." Bai-derafsh, one of the demons, ani- 
mated by this offer, came forward, and with remorseless fury 
attacked Zarir. The onset was irresistible, and the young 
prince was soon overthrown and bathed in his own blood. The 
news of the unfortunate catastrophe deeply affected Gushtasp, 
who cried, in great grief : " Is there no one to take vengeance 
for this ? " when Isfendiyar presented himself, kissed the 
ground before his father, and anxiously asked permission to 
engage the demon. Gushtasp assented, and told him that if he 
killed the demon and defeated the enemy, he would surrender 
to him his crown and throne. 

" When we from this destructive field return, 
Isfendiyar, my son, shall wear the crown. 
And be the glorious leader of my armies." 

Saying this, he dismounted from his famous black horse, 
called Behzad, the gift of Kai-khosrau, and presented it to 
Isfendiyar. The greatest clamor and lamentation had arisen 
among the Persian army, for they thought that Bai-derafsh had 
committed such dreadful slaughter, the moment of utter defeat 
was at hand, when Isfendiyar galloped forward, mounted on 
Behzad, and turned the fortunes of the day. He saw the 
demon with the mail of Zarir on his breast, foaming at the 
mouth with rage, and called aloud to him, "Stand, thou mur- 
derer ! " The stern voice, the valor, and majesty of Isfendiyar, 
made the demon tremble, but he immediately discharged a 



»fr4 FIRDUSI 

blow with his dagg'er at his new opponent, who however seized 
the weapon with his left hand, and with his right plunged a 
spear into the monster's breast, and drove it through his body. 
Isfendiyar then cut off his head, remounted his horse, and that 
instant was by the side of Bishu, the son of the vizir, into whose 
charge he gave the severed head of Bai-derafsh, and the armor 
of Zarir. Bishu now attired himself in his father's mail, and 
fastening the head on his horse, declared that he would take 
his post close by Isfendiyar, whatever might betide. Firshaid, 
another Iranian warrior, came to the spot at the same moment, 
and expressed the same resolution, so that all three, thus acci- 
dentally met, determined to encounter Arjasp and capture him. 
Isfendiyar led the way, and the other two followed. Arjasp, 
seeing that he was singled out by three warriors, and that the 
enemy's force was also advancing to the attack in great num- 
bers, gave up the struggle, and was the first to retreat. His 
troops soon threw away their arms and begged for quarter, and 
many of them were taken prisoners by the Iranians. Gushtasp 
now approached the dead body of Zarir, and lamenting deeply 
over his unhappy fate, placed him in a coffin, and built over 
him a lofty monument, around which lights were ever after- 
wards kept burning, night and day; and he also taught the 
people the worship of fire, and was anxious to establish every- 
where the religion of Zerdusht. 

Jamasp appointed officers to ascertain the number of killed 
in the battle. Of Iranians there were thirty thousand, among 
whom were eight hundred chiefs; and the enemy's loss 
amounted to nine hundred thousand, and also eleven hundred 
and sixty-three chiefs. Gushtasp rejoiced at the glorious re- 
sult, and ordered the drums to be sounded to celebrate the vic- 
tory, and he increased his favor upon Zerdusht, who originated 
the war, and told him to call his triumphant son, Isfendiyar, 
near him. 

The gallant youth the summons hears, 

And midst the royal court appears, 
Close by his father's side, 

The mace, cow-headed, in his hand; 

His air and glance express command. 
And military pride. 

Gushtasp beholds with heart elate. 
The conqueror so young, so great, 
And places round his brows the crown, 



THE SHAH NAMEH tS* 

The promised crown, the high reward, 
Proud token of a mighty king's regard, 
Conferred upon his own. 

After Gushtasp had crowned his son as his successor, he told 
him that he must not now waste his time in peace and private 
gratification, but proceed to the conquest of other countries. 
Zerdusht was also deeply interested in his further operations, 
and recommended him to subdue kingdoms for the purpose of 
dififusing everywhere the new religion, that the whole world 
might be enlightened and edified. Isfendiyar instantly com- 
plied, and the first kingdom he invaded was Rum. The sov- 
ereign of that country having no power nor means to resist the 
incursions of the enemy, readily adopted the faith of Zer- 
dusht, and accepted the sacred book named Zendavesta, as 
his spiritual instructor. Isfendiyar afterwards invaded Hin- 
dustan and Arabia, and several other countries, and success- 
fully established the religion of the fire-worshippers in them all. 

Where'er he went he was received 
With welcome, all the world believed, 
And all with grateful feelings took 
The Holy Zendavesta-book, 
Proud their new worship to declare. 
The worship of Isfendiyar. 

The young conqueror communicated by letters to his father 
the success with which he had disseminated the religion of 
Zerdusht, and requested to know what other enterprises re- 
quired his aid. Gushtasp rejoiced exceedingly, and com- 
manded a grand banquet to be prepared. It happened that 
Gurzam a warrior, was particularly befriended by the king, but 
retaining secretly in his heart a bitter enmity to Isfendiyar, 
now took an opportunity to gratify his malice, and privately 
told Gushtasp that he had heard something highly atrocious in 
the disposition of the prince. Gushtasp was anxious to know 
what it was ; and he said, " Isfendiyar has subdued almost 
every country in the world: he is a dangerous person at the 
head of an immense army, and at this very moment meditates 
taking Balkh, and making even thee his prisoner! 

Thou know'st not that thy son Isfendiyar 
Is hated by the army. It is said 
Ambition fires his brain, and to secure 
The empire to himself, his wicked aim 



a66 FIRDUSI 

Is to rebel against his generous father. 

This is the sum of my intelHgence; 

But thou'rt the king, I speak but what I hear." 

These malicious accusations by Gurzam insidiously made, 
produced great vexation in the mind of Gushtasp. The 
banquet went on, and for three days he drank wine incessantly, 
without sleep or rest because his sorrow was extreme. On the 
fourth day he said to his minister : " Go with this letter to 
Isfendiyar, and accompany him hither to me." Jamasp, the 
minister, went accordingly on the mission, and when he 
arrived, the prince said to him, " I have dreamt that my father 
is angry with me." — " Then thy dream is true," replied 
Jamasp, " thy father is indeed angry with thee." — " What 
crime, what fault have I committed ? 

Is it because I have with ceaseless toil 

Spread wide the Zendavesta, and converted 

Whole kingdoms to that faith? Is it because 

For him I conquered those far-distant kingdoms, 

With this good sword of mine? Why clouds his brow 

Upon his son — some demon must have changed 

His temper, once afifectionate and kind. 

Calling me to him thus in anger! Thou 

Hast ever been my friend, my valued friend 

Say, must I go? Thy counsel I require." 

" The son does wrong who disobeys his father. 
Despising his command," Jamasp replied. 

" Yet," said Isfendiyar, " why should I go? 
He is in wrath, it cannot be for good." 

" Know'st thou not that a father's wrath is kindness? 
The anger of a father to his child 
Is far more precious than the love and fondness 
Felt by that child for him. 'Tis good to go, 
Whatever the result, he is the king. 
And more — he is thy father! " 

Isfendiyar immediately consented, and appointed Bahman, 
his eldest son, to fill his place in the army during his absence. 
He had four sons : the name of the second was Mihrbus ; of the 
third, Avir; and of the fourth, Nushahder; and these three 
he took along with him on his journey. 

Before he had arrived at Balkh, Gushtasp had concerted 
measures to secure him as a prisoner, with an appearance of 



THE ShXh nXmEH 267 

justice and impartiality. On his arrival, he waited on the 
king respectfully, and was thus received : " Thou hast become 
the great king! Thou hast conquered many countries, but 
why am I unworthy in thy sight? Thy ambition is indeed 
excessive." Isfendiyar replied : " However great I may be, I 
am still thy servant, and wholly at thy command." Upon 
hearing this, Gushtasp turned towards his courtiers, and said, 
" What ought to be done with that son, who in the lifetime of 
his father usurps his authority, and even attempts to ecHpse 
him in grandeur? What! I ask, should be done with such 
a son I " 

" Such a son should either be 

Broken on the felon tree, 

Or in prison bound with chains. 

Whilst his wicked life remains, 

Else thyself, this kingdom, all 

Will be ruined by his thrall! " 

To this heavy denunciation Isfendiyar replied : " I have 
received all my honors from the king, by whom I am appointed 
to succeed to the throne ; but at his pleasure I willingly resign 
them." However, concession and remonstrance were equally 
fruitless, and he was straightway ordered to be confined in the 
tower-prison of the fort situated on the adjacent mountain, and 
secured with chains. 

Dreadful the sentence: all who saw him wept; 
And sternly they conveyed him to the tower. 
Where to four columns, deeply fixed in earth, 
And reaching to the skies, of iron formed, 
They bound him; merciless they were to him 
Who had given splendour to a mighty throne. 
Mournful vicissitude ! Thus pain and pleasure 
Successive charm and tear the heart of man; 
And many a day in that drear solitude. 
He lingered, shedding tears of blood, till times 
Of happier omen dawned upon his fortunes. 

Having thus made Isfendiyar secure in the mountain-prison, 
and being entirely at ease about the internal safety of the 
empire, Gushtasp was anxious to pay a visit to Zal and Rustem 
at Sistan, and to convert them to the religion of Zerdusht. On 
his approach to Sistan he was met and respectfully welcomed 
by Rustem, who afterwards in open assembly received the 
Zendavesta and adopted the new faith, which he propagated 



268 FIRDUSI 

throughout his own territory ; but, according to common report 
it was fear of Gushtasp alone which induced him to pm-sue this 
course. Gushtasp remained two years his guest, enjoying all 
kinds of recreation, and particularly the sports of the field and 
the forests. 

When Bahman, the son of Isfendiyar, heard of the imprison- 
ment of his father, he, in grief and alarm, abandoned his trust, 
dismissed the army, and proceeded to Balkh, where he joined 
his two brothers, and wept over the fate of their unhappy 
father. 

In the meantime the news of the confinement of Isfendiyar, 
and the absence of Gushtasp at Sistan, and the unprotected 
state of Balkh, stimulated Arjasp to a further effort, and he 
despatched his son Kahram with a large army towards the 
capital of the enemy, to carry into effect his purpose of revenge. 
Lohurasp was still in religious retirement at Balkh. The people 
were under great apprehension, and being without a leader, 
anxiously solicited the old king to command them, but he said 
that he had abandoned all earthly concerns, and had devoted 
himself to God, and therefore could not comply with their en- 
treaties. But they would hear no denial, and, as it were, tore 
liim from his place of refuge and prayer. There were assembled 
only about one thousand horsemen, and with these he ad- 
vanced to battle ; but what were they compared to the hundred 
thousand whom they met, and by whom they were soon sur- 
rounded. Their bravery was useless. They were at once over- 
powered and defeated, and Lohurasp himself was unfortunately 
among the slain. 

Upon the achievement of his victory, Kahram entered 
Balkh in triumph, made the people prisoners, and destroyed 
all the places of worship belonging to the Gubers. He also 
killed the keeper of the altar, and burnt the Zendavesta, which 
contained the formulary of their doctrines and belief. 

One of the women of Gushtasp's household happened to 
elude the grasp of the invader, and hastened to Sistan to inform 
the king of the disaster that had occurred. " Thy father is 
killed, the city is taken, and thy women and daughters in the 
power of the conqueror." Gushtasp received the news with 
consternation, and prepared with the utmost expedition for his 
departure. He invited Rustem to accompany him, but the 
champion excused himself at the time, and afterwards dechned 



THE SHAH NAMEH 269 

altogether on the plea of sickness. Before he had yet arrived 
at Balkh, Kahram hearing of his approach, went out to meet 
him with his whole army, and was joined on the same day by 
Arjasp and his demon-legions. 

Great was the uproar, loud the brazen drums 

And trumpets rung, the earth shook, and seemed rent 

By that tremendous conflict, javelins flew 

Like hail on every side, and the warm blood 

Streamed from the wounded and the dying men. 

The claim of kindred did not check the arm 

Lifted in battle — mercy there was none, 

For all resigned themselves to chance or fate. 

Or what the ruling Heavens might decree. 

At last the battle terminated in the defeat of Gushtasp, who 
was pursued till he was obliged to take refuge in a mountain- 
fort. He again consulted Jamasp to know what the stars fore- 
told, and Jamasp replied that he would recover from the defeat 
through the exertions of Isfendiyar alone. Pleased with this 
interpretation, he on that very day sent Jamasp to the prison 
with a letter to Isfendiyar, in which he hoped to be pardoned 
for the cruelty he had been guilty of towards him, in conse- 
quence, he said, of being deceived by the arts and treachery of 
those who were only anxious to effect his ruin. He declared 
too that he would put those enemies to death in his presence, 
and replace the royal crown upon his head. At the same time 
he confined in chains Gurzam, the wretch who first practised 
upon his feelings. Jamasp rode immediately to the prison, and 
delivering the letter, urged the prince to comply with his 
father's entreaties, but Isfendiyar was incredulous and not so 
easily to be moved. 

" Has he not at heart disdained me? 
Has he not in prison chained me? 
Am I not his son, that he 
Treats me ignominiously? 

" Why should Gurzam's scorn and hate 
Rouse a loving father's wrath? 
Why should he, the foul ingrate, 
Cast destruction in my path? " 

Jamasp, however, persevered in his anxious solicitations, 
describing to him how many of his brethren and kindred had 



270 



FIRDUSI 



fallen, and also the perilous situation of his own father if he 
refused his assistance. By a thousand various efforts he at 
length eflfected his purpose, and the blacksmith was called to 
take olT his chains ; but in removing them, the anguish of the 
wounds they had inflicted was so great that Isfendiyar fainted 
away. Upon his recovery he was escorted to the presence 
of his father, who received him with open arms, and the 
strongest expressions of delight. He begged to be forgiven 
for his unnatural conduct to him, again resigned to him the 
throne of the empire, and appointed him to the command of 
the imperial armies. He then directed Gurzam, upon whose 
malicious counsel he had acted, to be brought before him, and 
the wicked minister was punished with death on the spot, and 
in the presence of the injured prince. 

Wretch! more relentless even than wolf or pard, 
Thou hast at length received thy just reward! 

When Arjasp heard that Isfendiyar had been reconciled to 
his father, and was approaching at the head of an immense 
army, he was affected with the deepest concern, and forthwith 
sent his son Kahram to endeavor to resist the progress of the 
enemy. At the same time Kurugsar, a gladiator of the demon 
race, requested that he might be allowed to oppose Isfendiyar ; 
and permission being granted, he was the very first on the 
field, where instantly wielding his bow, he shot an arrow at 
Isfendiyar, which pierced through the mail, but fortunately for 
him did no serious harm. The prince drew his sword with the 
intention of attacking him, but seeing him furious with rage, 
and being doubtful of the issue, thought it more prudent and 
safe to try his success with the noose. Accordingly he took 
the kamund from his saddle-strap, and dexterously flung it 
round the neck of his arrogant foe, who was pulled headlong 
from his horse : and, as soon as his arms were bound behind 
his back, dragged a prisoner in front of the Persian ranks. 
Isfendiyar then returned to the battle, attacked a body of the 
enemy's auxiliaries, killed a hundred and sixty of their warriors, 
and made the division of which Kahram was the leader fly in 
all directions. His next feat was to attack another force, which 
had confederated against him. 

With slackened rein he galloped o'er the field; 

Blood gushed from every stroke of his sharp sword, 



THE SHAH nAmEH 271 

And reddened all the plain; a hundred warriors 
Eighty and five, in treasure rich and mail, 
Sunk underneath him, such his mighty power. 

His remaining object was to assail the centre, where Arjasp 
himself was stationed; and thither he rapidly hastened. 
Arjasp, angry and alarmed at this success, cried out, "What! 
is one man allowed to scathe all my ranks, cannot my whole 
army put an end to his dreadful career ? " The soldiers 
replied, " No ! he has a body of brass, and the vigor of an 
elephant: our swords make no impression upon him, whilst 
with his sword he can cut the body of a warrior, cased in mail, 
in two, with the greatest ease. Against such a foe, what can we 
do ? " Isfendiyar rushed on ; and after an overwhelming attack, 
Arjasp was compelled to quit his ground and eflfect his escape. 
The Iranian troops were then ordered to pursue the fugitives, 
and in revenge for the death of Lohurasp, not to leave a man 
alive. The carnage was in consequence terrible, and the re- 
maining Turanians were in such despair that they fliung them- 
selves from their exhausted horses, and placing straw in their 
mouths to show the extremity of their misfortune, called aloud 
for quarter. Isfendiyar was moved at last to compassion, and 
put an end to the fight ; and when he came before Gushtasp, 
the mail on his body, from the number of arrows sticking in it, 
looked like a field of reeds ; about a thousand arrows were 
taken out of its folds. Gushtasp kissed his head and face, and 
blessed him, and prepared a grand banquet, and the city of 
Balkh resounded with rejoicings on account of the great 
victory. 

Many days had not elapsed before a further enterprise was 
to be undertaken. The sisters of Isfendiyar were still in con- 
finement, and required to be released. The prince readily 
complied with the wishes of Gushtasp, who now repeated to 
him his desire to relinquish the cares of sovereignty, and place 
the reins of government in his hands, that he might devote 
himself entirely to the service of God. 

" To thee I yield the crown and throne. 
Fit to be held by thee alone; 
From worldly care and trouble free, 
A hermit's cell is enough for me." 



272 



FIRDUSI 



But Isfendiyar replied, that he had no desire to be possessed 
of the power ; he rather wished for the prosperity of the king, 
and no change. 

" O, may thy life be long and blessed, 
And ever by the gocxl caressed; 
For 'tis my duty still to be 
Devoted faithfully to thee! 
I want no throne, nor diadem; 
My soul has no delight in them. 
I only seek to give thee joy. 
And gloriously my sword employ. 
I thirst for vengeance on Arjasp: 
To crush him in my iron grasp. 
That from his thrall I may restore 
My sisters to their home again, 
Who now their heavy fate deplore, 
And toiling drag a slavish chain." 
" Then go! " the smiling monarch said, 
Invoking blessings on his head, 
" And may kind Heaven thy refuge be, 
And lead thee on to victory." 

Isfendiyar now told his father that his prisoner Kurugsar 
was continually requesting him to represent his condition in the 
royal ear, saying, " Of what use will it be to put me to death ? 
No benefit can arise from such a punishment. Spare my life, 
and you will see how largely I am able to contribute to your 
assistance." Gushtasp expressed his willingness to be merciful, 
but demanded a guarantee on oath from the petitioner that he 
would heart and soul be true and faithful to his benefactor. 
The oath was sworn, after which his bonds were taken from his 
hands and feet, and he was set at liberty. The king then 
called him, and pressed him with goblets of wine, which made 
him merry. " I have pardoned thee," said Gushtasp, " at the 
special entreaty of Isfendiyar — be grateful to him, and be 
attentive to his commands." After that, Isfendiyar took and 
conveyed him to his own house, that he might have an oppor- 
tunity of experiencing and proving the promised fidelity of his 
new ally. 



THE SHXh nXmEH 373 



THE HEFT-KHAN OF ISFENDIYAR 

Rustem had seven great labours, wondrous power 
Nerved his strong arm in danger's needful hour; 
And now Firdusi's legend-strains declare 
The seven great labours of Isfendiyar. 

THE prince, who had determined to undertake the new 
expedition, and appeared confident of success, now 
addressed himself to Kurugsar, and said, " If I con- 
quer the kingdom of Arjasp, and restore my sisters to liberty, 
thou shalt have for thyself any principality thou may'st choose 
within the boundaries of Iran and Turan, and thy name shall be 
exalted ; but beware of treachery or fraud, for falsehood shall 
certainly be punished with death." To this Kurugsar replied, 
" I have already sworn a solemn oath to the king, and at thy 
intercession he has spared my life — why then should I depart 
from the truth, and betray my benefactor ? " 

" Then tell me the road to the brazen fortress, and how far 
it is distant from this place ? " said Isfendiyar. 

" There are three different routes," replied Kurugsar. " One 
will occupy three months ; it leads through a beautiful country, 
adorned with cities, and gardens, and pastures, and is pleasant 
to the traveller. The second is less attractive, the prospects 
less agreeable, and will only employ two months; the third, 
however, may be accomplished in seven days, and is thence 
called the Heft-khan, or seven stages; but at every stage some 
monster, or terrible difficulty, must be overcome. No monarch, 
even supported by a large army, has ever yet ventured to pro- 
ceed by this route ; and if it is ever attempted, the whole party 
will be assuredly lost. 

Nor strength, nor juggling, nor the sorcerer's art 
Can help him safely through that awful path, 
Beset with wolves and dragons, wild and fierce. 
From whom the fleetest have no power to fly. 
There an enchantress, doubly armed with spells, 
The most accomplished of that magic brood, 
Spreads wide her snares to charm and to destroy, 
And ills of every shape, and horrid aspect, 
Cross the tired traveller at every step." 
Vol. I.— 18 



274 



FIRDUSI 



At this description of the terrors of the Heft-khan, Isfendiyar 
became thoughtful for awhile, and then, resigning himself to 
the providence of God, resolved to take the shortest route. 
" No man can die before his time," said he ; " heaven is my 
protector, and I will fearlessly encounter every difficulty on the 
road." " It is full of perils," replied Kurugsar, and endeavored 
to dissuade him from the enterprise. " But with the blessing 
of God," rejoined Isfendiyar, " it will be easy." The prince 
then ordered a sumptuous banquet to be served, at which he 
gave Kurugsar abundant draughts of wine, and even in a state 
of intoxication the demon-guide still warned him against his 
proposed journey. " Go by the route which takes two months," 
said he, " for that will be convenient and safe ; " but Isfendiyar 
replied : — " I neither fear the difficulties of the route, nor the 
perils thou hast described." 

And though destruction spoke in every word, 

Enough to terrify the stoutest heart, 

Still he adhered to what he first resolved. 

" Thou wilt attend me," said the dauntless prince; 

And thus Kurugsar, without a pause, replied: 

" Undoubtedly, if by the two months' way. 

And do thee ample service; but if this 

Heft-khan be thy election; if thy choice 

Be fixed on that which leads to certain death. 

My presence must be useless. Can I go 

Where bird has never dared to wing its flight? " 

Isfendiyar, upon hearing these words, began to suspect the 
fidelity of Kurugsar, and thought it safe to bind him in chains. 
The next day as he was going to take leave of his father, 
Kurugsar called out to him, and said : " After my promises of 
allegiance, and my solemn oath, why am I thus kept in chains ? " 
" Not out of anger assuredly ; but out of compassion and kind- 
ness, in order that I may take thee along with me on the enter- 
prise of the Heft-khan; for wert thou not bound, thy faint 
heart might induce thee to run away. 

Safe thou art when bound in chains. 

Fettered foot can never fly. 
Whilst thy body here remains, 

We may on thy faith rely. 
Terror will in vain assail thee; 
For these bonds shall never fail thee. 



THE SHXh nAmEH 275 

Guarded by a potent charm, 

They will keep thee free from harm." 

Isfendiyar having received the parting benediction of Gush- 
tasp, was supplied with a force consisting of twelve thousand 
chosen horsemen, and abundance of treasure, to enable him to 
proceed on his enterprise, and conquer the kingdom of Arjasp. 

First Stage. — Isfendiyar placed Kurugsar in bonds among 
his retinue, and took with him his brother Bashutan. But the 
demon-guide complained that he was unable to walk, and in 
consequence he was mounted on a horse, still bound, and the 
bridle given into the hands of one of the warriors. In this 
manner they proceeded, directed from time to time by Kurug- 
sar, till they arrived at the uttermost limits of the kingdom, and 
entered a desert wilderness. Isfendiyar now asked what they 
would meet with, and the guide answered, " Two monstrous 
wolves are in this quarter, as large as elephants, and whose 
teeth are of immense length." The prince told his people, that 
as soon as they saw the wolves, they must at once attack them 
with arrows. The day passed away, and in the evening they 
came to a forest and a murmuring stream, when suddenly the 
two enormous wolves appeared, and rushed towards the legions 
of Isfendiyar. The people seeing them advance, poured upon 
them a shower of arrows. Several, however, were wounded, 
but the wolves were much exhausted by the arrows which 
had penetrated their bodies. At this moment Bashutan at- 
tacked one of them, and Isfendiyar the other ; and so vigorous 
was their charge, that both the monsters were soon laid lifeless 
in the dust. After this signal overthrow, Isfendiyar turned to 
Kurugsar, and exclaimed : " Thus, through the favor of 
Heaven, the first obstacle has been easily extinguished ! " The 
guide regarded him with amazement, and said : — " I am indeed 
astonished at the intrepidity and valor that has been displayed." 

Seeing the bravery of Isfendiyar, 
Amazement filled the soul of Kurugsar. 

The warriors and the party now dismounted, and regaled 
themselves with feasting and wine. They then reposed till the 
following morning. 

Second Stage. — Proceeding on the second journey, Isfen- 
diyar inquired what might now be expected to oppose their 



276 FIRDUSI 

progress, and Kurugsar replied ; " This stage is infested by 
lions." " Then," rejoined Isfendiyar, " thou shalt see with 
what facility I can destroy them." At about the close of the 
day they met with a lion and a lioness. Bashutan said: 
" Take one and I will engage the other." But Isfendiyar ob- 
served, that the animals seemed very wild and ferocious, and 
he preferred attacking them both himself, that his brother 
might not be exposed to any harm. He first sallied forth 
against the lion, and with one mighty stroke put an end to his 
life. He then approached the lioness, which pounced upon him 
with great fury, but was soon compelled to desist, and the 
prince, rapidly wielding his sword, in a moment cut off her 
head. Having thus successfully accomplished the second day's 
task, he alighted from his horse, and refreshments being spread 
out, the warriors and the troops enjoyed themselves with great 
satisfaction, exhilarated by plenteous draughts of ruby wine. 
Again Isfendiyar addressed Kurugsar, and said : " Thou seest 
with what facility all opposition is removed, when I am assisted 
by the favor of Heaven ! " " But there are other and more 
terrible difficulties to surmount, and amazing as thy achieve- 
ments certainly have been, thou wilt have still greater exertions 
to make before thy enterprise is complete." " What is the next 
evil I have to subdue ? " " An enormous dragon. 

With power to fascinate, and from the deep 
To lure the finny tribe, his daily food. 
Fire sparkles round him; his stupendous bulk 
Looks like a mountain. When incensed, his roar 
Makes the surrounding country shake with fear. 
White poison-foam drops from his hideous jaws, 
Which yawning wide, display a dismal gulf, 
The grave of many a hapless being, lost 
Wandering amidst that trackless wilderness." 

Kurugsar described or magnified the ferocity of the animal 
in such a way, that Isfendiyar thought it necessary to be 
cautious, and with that view he ordered a curious apparatus to 
be constructed on wheels, something like a carriage, to which 
he fastened a large quantity of pointed instruments, and har- 
nessed horses to it to drag it on the road. He then tried its 
motion, and found it admirably calculated for his purpose. 
The people were astonished at the ingenuity of the invention, 
and lauded him to the skies. 



THE SHAh NAMEH 277 

^ Third Stage^ — Away went the prince, and having travelled 
a considerable distance, Kurugsar suddenly exclaimed : " I 
now begin to smell the stench of the dragon." Hearing this, 
Isfendiyar dismounted, ascended the machine, and shutting the 
door fast, took his seat and drove off. Bashutan and all the 
warriors upon witnessing this extraordinary act, began to weep 
and lament, thinking that he was hurrying himself to certain 
destruction, and begged that for his own sake, as well as theirs, 
he would come out of the machine. But he replied : " Peace, 
peace ! what know ye of the matter ; " and as the warhke appa- 
ratus was so excellently contrived, that he could direct the 
movements of the horses himself, he drove on with increased 
velocity, till he arrived in the vicinity of the monster. 

The dragon from a distance heard 

The rumbling of the wain, 
And snuffing every breeze that stirred 

Across the neighbouring plain, 

Smelt something human in his power, 

A welcome scent to him; 
For he was eager to devour 

Hot reeking blood, or limb. 

And darkness now is spread around. 

No pathway can be traced; 
The fiery horses plunge and bound 

Amid the dismal waste. 

And now the dragon stretches far 

His cavern throat, and soon 
Licks in the horses and the car. 

And tries to gulp them down. 

But sword and javelin, sharp and keen, 

Wound deep each sinewy jaw; 
Midway, remains the huge machine. 

And chokes the monster's maw. 

In agony he breathes, a dire 

Convulsion fires his blood. 
And struggling, ready to expire, 

Ejects a poison-flood! 

And then disgorges wain and steeds, 

And swords and javelins bright; 
Then, as the dreadful dragon bleeds. 

Up starts the warrior-knight, 



278 FIRDUSI 

And from his place of ambush leaps, 

And, brandishing his blade. 
The weapon in the brain he steeps, 

And splits the monster's head. 

But the foul venom issuing thence. 

Is so o'erpowering found, 
Isfendiyar, deprived of sense, 

Falls staggering to the ground! 

Upon seeing this result, and his brother in so deplorable a 
situation, Bashutan and the troops also were in great alarm, 
apprehending the most fatal consequences. They sprinkled 
rose-water over his face, and administered other remedies, so 
that after some time he recovered ; then he bathed, purifying 
himself from the filth of the monster, and poured out prayers 
of thankfulness to the merciful Creator for the protection and 
victory he had given him. But it was matter of great grief to 
Kurugsar that Isfendiyar had succeeded in his exploit, because 
under present circumstances, he would have to follow him in 
the remaining arduous enterprises ; whereas, if the prince had 
been slain, his obligations would have ceased forever. 

" What may be expected to-morrow ? " inquired Isfendiyar. 
" To-morrow," replied the demon-guide, " thou wilt meet with 
an enchantress, who can convert the stormy sea into dry land, 
and the dry land again into the ocean. She is attended by a 
gigantic ghoul, or apparition." " Then thou shalt see how 
easily this enchantress and her mysterious attendant can be 
vanquished." 

Fourth Stage. — On the fourth day Isfendiyar and his com- 
panions proceeded on the destined journey, and coming to a 
pleasant meadow, watered by a transparent rivulet, the party 
alighted, and they all refreshed themselves heartily with various 
kinds of food and wine. In a short space of time the enchant- 
ress appeared, most beautiful in feature and elegant in attire, 
and approaching our hero with a sad but fascinating expression 
of countenance, said to him (the ghoul, her pretended para- 
mour, being at a little distance) : — 

" I am a poor unhappy thing. 
The daughter of a distant king. 
This monster with deceit and fraud, 
By a fond parent's power unawed. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 279 

Seduced me from my royal home, 
Through wood and desert wild to roam; 
And surely Heaven has brought thee now 
To cheer my heart, and smooth my brow, 
And free me from his loathed embrace, 
And bear me to a fitter place, 
Where, in thy circling arms more softly prest, 
I may at last be truly loved, and blest." 

Isfendiyar immediately called her to him, and requested her 
to sit down. The enchantress readily complied, anticipating a 
successful issue to her artful stratagems; but the intended 
victim of her sorcery was too cunning to be imposed upon. 
He soon perceived what she was, and forthwith cast his 
kamund over her, and in spite of all her entreaties, bound her 
too fast to escape. In this extremity, she successively assumed 
the shape of a cat, a wolf, and a decrepit old man : and so 
perfect were her transformations, that any other person would 
have been deceived, but Isfendiyar detected her in every variety 
of appearance ; and, vexed by her continual attempts to cheat 
him, at last took out his sword and cut her in pieces. As soon 
as this was done, a thick dark cloud of dust and vapor arose, 
and when it subsided, a black apparition of a demon burst upon 
his sight, with fiames issuing from its mouth. Determined to 
destroy this fresh antagonist, he rushed forward, sword in hand, 
and though the flames, in the attack, burnt his cloth-armor 
and dress, he succeeded in cutting off the threatening monster's 
head. " Now," said he to Kurugsar, " thou hast seen that with 
the favor of Heaven, both enchantress and ghoul are extermi- 
nated, as well as the wolves, the Uons, and the dragon." " Very 
well," replied Kurugsar, " thou hast achieved this prodigious 
labor, but to-morrow will be a heavy day, and thou canst hardly 
escape with life. To-morrow thou wilt be opposed by the 
Simurgh, whose nest is situated upon a lofty mountain. She 
has two young ones, each the size of an elephant, which she 
conveys in her beak and claws from place to place." " Be under 
no alarm," said Isfendiyar, " God will make the labor easy." 

Fifth Stage. — On the fifth day, Isfendiyar resumed his 
journey, travelling with his little army over desert, plain, 
mountain, and wilderness, until he reached the neighborhood 
of the Simurgh. He then adopted the same stratagem which 
he had employed before, and the machine supplied with swords 
and spears, and drawn by horses, was soon in readiness for the 



28o FIRDUSI 

new adventure. The Simurgh, seeing with surprise an immense 
vehicle, drawn by two horses, approach at a furious rate, and 
followed by a large company of horsemen, descended from the 
mountain, and endeavored to take up the whole apparatus in 
her claws to carry it away to her own nest ; but her claws were 
lacerated by the sharp weapons, and she was then obliged to 
try her beak. Both beak and claws were injured in the effort, 
and the animal became extremely weakened by the loss of 
blood. Isfendiyar seizing the happy moment, sprang out of 
the carriage, and with his trenchant sword divided the Simurgh 
in two parts ; and the young ones, after witnessing the death 
of their parent, precipitately fled from the fatal scene. When 
Bashutan, with the army, came to the spot, they were amazed 
at the prodigious size of the Simurgh, and the valor by which 
it had been subdued. Kurugsar turned pale with astonishment 
and sorrow. " What will be our next adventure ? " said Isfen- 
diyar to him. "To-morrow more pressing ills will surround 
thee. Heavy snow will fall, and there will be a violent tempest 
of wind, and it will be wonderful if even one man of thy legions 
remains alive. That will not be like fighting against lions, a 
dragon, or the Simurgh, but against the elements, against the 
Almighty, which never can be successful. Thou hadst better 
therefore, return unhurt." The people on hearing this warning 
were alarmed, and proposed to go back ; " for if the advice of 
Kurugsar is not taken, we shall all perish like the companions 
of Kai-khosrau, and lie buried under drifts of snow. 

" Let us return then, whilst we may; 
Why should we throw our lives away?" 

But Isfendiyar replied that he had already overcome five of 
the perils of the road, and had no fear about the remaining 
two. The people, however, were still discontented, and still 
murmured aloud ; upon which the prince said, " Return then, 
and I will go alone. 

I never can require the aid 
Of men so easily dismayed." 

Finding their leader immovable, the people now changed 
their tone, and expressed their devotion to his cause ; declaring 
that whilst life remained, they would never forsake him, no 
never. 



THE SHAh NAMEH 981 

Sixth Stage. — On the following morning, the sixth, Isfen- 
diyar continued his labors, and hurried on with great speed. 
Towards evening he arrived on the skirts of a mountain, where 
there was a running stream, and upon that spot, he pitched his 
tents. 

Presently from the mountain there rushed down 

A furious storm of wind, then heavy showers 

Of snow fell, covering all the earth with whiteness. 

And making desolate the prospect round. 

Keen blew the blast, and pinching was the cold; 

And to escape the elemental wrath, 

Leader and soldier, in the caverned rock 

Scooped out by mouldering time, took shelter, there 

Continuing three long days. Three lingering days 

Still fell the snow, and still the tempest raged. 

And man and beast grew faint for want of food. 

Isfendiyar and his warriors, with heads exposed, now pros- 
trated themselves in solemn prayer to the Almighty, and 
implored his favor and protection from the calamity which 
had befallen them. Happily their prayers were heard, Heaven 
was compassionate, and in a short space the snow and the 
mighty wind entirely ceased. By this fortunate interference 
of Providence, the army was enabled to quit the caves of the 
mountain ; and then Isfendiyar again addressed Kurugsar 
triumphantly : " Thus the sixth labor is accomplished. What 
have we now to fear ? " The demon-guide answered him and 
said : " From hence to the Brazen Fortress it is forty farsangs. 
That fortress is the residence of Arjasp ; but the road is full of 
peril. For three farsangs the sand on the ground is as hot as 
fire, and there is no water to be found during the whole jour- 
ney." This information made a serious impression upon the 
mind of Isfendiyar ; who said to him sternly : " If I find thee 
guilty of falsehood, I will assuredly put thee to death." Kurug- 
sar replied : " What ! after six trials ? Thou hast no reason to 
question my veracity. I shall never depart from the truth, and 
my advice is, that thou hadst better return ; for the seventh stage 
is not to be ventured upon by human strength. 

Along those plains of burning sand 

No bird can move, nor ant, nor fly; 
No water slakes the fiery land, 

Intensely glows the flaming sky. 



aSa FIRDUSI 

No tiger fierce, nor lion ever 

Could breathe that pestilential air; 
Even the unsparing vulture never 

Ventures on blood-stained pinions there. 

At the distance of three farsangs beyond this inaccessible belt 
of scorching country lies the Brazen Fortress, to which there 
is no visible path; and if an army of a hundred thousand 
strong were to attempt its reduction, there would not be the 
least chance of success." 

Seventh Stage. — When Isfendiyar heard these things, 
enough to alarm the bravest heart, he turned towards his 
people to ascertain their determination; when they unani- 
mously repeated their readiness to sacrifice their lives in his 
service, and to follow wherever he might be disposed to lead 
the way. He then put Kurugsar in chains again, and prose- 
cuted his journey, until he reached the place said to be covered 
with burning sand. Arrived on the spot, he observed to the 
demon-guide : " Thou hast described the sand as hot, but it is 
not so." " True ; and it is on account of the heavy showers 
of snow that have fallen and cooled the ground, a proof that 
thou art under the protection of the Almighty." Isfendiyar 
smiled, and said : " Thou art all insincerity and deception, thus 
to play upon my feelings with false or imaginary terrors." 
Saying this he urged his soldiers to pass rapidly on, so as to 
leave the sand behind them, and they presently came to a great 
river. Isfendiyar was now angry with Kurugsar, and said : 
" Thou hast declared that for the space of forty farsangs there 
was no water, every drop being everywhere dried up by the 
burning heat of the sun, and here we find water ! Why didst 
thou also idly fill the minds of my soldiers with groundless 
fears ? " Kurugsar replied : " I will confess the truth. Did I 
not swear a solemn oath to be faithful, and yet I was still 
doubted, and still confined in irons, though the experience of 
six days of trial had proved the correctness of my information 
and advice. For this reason I was disappointed and dis- 
pleased; and I must confess that I did, therefore, exaggerate 
the dangers of the last day, in the hope too of inducing thee to 
return and release me from my bonds," 

For what have I received from thee, 
But scorn, and chains, and slavery." 



THE SHAH NAMEH 283 

Isfendiyar now struck off the irons from the hands and feet 
of his demon-guide and treated him with favor and kindness, 
repeating to him his promise to reward him at the close of his 
victorious career with the government of a kingdom. Kurugsar 
was grateful for this change of conduct to him, and again 
acknowledging the deception he had been guilty of, hoped for 
pardon, engaging at the same time to take the party in safety 
across the great river which had impeded their progress. This 
was accordingly done, and the Brazen Fortress was now at no 
great distance. At the close of the day they were only one 
farsang from the towers, but Isfendiyar preferred resting till 
the next morning. " What is thy counsel now ? " said he to 
his guide. " What sort of a fortress is this which fame describes 
in such dreadful colors ? " " It is stronger than imagination 
can conceive, and impregnable." — " Then how shall I get to 
Arjasp ? 

How shall I cleave the oppressor's form asunder. 

The murderer of my grandsire, Lohurasp? 

The bravest heroes of Tiiran shall fall 

Under my conquering sword; their wives and children 

Led captive to Iran; and desolation 

Scathe the whole realm beneath the tyrant's sway." 

But these words only roused and exasperated the feelings of 
Kurugsar, who bitterly replied : — 

" Then may calamity be thy reward, 
Thy stars malignant, and thy life all sorrow; 
And may'st thou perish, weltering in thy blood, 
And the bare desert be thy lonely grave 
For that inhuman thought, that cruel menace." 

Isfendiyar, upon hearing this unexpected language, became 
furious with indignation, and instantly punished the offender 
on the spot; with one stroke of his sword he cleft Kurugsar 
in twain. 

When the clouds of night had darkened the sky, Isfendiyar, 
with a number of his warriors, proceeded towards the Brazen 
Fortress, and secretly explored it on every side. He found it 
constructed entirely of iron and brass ; and, notwithstanding a 
strict examination at every point, discovered no accessible part 
for attack. It was three farsangs high, and forty wide; and 
such a place as was never before beheld by man. 



t84 FIRDUSI 



CAPTURE OF THE BRAZEN FORTRESS 

ISFENDIYAR returned from reconnoitring the fortress with 
acute feelings of sorrow and despair. He was at last con- 
vinced that Kurugsar had spoken the truth; for there 
seemed to be no chance whatever of taking the place by any 
stratagem he could invent. Revolving the enterprise seriously 
in his mind, he now began to repent of his folly, and the over- 
weening confidence which had led him to undertake the jour- 
ney. Returning thus to his tent in a melancholy mood, he saw 
a Fakir sitting down on the road, and him he anxiously ac- 
costed. " What may be the number of the garrison in this 
fort ? " " There are a hundred thousand veteran warriors in 
the service of Arjasp in the fort, with abundance of supplies of 
every kind, and streams of pure water, so that nothing is 
wanted to foil an enemy." This was very unwelcome intelli- 
gence to Isfendiyar, who now assembled his officers to con- 
sider what was best to be done. They all agreed that the reduc- 
tion of the fortress was utterly impracticable, and that the safest 
course for him would be to return. But he could not bring 
himself to acquiesce in this measure, saying : " God is al- 
mighty, and beneficent, and with him is the victory." He then 
reflected deeply and long, and finally determined upon entering 
the fort disguised as a merchant. Having first settled the mode 
of proceeding, he put Bashutan in temporary charge of the 
army, saying: — 

" This Brazen Fortress scorns all feats of arms, 
Nor sword nor spear, nor battle-axe, can here 
Be wielded to advantage; stratagem 
Must be employed, or we shall never gain 
Possession of its wide-extended walls, 
Placing my confidence in God alone 
I go with rich and curious wares for sale, 
To take the credulous people by surprise, 
Under the semblance of a peaceful merchant.'* 

Isfendiyar then directed a hundred dromedaries to be col- 
lected, and when they were brought to him he disposed of them 
in the following manner. He loaded ten with embroidered 
cloths, five with rubies and sapphires, and five more with pearls 



THE SHAh nAmEH 285 

and other precious jewels. Upon each of the remaining eighty 
he placed two chests, and in each chest a warrior was secreted, 
making in all one hundred and sixty ; and one hundred more 
were disposed as camel-drivers and servants. Thus the whole 
force, consisting of a hundred dromedaries and two hundred 
and sixty warriors, set off towards the Brazen Fortress, Isfen- 
diyar having first intimated to his brother Bashutan to march 
with his army direct to the gates of the fort, as soon as he saw a 
column of flame and smoke ascend from the interior. On the 
way they gave out that they were merchants come with valuable 
goods from Persia, and hoped for custom. The tidings of 
travellers having arrived, with rubies and gold-embroidered 
garments for sale, soon reached the ears of Arjasp, the king, 
who immediately gave them permission to enter the fort. 
When Isfendiyar, the reputed master of the caravan, had got 
within the walls, he said that he had brought rich presents for 
the king, and requested to be introduced to him in person. He 
was accordingly allowed to take the presents himself, was 
received with distinguished attention, and having stated his 
name to be Kherad, was invited to go to the royal palace, 
whenever, and as often as, he might please. At one of the 
interviews the king asked him, as he had come from Persia, if 
he knew whether the report was true or not that Kurugsar had 
been put to death, and what Gushtasp and Isfendiyar were 
engaged upon. The hero in disguise replied that it was five 
months since he left Persia ; but he had heard on the road from 
many persons that Isfendiyar intended proceeding by the way 
of the Heft-khan with a vast army, towards the Brazen Fortress* 
At these words Arjasp smiled in derision, and said ; " Ah ! 
ah ! by that way even the winged tribe are afraid to venture ; 
and if Isfendiyar had a thousand lives, he would lose them all in 
any attempt to accomplish that journey." After this interview 
Isfendiyar daily continued to attend to the sale of his merchan- 
dise, and soon found that his sisters were employed in the de- 
grading office of drawing and carrying water for the kitchen of 
Arjasp. When they heard that a caravan had arrived from Iran, 
they went to Isfendiyar (who recognized them at a distance, 
but hid his face that they might not know him), to inquire 
what tidings he had brought about their father and brother. 
Alarmed at the hazard of discovery, he replied that he knew 
nothing, and desired them to depart ; but they remained, and 



386 FIRDUSI 

said : " On thy return to Iran, at least, let it be known that 
here we are, two daughters of Gushtasp, reduced to the basest 
servitude, and neither father nor brother takes compassion upon 
our distresses. 

Whilst with bare head, and naked feet, we toil, 
They pass their time in peace and happiness. 
Regardless of the misery we endure." 

Isfendiyar again, in assumed anger, told them to depart, 
saying: "Talk not to me of Gushtasp and Isfendiyar — what 
have I to do with them ? " At that moment the sound of his 
voice was recognized by the elder sister, who, in a transport of 
joy, instantly communicated her discovery to the younger ; but 
they kept the secret till night, and then they returned to com- 
mune with their brother. Isfendiyar finding that he was 
known, acknowledged himself, and informed them that he had 
undertaken to restore them to liberty, and that he was now 
engaged in the enterprise, opposing every obstacle in his way ; 
but it was necessary that they should continue their usual 
labor at the wells, till a fitting opportunity occurred. 

For the purpose of accelerating the moment of release, 
Isfendiyar represented to the king that at a period of great 
adversity, he had made a vow that he would give a splendid 
banquet if ever Heaven again smiled upon him, and as he then 
was in the way to prosperity, and wished to fulfil his vow, he 
hoped that his majesty would honor him with his presence on 
the occasion. The king accepted the invitation with satis- 
faction, and said : " To-morrow I will be thy guest, at thy own 
house, and with all my warriors and soldiers," But this did 
not suit the scheme of the pretended merchant, who apologized 
on account of his house being too small, and proposed that the 
feast should be held upon the loftiest part of the fortress, where 
spacious tents and pavilions might be erected for the purpose, 
and a large fire lighted to give splendor to the scene. The 
king assented, and every requisite preparation being made, all 
the royal and warrior guests assembled in the morning, and 
eagerly partook of the rich viands set before them. They all 
drank wine with such relish and delight, that they soon became 
intoxicated, and Kherad seizing the opportunity, ordered the 
logs of wood which had been collected, to be set on fire, and 
rapidly the smoke and flame sprung up, and ascended to the 



THE SHAh NAMEH 287 

sky. Bashiitan saw the looked-for sign, and hastened with two 
thousand horsemen to the gates of the fortress, where he slew 
every one that he met, calHng himself Isfendiyar. Arjasp had 
enjoyed the banquet exceedingly; the music gave him infinite 
pleasure, and the wine had intoxicated him ; but in the midst 
of his hilarity and merriment, he was told that Isfendiyar had 
reached the gates, and entered the fort, killing immense 
numbers of his people. This terrible intelligence roused him 
and quitting the festive board of Kherad, he ordered his son 
Kahram, with fifty thousand horsemen, to repel the invader. 
He also ordered forty thousand horsemen to protect different 
parts of the walls, and ten thousand to remain as his own 
personal guard. Kahram accordingly issued forth without 
delay, and soon engaged in battle with the force under 
Bashutan. 

When night came, Isfendiyar opened the lids of the chests, 
and let out the hundred and sixty warriors, whom he supplied 
with swords and spears, and armor, and also the hundred who 
were disguised as camel-drivers and servants. 

With this bold band he sped, 

Whither Arjasp had fled; 

And all who fought around, 

To keep untouched that sacred ground; 

(Resistance weak and vain,) 

By him were quickly slain. 

The sisters of Isfendiyar now arrived, and pointed out to 
him the chamber of Arjasp, to which place he immediately 
repaired, and roused up the king, who was almost insensible 
with the fumes of wine. Arjasp, however, sprang upon his feet, 

And grappled stoutly with Isfendiyar, 

And desperate was the conflict: head and loins 

Alternately received deep gaping wounds 

From sword and dagger. Wearied out at length, 

Arjasp shrunk back, when with one mighty blow, 

Isfendiyar, exulting in his power. 

Cleft him asunder. 

Two of the wives, two daughters, and one sister of Arjasp 
fell immediately into the hands of the conqueror, who delivered 
them into the custody of his son, to be conveyed home. He 
then quitted the palace, and turning his steps towards the gates 
of the fortress, slew a great number of the enemy. 



a88 FIRDUSI 

Kahram, in the meantime, had been fiercely engaged with 
Bashutan, and was extremely reduced. At the very moment 
too of his discomfiture, he heard the watchmen call out aloud 
that Arjasp had been slain by Kherad. Confounded and 
alarmed by these tidings, he approached the fort, where he 
heard the confirmation of his misfortune from every mouth, 
and also that the garrison had been put to the sword. Leading 
on the remainder of his troops he now came in contact with 
Isfendiyar and his two hundred and sixty warriors, and a sharp 
engagement ensued ; but the coming up of Bashutan's force on 
his rear, placed him in such a predicament on every side, that 
defeat and destruction were almost inevitable. In short, 
Kahram was left with only a few of his soldiers near him, when 
Isfendiyar, observing his situation, challenged him to personal 
combat, and the challenge was accepted. 

So closely did the eager warriors close, 

They seemed together joined, and but one man. 

At last Isfendiyar seized Kahram's girth, 

And flung him to the ground, and bound his hands; 

And as a leaf is severed from its stalk. 

So he the head cleft from its quivering trunk; 

Thus one blow wins, and takes away a throne. 

In battle heads are trodden under hoofs, 

Crowns under heads. 

After the death of Kahram, Isfendiyar issued a proclamation, 
offering full pardon to all who would unite under his banners. 
They had no king. 

The country had no throne, no crown. Alas! 

What is the world without a governor. 

What, but a headless trunk? A thing more worthlesa 

Than the vile dust upon the common road. 

What could the people do in their despair? 

They were obedient, and Isfendiyar 

Encouraged them with kind and gentle words. 

Fitting a generous and a prudent master. 

Having first written to his father an account of the great 
victory which he had gained, he occupied himself in reducing 
all the surrounding provinces and their inhabitants to subjec- 
tion. Those people who continued hostile to him he deemed 
it necessary to put to death. He took all the women of Arjasp 



THE ShXh NAMEH 289 

into his own service, and their daughters he presented to his 
own sons. 

Not a warrior of Chin remained; 

The king of Turin was swept away; 
And the realm where in pomp he had reigned, 

Where he basked in prosperity's ray, 
Was spoiled by the conqueror's brand, 

Desolation marked every scene. 
And a stranger now governed the mountainous land. 

Where the splendour of Poshang had been. 
Not a dirhem of treasure was left; 

For nothing eluded the conqueror's grasp; 
Of all was the royal pavilion bereft; 

All followed the fate of Arjasp! 

When Gushtasp received information of this mighty con- 
quest, he sent orders to Isfendiyar to continue in the govern- 
ment of the new empire ; but the prince replied that he had set- 
tled the country, and was anxious to see his father. This request 
being permitted, he was desired to bring away all the immense 
booty, and return by the road of the Heft-khan. Arriving at the 
place where he was overtaken by the dreadful winter-storm, he 
again found all the property he had lost under the drifts of 
snow; and when he had accomplished his journey, he was 
received with the warmest welcome and congratulations, on 
account of his extraordinary successes. A royal feast was 
prepared, and the king filled his son's goblet with wine so re- 
peatedly, and drank himself so frequently, and with such zest, 
that both of them at length became intoxicated. Gushtasp then 
asked Isfendiyar to describe to him the particulars of his 
expedition by the road of the Heft-khan; for though he had 
heard the story from others, he wished to have it from his own 
mouth. But Isfendiyar replied : " We have both drank too 
much wine, and nothing good can proceed from a drunken 
man ; I will recite my adventures to-morrow, when my head is 
clear." The next day Gushtasp, seated upon his throne, and 
Isfendiyar placed before him on a golden chair, again asked for 
the prince's description of his triumphant progress by the Heft- 
khan, and according to his wish every incident that merited 
notice was faithfully detailed to him. The king expressed great 
pleasure at the conclusion ; but envy and suspicion lurked in 
his breast, and writhing internally like a serpent, he still de- 
VOL. I. — 19 



290 



FIRDUSI 



layed fulfilling his promise to invest Isfendiyar, upon thd 
overthrow of Arjasp, with the sovereignty of Iran. 

The prince could not fail to observe the changed disposition 
of his father, and privately went to Kitabiin, his mother, to 
whom he related the solemn promise and engagement of Gush- 
tasp, and requested her to go to him, and say : " Thou hast 
given thy royal word to Isfendiyar, that when he had conquered 
and slain Arjasp, and restored his own sisters to liberty, thou 
wouldst place upon his head the crown of Iran ; faith and honor 
are indispensable in princes, they are inculcated by religion, and 
yet thou hast failed to make good thy word." But the mother 
had more prudence, and said : " Let me give thee timely coun- 
sel, and breathe not a syllable to any one on the subject. God 
forbid that thou shouldst again be thrown into prison, and con- 
fined in chains. Recollect thine is the succession ; the army is 
in thy favor ; thy father is old and infirm. Have a little patience 
and in the end thou wilt undoubtedly be the King of Persia. 

The gold and jewels, the imperial sway, 
The crown, the throne, the army, all he owns, 
Will presently be thine; then wait in patience, 
And reign, in time, the monarch of the world." 

Isfendiyar, however, was not contented with his mother's 
counsel, and suspecting that she would communicate to the 
king what he had said, he one day, as if under the influence of 
wine, thus addressed his father : " In what way have I failed 
to accomplish thy wishes ? Have I not performed such actions 
as never were heard of, and never will be performed again, in 
furtherance of thy glory? I have overthrown thy greatest 
enemy, and supported thy honor with ceaseless toil and 
exertion. Is it not then incumbent on thee to fulfil thy prom- 
ise ? " Gushtasp replied : " Do not be impatient — the throne 
is thine ; " but he was deeply irritated at heart on being thus 
reproached by his own son. When he retired he consulted with 
Jamasp, and was anxious to know what the stars foretold. The 
answer was : " He is of exalted fortune, of high destiny ; he will 
overcome all his enemies, and finally obtain the sovereignty of 
the heft-aklim, or seven climes." This favorable prophecy ag- 
gravated the spleen of the father against the son, and he in- 
quired with bitter and unnatural curiosity : " What will be his 
death ? Look to that." 



THE SHXh nXmEH 291 

" A deadly dart from Rustem's bow. 
Will lay the glorious warrior low." 

These tidings gladdened the heart of Gushtasp, and he said : 
" If this miscreant had been slain in his expedition to the 
Brazen Fortress I should not now have been insulted with his 
claim to my throne." The king then having resolved upon a 
scheme of deep dissimulation, ordered a gorgeous banquet, and 
invited to it all his relations and warriors; and when the 
guests were assembled he said to Isfendiyar : " The crown and 
the throne are thine ; indeed, who is there so well qualified for 
imperial sway ? " and turning to his warriors, he spoke of him 
with praise and admiration, and added : " When I was enter- 
ing upon the war against Arjasp, before I quitted Sistan, I said 
to Rustem : ' Lohurasp, my father, is dead, my wife and chil- 
dren made prisoners, wilt thou assist me in punishing the 
murderer and oppressor ? ' but he excused himself, and re- 
mained at home, and although I have since been involved in 
numberless perils, he has not once by inquiry shown himself 
interested in my behalf; in short, he boasts that Kai-khosrau 
gave him the principalities of Zabul and Kabul, and Nim-ruz, 
and that he owes no allegiance to me ! It behooves me, there- 
fore, to depute Isfendiyar to go and put him to death, or 
bring him before me in bonds alive. After that I shall have 
no enemy to be revenged upon, and I shall retire from the 
world, and leave to Isfendiyar the crown and the throne of 
Persia, with confidence and satisfaction." All the nobles and 
heroes present approved of the measure, and the king, gratified 
by their approbation, then turned to Isfendiyar, and said : " I 
have sworn on the Zendavesta, to relinquish my power, and 
place it in thy hands, as soon as Rustem^is subdued. Take 
whatever force the important occasion may require, for the 
whole resources of the empire shall be at thy command." But 
Isfendiyar thus replied : " Remember the first time I defeated 
Arjasp — what was my reward ? Through the machinations of 
Gurzam I was thrown into prison and chained. And what is 
my reward now that I have slain both Arjasp and his son in 
battle ? Thy solemn promise to me is forgotten, or disregarded. 
The prince who forgets one promise will forget another, if it be 
convenient for his purpose. 



292 FIRDUSI 

" Whenever the Heft-khan is brought to mind, 
I feel a sense of horror. But why should I 
Repeat the story of those great exploits I 
God is my witness, how I slew the wolf, 
The lion, and the dragon; how I punished 
That fell enchantress with her thousand wiles; 
And how I suffered, midst the storm of snow, 
Which almost froze the blood within my veins; 
And how that vast unfathomable deep 
We crossed securely. These are deeds which awaken 
Wonder and praise in others, not in thee! 
The treasure which I captured now is thine; 
And what is my reward? — the interest, sorrow. 
Thus am I cheated of my recompense. 
It is the custom for great kings to keep 
Religiously their pledged, affianced word; 
But thou hast broken thine, despite of honour. 

I do remember in my early youth. 
It was in Rum, thou didst perform a feat 
Of gallant daring; for thou didst destroy 
A dragon and a wolf, but thou didst bear 
Thyself most proudly, thinking human arm 
Never before had done a deed so mighty; 
Yes, thou wert proud and vain, and seemed exalted 
Up to the Heavens; and for that noble act 
What did thy father do? The king for that 
Gave thee with joyous heart his crown and throne. 
Now mark the difference; think what I have done, 
What perils I sustained, and for thy sake! 
Thy foes I vanquished, clearing from thy mind 
The gnawing rust of trouble and affliction. 
Monsters I slew, reduced the Brazen Fortress, 
And laid Arjasp's whole empire at thy feet. 
And what was my reward? Neglect and scorn. 
Did I deserve this at a father's hands? " 

Gushtasp remained unmoved by this sharp rebuke, though 
he readily acknowledged its justice. " The crown shall be 
thine," said he, " but consider my position. Think, too, what 
services Zal and Rustem performed for Kai-khosrau, and 
shall I expect less from my own son, gifted as he is with a form 
of brass, and the most prodigious valor? Forbid it, Heaven! 
that any rumor of our difference should get abroad in the 
world, which would redound to the dishonor of both ! Nearly 
half of Iran is in the possession of Rustem." " Give me the 
crown," said Isfendiyar, " and I will immediately proceed 
against the Zabul champion." _" I have given thee both the 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



293 



crown and the throne, take with thee my whole army, and all 
my treasure. — What wouldst thou have more? He who has 
conquered the terrific obstacles of the Heft-khan, and has slain 
Arjasp and subdued his entire kingdom, can have no cause to 
fear the prowess of Rustem, or any other chief." Isfendiyar 
replied that he had no fear of Rustem's prowess ; he was now 
old, and therefore not equal to himself in strength ; still he had 
no wish to oppose him : — 

For he has been the monitor and friend 

Of our Kaianian ancestors; his care 

Enriched their minds, and taught them to be brave; 

And he was ever faithful to their cause. 

Besides," said he, " thou wert the honoured guest 

Of Rustem two long years; and at Sistan 

Enjoyed his hospitality and friendship, 

His festive, social board; and canst thou now. 

Forgetting that delightful intercourse, 

Become his bitterest foe? " 

Gushtasp replied: — 

" 'Tis true he may have served my ancestors; 
But what is that to me? His spirit is proud. 
And he refused to yield me needful aid 
"When danger pressed; that is enough, and thon 
Canst not divert me from my settled purpose. 
Therefore, if thy aim be still 
To rule, thy father's wish fulfil; 
Quickly trace the distant road; 
Quick invade the chief's abode; 
Bind his feet, and bind his hands 
In a captive's galling bands; 
Bring him here, that all may know 
Thou hast quelled the mighty foe." 

But Isfendiyar was still reluctant, and implored him to 
relinquish his design. 

" For if resolved, a gloomy cloud 
Will quickly all thy glories shroud, 

And dim thy brilliant throne; 
I would not thus aspire to reign. 
But rather, free from crime, remain 

Sequestered and alone." 

Again Gushtasp spoke, and said : " There is no necessity for 
any further delay. Thou art appointed my successor, and the 



294 



FIRDUSI 



crown and the throne are thine; thou hast therefore only to 
march to the scene of action, and accomphsh the object of the 
war." Hearing this, Isfendiyar sullenly retired to his own 
house, and Gushtasp, perceiving that he was in an angry mood, 
requested Jamasp (his minister) to ascertain the state of his 
mind, and whether he intended to proceed to Sistan or not. 
Jamasp immediately went, and Isfendiyar asked him, as his 
friend, what he would advise. " The commands of a father," 
he replied, " must be obeyed." There was now no remedy, and 
the king being informed that the prince consented to under- 
take the expedition, no further discussion took place. 

But Kitabun was deeply affected when she heard of these 
proceedings, and repaired instantly to her son, to represent to 
him the hopelessness of the enterprise he had engaged to 
conduct. 

"A mother's counsel is a golden treasure; 
Consider well, and listen not to folly. 
Rustem, the champion of the world, will never 
Suffer himself to be confined in bonds. 
Did he not conquer the White Demon, fill 
The world with blood, in terrible revenge, 
When Saiawush was by Afrasiyab 
Cruelly slain? O, curses on the throne, 
And ruin seize the country, which returns 
Evil for good, and spurns its benefactor. 
Restrain thy steps, engage not in this war; 
It cannot do thee honour. Hear my voice! 
For Rustem still can conquer all the world." 
Hear the safe counsel of thy anxious mother! 
Thus spoke Kitabun, shedding ceaseless tears; 
And thus Isfendiyar: " I fear not Rustem; 
I fear not his prodigious power and skill; 
But never can I on so great a hero 
Place ignominious bonds; it must not be. 
Yet, mother dear, my faithful word is pledged; 
My word Jamasp has taken to the king. 
And I must follow where my fortune leads." 

The next morning Isfendiyar took leave of the king, and 
with a vast army, and immense treasure, commenced his march 
towards Sistan. It happened that one of the camels in advance 
laid down, and though beaten severely, could not be made to 
get up on its legs. Isfendiyar, seeing the obstinacy of the 
rnimal, ordered it to be killed, and passed on. The people, 



THE SHAH NAMEH 295 

however, interpreted the accident as a bad omen, and wished 
him not to proceed ; but he could not attend to their sugges- 
tions, as he thought the king would look upon it as a mere 
pretence, and therefore continued his journey. 

When he approached Sistan, he sent Bahman, his eldest 
son, to Rustem, with a flattering message, to induce the cham- 
pion to honor him with an istakbal, or deputation to receive 
him. Upon Bahman's arrival, however, he hesitated and de- 
layed, being reluctant to give a direct answer; but Zal inter- 
posed, saying : " Why not immediately wait upon the prince ? 
— have we not always been devoted to the Kaianian dynasty ? — 
Go and bring him hither, that we may tender him our allegiance, 
and entertain him at our mansion as becomes his illustrious 
birth." Accordingly Rustem went out to welcome Isfendiyar, 
and alighting from Rakush, proceeded respectfully on foot to 
embrace him. He then invited him to his house, but Isfendiyar 
said : " So strict are my father's commands, that after having 
seen thee, I am not permitted to delay my departure." Rustem, 
however, pressed him to remain with him, but all in vain. On 
the contrary the prince artfully conducted him to his own quar- 
ters, where he addressed him thus : " If thou wilt allow me to 
bind thee, hand and foot, in chains, I will convey thee to the 
king my father, whose humor it is to see thee once in fetters, 
and then to release thee ! " Rustem was silent. Again Isfen- 
diyar said : " If thou art not disposed to comply with this de- 
mand, go thy ways." Rustem replied : " First be my guest, 
as thy father once was, and after that I will conform to thy will." 
Again the prince said : " My father visited thee under other 
circumstances ; I have come for a different purpose. If I eat 
thy bread and salt, and after that thou shouldst refuse thy 
acquiescence, I must have recourse to force. But if I become 
thy guest, how can I in honor fight with thee ? and if I do not 
take thee bound into my father's presence, according to his 
command, what answer shall I give to him ? " " For the same 
reason," said Rustem ; " how can I eat thy bread and salt ? " 
Isfendiyar then replied : " Thou needest not eat my bread and 
salt, but only drink wine. — Bring thy own pure ruby." To this 
Rustem agreed, and they drank, each his own wine, together. 

In a short space Rustem observed that he wished to consult 
his father Zal ; and being allowed to depart, he, on his return 
home, described in strong terms of admiration the personal 
appearance and mental qualities of Isfendiyar. 



296 FIRDUSI 

" In wisdom ripe, and with a form 
Of brass to meet the battle-storm, » 
Thou wouldst confess his every boon, 
Had been derived from Feridun." 

Bashutan in the meanwhile observed to his brother, with some 
degree of dissatisfaction, that his enemy had come into his 
power, on his own feet too, but had been strangely permitted 
to go away again. To this gentle reproof Isfendiyar con- 
fidently replied, " If he does fail to return, I will go and secure 
him in bonds, even in his own house." — " Ah ! " said Bashutan, 
" that might be done by gentleness, but not by force, for the 
descendant of Sam, the champion of the world, is not to be 
subdued so easily." These words had a powerful efifect upon 
the mind of Isfendiyar, and he became apprehensive that 
Rustem would not return ; but whilst he was still murmuring 
at his own want of vigilance, the champion appeared, and at 
this second interview repeated his desire that the prince would 
become his guest. " I am sent here by my father, who relies 
upon thy accepting his proffered hospitality." — " That may 
be," said Isfendiyar, " but I am at my utmost limit, I cannot 
go farther. From this place, therefore, thou hadst better 
prepare to accompany me to Iran." Here Rustem paused, and 
at length artfully began to enumerate his various achievements, 
and to blazon his own name. 

" I fettered fast the emperor of Chin, 
And broke the enchantment of the Seven Khans; 
I stood the guardian of the Persian kings, 
Their shield in danger. I have cleared the world 
Of all their foes, enduring pain and toil 
Incalculable. Such exploits for thee 
Will I achieve, such sufferings will I bear, 
And hence we offer thee a social welcome. 
But let not dark suspicion cloud thy mind. 
Nor think thyself exalted as the heavens. 
Because I thus invite thee to our home." 

Isfendiyar felt so indignant and irritated by this apparent 
boasting and self-sufficiency of Rustem, that his first impulse 
was to cast a dagger at him ; but he kept down his wrath, and 
satisfied himself with giving him a scornful glance, and telling 
him to take a seat on his left hand. But Rustem resented this 
aflfront, saying that he never yet had sat down on the left of 



THE SHAH nAmEH 397 

any king, and placed himself, without permission, on the right 
hand of Isfendiyar. The unfavorable impression on the prince's 
mind was increased by this independent conduct, and he was 
provoked to say to him, " Rustem ! I have heard that Zal, thy 
father, was of demon extraction, and that Sam cast him into the 
desert because of his disgusting and abominable appearance; 
that even the hungry Simiirgh, on the same account, forebore to 
feed upon him, but conveyed him to her nest among her own 
young ones, who, pitying his wretched condition, supplied him 
with part of the carrion they were accustomed to devour. Naked 
and filthy, he is thus said to have subsisted on garbage, till Sam 
was induced to commiserate his wretchedness, and take him to 
Sistan, where, by the indulgence of his family and royal bounty, 
he was instructed in human manners and human science." This 
was a reproach and an insult too biting for Rustem to bear with 
any degree of patience, and frowning with strong indignation, 
he said, " Thy father knows, and thy grandfather well knew that 
Zal was the son of Sam, and Sam of Nariman, and that Nari- 
man was descended from Hiisheng, Thou and I, therefore, 
have the same origin. Besides, on my mother's side, I am de- 
scended from Zohak, so that by both parents I am of a race of 
princes. Knowest thou not that the Iranian empire was for 
some time in my hands, and that I refused to retain it, though 
urged by the nobles and the army to exercise the functions of 
royalty? It was my sense of justice, and attachment to the 
Kais and to thy family, which have enabled thee to possess thy 
present dignity and command. It is through my fidelity and 
zeal that thou art now in a situation to reproach me. Thou 
hast slain one king, Arjasp, how many kings have I slain ? Did 
I not conquer Afrasiyab, the greatest and bravest king that 
ever ruled over Turan ? And did I not also subdue the king of 
Hamaveran, and the Khakan of Chin? Kaus, thy own an- 
cestor, I released from the demons of Mazinderan. I slew the 
White Demon, and the tremendous giant, Akwan Diw. Can 
thy insignificant exploits be compared with mine ? Never ! " 
Rustem's vehemence, and the disdainful tone of his voice, ex- 
asperated still more the feelings of Isfendiyar, who however 
recollected that he was under his roof, otherwise he would have 
avenged himself instantly on the spot. Restraining his anger, 
he then said softly to him, " Wherefore dost thou raise thy 
voice so high ? For though thy head be exalted to the skies, 



398 FIRDUSI 

thou wert, and still art, but a dependent on the Kais. And was 
thy Heft-khan equal in terrible danger to mine? Was the 
capture of Mazinderan equal in valorous exertion to the capture 
of the Brazen Fortress ? And did I not, by the power of my 
sword, diffuse throughout the world the blessings of my own 
religion, the faith of the fire-worshipper, which was derived 
from Heaven itself? Thou hast performed the duties of a 
warrior and a servant, whilst I have performed the holy func- 
tions of a sovereign and a prophet ! " Rustem, in reply, said : — 

" In thy Heft-khan thou hadst twelve thousand men 
Completely armed, with ample stores and treasure, 
Whilst Rakush and my sword, my conquering sword, 
Were all the aid I had, and all I sought. 
In that prodigious enterprise of mine. 
Two sisters thou released — no arduous task, 
Whilst I recovered from the demon's grasp 
The mighty Kaiis, and the monsters slew. 
Roaring like thunder in their dismal caves. 

This great exploit my single arm achieved; 
And when Kai-khosrau gave the regal crown 
To Lohurasp, the warriors were incensed, 
And deemed Friburz, Kaus's valiant son, 
Fittest by birth to rule. My sire and I 
Espoused the cause of Lohurasp; else he 
Had never sat upon the throne, nor thou 
Been here to treat with scorn thy benefactor. 
And now Gushtasp, with foul ingratitude, 
Would bind me hand and foot! But who on earth 
Can do that office? I am not accustomed 
To hear harsh terms, and cannot brook their sting, 
Therefore desist. Once in Kaus's court, 
When I was moved to anger, I poured out 
Upon him words of bitterest scorn and rage, 
And though surrounded by a thousand chiefs. 
Not one attempted to repress my fury, 
Not one, but all stood silent and amazed." 

" Smooth that indignant brow," the prince replied 
" And measure not my courage nor my strength 
With that of Kaus; had he nerve like mine? 
Thou might'st have kept the timorous king in awe. 
But I am come myself to fetter thee! " 
So saying, he the hand of Rustem grasped. 
And wrung it so intensely, that the champion 
Felt inwardly surprised, but careless said, 
" The time is not yet come for us to try 



THE SHAH NAMEH 299 

Our power in battle." Then Isfendiyar 

Dropped Rustem's hand, and spoke, " To-day let wine 

Inspire our hearts, and on the field to-morrow 

Be ours the strife, with battle-axe and sword, 

And my first aim shall be to bind thee fast, 

And show thee to my troops, Rustem in fetters! " 

At this the champion smiled, and thus exclaimed, 
" Where hast thou seen the deeds of warriors brave? 
Where hast thou heard the clash of mace and sword 
Wielded by men of valour? I to-morrow 
Will take thee in my arms, and straight convey thee 
To Zal, and place thee on the ivory throne. 
And on thy head a crown of gold shall glitter. 
The treasury I will open, and our troops 
Shall fight for thee, and I will gird my loins 
As they were girt for thy bold ancestors; 
And when thou art the chosen king, and I 
Thy warrior-chief, the world will be thy own; 
No other sovereign need attempt to reign." 

" So much time has been spent in vain boasting, and ex- 
travagant self-praise," rejoined Isfendiyar, " that the day is 
nearly done, and I am hungry ; let us therefore take some re- 
freshment together." Rustem's appetite being equally keen, 
the board was spread, and every dish that was brought to him 
he emptied at once, as if at one swallow ; then he threw aside 
the goblets, and called for the large flagon that he might drink 
his fill without stint. When he had finished several dishes and 
as many flagons of wine, he paused, and Isfendiyar and the 
assembled chiefs were astonished at the quantity he had 
devoured. He now prepared to depart, and the prince said 
to him, " Go and consult with thy father : if thou art contented 
to be bound, well ; if not, thou wilt have cause to repent, for 
I will assuredly attend to the commands of Gushtasp." — 
" Do thou also consult with thy brethren and friends," replied 
Rustem, " whether thou wilt be our guest to-morrow, or not ; if 
not, come to this place before sunrise, that we may decide our 
differences in battle." Isfendiyar said, " My most anxious 
desire, my wish to heaven, is to meet thee, for I shall have no 
difficulty in binding thee hand and foot. I would indeed 
willingly convey thee without fetters to my father, but if I did 
so, he would say that I was unable to put thee in bonds, and 
that would disgrace my name." Rustem observed that the 
immense number of men and demons he had contended against 



300 " FIRDUSI 

was as nothing in the balance of his mind compared with the 
painful subject of his present thoughts and fears. He was 
ready to engage, but afraid of meriting a bad name. 

" If in the battle thou art slain by me, 
Will not my cheek turn pale among the princes 
Of the Kaianian race, having cut ofl 
A lovely branch of that illustrious tree? > 

Will not reproaches hang upon my name 
When I am dead, and shall I not be cursed 
For perpetrating such a horrid deed? 
Thy father, too, is old, and near his end, 
And thou upon the eve of being crowned; 
And in thy heart thou knowest that I proffered, 
And proffer my allegiance and devotion, 
And would avoid the conflict. Sure, thy father 
Is practising some trick, some foul deception. 
To urge thee on to an untimely death, 
To rid himself of some unnatural fear, 
He stoops to an unnatural, treacherous act, 
For I have ever been the firm support 
Of crown and throne, and perfectly he knows 
No mortal ever conquered me in battle, 
None ever from my sword escaped his life." 

Then spoke Isfendiyar: "Thou wouldst be generous 
And bear a spotless name, and tarnish mine; 
But I am not to be deceived by thee: 
In fetters thou must go! " Rustem replied: 
" Banish that idle fancy from thy brain; 
Dream not of things impossible, for death 
Is busy with thee; pause, or thou wilt die." 
" No more! " exclaimed the prince, " no more of this. 
Nor seek to frighten me with threatening words; 
Go, and to-morrow bring with thee thy friends, 
Thy father and thy brother, to behold 
With their own eyes thy downfall, and lament 
In sorrow over thy impending fate." 
" So let it be," said Rustem, and at once 
Mounted his noble horse, and hastened home. 

The champion immediately requested his father's permission 
to go and fight Isfendiyar the following day, but the old man 
recommended reconciliation and peace. " That cannot be," 
said Rustem, " for he has reviled thee so severely, and heaped 
upon me so many indignities, that my patience is exhausted, 
and the contest unavoidable." In the morning Zal, weeping 
bitterly, tied on Rustem's armor himself, and in an agony of 



THE SHAH NAMEH 301 

grief, said : " If thou shouldst kill Isfendiyar, thy name will 
be rendered infamous throughout the world; and if thou 
shouldst be killed, Sistan will be prostrate in the dust, and ex- 
tinguished forever! My heart shudders at the thoughts of 
this battle, but there is no remedy." Rustem said to him: — 
" Put thy trust in God, and be not sorrowful, for when I grasp 
my sword the head of the enemy is lost ; but my desire is to take 
Isfendiyar alive, and not to kill him. I would serve him, and 
not sever his head from his body." Zal was pleased with this 
determination, and rejoiced that there was a promise of a 
happy issue to the engagement. 

In the morning Rustem arrayed himself in his war-attire, 
helmet and breast-plate, and mounted Rakush, also armed in 
his bargustuwan. His troops, too, were all assembled, and Zal 
appointed Zuara to take charge of them, and be careful of his 
brother on all occasions where assistance might be necessary. 
The old man then prostrated himself in prayer, and said, " O 
God, turn from us all afifliction, and vouchsafe to us a prosper- 
ous day." Rustem being prepared for the struggle, directed 
Zuara to wait with the troops at a distance, whilst he went alone 
to meet Isfendiyar. When Bashutan first saw him, he thought 
he was coming to ofifcr terms of peace, and said to Isfendiyar, 
" He is coming alone, and it is better that he should go to thy 
father of his own accord, than in bonds." — " But," replied Isfen- 
diyar, " he is coming completely equipped in mail — quick, bring 
me my arms." — " Alas ! " rejoined Bashutan, " thy brain is wild, 
and thou art resolved upon fighting. This impetuous spirit 
will break my heart." But Isfendiyar took no notice of the 
gentle rebuke. Presently he saw Rustem ascend a high place, 
and heard his summons to single combat. He then told his 
brother to keep at a distance with the army, and" not to inter- 
fere till aid was positively required. Insisting rigidly on these 
instructions, he mounted his night-black charger, and hastened 
towards Rustem, who now proposed to him that they should 
wait awhile, and that in the meantime the two armies might 
be put in motion against each other. " Though," said he, " my 
men of Zabul are few, and thou hast a numerous host." 

" This is a strange request," replied the prince, 
" But thou art all deceit and artifice; 
Mark thy position, lofty and commanding, 
And mine, beneath thee — in a spreading vale. 



302 FIRDUSI 

Now, Heaven forbid that I, in reckless mood, 
Should give my valiant legions to destruction, , 
And look unpitying on! No, I advance, 
Whoever may oppose me; and if thou 
Requirest aid, select thy friend, and come. 
For I need none, save God, in battle — none." 
And Rustem said the same, for he required 
No human refuge, no support but Heaven. 

The battle rose, and numerous javelins whizzed 
Along the air, and helm and mail were bruised; 
Spear fractured spear, and then with shining swords 
The strife went on, till, trenched with many a wound, 
They, too, snapped short. The battle-axe was next 
Wielded, in furious wrath; each bending forward 
Struck brain-bewildering blows; each tried in vain 
To hurl the other from his fiery horse. 
Wearied, at length, they stood apart to breathe 
Their charges panting from excessive toil. 
Covered with foam and blood, and the strong armor, 
Of steed and rider rent. The combatants 
Thus paused, in mutual consternation lost. 

In the meantime Zuara, impatient at this delay, advanced 
towards the Iranians, and reproached them for their cowardice 
so severely, that Niishawer, the younger son of Isfendiyar, felt 
ashamed, and immediately challenged the bravest of the 
enemy to fight. Alwai, one of Rustem's followers, came boldly 
forward, but his efiforts only terminated in his discomfiture and 
death. After him came Zuara himself : — 

Who galloped to the charge incensed, and, high 
Lifting his iron mace, upon the head 
Of bold Niishawer struck a furious blow. 
Which drove him from his steed a lifeless corse. 
Seeing their gallant leader thus o'erthrown, 
The troops in terror fled, and in their flight 
Thousands were slain, among them brave Mehrnus, 
Another kinsman of Isfendiyar. 

Bahman, observing the defeat and confusion of the Iranians, 
went immediately to his father, and told him that two of his 
own family were killed by the warriors of Zabul, who had also 
attacked him and put his troops to the rout with great 
slaughter. Isfendiyar was extremely irritated at this intelli- 
gence, and called aloud to Rustem : " Is treachery like this be- 
coming in a warrior ? " The champion being deeply concerned, 
shook like a branch, and swore by the head and life of the king, 



THE SHAH NAMEH 303 

by the sun, and his own conquering sword, that he was ignorant 
of the event, and innocent of what had been done. To prove 
what he said, he offered to bind in fetters his brother Ziiara, 
who must have authorized the movement; and also to secure 
Feramurz, who slew Mehrniis, and deHver them over to Gush- 
tasp, the fire-worshipper. " Nay," said he, " I will deliver over 
to thee my whole family, as well as my brother and son, and 
thou mayest sacrifice them all as a punishment for having com- 
menced the fight without permission." Isfendiyar replied: 
" Of what use would it be to sacrifice thy brother and thy son? 
Would that restore my own to me? No. Instead of them, I 
will put thee to death, therefore come on ! " Accordingly both 
simultaneously bent their bows, and shot their arrows with the 
utmost rapidity ; but whilst Rustem's made no impression, those 
of Isfendiyar's produced great effect on the champion and his 
horse. So severely was Rakush wounded, that Rustem, when 
he perceived how much his favorite horse was exhausted, dis^ 
mounted, and continued to impel his arrows against the enemy 
from behind his shield. But Rakush brooked not the dreadful 
storm, and galloped off unconscious that his master himself was 
in as bad a plight. When Zuara saw the noble animal, riderless, 
crossing the plain, he gasped for breath, and in an agony of 
grief hurried to the fatal spot, where he found Rustem desper- 
ately hurt, and the blood flowing copiously from every wound. 
The champion observed, that though he was himself bleeding 
so much, not one drop of blood appeared to have issued from 
the veins of his antagonist. He was very weak, but succeeded 
in dragging himself up to his former position, when Isfendiyar, 
smiling to see them thus, exclaimed: — 

" Is this the valiant Rustem, the renowned, 
Quitting the field of battle? Where is now 
The raging tiger, the victorious chief? 
Was it from thee the Demons shrunk in terror, 
And did thy burning sword sear out their hearts? 
What has become of all thy valour now? 
Where is thy matchless mace, and why art thou, 
The roaring lion, turned into a fox, 
An animal of slyness, not of courage, 
Losing thy noble character and name? " 

Zuara, when he came to Rustem, alighted and resigned his 
horse to his brother; and placing an arrow on his bow-string, 



304 FIRDUSI 

wished himself to engage Isfendiyar, who was ready to fight 
him, but Rustem cried, " No, I have not yet done with thee." 
Isfendiyar repHed : " I know thee well, and all thy dissimula- 
tion, but nothing yet is accomplished. Come and consent to 
be fettered, or I must compel thee." Rustem, however, was 
not to be overcome, and he said : " If I were really subdued by 
thee, I might agree to be bound like a vanquished slave ; but 
the day is now closing, to-morrow we will resume the fight 1 " 
Isfendiyar acquiesced, and they separated, Rustem going to his 
own tent, and the prince remaining on the field. There he 
affectionately embraced the severed heads of his kinsmen, 
placed them himself on a bier, and sent them to his father, the 
king, with a letter in which he said, " Thy commands must be 
obeyed, and such is the result of to-day ; Heaven only knows 
what may befall to-morrow." Then he spoke privately to 
Bashutan : " This Rustem is not human, he is formed of rock 
and iron, neither sword nor javelin has done him mortal harm ; 
but the arrows went deep into his body, and it will indeed be 
wonderful if he lives throughout the night. I know not what 
to think of to-morrow, or how I shall be able to overcome 
him." 

When Rustem arrived at his quarters, Zal soon discovered 
that he had received many wounds, which occasioned great 
affliction in his family, and he said : " Alas ! that in my old 
age such a misfortune should have befallen us, and that with 
my own eyes I should see these gaping wounds ! " He then 
rubbed Rustem's feet, and applied healing balm to the wounds, 
and bound them up with the skill and care of a physician. 
Rustem said to his father : " I never met with a foe, warrior or 
demon, of such amazing strength and bravery as this ! He 
seems to have a brazen body, for my arrows, which I can drive 
through an anvil, cannot penetrate his chest. If I had applied 
the power which I have exerted to a mountain, the mountain 
would have moved from its base, but he sat firmly upon his 
saddle and scorned my efforts. I thank God that it is night, 
and that I have escaped from his grasp. To-morrow I cannot 
fight, and my secret wish is to retire unseen from the struggle, 
that no trace of me may be discovered." — " In that case," 
replied Zal, " the victor will come and take me and all my 
family into bondage. But let us not despair. Did not the 
Simurgh promise that whenever I might be overcome by ad- 



THE SHAH NAMEH 305 

versity, if I burned one of her feathers, she would instantly 
appear? Shall we not then solicit assistance in this awful 
extremity ? " So saying, Zal went up to a high place, and 
burnt the feather in a censer, and in a short time the Simiirgh 
stood before him. After due praise and acknowledgment, he 
explained his wants. " But," said he, " may the misfortune we 
endure be far from him who has brought it upon us. My son 
Rustem is wounded almost unto death, and I am so helpless 
that I can do him no good." He then brought forward 
Rakush, pierced by numerous arrows ; upon which the wonder- 
ful Bird said to him, " Be under no alarm on that account, for 
I will soon cure him ; " and she immediately plucked out the 
rankling weapons with her beak, and the wounds, on passing a 
feather over them, were quickly healed. 

To Rustem now she turns, and soothes his grief, 
And drawing forth the arrows, sucks the blood 
From out the wounds, which at her bidding close, 
And the illustrious champion is restored 
To life and power. 

Being thus reinvigorated by the magic influence of the 
Simurgh, he solicits further aid in the coming strife with 
Isfendiyar ; but the mysterious animal laments that she cannot 
assist him. " There never appeared in the world," said she, 
" so brave and so perfect a hero as Isfendiyar. The favor of 
Heaven is with him, for in his Heft-khan he, by some artifice, 
succeeded in killing a Simurgh, and the further thou art re- 
moved from his invincible arm, the greater will be thy safety." 
Here Zal interposed and said : " If Rustem retires from the 
contest, his family will all be enslaved, and I shall equally share 
their bondage and affliction," The Simurgh, hearing these 
words, fell into deep thought, and remained some time silent. 
At length she told Rustem to mount Rakush and follow her. 
Away she went to a far distance ; and crossing a great river, 
arrived at a place covered with reeds, where the Kazu-tree 
abounded. The Simurgh then rubbed one of her feathers upon 
the eyes of Rustem, and directed him to take a branch of the 
Kazu-tree, and make it straight upon the fire, and form that 
wand into a forked arrow; after which he was to advance 
against Isfendiyar, and, placing the arrow on his bow-string, 
shoot it into the eyes of his enemy. " The arrow will only 
Vol. I. — 20 



3o6 FIRDUSI 

make him blind," said the Simiirgh, " but he who spills the 
blood of Isfendiyar will never be free from calamity during 
his whole life. The Kazii-tree has also this peculiar quality: 
an arrow made of it is sure to accomplish its intended errand — 
it never misses the aim of the archer." Rustem expressed his 
boundless gratitude for this information and assistance; and 
the Simurgh having transported him back to his tent, and 
affectionately kissed his face, returned to her own haBitation. 
The champion now prepared the arrow according to the in- 
structions he had received; and when morning dawned, 
mounted his horse, and hastened to the field. He found 
Isfendiyar still sleeping, and exclaimed aloud : " Warrior, art 
thou still slumbering ? Rise, and see Rustem before thee ! " 
When the prince heard his stern voice, he started up, and in 
great anxiety hurried on his armor. He said to Bashutan, 
" I had uncharitably thought he would have died of his 
wounds in the night, but this clear and bold voice seems to 
indicate perfect health — go and see whether his wounds are 
bound up or not, and whether he is mounted on Rakush or on 
some other horse." Rustem perceived Bashutan approach with 
an inquisitive look, and conjectured that his object was to 
ascertain the condition of himself and Rakush. He therefore 
vociferated to him : " I am now wholly free from wounds, and 
so is my horse, for I possess an elixir which heals the most cruel 
lacerations of the flesh the moment it is applied ; but no such 
wounds were inflicted upon me, the arrows of Isfendiyar being 
only like needles sticking in my body." Bashutan now re- 
ported to his brother that Rustem appeared to be more fresh 
and vigorous than the day before, and, thinking from the spirit 
and gallantry of his demeanor that he would be victorious in 
another contest, he strongly recommended a reconciliation. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 307 



THE DEATH OF ISFENDIYAR 

ISFENDIYAR, blind to the march of fate, treated the sug- 
gestion of his brother with scorn, and mounting his horse, 
was soon in the presence of Rustem, whom he thus hastily 
addressed : " Yesterday thou wert wounded almost to death 
by my arrows, and to-day there is no trace of them. How is 
this? 

But thy father Zal is a sorcerer. 

And he by charm and spell 
Has cured all the wounds of the warrior. 

And now he is safe and well. 
For the wounds I gave could never be 
Closed up, excepting by sorcery. 
Yes, the wounds I gave thee in every part. 
Could never be cured but by magic art." 

Rustem replied, " If a thousand arrows were shot at me, they 
would all drop harmless to the ground, and in the end thou 
wilt fall by my hands. Therefore, if thou seekest thy own wel- 
fare, come at once and be my guest, and I swear by the Al- 
mighty, by Zerdusht, and the Zendavesta, by the sun and moon, 
that I will go with thee, but unfetterd, to thy father, who may 
do with me what he lists." — " That is not enough," replied 
Isfendiyar, " thou must be fettered." — " Then do not bind my 
arms, and take whatever thou wilt from me." — " And what hast 
thou to give ? " 

" A thousand jewels of brilliant hue, 

And of unknown price, shall be thine; 
A thousand imperial diadems too, 

And a thousand damsels divine. 
Who with angel-voices will sing and play, 
And delight thy senses both night and day; 
And my family wealth shall be brought thee, all 
That was gathered by Nariman, Sam, and Zal." 

" This is all in vain," said Isfendiyar. " I may have wandered 
from the way of Heaven, but I will not disobey the commands 
of the king. And of what use would thy treasure and property 
be to me ? I must please my father, that he may surrender to 
me his crown and throne, and I have solemnly sworn to him 



3o8 FIRDUSI 

that I will place thee before him in fetters." Rustem replied, 
" And in the hopes of a crown and throne thou wouldst sacrifice 
thyself ! " — " Thou shalt see 1 " said Isfendiyar, and seized his 
bow to commence the combat. Rustem did the same, and when 
he had placed the forked arrow in the bow-string, he implor- 
ingly turned up his face towards Heaven, and, fervently ex- 
claimed, " O God, thou knowest how anxiously I have wished 
for a reconciliation, how I have suffered, and that I would now 
give all my treasures and wealth and go with him to Iran, to 
avoid this conflict ; but my offers are disdained, for he is bent 
upon consigning me to bondage and disgrace. Thou art the re- 
dresser of grievances — direct the flight of this arrow into his 
eyes, but do not let me be punished for the involuntary deed." 
At this moment Isfendiyar shot an arrow with great force at 
Rustem, who dexterously eluded its point, and then, in return, 
instantly lodged the charmed weapon in the eyes of his antag- 
onist. 

And darkness overspread his sight, 

The world to him was hid in night; 

The bow dropped from his slackened hand. 

And down he sunk upon the sand. 

" Yesterday," said Rustem, " thou discharged at me a hun- 
dred and sixty arrows in vain, and now thou art overthrown 
by one arrow of mine." Bahman, the son of Isfendiyar, seeing 
his father bleeding on the ground, uttered loud lamentations, 
and Bashutan, followed by the Iranian troops, also drew nigh 
with the deepest sorrow marked on their countenances. The 
fatal arrow was immediately drawn from the wounded eyes of 
the prince, and some medicine being first applied to them, they 
conveyed him mournfully to his own tent. 

The conflict having thus terminated, Rustem at the same 
time returned with his army to where Zal remained in anxious 
suspense about the result. The old man rejoiced at the issue, 
but said, " O, my son, thou hast killed thy enemy, but I have 
learnt from the wise men and astrologers that the slayer of 
Isfendiyar must soon come to a fatal end. May God protect 
thee ! " Rustem replied, " I am guiltless, his blood is upon 
his own head." The next day they both proceeded to visit 
Isfendiyar, and offer to him their sympathy and condolence, 
when the wounded prince thus spoke to Rustem : " I do not 
ascribe my misfortune to thee, but to an all-ruling power. 



THE SHAh nAmEH 309 

Fate would have it so, and thus it is ! I now consign to thy 
care and guardianship my son Bahman: instruct him in the 
science of government, the customs of kings, and the rules and 
stratagems of the warrior, for thou art exceedingly wise and 
experienced, and perfect in all things." Rustem readily com- 
plied, and said : — 

" That duty shall be mine alone, 
To seat him firmly on the throne." 

Then Isfendiyar murmured to Bashiitan, that the anguish of 
his wound was wearing him away, and that he had but a short 
time to live. 

" The pace of death is fast and fleet, 
And nothing my life can save, 
I shall want no robe, but my winding sheet. 
No mansion but the grave. 

" And tell my father the wish of his heart 
Has not been breathed in vain. 
The doom he desired when he made me depart. 
Has been sealed, and his son is slain! 

" And, O! to my mother, in kindliest tone, 
The mournful tidings bear, 
And soothe her woes for her warrior gone. 
For her lost Isfendiyar." 

He now groaned heavily, and his last words were : — 

" I die, pursued by unrelenting fate, 
The hapless victim of a father's hate." 

Life having departed, his body was placed upon a bier, and 
conveyed to Iran, amidst the tears and lamentations of the 
people. 

Rustem now took charge of Bahman, according to the dying 
request of Isfendiyar, and brought him to Sistan, This was, 
however, repugnant to the wishes of Zuara, who observed to his 
brother : " Thou hast slain the father of this youth ; do not 
therefore nurture and instruct the son of thy enemy, for, mark 
me, in the end he will be avenged." — " But did not Isfendiyar, 
with his last breath, consign him to my guardianship ? how can 
I refuse it now ? It must be so written and determined in the 
dispensations of Heaven." 



3IO 



FIRDUSI 



The arrival of the bier in Persia, at the palace of Gushtasp, 
produced a melancholy scene of public and domestic affliction. 
The king took off the covering and wept bitterly, and the 
mother and sisters exclaimed, " Alas ! thy death is not the 
work of human hands ; it is not the work of Rustem, nor of Zal, 
but of the Simurgh. Thou hast not lived long enough to be 
ashamed of a gray beard, nor to witness the maturity and 
attainments of thy children. Alas ! thou art snatched away at 
a moment of the highest promise, even at the commencement 
of thy glory." In the meanwhile the curses and imprecations 
of the people were poured upon the devoted head of Gushtasp 
on account of his cruel and unnatural conduct, so that he was 
obliged to confine himself to his palace till after the interment 
of Isfendiyar. 

Rustem scrupulously fulfilled his engagement, and instructed 
Bahman in all manly exercises ; in the use of bow and javelin, 
in the management of sword and buckler, and in all the arts 
and accomplishments of the warrior. He then wrote to Gush- 
tasp, repeating that he was unblamable in the conflict which 
terminated in the death of his son Isfendiyar, that he had 
ofifered him presents and wealth to a vast extent, and moreover 
was ready to return with him to Iran, to his father ; but every 
overture was rejected. Relentless fate must have hurried him 
on to a premature death. " I have now," continued Rustem, 
" completed the education of Bahman, according to the direc- 
tions of his father, and await thy further commands." Gush- 
tasp, after reading this letter, referred to Bashutan, who con- 
firmed the declarations of Rustem, and the treacherous king, 
willing to ascribe the event to an overruling destiny, readily 
acquitted Rustem of all guilt in killing Isfendiyar. At the 
same time he sent for Bahman, and on his arrival from Sistan, 
was so pleased with him that he without hesitation appointed 
him to succeed to the throne. 

" Methinks I see Isfendiyar again, 

Thou hast the form, the very look he bore, 
And since thy glorious father is no more, 
Long as I live thou must with me remain." 



THE SHAH NAMEH 311 



THE DEATH OF RUSTEM 

FIRDUSI seems to have derived the account of Shug- 
had, and the melancholy fate of Rustem, from a de- 
scendant of Sam and Nariman, who was particularly 
acquainted with the chronicles of the heroes and the kings of 
Persia. Shughad, it appears, was the son of Zal, by one of the 
old warrior's maid-servants, and at his very birth the astrologers 
predicted that he would be the ruin of the glorious house of 
Sam and Nariman, and the destruction»of their race. 

Throughout Sistan the prophecy was heard 
With horror and amazement; every town 
And city in Iran was full of woe, 
And Zal, in deepest agony and grief, 
Sent up his prayers to the Almighty Power 
That he would purify the infant's heart. 
And free it from that quality, foretold 
As the destroyer of his ancient house. 
But what are prayers, opposed by destiny? 

The child, notwithstanding, was brought up with great care 
and attention, and when arrived at maturity, he was sent to the 
king of Kabul, whose daughter he espoused. 

Rustem was accustomed to go to Kabul every year to receive 
the tribute due to him ; but on the last occasion, it is said that 
he exacted and took a higher rate than usual, and thus put 
many of the people to distress. The king was angry, and ex^ 
pressed his dissatisfaction to Shughad, who was not slow in 
uttering his own discontent, saying, " Though I am his brother, 
he has no respect for me, but treats me always like an enemy. 
For this personal hostility I long to punish him with death." — 
" But how," inquired the king, " couldst thou compass that 
end ? " Shughad replied, " I have well considered the subject, 
and propose to accomplish my purpose in this manner. I shall 
feign that I have been insulted and injured by thee, and carry 
my complaint to Zal and Rustem, who will no doubt come to 
Kabul to redress my wrongs. Thou must in the meantime 
prepare for a sporting excursion, and order a number of pits to 
be dug on the road sufficiently large to hold Rustem and his 



312 FIRDUSI 

horse, and in each several swords must be placed with their 
points and edges upwards. The mouths of the pits must then 
be slightly covered over, but so carefully that there may be no 
appearance of the earth underneath having been removed. 
Everything being thus ready, Rustem, on the pretence of going 
to the sporting ground, must be conducted by that road, and he 
will certainly fall into one of the pits, which will become his 
grave." This stratagem was highly approved by the king, and 
it was agreed that at a royal banquet, Shughad should revile 
and irritate the king, whose indignant answer should be before 
all the assembly : " Thou hast no pretensions to be thought of 
the stock of Sam and Nariman. Zal pays thee no attention, at 
least, not such attention as he would pay to a son, and Rustem 
declares thou art not his brother; indeed, all the family treat 
thee as a slave." At these words, Shughad aflfected to be 
greatly enraged, and, starting up from the banquet, hastened 
to Rustem to complain of the insult offered him by the king of 
Kabul. Rustem received him with demonstrations of affection, 
and hearing his complaint, declared that he would immediately 
proceed to Kabul, depose the king for his insolence, and place 
Shughad himself on the throne of that country. In a short 
time they arrived at the city, and were met by the king, who, 
with naked feet and in humble guise, soHcited forgiveness. 
Rustem was induced to pardon the offence, and was honored 
in return with great apparent respect, and with boundless hos- 
pitality. In the meantime, however, the pits were dug, and 
the work of destruction in progress, and Rustem was now 
invited to share the sports of the forest. The champion was 
highly gratified by the courtesy which the king displayed, and 
mounted Rakush, anticipating a day of excellent diversion. 
Shughad accompanied him, keeping on one side, whilst Rus- 
tem, suspecting nothing, rode boldly forward. Suddenly Ra- 
kush stopped, and though urged to advance, refused to move a 
step. At last the champion became angry, and struck the noble 
animal severely; the blows made him dart forward, and in a 
moment he unfortunately fell into one of the pits. 

It was a place, deep, dark, and perilous, 

All bristled o'er with swords, leaving no chance 

Of extrication without cruel wounds; 

And horse and rider sinking in the midst, 

Bore many a grievous stab and many a cut 



THE SHXh NAMEH 313 

In limb and body, ghastly to the sight. 

Yet from that depth, at one prodigious spring, 

Rakush escaped with Rustem on his back; 

But what availed that effort? Down again 

Into another pit both fell together. 

And yet again they rose, again, again; 

Seven times down prostrate, seven times bruised and maimed, 

They struggled on, till mounting up the edge 

Of the seventh pit, all covered with deep wounds. 

Both lay exhausted. When the champion's brain 

Grew cool, and he had power to think, he knew 

Full well to whom he owed this treachery. 

And calling to Shughad, said: " Thou, my brother! 

Why hast thou done this wrong? Was it for thee. 

My father's son, by wicked plot and fraud 

To work this ruin, to destroy my life? " 

Shughad thus sternly answered: " 'Tis for all 

The blood that thou hast shed, God has decreed 

This awful vengeance — now thy time is come! " 

Then spoke the king of Kabul, as if pity 

Had softened his false heart: " Alas! the day 

That thou shouldst perish, so ignobly too, 

And in my kingdom; what a wretched fate! 

But bring some medicine to relieve his wounds — 

Quick, bring the matchless balm for Rustem's cure; 

He must not die, the champion must not die! " 

But Rustem scorned the offer, and in wrath, 

Thus spoke: " How many a mighty king has died, 

And left me still triumphant — still in power. 

Unconquerable; treacherous thou hast been. 

Inhuman, too, but Feramurz, the brave, 

Will be revenged upon thee for this crime." 

Rustem now turned towards Shughad, and in an altered and 
mournful tone, told him that he was at the point of death, and 
asked him to string his bow and give it to him, that he might 
seem as a scare-crow, to prevent the wolves and other wild 
animals from devouring him when dead. 

Shughad performed the task, and lingered not, 

For he rejoiced at this catastrophe. 

And with a smile of fiendish satisfaction. 

Placed the strong bow before him — Rustem grasped 

The bended horn with such an eager hand, 

That wondering at the sight, the caitiff wretch 

Shuddered with terror, and behind a tree 

Shielded himself, but nothing could avail; 

The arrow pierced both tree and him, and they 

Were thus transfixed together — thus the hour 



314 FIRDUSI 

Of death afforded one bright gleam of joy 

To Rustem, who, with lifted eyes to Heaven, 

Exclaimed: "Thanksgivings to the great Creator, 

For granting me the power, with my own hand. 

To be revenged upon my murderer! " 

So saying, the great champion breathed his last. 

And not a knightly follower remained, 

Zuara, and the rest, in other pits. 

Dug by the traitor-king, and traitor-brother. 

Had sunk and perished, all, save one, who fled. 

And to the afflicted veteran at Sistan 

Told the sad tidings. Zal, in agony, 

Tore his white hair, and wildly rent his garments. 

And cried: "Why did not I die for him, why 

Was I not present, fighting by his side? 

But he, alas! is gone! Oh! gone forever." 

Then the old man despatched Feramurz with a numerous 
force to Kabul, to bring away the dead body of Rustem. Upon 
his approach, the king of Kabul and his army retired to the 
mountains, and Feramurz laid waste the country. He found 
only the skeletons of Rustem and Ziiara, the beasts of prey 
having stripped them of their flesh : he however gathered the 
bones together and conveyed them home and buried them, 
amidst the lamentations of the people. After that, he returned 
to Kabul with his army, and encountered the king, captured the 
cruel wretch, and carried him to Sistan, where he was put to 
death. 

Gushtasp having become old and infirm, bequeathed his 
empire to Bahman, and then died. He reigned one hundred 
and eight years. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 315 



BAHMAN 

BAHMAN, the grandson of Gushtasp, having at the 
commencement of his sovereignty obtained the appro- 
bation of his people, by the clemency of his conduct 
and the apparent generosity of his disposition, was not long in 
meditating vindictive measures against the family of Rustem. 
" Did not Kai-khosrau," said he to his warriors, " revenge him- 
self on Afrasiyab for the murder of Saiawush ; and have not all 
my glorious ancestors pursued a similar course? Why, then, 
should not I be revenged on the father of Rustem for the death 
of Isfendiyar ? " The warriors, as usual, approved of the king's 
resolution, and in consequence one hundred thousand veteran 
troops were assembled for the immediate invasion of Sistan. 
When Bahman had arrived on the borders of the river Beher- 
mund, he sent a message to Zal, frankly declaring his purpose, 
and that he must sacrifice the lives of himself and all his family 
as an atonement for Rustem's guilt in shedding the blood of 
Isfendiyar. 

Zal heard his menace with astonishment. 

Mingled with anguish, and he thus replied: 

" Rustem was not in fault; and thou canst tell, 

For thou wert present, how he wept, and prayed 

That he might not be bound. How frequently 

He offered all his wealth, his gold, and gems. 

To be excused that ignominious thrall; 

And would have followed thy impatient father 

To wait upon Gushtasp; but this was scorned; 

Nothing but bonds would satisfy his pride; 

All this thou know'st. Then did not I and Rustem 

Strictly fulfil Isfendiyar's commands, 

And most assiduously endow thy mind 

With all the skill and virtues of a hero, 

That might deserve some kindness in return? 

Now take my house, my treasure, my possessions, 

Take all; but spare my family and me." 

The messenger went back, and told the tale 
Of Zal's deep grief with such persuasive grace, 
And piteous accent, that the heart of Bahman 
Softened at every word, and the old man 
Was not to suffer. After that was known, 
With gorgeous presents Zal went forth to meet 



3i6 FIRDUSI 

The monarch in his progress to the city; 
And having prostrated himself in low 
Humility, retired among the train 
Attendant on the king. "Thou must not walk,'* 
Bahman exclaimed, well skilled in all the arts 
Of smooth hypocrisy — " thou art too weak; 
Remount thy horse, for thou requirest help." 
But Zal declined the honour, and preferred 
Doing that homage as illustrious Sam, 
His conquering ancestor, had always done. 
Barefoot, in presence of the royal race. 

Fast moving onwards, Bahman soon approached 
Sistan, and entered Zal's superb abode; 
Not as a friend, or a forgiving foe. 
But with a spirit unappeased, unsoothed; 
True, he had spared the old man's life, but there 
His mercy stopped; all else was confiscate. 
For every room was plundered, all the treasure 
Seized and devoted to the tyrant's use. 

After remorselessly obtaining this booty, Bahman inquired 
what had become of Feramurz, and Zal pretended that, un- 
aware of the king's approach, he had gone a-hunting. But 
this excuse was easily seen through, and the king was so 
indignant on the occasion, that he put Zal himself in fetters. 
Feramurz had, in fact, secretly retired with the Zabul army to 
a convenient distance, for the purpose of acting as necessity 
might require, and when he heard that Zal was placed in con- 
finement, he immediately marched against the invader and 
oppressor of his country. Both armies met, and closed, and 
were in desperate conflict three long days and nights. On the 
fourth day, a tremendous hurricane arose, which blew thick 
clouds of dust in the face of the Zabul army, and blinding 
them, impeded their progress, whilst the enemy were driven 
furiously forward by the strong wind at their backs. The 
consequence was the defeat of the Zabul troops. Feramurz, 
with a few companions, however, kept his ground, though 
assailed by showers of arrows. He tried repeatedly to get face 
to face with Bahman, but every effort was fruitless, and he felt 
convinced that his career was now nearly at an end. He 
bravely defended himself, and aimed his arrows with great 
precision ; but what is the use of art when Fortune is un- 
favorable ? 



THE SHAh nAmEH 317 

When Fate's dark clouds portentous lower. 

And quench the light of day. 
No effort, none, of human power. 

Can chase the gloom away. 
Arrows may fly a countless shower. 

Amidst the desperate fray; 
But not to sword or arrow death is given. 
Unless decreed by favouring Heaven. 

And it was so decreed that the exertions of Feramurz should 
be unsuccessful. His horse fell, he was wounded severely, and 
whilst insensible, the enemy secured and conveyed him in 
fetters to Bahman, who immediately ordered him to be hanged. 
The king then directed all the people of Sistan to be put to the 
sword ; upon which Bashutan said : " Alas ! why should the 
innocent and unoffending people be thus made to perish? 
Hast thou no fear of God? Thou hast taken vengeance for 
thy father, by slaying Feramurz, the son of Rustem. Is not 
that enough? Be merciful and beneficent now to the people, 
and thank Heaven for the great victory thou hast gained." 
Bahman was thus withdrawn front his wicked purpose, and was 
also induced to liberate Zal, whose age and infirmities had 
rendered him perfectly harmless. He not only did this, but 
restored to him the possession of Sistan ; and divesting himself 
of all further revenge, returned to Persia. There he continued 
to exercise the functions of royalty, till one day he happened to 
be bitten by a snake, whose venom was so excruciating, that 
remedies were of no avail, and he died of the wound, in the 
eighth year of his reign. Although he had a son named 
Sassan, he did not appoint him his successor; but gave the 
crown and the throne to his wife, Humai, whom he had married 
a short time before his death, saying : " If Humai should have 
a son, that son shall be my successor ; but if a daughter, Humai 
must continue to reign." 



3i8 FIRDUSI 



HUMAI AND THE BIRTH OF DARAB 

WISDOM and generosity were said to have marked the 
government of Hiimai. In justice and beneficence 
she v^^as unequalled. No misfortune happened in her 
days : even the poor and the needy became rich. She gave birth 
to a son, whom she entrusted to a nurse to be brought up 
secretly, and declared publicly that it had died the same day it 
was born. At this event the people rejoiced, for they were 
happy under the administration of Hiimai. Upon the boy at- 
taining his seventh month, however, the queen sent for him, and 
wrapping him up in rich garments, put him in a box, and when 
she had fastened down the cover, gave it to two confidential 
servants, in the middle of the night, to be flung into the 
Euphrates. " For," thought she, " if he be found in the city, 
there will be an end to my authority, and the crown will be 
placed upon his head ; wiser, therefore, will it be for me to cast 
him into the river ; and if it please God to preserve him, he may 
be nurtured^ and brought up in another country." Accord- 
ingly in the darkness of night, the box was thrown into the 
Euphrates, and it floated rapidly down the stream for some 
time without being observed. 

Amidst the waters, in that little ark 
Was launched the future monarch. But, vain mortal! 
How bootless are thy most ingenious schemes, 
Thy wisest projects! Such were thine, Hiimai! 
Presumptuous as thou wert to think success 
Would crown that deed unnatural and unjust. 
But human passions, human expectations 
Are happily controlled by righteous Heaven. 

In the morning the ark was noticed by a washerman ; who, 
curious to know what it contained, drew it to the shore, and 
opened the lid. Within the box he then saw splendid silk- 
embroidered scarfs and costly raiment, and upon them a lovely 
infant asleep. He immediately took up the child, and carried 
it to his wife, saying : " It was but yesterday that our own 
infant died, and now the Almighty has sent thee another in its 
place." The woman looked at the child with aflfection, and 



THE SHAh NAMEH 319 

taking it in her arms fed it with her own milk. In the box 
they also found jewels and rubies, and they congratulated them- 
selves upon being at length blessed by Providence with wealth, 
and a boy at the same time. They called him Darab, and the 
child soon began to speak in the language of his foster-parents. 
The washerman and his wife, for fear that the boy and the 
wealth might be discovered, thought it safest to quit their 
home, and sojourn in another country. When Darab grew up, 
he was more skilful and accomplished, and more expert at 
wrestling than other boys of a greater age. But whenever the 
washerman told him to assist in washing clothes, he always ran 
away, and would not stoop to the drudgery. This untoward 
behavior grieved the washerman exceedingly, and he lamented 
that God had given him so useless a son, not knowing that he 
was destined to be the sovereign of all the world. 

How little thought he, whilst the task he prest, 
A purer spirit warmed the stripling's breast, 
Whose opening soul, by kingly pride inspired. 
Disdained the toil a menial slave required; 
The royal branch on high its foliage flung, 
And showed the lofty stem from which it sprung. 

Darab was now sent to school, and he soon excelled his 
master, who continually said to the washerman : " Thy son is 
of wonderful capacity, acute and intelligent beyond his years, 
of an enlarged understanding, and will be at least the minister 
of a king." Darab requested to have another master, and also 
a fine horse of Irak, that he might acquire the science and 
accomplishments of a warrior ; but the washerman replied that 
he was too poor to comply with his wishes, which threw the 
youth into despair, so that he did not touch a morsel of food 
for two days together. His foster-mother, deeply affected by 
his disappointment, and naturally anxious to gratify his desires, 
gave an article of value to the washerman, that he might sell 
it, and with the money purchase the horse required. The horse 
obtained, he was daily instructed in the art of using the bow, the 
javelin, and the sword, and in every exercise becoming a young 
gentleman and a warrior. So devouringly did he persevere in 
his studies, and in his exertions to excel, that he never re- 
mained a moment unoccupied at home or abroad. The devel- 
opment of his talents and genius suggested to him an inquiry 



320 FIRDUSI 

who he was, and how he came into the house of a washerman ; 
and his foster-mother, in compliance with his entreaties, de- 
scribed to him the manner in which he was found. He had long 
been miserable at the thoughts of being the son of a washer- 
man, but now he rejoiced, and looked upon himself as the son 
of some person of consideration. He asked her if she had 
anything that was taken out of the box, and she replied : " Two 
valuable rubies remain." The youth requested them to be 
brought to him ; one he bound round his arm, and the other 
he sold to pay the expenses of travelling and change of place. 
At that time, it is said, the king of Rum had sent an army 
into the country of Iran. Upon receiving this information, 
Humai told her general, named Rishnawad, to collect a force 
corresponding with the emergency ; and he issued a proclama- 
tion, inviting all young men desirous of military glory to flock 
to his standard. Darab heard this proclamation with delight, 
and among others hastened to Rishnawad, who presented the 
young warriors as they arrived successively to Humai. The 
queen steadfastly marked the majestic form and features of 
Darab, and said in her heart : " The youth who bears this 
dignified and royal aspect, appears to be a Kaianian by birth ; " 
and as she spoke, the instinctive feeling of a mother seemed to 
agitate her bosom. 

The queen beheld his form and face. 
The scion of a princely race; 
And natural instinct seemed to move 
Her heart, which spoke a mother's love; 
She gazed, but like the lightning's ray. 
That sudden thrill soon passed away. 

The army was now in motion. After the first march, a 
tremendous wind and heavy rain came on, and all the soldiers 
were under tents, excepting Darab, who had none, and was 
obliged to take shelter from the inclemency of the weather 
beneath an archway, where he laid himself down, and fell 
asleep. Suddenly a supernatural voice was heard, saying: — 

" Arch ! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no ruined fragment fall! 
He who sleeps beneath is one 
Destined to a royal throne. 
Arch! a monarch claims thy care. 
The kinsr of Persia slumbers there ! " 



THE SHAh nAmEH 321 

The voice was heard by every one near, and Rishnawad 
having also heard it, inquired of his people from whence it 
came. As he spoke, the voice repeated its caution : — 

" Arch ! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no ruined fragment fall ! 
Bahman's son is in thy keeping; 
He beneath thy roof is sleeping. 
Though the winds are loudly roaring, 
And the rain in torrents pouring, 
Arch! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no loosened fragment fall." 

Again Rishnawad sent other persons to ascertain from 
whence the voice proceeded; and they returned, saying, that 
it was not of the earth, but from Heaven. Again the caution 
sounded in his ears : — 

" Arch! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no loosened fragment fall." 

And his amazement increased. He now sent a person under 
the archway to see if any one was there, when the youth was 
discovered in deep sleep upon the ground, and the arch above 
him rent and broken in many parts. Rishnawad being 
apprised of this circumstance, desired that he might be awak- 
ened and brought to him. The moment he was removed, the 
whole of the arch fell down with a dreadful crash, and this won- 
derful escape was also communicated to the leader of the army, 
who by a strict and particular enquiry soon became acquainted 
with all the occurrences of the stranger's life. Rishnawad also 
summoned before him the washerman and his wife, and they 
corroborated the story he had been told. Indeed he himself 
recognized the ruby on Darab's arm, which convinced him that 
he was the son of Bahman, whom Humai caused to be thrown 
into the Euphrates. Thus satisfied of his identity, he treated 
him with great honor, placed him on his right hand, and ap- 
pointed him to a high command in the army. Soon afterwards 
an engagement took place with the Rumis, and Darab in the 
advanced guard performed prodigies of valor. The battle lasted 
all day, and in the evening Rishnawad bestowed upon him the 
praise which he merited. Next day the army was again pre- 
pared for battle, when Darab proposed that the leader should 
remain quiet, whilst he with a chosen band of soldiers attacked 

VOU I. — 21 



322 



FIRDUSI 



the whole force of the enemy. The proposal being agreed to, 
he advanced with fearless impetuosity to the contest. 

With loosened rein he rushed along the field, 

And through opposing numbers hewed his path, 

Then pierced the Kulub-gah, the centre-host, 

Where many a warrior brave, renowned in arms. 

Fell by his sword. Like sheep before a wolf 

The harassed Riimis fled; for none had power 

To cope with his strong arm. His wondrous might 

Alone, subdued the legions right and left; 

And when, unwearied, he had fought his way 

To where great Kaisar stood, night came, and darkness, 

Shielding the trembling emperor of Rum, 

Snatched the expected triumph from his hands. 

Rishnawad was so filled with admiration at his splendid 
prowess, that he now ofifered him the most magnificent pres- 
ents ; but when they were exposed to his view, a suit of armor 
was the only thing he would accept. 

The Riimis were entirely disheartened by his valor, and 
they said : " We understood that the sovereign of Persia was 
only a woman, and that the conquest of the empire would be 
no difficult task ; but this woman seems to be more fortunate 
than a warrior-king. Even her general remains inactive with 
the great body of his army ; and a youth, with a small force, is 
sufficient to subdue the legions of Rum ; we had, therefore, 
better return to our own country." The principal warriors 
entertained the same sentiments, and suggested to Kaisar the 
necessity of retiring from the field ; but the king opposed this 
measure, thinking it cowardly and disgraceful, and said: — 

" To-morrow we renew the fight, 
To-morrow we shall try our might; 
To-morrow, with the smiles of Heaven, 
To us the victory will be given." 

Accordingly on the following day the armies met again, and 
after a sanguinary struggle, the Persians were again trium- 
phant. Kaisar now despaired of success, sent a messenger to 
Rishnawad, in which he acknowledged the aggressions he had 
committed, and ofifered to pay him whatever tribute he might 
require. Rishnawad readily settled the terms of the peace ; 
and the emperor was permitted to return to his own dominions. 

After this event Rishnawad sent to Humai intelligence of 



THE SHAH NAMEH 



323 



the victories he had gained, and of the surprising valor of 
Darab, transmitting to her the ruby as an evidence of his birth. 
Humai was at once convinced that he was her son, for she 
well remembered the day on which he was enrolled as one of 
her soldiers, when her heart throbbed with instinctive affection 
at the sight of him ; and though she had unfortunately failed 
to question him then, she now rejoiced that he was so near 
being restored to her. She immediately proceeded to the 
Atish-gadeh, or the Fire-altar, and made an offering on the 
occasion ; and ordering a great fire to be Hghted, gave immense 
sums away in charity to the poor. Having called Darab to 
her presence, she went with a splendid retinue to meet him at 
the distance of one journey from the city ; and as soon as he 
approached, she pressed him to her bosom, and kissed his 
head and eyes with the fondest affection of a mother. Upon 
the first day of happy omen, she relinquished in his favor the 
crown and the throne, after having herself reigned thirty-two 
years. 



DARAB AND DARA 

WHEN Darab had ascended the throne, he conducted 
the affairs of the kingdom with humanity, justice, 
and benevolence; and by these means secured the 
happiness of his people. He had no sooner commenced his 
reign, than he sent for the washerman and his wife, and en- 
riched them by his gifts. " But," said he, " I present to you this 
property on these conditions — you must not give up your 
occupation — you must go every day, as usual, to the river-side, 
and wash clothes ; for perhaps in process of time you may dis- 
cover another box floating down the stream, containing another 
infant ! " With these conditions the washerman complied. 

Some time afterwards the kingdom was invaded by an 
Arabian army, consisting of one hundred thousand men, and 
commanded by Shaib, a distinguished warrior. Darab was 
engaged with this army three days and three nights, and on the 
fourth morning the battle terminated, in consequence of Shaib 
being slain. The booty was immense, and a vast number of 
Arabian horses fell into the hands of the victor; which. 



324 FIRDUSI 

together with the quantity of treasure captured, strengthened 
greatly the resources of the state. The success of this cam- 
paign enabled Darab to extend his military operations; and 
having put his army in order, he proceeded against Failakus 
(Philip of Macedon), then king of Rum, whom he defeated 
with great loss. Many were put to the sword, and the women 
and children carried into captivity. Failakus himself took 
refuge in the fortress of Amur, from whence he sent an 
ambassador to Darab, saying, that if peace was only granted 
to him, he would willingly consent to any terms that might be 
demanded. When the ambassador arrived, Darab said to him : 
"If Failakus will bestow upon me his daughter, Nahid, peace 
shall be instantly re-established between us — I require no 
other terms." Failakus readily agreed, and sent Nahid with 
numerous splendid presents to the king of Persia, who espoused 
her, and took her with him to his own country. It so happened 
that Nahid had an offensive breath, which was extremely dis- 
agreeable to her husband, and in consequence he directed 
enquiries to be made everywhere for a remedy. No place was 
left unexplored ; at length an herb of peculiar eflficacy and 
fragrance was discovered, which never failed to remove the 
imperfection complained of; and it was accordingly adminis- 
tered with confident hopes of success. Nahid was desired to 
wash her mouth with the infused herb, and in a few days her 
breath became balmy and pure. When she found she was likely 
to become a mother she did not communicate the circumstance, 
but requested permission to pay a visit to her father. The 
request was granted ; and on her arrival in Rum she was de- 
livered of a son. Failakus had no male offspring, and was over- 
joyed at this event, which he at once determined to keep un- 
known to Darab, publishing abroad that a son had been born 
in his house, and causing it to be understood that the child was 
his own. When the boy grew up, he was called Sikander ; and, 
like Rustem, became highly accomphshed in all the arts of 
diplomacy and war, Failakus placed him under Aristatalis, a 
sage of great renown, and he soon equalled his master in 
learning and science. 

Darab married another wife, by whom he had another son, 
named Dara; and when the youth was twenty years of age, 
the father died. The period of Darab's reign was thirty-four 
years. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 325 

Dara continued the goverament of the empire in the same 
spirit as his father; claiming custom and tribute from the 
inferior rulers, with similar strictness and decision. After the 
death of Failakiis, Sikander became the king of Rum ; and refus- 
ing to pay the demanded tribute to Persia, went to war with 
Dara, whom he killed in battle ; the particulars of these events 
will be presently shown. Failakiis reigned twenty-four years. 



SIKANDER 

FAILAKUS, before his death, placed the crown of sov- 
ereignty upon the head of Sikander, and appointed 
Aristu, who was one of the disciples of the great Afla- 
tun, his vizir. He cautioned him to pursue the path of virtue 
and rectitude, and to cast from his heart every feeling of vanity 
and pride ; above all he implored him to be just and merciful, 
and said: — 

" Think not that thou art wise, but ignorant. 
And ever listen to advice and counsel; 
We are but dust, and from the dust created; 
And what our lives but helplessness and sorrow! " 

Sikander for a time attended faithfully to the instructions of 
his father, and to the counsel of Aristu, both in public and 
private affairs. 

Upon Sikander's elevation to the throne, Dara sent an envoy 
to him to claim the customary tribute, but he received for 
answer : " The time is past when Rum acknowledged the supe- 
riority of Persia. It is now thy turn to pay tribute to Rum. 
If my demand be refused, I will immediately invade thy domin- 
ions ; and think not that I shall be satisfied with the conquest 
of Persia alone, the whole world shall be mine ; therefore pre- 
pare for war." Dara had no alternative, not even submission, 
and accordingly assembled his army, for Sikander was already 
in full march against him. Upon the confines of Persia the 
armies came in sight of each other, when Sikander, in the 
assumed character of an envoy, was resolved to ascertain the 
exact condition of the enemy. With this view he entered the 
Persian camp, and Dara allowing the person whom he supposed 



326 FIRDUSI 

an ambassador, to approach, enquired what message the king of 
Rum had sent to him. " Hear me ! " said the pretended envoy : 
" Sikander has not invaded thy empire for the exclusive pur- 
pose of fighting, but to know its history, its laws, and customs, 
from personal inspection. His object is to travel through the 
whole world. Why then should he make war upon thee ? Give 
him but a free passage through thy kingdom, and nothing more 
is required. However if it be thy wish to proceed to hostiUties, 
he apprehends nothing from the greatness of thy power." Dara 
was astonished at the majestic air and dignity of the envoy, 
never having witnessed his equal, and he anxiously said : — 

" What is thy name, from whom art thou descended? 
For that commanding front, that fearless eye, 
Bespeaks illustrious birth. Art thou indeed 
Sikander, whom my fancy would believe thee. 
So eloquent in speech, in mien so noble? " 
" No! " said the envoy, " no such rank is mine, 
Sikander holds among his numerous host 
Thousands superior to the humble slave 
Who stands before thee. It is not for me 
To put upon myself the air of kings, 
To ape their manners and their lofty state." 

Dara could not help smiling, and ordered refreshments and 
wine to be brought. He filled a cup and gave it to the envoy, 
who drank it off, but did not, according to custom, return the 
empty goblet to the cup-bearer. The cup-bearer demanded the 
cup, and Dara asked the envoy why he did not give it back. 
" It is the custom in my country," said the envoy, " when a 
cup is once given into an ambassador's hands, never to receive 
it back again." Dara was still more amused by this explana- 
tion, and presented to him another cup, and successively four, 
which the envoy did not fail to appropriate severally in the 
same way. In the evening a feast was held, and Sikander 
partook of the delicious refreshments that had been prepared 
for him ; but in the midst of the entertainment one of the persons 
present recognized him, and immediately whispered to Dara 
that his enemy was in his power. 

Sikander's sharp and cautious eye now marked 
The changing scene, and up he sprang, but first 
Snatched the four cups, and rushing from the tent, 
Vaulted upon his horse, and rode away. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 327 

So instantaneous was the act, amazed 

The assembly rose, and presently a troop 

Was ordered in pursuit — but night, dark night, 

Baffled their search, and checked their eager speed. 

As soon as he reached his own army, he sent for Aristatalis 
and his courtiers, and exultingly displayed to them the four 
golden cups. " These," said he, " have I taken from my enemy, 
I have taken them from his own table, and before his own eyes. 
His strength and numbers too I have ascertained, and my suc- 
cess is certain." No time was now lost in arrangements for the 
battle. The armies engaged, and they fought seven days with- 
out a decisive blow being struck. On the eighth, Dara was 
compelled to fly, and his legions, defeated and harassed, were 
pursued by the Rumis with great slaughter to the banks of the 
Euphrates. Sikander now returned to take possession of the 
capital. In the meantime Dara collected his scattered forces 
together, and again tried his fortune, but he was again defeated. 
After his second success, the conqueror devoted himself so 
zealously to conciliate and win the affections of the people, that 
they soon ceased to remember their former king with any de- 
gree of attachment to his interests. Sikander said to them: 
" Persia indeed is my inheritance : I am no stranger to you, for 
I am myself descended from Darab ; you may therefore safely 
trust to my justice and paternal care, in everything that con- 
cerns your welfare." The result was, that legion after legion 
united in his cause, and consolidated his power. 

When Dara was informed of the universal disaffection of his 
army, he said to the remaining friends who were personally 
devoted to him : " Alas ! my subjects have been deluded by 
the artful dissimulation and skill of Sikander ; your next mis- 
fortune will be the captivity of your wives and children. Yes, 
your wives and children will be made the slaves of the con- 
querors." A few troops, still faithful to their unfortunate king, 
offered to make another effort against the enemy, and Dara 
was too grateful and too brave to discountenance their enthu- 
siastic fidelity, though with such Httle chance of success. A 
fragment of an army was consequently brought into action, and 
the result was what had been anticipated. Dara was again a 
fugitive ; and after the defeat, escaped with three hundred men 
into the neighboring desert. Sikander captured his wife and 
family, but magnanimously restored them to the unfortunate 



328 FIRDUSI 

monarch, who, destitute of all further hope, now asked for a 
place of refuge in his own dominions, and for that he offered 
'^, him all the buried treasure of his ancestors. Sikander, in reply, 

invited him to his presence; and promised to restore him to 
his throne, that he might himself be enabled to pursue other 
conquests; but Dara refused to go, although advised by his 
nobles to accept the invitation. " I am willing to put myself 
to death," said he with emotion, " but I cannot submit to this 
degradation. I cannot go before him, and thus personally ac- 
knowledge his authority over me." Resolved upon this point, 
he wrote to Faur, one of the sovereigns of Ind, to request his 
assistance, and Faur recommended that he should pay him a 
visit for the purpose of concerting what measures should be 
adopted. This correspondence having come to the knowledge 
of Sikander, he took care that his enemy should be intercepted 
in whatever direction he might proceed. 

Dara had two ministers, named Mahiyar and Jamusipar, 
who, finding that according to the predictions of the astrologers 
their master would in a few days fall into the hands of Sikander, 
consulted together, and thought they had better put him to 
death themselves, in order that they might get into favor with 
Sikander. It was night, and the soldiers of the escort were dis- 
persed at various distances, and the vizirs were stationed on 
each side of the king. As they travelled on, Jamusipar took 
an opportunity of plunging his dagger into Dara's side, and 
Mahiyar gave another blow, which felled the monarch to the 
ground. They immediately sent the tidings of this event to 
Sikander, who hastened to the spot, and the opening daylight 
presented to his view the wounded king. 

Dismounting quickly, he in sorrow placed 
The head of Dara on his lap, and wept 
In bitterness of soul, to see that form 
Mangled with ghastly wounds. 

Dlra still breathed; and when he lifted up his eyes and 
beheld Sikander, he groaned deeply. Sikander said, " Rise up, 
that we may convey thee to a place of safety, and apply the 
proper remedies to thy wounds." — " Alas ! " replied Dara, " the 
time for remedies is past. I leave thee to Heaven, and may thy 
reign give peace and happiness to the empire." — " Never," said 
Sikander, " never did I desire to see thee thus mangled and 



THE SHAH NAMEH 329 

fallen — never to witness this sight! If the Almighty should 
spare thy life, thou shalt again be the monarch of Persia, and 
I will go from hence. On my mother's word, thou and I are 
sons of the same father. It is this brotherly affection which 
now wrings my heart ! " Saying this, the tears chased each 
other down his cheeks in such abundance that they fell upon 
the face of Dara. Again, he said, " Thy murderers shall meet 
with merited vengeance, they shall be punished to the utter- 
most." Dara blessed him, and said, " My end is approaching, 
but thy sweet discourse and consoling kindness have banished 
all my grief. I shall now die with a mind at rest. Weep no 
more — 

My course is finished, thine is scarce begun; 

But hear my dying wish, my last request: 

Preserve the honour of my family. 

Preserve it from disgrace. I have a daughter 

Dearer to me than life, her name is Roshung; 

Espouse her, I beseech thee — and if Heaven 

Should bless thee with a boy, O ! let his name be 

Isfendiyar, that he may propagate 

With zeal the sacred doctrines of Zerdusht, 

The Zendavesta, then my soul will be 

Happy in Heaven; and he, at Nau-riiz tide. 

Will also hold the festival I love. 

And at the altar light the Holy Fire; 

Nor will he cease his labour, till the faith 

Of Lohurasp be everywhere accepted, 

And everywhere believed the true religion." 

Sikander promised that he would assuredly fulfil the wishes 
he had expressed, and then Dara placed the palm of his 
brother's hand on his mouth, and shortly afterwards expired. 
Sikander again wept bitterly, and then the body was placed on 
a golden couch, and he attended it in sorrow to the grave. 

After the burial of Dara, the two ministers, Jamusipar and 
Mahiyar, were brought near the tomb, and executed upon the 
dar. 

Just vengeance upon the guilty head, 

For they their generous monarch's blood had shed. 

Sikander had now no rival to the throne of Persia, and he 
commenced his government under the most favorable auspices. 
He continued the same customs and ordinances which were 
handed down to him, and retained every one in his established 



33© 



FIRDUSI 



rank and occupation. He gladdened the heart by his justice 
and Hberality. Keeping in mind his promise to Dara, he now 
wrote to the mother of Roshung, and communicating to her the 
dying soHcitations of the king, requested her to send Roshung 
to him, that he might fulfil the last wish of his brother. The 
wife of Dara immediately complied with the command, and sent 
her daughter with various presents to Sikander, and she was on 
her arrival married to the conqueror, accoding to the customs 
and laws of the empire. Sikander loved her exceedingly, and 
on her account remained some time in Persia, but he at length 
determined to proceed into Ind to conquer that country of 
enchanters and enchantment. 

On approaching Ind he wrote to Kaid, summoning him to 
surrender his kingdom, and received from him the following 
answer : " I will certainly submit to thy authority, but I have 
four things which no other person in the world possesses, and 
which I cannot relinquish. I have a daughter, beautiful as an 
angel of Paradise, a wise minister, a skilful physician, and a 
goblet of inestimable value ! " Upon receiving this extra- 
ordinary reply, Sikander again addressed a letter to him, in 
which he peremptorily required all these things immediately. 
Kaid not daring to refuse, or make any attempt at evasion, 
reluctantly complied with the requisition. Sikander received 
the minister and the physician with great politeness and 
attention, and in the evening held a splendid feast, at which he 
espoused the beautiful daughter of Kaid, and taking the goblet 
from her hands, drank off the wine with which it was filled. 
After that, Kaid himself waited upon Sikander, and personally 
acknowledged his authority and dominion. 

Sikander then proceeded to claim the allegiance and homage 
of Faur, the king of Kamij, and wrote to him to submit to his 
power; but Faur returned a haughty answer, saying: — 

" Kaid Indi is a coward to obey thee, 
But I am Faur, descended from a race 
Of matchless warriors; and shall I submit, 
And to a Greek! " 

Sikander was highly incensed at this bold reply. The force 
he had now with him amounted to eighty thousand men ; that 
is, thirty thousand Iranians, forty thousand Rumis, and ten 
thousand Indis. Faur had sixty thousand horsemen, and two 



THE SHAH NAMEH 331 

thousand elephants. The troops of Sikander were greatly 
terrified at the sight of so many elephants, which gave the 
enemy such a tremendous superiority. Aristatalis, and some 
other ingenious counsellors, were requested to consult together 
to contrive some means of counteracting the power of the war- 
elephants, and they suggested the construction of an iron 
horse, and the figure of a rider also of iron, to be placed upon 
wheels like a carriage, and drawn by a number of horses. A 
soldier, clothed in iron armor, was to follow the vehicle — his 
hands and face besmeared with combustible matter, and this 
soldier, armed with a long staff, was at an appointed signal, to 
pierce the belly of the horse and also of the rider, previously 
filled with combustibles, so that when the ignited point came in 
contact with them, the whole engine would make a tremendous 
explosion and blaze in the air. Sikander approved of this 
invention, and collected all the blacksmiths and artisans in the 
country to construct a thousand machines of this description 
with the utmost expedition, and as soon as they were completed, 
he prepared for action. Faur too pushed forward with his two 
thousand elephants in advance; but when the Kanujians 
beheld such a formidable array they were surprised, and Faur 
anxiously inquired from his spies what it could be. Upon 
being told that it was Sikander's artillery, his troops pushed 
the elephants against the enemy with vigor, at which moment 
the combustibles were fired by the Rumis, and the machinery 
exploding, many elephants were burnt and destroyed, and the 
remainder, with the troops, fled in confusion. Sikander then 
encountered Faur, and after a severe contest, slew him, and 
became ruler of the kingdom of Kanuj, 

After the conquest of Kanuj, Sikander went to Mekka, carry- 
ing thither rich presents and offerings. From thence he pro- 
ceeded to another city, where he was received with great 
homage by the most illustrious of the nation. He enquired of 
them if there was anything wonderful or extraordinary in their 
country, that he might go to see it, and they replied that there 
were two trees in the kingdom, one a male, the other a female, 
from which a voice proceeded. The male-tree spoke in the 
day, and the female-tree in the night, and whoever had a wish, 
went thither to have his desires accomplished. Sikander im- 
mediately repaired to the spot, and approaching it, he hoped in 
his heart that a considerable part of his life still remained to be 



33* 



FIRDUSI 



enjoyed. When he came under the tree, a terrible sound arose 
and rung in his ears, and he asked the people present what it 
meant. The attendant priest said it implied that fourteen years 
of his life still remained. Sikander, at this interpretation of the 
prophetic sound, wept and the burning tears ran down his 
cheeks. Again he asked, " Shall I return tb Rum, and see my 
mother and children before I die ? " and the answer was, " Thou 
wilt die at Kashan.* 

Nor mother, nor thy family at home 
Wilt thou behold again, for thou wilt die. 
Closing thy course of glory at Kashan." 

Sikander left the place in sorrow, and pursued his way 
towards Rum. In his progress he arrived at another city, and 
the inhabitants gave him the most honorable welcome, repre- 
senting to him, however, that they were dreadfully afflicted by 
the presence of two demons or giants, who constantly assailed 
them in the night, devouring men and goats and whatever 
came in their way. Sikander asked their names; and they 
replied, Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog). He immediately 
ordered a barrier to be erected five hundred yards high, and 
three hundred yards wide, and when it was finished he went 
away. The giants, notwithstanding all their efforts, were un- 
able to scale this barrier, and in consequence the inhabitants 
pursued their occupations without the fear of molestation. 

To scenes of noble daring still he turned 

His ardent spirit — for he knew not fear. 

Still he led on his legions — and now came 

To a strange place, where countless numbers met 

His wondering view — countless inhabitants 

Crowding the city streets, and neighbouring plains; 

And in the distance presently he saw 

A lofty mountain reaching to the stars. 

Onward proceeding, at its foot he found 

A guardian-dragon, terrible in form. 

Ready with open jaws to crush his victim; 

But unappalled, Sikander him beholding 

With steady eye, which scorned to turn aside, 

Sprang forward, and at once the monster slew. 

• Kash&n is here made to be the death- at Babylon, as foretold by the ma- 
place of Alexander, whilst, according to gicians, on the 21st of April, B.C. 323, 
the Greek historians, he died suddenly in the thirty-second year of his age. 



THE SHAH NAMEH 333 

Ascending then the mountain, many a ridge, 
Oft resting on the way, he reached the summit. 
Where the dead corse of an old saint appeared 
Wrapt in his grave-clothes, and in gems imbedded. 
In gold and precious jewels glittering round, 
Seeming to show what man is, mortal man! 
Wealth, worldly pomp, the baubles of ambition. 
All left behind, himself a heap of dust! 

None ever went upon that mountain top, 
But sought for knowledge; and Sikander hoped 
When he had reached its cloudy eminence, 
To see the visions of futurity 
Arise from that departed, holy man! 
And soon he heard a voice: " Thy time is nigh! 
Yet may I thy career on earth unfold. 
It will be thine to conquer many a realm. 
Win many a crown; thou wilt have many friends 
And numerous foes, and thy devoted head 
Will be uplifted to the very heavens. 
Renowned and glorious shalt thou be; thy name 
Immortal; but, alas! thy time is nigh!" 
At these prophetic words Sikander wept. 
And from that ominous mountain hastened down. 

After that Sikander journeyed on to the city of Kashan, 
where he fell sick, and in a few days, according to the oracle and 
the prophecy, expired. He had scarcely breathed his last, when 
Aristu, and Bilniyas the physician, and his family, entered 
Kashan, and found him dead. They beat their faces, and tore 
their hair, and mourned for him forty days. 



334 



T 



FIRDUSI 

FIRDUSrS INVOCATION 

HEE I invoke, the Lord of Life and Light! 
Beyond imagination pure and bright! f 

To thee, sufficing praise no tongue can give. 

We are thy creatures, and in thee we live! 

Thou art the summit, depth, the all in all, 

Creator, Guardian of this earthly ball; 

Whatever is, thou art — Protector, King, 

From thee all goodness, truth, and mercy spring. 

O pardon the misdeeds of him who now 

Bends in thy presence with a suppliant brow. 

Teach them to tread the path thy Prophet trod; ?S 

To wash his heart from sin, to know his God; ^« 

And gently lead him to that home of rest. 

Where filled with holiest rapture dwell the blest. 

Saith not that book divine, from Heaven supplied, 
" Mustafa is the true, the unerring guide. 
The purest, greatest Prophet! " Next him came 
Wise Abu Buker, of unblemished name; 
Then Omer taught the faith, unknown to guile. 
And made the world with vernal freshness smile; 
Then Othman brave th' imperial priesthood graced; 
All, led by him, the Prophet's faith embraced. 
The fourth was AH; he, the spouse adored 
Of Fatima, then spread the saving word. 
AH, of whom Mahommed spoke elate, 
" I am the city of knowledge — he my gate." 
AH the blest. Whoever shall recline 
A supplicant at his all-powerful shrine, 
Enjoys both this life and the next; in this, 
All earthly good, in that, eternal bliss! 

From records true my legends I rehearse, 
And string the pearls of wisdom in my verse, 
That in the glimmering days of life's decline, 
Its fruits, in wealth and honor, may be mine. 
My verse, a structure pointing to the skies; 
Whose solid strength destroying time defies. 
All praise the noble work, save only those 
Of impious life, or base malignant foes; 
All blest with learning read, and read again, 
The sovereign smiles, and thus approves my strain: 
" Richer by far, Firdusi, than a mine 
Of precious gems, is this bright lay of thine." 
Centuries may pass away, but still my page 
Will be the boast of each succeeding age. 



w 



THE SHAH NAMEH 335 

Praise, praise to Mahmud, who of like renown. 
In battle or the banquet, fills the throne; 
Lord of the realms of Chin and Hindustan, 
Sovereign and Lord of Persia and Turan, 
With his loud voice he rends the flintiest ear; 
On land a tiger fierce, untouched by fear. 
And on the wave, he seems the crocodile 
That prowls amidst the waters of the Nile. 
Generous and brave, his equal is unknown; 
In deeds of princely worth he stands alone. 
The infant in the cradle lisps his name; 
The world exults in Mahmud's spotless fame. 
In festive hours Heaven smiles upon his truth; 
In combat deadly as the dragon's tooth; 
Bounteous in all things, his exhaustless hand 
Diffuses blessings through the grateful land; 
And, of the noblest thoughts and actions, lord; 
The soul of Gabriel breathes in every word. 
May Heaven with added glory crown his days; 
Praise, praise to mighty Mahmud — everlasting praise! 



336 FIRDUSI 



FIRDUSrS SATIRE ON MAHMUD 

KNOW, tyrant as thou art, this earthly state 
Is not eternal, but of transient date; 
Fear God, then, and afflict not human-kind; 
To merit Heaven, be thou to Heaven resigned. 
Afflict not even the Ant; though weak and small, 
It breathes and lives, and life is sweet to all. 
Knowing my temper, firm, and stern, and bold. 
Didst thou not, tyrant, tremble to behold 
My sword blood-dropping? Hadst thou not the sense 
To shrink from giving man like me offence? 
What could impel thee to an act so base? 
What, but to earn and prove thy own disgrace? 
Why was I sentenced to be trod upon, 
And crushed to death by elephants? By one 
Whose power I scorn! Couldst thou presume that I 
Would be appalled by thee, whom I defy? 
I am the lion, I, inured to blood, 
And make the impious and the base my food; 
And I could grind thy limbs, and spread them far 
As Nile's dark waters their rich treasures bear. 
Fear thee! I fear not man, but God alone, 
I only bow to his Almighty throne. 
Inspired by Him my ready numbers flow; 
Guarded by Him I dread no earthly foe. 
Thus in the pride of song I pass my days. 
Offering to Heaven my gratitude and praise. 

From every trace of sense and feeling free, 
When thou art dead, what will become of thee? 
If thou shouldst tear me limb from limb, and cast 
My dust and ashes to the angry blast, 
Firdusi still would live, since on thy name, 
Mahmiid, I did not rest my hopes of fame 
In the bright page of my heroic song. 
But on the God of Heaven, to whom belong 
Boundless thanksgivings, and on Him whose love 
Supports the Faithful in the realms above. 
The mighty Prophet! none who e'er reposed 
On Him, existence without hope has closed. 

And thou wouldst hurl me underneath the tread 
Of the wild elephant, till I were dead! 
Dead! by that insult roused, I should become 
An elephant in power, and seal thy doom — 
Mahmud! if fear of man hath never awed 
Thy heart, at least fear thy Creator, God, 



THE SHAh NAMEH 337 



Full many a warrior of illustrious worth. 
Full many of humble, of imperial birth: 
Tiir, Silim, Jemshid, Minuchihr the brave, 
Have died; for nothing had the power to save 
These mighty monarchs from the common doom; 
They died, but blest in memory still they bloom. 
Thus kings too perish — none on earth remain, 
Since all things human seek the dust again. 

O, had thy father graced a kingly throne, 
Thy mother been for royal virtues known, 
A different fate the poet then had shared. 
Honors and wealth had been his just reward; 
But how remote from thee a glorious line! 
No high, ennobling ancestry is thine; 
From a vile stock thy bold career began, 
A Blacksmith was thy sire of Isfahan. 
Alas! from vice can goodness ever spring? 
Is mercy hoped for in a tyrant king? 
Can water wash the Ethiopian white? 
Can we remove the darkness from the night? 
The tree to which a bitter fruit is given, 
Would still be bitter in the bowers of Heaven; 
And a bad heart keeps on its vicious course; 
Or if it changes, changes for the worse; 
Whilst streams of milk, where Eden's flowrets blow. 
Acquire more honied sweetness as they flow. 
The reckless king who grinds the poor like thee, 
Must ever be consigned to infamy! 

Now mark Firdusi's strain, his Book of Kings 
Will ever soar upon triumphant wings. 
All who have listened to its various lore 
Rejoice, the wise grow wiser than before; 
Heroes of other times, of ancient days, 
Forever flourish in my sounding lays; 
Have I not sung of Kaus, Tus, and Giw; 
Of matchless Rustem, faithful, still, and true. 
Of the great Demon-binder, who could throw 
His kamund to the Heavens, and seize his foe! 
Of Husheng, Feridtin, and Sam Suwar, 
Lohurasp, Kai-khosrau, and Isfendiyar; 
Gushtasp, Arjasp, and him of mighty name, 
Gudarz, with eighty sons of martial fame! 

The toil of thirty years is now complete, 
Record sublime of many a warlike feat. 
Written midst toil and trouble, but the strain 
Awakens every heart, and will remain 
A lasting stimulus to glorious deeds; 

Vol. I. — 22 



338 



FIRDUSI 

For even the bashful maid, who kindling reads, 
Becomes a warrior. Thirty years of care. 
Urged on by royal promise, did I bear. 
And now, deceived and scorned, the aged bard 
Is basely cheated of his pledged reward! 



THE MUEZZIN. 

Photogravure from a painting hyj. F. Geronu. 

Now the Muezzin's call is heard, sonorous clanging 

Through thronged bazaar, concealed harem, and cool kiosk: 

' In the Prophet's name, God is God, and there is no other.' 

On roofs, in streets, alone, or close beside his brother, 

Each Moslem kneels, his forehead turned towards Mecca's shrine, 

And all the world forgotten in one thought divine. " 



THE RUBAIYAT 

OF 

OMAR KHAYYAM 

[Translation by Edward Fitzgerald] 



INTRODUCTION 

IT is seldom that we come across a poem which it is im- 
possible to classify in accordance with European standards. 
Yet such a poem is Omar's " Rubaiyat." If elegiac poetry 
is the expression of subjective emotion, sentiment, and thought, 
we might class this Persian masterpiece as elegy ; but an elegy 
is a sustained train of connected imagery and reflection. The 
" Rubaiyat " is, on the other hand, a string of quatrains, each of 
which has all the complete and independent significance of an 
epigram. Yet there is so little of that lightness which should 
characterize an epigram that we can scarcely put Omar in the 
same category with Martial, and it is easy to understand why 
the author should have been contented to name his book the 
" Rubaiyat," or Quatrains, leaving it to each individual to make, 
if he chooses, a more definite description of the work. To 
English readers, Mr. Edward Fitzgerald's version of the poem 
has provided one of the most masterly translations that was 
ever made from an Oriental classic. For Omar, like Hafiz, 
is one of the most Persian of Persian writers. There is in 
this volume all the gorgeousness of the East: all the luxury 
of the most refined civilization. Omar's bowers are always 
full of roses ; the notes of the nightingale tremble through his 
stanzas. The intoxication of wine and the bright eyes of 
lovely women are ever present to his mind. The feast, the 
revel, the joys of love, and the calm satisfaction of appetite 
make up the grosser elements in his song. But the prevailing 
note of his music is that of deep and settled melancholy, break- 
ing out occasionally into words of misanthropy and despair.. 
The keenness and intensity of this poet's style seem to be in- 
spired by an ever-present fear of death. This sense of ap- 
proaching Fate is never absent from him, even in his most 
genial moments ; and the strange fascination which he exer- 
cises over his readers is largely due to the thrilling sweetness 
of some passage which ends in a note of dejection and anguish. 

341 



342 THE RUBAiyAt 

Strange to say, Omar was the greatest mathematician of his 
day. The exactness of his fine and analytic mind is reflected 
in the exquisite finish, the subtile wit, the delicate descriptive 
touches, that abound in his Quatrains. His verses hang to- 
gether like gems of the purest water exquisitely cut and clasped 
by " jacinth work of subtlest jewelry." But apart from their 
masterly technique, these Quatrains exhibit in their general 
tone the revolt of a clear intellect from the prevailing bigotry 
and fanaticism of an established religion. There is in the 
poet's mind the lofty indignation of one who sees, in its true 
light, the narrowness of an ignorant and hypocritical clergy, 
yet can find no solid ground on which to build up for himself 
a theory of supernaturalism, illumined by hope. Yet there are 
traces of Mysticism in his writings, which only serve to em- 
phasize his profound longing for some knowledge of the in- 
visible, and his foreboding that the grave is the " be-all " and 
" end-all " of life. The poet speaks in tones of bitterest lamen- 
tation when he sees succumb to Fate all that is bright and 
fresh and beautiful. At his brightest moments he gives ex- 
pression to a vague pantheism, but all his views of the power 
that lies behind life are obscured and perturbed by sceptical 
despondency. He is the great man of science, who, like other 
men of genius too deeply immersed in the study of natural 
law or abstract reasoning, has lost all touch with that great 
world of spiritual things which we speak of as religion, and 
which we can only come in contact with through those instinc- 
tive emotions which scientific analysis very often does so much 
to stifle. There are many men of science who, like Darwin, 
have come, through the study of material phenomena in nature, 
to a condition of mind which is indifferent in matters of relig- 
ion. But the remarkable feature in the case of Omar is that he, 
who could see so clearly and feel so acutely, has been enabled 
also to embody in a poem of imperishable beauty the opinions 
which he shared with many of his contemporaries. The range 
of his mind can only be measured by supposing that Sir Isaac 
Newton had written Manfred or Childe Harold. But even 
more remarkable is what we may call the modernity of this 
twelfth century Persian poet. We sometimes hear it said that 
great periods of civilization end in a manifestation of infidelity 
and despair. There can be no doubt that a great deal of rest- 
lessness and misgiving characterizes the minds of to-day in re- 



INTRODUCTION 



343 



gard to all questions of religion. Europe, in the nineteenth 
century, as reflected in the works of Byron, Spencer, Darwin, 
and Schopenhauer, is very much in the same condition as intel- 
lectual Persia in the twelfth century, so far as the pessimism 
of Omar is representative of his day. This accounts for the 
wide popularity of Fitzgerald's " Rubaiyat." The book has 
been read eagerly and fondly studied, as if it were a new book 
of fin du siecle production : the last efflorescence of intellectual 
satiety, cynicism, and despair. Yet the book is eight centuries 
old, and it has been the task of this seer of the East to reveal 
to the West the heart-sickness under which the nations were 
suffering. 

Omar Khayyam — that is, Omar the tent-maker — was bom in 
the year 1050 at Nishapiir, the little Damascus (as it is called) 
of Persia : famous as a seat of learning, as a place of religion, 
and a centre of commerce. In the days of Omar it was by far 
the most important city of Khorasan. The poet, like his 
father before him, held a court office under the Vizir of his 
day. It was from the stipend which he thus enjoyed that he 
secured leisure for mathematical and literary work. His father 
had been a khayyam, or tent-maker, and his gifted son doubt- 
less inherited the handicraft as well as the name ; but his posi- 
tion at Court released him from the drudgery of manual labor. 
He was thus also brought in contact with the luxurious side 
of life, and became acquainted with those scenes of pleasure 
-which he recalls only to add poignancy to the sorrow with 
which he contemplates the yesterday of life. Omar's astro- 
nomical researches were continued for many years, and his 
algebra has been translated into French : but his greatest claim 
to renown is based upon his immortal Quatrains, which will 
always live as the best expression of a phase of mind con- 
stantly recurring in the history of civilization, from the days 
of Anaxagoras to those of Darwin and Spencer. 

E. W. 



OMAR KHAYYAM 

By John Hay 

Address delivered December 8, 18^7, at the Dinner of the Omar 
Khayyam Club, London. 

I CAN never forget my emotions when I first saw Fitzgerald's 
translations of the Quatrains. Keats, in his sublime ode 
on Chapman's Homer, has described the sensation once 
for all: 

" Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken." 

The exquisite beauty, the faultless form, the singular grace of 
those amazing stanzas were not more wonderful than the depth 
and breadth of their profound philosophy, their knowledge of 
life, their dauntless courage, their serene facing of the ultimate 
problems of life and death. Of course the doubt did not spare 
me, which has assailed many as ignorant as I was of the litera- 
ture of the East, whether it was the poet or the translator to 
whom was due this splendid result. Was it, in fact, a repro- 
duction of an antique song, or a mystification of a great modern, 
careless of fame and scornful of his time ? Could it be possible 
that in the eleventh century, so far away as Khorasan, so ac- 
complished a man of letters lived, with such distinction, such 
breadth, such insight, such calm disillusions, such cheerful and 
jocund despair ? Was this " Weltschmerz," which we thought 
a malady of our day, endemic in Persia in iioo? My doubt 
only lasted until I came upon a literal translation of the Rubai- 
yat, and I saw that not the least remarkable quality of Fitz- 
gerald's poem was its fidelity to the original. 

In short, Omar was a Fitzgerald, or Fitzgerald was a rein- 
carnation of Omar. It was not to the disadvantage of the latter 
poet that he followed so closely in the footsteps of the earlier. 
A man of extraordinary genius had appeared in the world, had 
sung a song of incomparable beauty and power in an environ- 

345 



346 THE RUBXiYAT 

ment no longer worthy of him, in a language of narrow range ; 
for many generations the song was virtually lost ; then by a 
miracle of creation, a poet, a twin-brother in the spirit to the 
first, was born, who took up the forgotten poem and sang it 
anew with all its original melody and force, and all the accu- 
mulated refinement of ages of art. It sems to me idle to ask 
which was the greater master; each seems greater than his 
work. The song is like an instrument of precious workman- 
ship and marvellous tone, which is worthless in common hands, 
but when it falls, at long intervals, into the hands of the supreme 
master, it yields a melody of transcendent enchantment to all 
that have ears to hear. If we look at the sphere of influence of 
the poets, there is no longer any comparison. Omar sang to a 
half-barbarous province: Fitzgerald to the world. Wherever 
the English speech is spoken or read, the " Rubaiyat " have 
taken their place as a classic. There is not a hill post in India, 
nor a village in England, where there is not a coterie to whom 
Omar Khayyam is a familiar friend and a bond of union. In 
America he has an equal following, in many regions and condi- 
tions. In the Eastern States his adepts form an esoteric sect ; 
the beautiful volume of drawings by Mr. Vedder is a centre of 
delight and suggestion wherever it exists. In the cities of the 
West you will find the Quatrains one of the most thoroughly 
read books in any club library. I heard them quoted once in one 
of the most lonely and desolate spots in the high Rockies. We 
had been camping on the Great Divide, our " roof of the world," 
where in the space of a few feet you may see two springs, one 
sending its waters to the Polar solitudes, the other to the eternal 
Carib summer. One morning at sunrise, as we were breaking 
camp, I was startled to hear one of our party, a frontiersman 
bom, intoning these words of sombre majesty: — 

" *Tis but a Tent where takes his one day's rest 
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest; 

The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash 
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest." 

I thought that sublime setting of primeval forest and pouring 
canyon was worthy of the lines ; I am sure the dewless, crystal- 
line air never vibrated to strains of more solemn music. Cer- 
tainly, our poet can never be numbered among the great writers 
of all time. He has told no story ; he has never unpacked his 



INTRODUCTION 347 

heart in public ; he has never thrown the reins on the neck of 
the winged horse, and let his imagination carry him where it 
listed. " Ah ! the crowd must have emphatic warrant," as 
Browning sang. Its suffrages are not for the cool, collected 
observer, whose eyes no glitter can dazzle, no mist suffuse. 
The many cannot but resent that air of lofty intelligence, that 
pale and subtle smile. But he will hold a place forever among 
that limited number, who, like Lucretius and Epicurus — with- 
out range or defiance, even without unbecoming mirth, look 
deep into the tangled mysteries of things ; refuse credence to 
the absurd, and allegiance to arrogant authority ; sufficiently 
conscious of fallibility to be tolerant of all opinions ; with a faith 
too wide for doctrine and a benevolence untrammelled by 
creed ; too wise to be wholly poets, and yet too surely poets to 
be implacably wise. 



THE RUBAIYAT 

Wake I For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight 
The Stars before him from the Field of Night, 

Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and 
strikes 
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light. 

Before the phantom of False morning died, 
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried, 

" When all the Temple is prepared within, 
" Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside ? " 

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before 
The Tavern shouted — " Open then the Door ! 

" You know how little while we have to stay, 
" And, once departed, may return no more." 

Now the New Year reviving old Desires, 
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires. 

Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough 
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires. 

Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose, 

And Jemshyd's Sev'n-ringfd Cup where no one knows; 

But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine, 
And many a Garden by the Water blows. 

And David's lips are lockt ; but in divine 
High-piping Pehlevi, with " Wine ! Wine ! Wine ! 

" Red Wine ! " — the Nightingale cries to the Rose 
That sallow cheek of hers to incarnadine. 

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring 
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling: 

The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To flutter — and the Bird is on the Wing. 
349 



35© OMAR KHAYYAm 

Whether at Nishapur or Babylon, 
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run, 

The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop, 
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one. 

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say ; 
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday? 

And this first Summer month that brings the Rose 
Shall take Jemshid and Kai-kobad away. 

Well, let it take them! What have we to do 
With Kai-kobad the Great, or Kai-khosrau ? 

Let Zal and Rustem bluster as they will, 
Or Hatim call to Supper — heed not you. 

With me along the strip of Herbage strewn 
That just divides the desert from the sown. 

Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot — 
And Peace to Mahmiid on his golden Throne ! 

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, 
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou 

Beside me singing in the Wilderness — y 

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow! 

Some for the Glories of This World ; and some 
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come ; 

Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go. 
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum ! 

Look to the blowing Rose about us — " Lo, 
" Laughing," she says, " into the world I blow, 

" At once the silken tassel of my Purse 
" Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw." 

And those who husbanded the Golden grain. 
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain, 

Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd 
As, buried once. Men want dug up again. 



THE RUBAIyAt 351 

The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon 
Turns Ashes — or it prospers ; and anon, 

Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face, 
Lighting a little hour or two — is gone. 

Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai 
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day, 
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp 
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way. 

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep 

The Courts where Jemshid gloried and drank deep : 

And Bahram, that great Hunter — the Wild Ass 
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep. 

I sometimes think that never blows so red 
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled; 

That every Hyacinth the Garden wears 
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head. 

And this reviving Herb whose tender Green 
Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean — • 
Ah, lean upon it lightly ! for who knows 
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen! 

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears 
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears: 

To-morrow! — Why, To-morrow I may be 
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years. 

For some we loved, the loveliest and the best 
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest, 

Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before, 
And one by one crept silently to rest. 

And we, that now make merry in the Room 
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom, 

Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth 
Descend — ourselves to make a Couch — for whom? 



3Sa OMAR KHAYYXm 

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, 
Before we too into the Dust descend ; 

Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie. 
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End I 

Alike for those who for To-day prepare, 
And those that after some To-morrow stare, 

A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries, 
" Fools ! your Reward is neither Here nor There." 

Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd 
Of the Two Worlds so wisely — they are thrust 

Like foolish Prophets forth ; their Words to Scorn 
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust. 

Myself when young did eagerly frequent 
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument 

About it and about: but evermore 
Came out by the same door where in I went. 

With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow, 

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow ; 

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd — 
" I came like Water, and like Wind I go." 

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing 
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing; 

And out of it, as Wind along the Waste, 
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing. 

What, without asking, hither hurried Whence? 
And, without asking. Whither hurried hence ! 

Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine 
Must drown the memory of that insolence ! 

Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate 
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate, 

And many a Knot unravel'd by the Road; 
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate. 



THE RUBAIYAT 353 

There was the Door to which I found no Key ; 
There was the Veil through which I might not see : 

Some Httle talk awhile of Me and Thee 
There was — and then no more of Thee and Me. 

Earth could not answer ; nor the Seas that mourn 
In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn; 

Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal'd 
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn. 

Then of the Thee in Me who works behind 
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find 

A lamp amid the Darkness ; and I heard, 
As from Without — " The Me within Thee blind ! " 

Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn 
I lean'd, the Secret of my Life to learn: 

And Lip to Lip it murmur' d — " While you live, 
Drink ! — for, once dead, you never shall return." 

I think the Vessel, that with fugitive 
Articulation answer'd, once did live, 

And drink ; and Ah ! the passive Lip I kiss'd, 
How many Kisses might it take — and give! 

For I remember stopping by the way 
To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay : 

And with its all-obliterated Tongue 
It murmur'd — " Gently, Brother, gently, pray ! " 

And has not such a story from of Old 
Down Man's successive generations roll'd 

Of such a clod of saturated Earth 
Cast by the Maker into Human mould? 

And not a drop that from our Cups we throw 
For Earth to drink of, but may steal below 

To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye 
There hidden — far beneath, and long ago. 

Vol. I. — 33 



354 OMAR KHAYYAm 

As then the TuHp for her morning sup 

Of Heav'nly Vintage from the soil looks up, 

Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav'n 
To Earth invert you — like an empty Cup. 

Perplext no more with Human or Divine, 
To-morrow's tangle to the winds resign, 
And lose your fingers in the tresses of 
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine. 

And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press. 
End in what All begins and ends in — ^Yes; 

Think then you are To-day what Yesterday 
You were — To-morrow you shall not be less. 

So when that Angel of the darker Drink 
At last shall find you by the river-brink, 

And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul 
Forth to your Lips to quaff — ^you shall not shrink. 

Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside. 
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride, 

Were't not a Shame — were't not a Shame for him 
In this clay carcase crippled to abide? 

'Tis but a Tent where takes his one day's rest 
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest ; 

The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash 
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest. 

And fear not lest Existence closing your 

Account, and mine, should know the like no more; 

The Eternal Saki from the Bowl has pour'd 
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour. 

When You and I behind the Veil are past. 

Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last. 

Which of our Coming and Departure heeds 
As the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast. 



THE RUBAIyXt 355 

A Moment's Halt — a momentary taste 

Of Being from the Well amid the Waste — 

And Lo! — the phantom Caravan has reach'd 
The Nothing it set out from — Oh, make haste! 

Would you that spangle of Existence spend 
About THE SECRET — quick about it, Friend! 

A Hair perhaps divides the False and True — 
And upon what, prithee, may life depend? 

A Hair perhaps divides the False and True ; 
Yes ; and a single Alif were the clue — 

Could you but find it — to the Treasure-house, 
And peradventure to The Master too ; 

Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins 
Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains; 

Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi ; and 
They change and perish all — but He remains ; 

A moment guess'd — then back behind the Fold 
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll'd 

Which, for the Pastime of Eternity, 
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold. 

But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor 

Of Earth, and up to Heav'n's unopening Door, 

You gaze To-day, while You are You — how then 
To-morrow, You when shall be You no more? 

Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit 
Of This and That endeavor and dispute ; 

Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape 
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit. 

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse 
I made a Second Marriage in my house; 

Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed, 
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse. 



356 OMAR KHAYYAM 

For " Is " and " Is-not " though with Rule and Line 
And " Up-and-down " by Logic I define, 
Of all that one should care to fathom, I 
Was never deep in anything but — Wine. 

Ah, but my Computations, People say. 
Reduced the Year to better reckoning? — Nay, 

'Twas only striking from the Calendar 
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday. 

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape. 

Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape 

Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder ; and 
He bid me taste of it ; and 'twas — the Grape ! 

The Grape that can with Logic absolute 
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute: 

The Sovereign Alchemist that in a trice 
Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute: 

The mighty Mahmud, Allah-breathing Lord, 
That all the misbelieving and black Horde 

Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul 
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword. 

Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare 
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare? 

A Blessing, we should use it, should we not? 
And if a Curse — why, then, Who set it there ? 

I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must, 
Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust. 
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink, 
To fill the Cup — when crumbled into Dust ! 

Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise ! 
One thing at least is certain — This Life flies; 

One thing is certain and the rest is Lies ; 
The Flower that once has blown forever dies. 



THE RUBAIYAT 357 

Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who 
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through, 

Not one returns to tell us of the Road, 
Which to discover we must travel too. 

The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd 
Who rose before us, and as Prophets bum'd, 

Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep 
They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd. 

I sent my Soul through the Invisible, 
Some letter of that After-life to spell : 

And by and by my Soul return'd to me. 
And answer'd, " I Myself am Heav'n and Hell :" 

Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire, 
And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire, 

Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, 
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire. 

We are no other than a moving row 

Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go 

Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held 
In Midnight by the Master of the Show ; 

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays 
Upon this Checker-board of Nights and Days ; 

Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays, 
And one by one back in the Closet lays. 

The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, 
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes ; 
And He that toss'd you down into the Field, 
He knows about it all — he knows — HE knows 1 

The Moving Finger writes ; and, having writ. 
Moves on : nor all your Piety nor Wit 

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, 
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it. 



358 OMAR KHAYYAM 

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky, 
Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die, 
Lift not your hands to // for help — for It 
As impotently moves as you or I. 

With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead, 
And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed : 

And the first Morning of Creation wrote 
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read. 

Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare; 
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair: 

Drink ! for you know not whence you came, nor why ! 
Drink ! for you know not why you go, nor where. 

I tell you this — When, started from the Goal, 
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal 

Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtari they flung. 
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul 

The Vine had struck a fibre: which about v 

If clings my Being — let the Dervish flout; 

Of my Base metal may be filed a Key, 
That shall unlock the Door he howls without. 

And this I know : whether the one True Light 
Kindle to Love, or Wrath-consume me quite, 
One Flash of It within the Tavern caught 
Better than in the Temple lost outright. 

What 1 out of senseless Nothing to provoke 
A conscious Something to resent the yoke 

Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain 
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke 1 

What I from his helpless Creature be repaid 
Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay'd— 

Sue for a Debt he never did contract, 
And cannot answer — Oh the sorry trade! 



THE RUBAIYAT 359 

Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin 
Beset the Road I was to wander in, 

Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round 
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin ! 

Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make. 
And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake : 

For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man 
Is blacken'd — Man's forgiveness give — and take! 

As under cover of departing Day- 
Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away, 

Once more within the Potter's house alone 

1 stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay. 

Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small. 
That stood along the floor and by the wall ; 

And some loquacious Vessels were ; and some 
Listen'd perhaps, but never talk'd at all. 

Said one among them — " Surely not in vain 
" My substance of the common Earth was ta'en 

" And to this Figure moulded, to be broke, 
" Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again." 

Then said a Second — " Ne'er a peevish Boy 

" Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy ; 

*' And He that with his hand the Vessel made 
** Will surely not in after Wrath destroy." 

After a momentary silence spake 
Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make ; 

" They sneer at me for leaning all awry : 
" What ! did the Hand then of the Potter shake ? " 

Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot — 
I think a Sufi pipkin — waxing hot — 

" All this of Pot and Potter— Tell me, then, 
" Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot ? " 



360 OMAR KHAYYAM 

" Why," said another, " some there are who tell 
" Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell 

" The luckless Pots he marr'd in making — Pish ! 
" He's a Good Fellow, and 't will all be well." 

" Well," murmur'd one, " let whoso make or buy, 
" My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry : 

" But fill me with the old familiar Juice, 
" Methinks I might recover by and by." 

So while the Vessels one by one were speaking. 
The little Moon look'd in that all were seeking: 

And then they jogg'd each other, " Brother ! Brother ! 
" Now for the Potter's shoulder-knot a-creaking ! " 

Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide, 
And wash the Body whence the Life has died, 

And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf, 
By some not unfrequented Garden-side. 

That ev'n my buried Ashes such a snare 

Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air "^ 

As not a True-believer passing by 
But shall be overtaken unaware. 

Indeed the Idols I have loved so long 

Have done my credit in this World much wrong : 

Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup, 
And sold my Reputation for a Song. 

Indeed, indeed. Repentance oft before 
I swore — but was I sober when I swore ? 

And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand 
My threadbare Penitence apieces tore. 

And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel, 
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honor — Well, 

I wonder often what the Vintners buy 
One half so precious as the stuff they sell. 



THE RUBAIYAT 361 

Yet ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose ! 
That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close ! 

The Nightingale that in the branches sang, 
Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows I 

Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield 
One glimpse — if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd, 

To which the fainting Traveller might spring, 
As springs the trampled herbage of the field ! 

Would but some winged Angel ere too late 
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate, 

And make the stern Recorder otherwise 
Enregister, or quite obliterate ! 

Ah, Love ! could you and I with Him conspire 
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire, 
Would not we shatter it to bits — and then 
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire ! 

Yon rising Moon that looks for us again — 
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane ; 

How oft hereafter rising look for us 
Through this same Garden — and for one in vain ! 

And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass 
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass, 

And in your joyous errand reach the spot 
Where I made One — turn down an empty Glass ! 



THE DIVAN 



BY 



HAFIZ 

[Translation by H. Bicknell] 



NOTE 

The reader will be struck with the apparent want of unity in many of 
the Odes. The Orientals compare each couplet to a single pearl and 
the entire " Ghazal," or Ode, to a string of pearls. It is the rhyme, not 
necessarily the sense, which links them together. Hence the single 
pearls or couplets may often be arranged in various orders without in- 
jury to the general effect; and it would probably be impossible to find 
two manuscripts either containing the same number of Odes, or having 
the same couplets following each other in the same order. 



INTRODUCTION 

WE are told in the Persian histories that when Tamer- 
lane, on his victorious progress through the East, had 
reached Shiraz, he halted before the gates of the city 
and sent two of his followers to search in the bazar for a cer- 
tain dervish Muhammad Shams-ad-din, better known to the 
world by the name of Hafiz. And when this man of religion, 
wearing the simple woollen garment of a sufi, was brought 
into the presence of the great conqueror, he was nothing 
abashed at the blaze of silks and jewelry which decorated the 
pavilion where Tamerlane sat in state. And Tamerlane, meet- 
ing the poet with a frown of anger, said, " Art not thou the 
insolent verse-monger who didst oflfer my two great cities 
Samarkand and Bokhara for the black mole upon thy lady's 
cheek ? " " It is true," replied Hafiz calmly, smiling, " and 
indeed my munificence has been so great throughout my life, 
that it has left me destitute, so that I shall be hereafter de- 
pendent upon thy generosity for a livelihood." The reply of 
the poet, as well as his imperturbable self-possession, pleased 
the Asiatic Alexander, and he dismissed Hafiz with a liberal 
present. 

This story, we are told, cannot be true, for Tamerlane did 
not reach Shiraz until after the death of the greatest of Per- 
sian lyric poets ; but if it is not true in fact, it is true in spirit, 
and gives the real key to the character of Hafiz. For we must 
look upon Hafiz as one of the few poets in the world who 
utters an unbroken strain of joy and contentment. His pov- 
erty was to him a constant fountain of satisfaction, and he 
frankly took the natural joys of life as they came, supported 
under every vicissitude by his religious sense of the goodness 
and kindliness of the One God, manifested in everything in 
the world that was sweet and genial, and beautiful to behold. 
It is strange that we have to go to the literature of Persia to 
find a poet whose deep religious convictions were fully recon- 

365 



366 THE DIVAN 

ciled with the theory of human existence which was nothing 
more or less than an optimistic hedonism. There is nothing 
parallel to this in classic literature. The greatest of Roman 
Epicureans, the materialist, whose maxim was : enjoy the pres- 
ent for there is no God, and no to-morrow, speaks despair- 
ingly of that drop of bitterness, which rises in the fountain of 
Delight and brings torture, even amid the roses of the feast. 
It is with mocking irony that Dante places Epicurus in the 
furnace-tombs of his Inferno amid those heresiarchs who de- 
nied the immortality of the soul. Hafiz was an Epicurean 
without the atheism or the despair of Epicurus. The roses in 
his feast are ever fresh and sweet and there is nothing of bit- 
terness in the perennial fountain of his Delight. This un- 
rufifled serenity, this joyful acceptance of material existence 
and its pleasures are not in the Persian poet the result of the 
carelessness and shallowness of Horace, or the cold-blooded 
worldliness and sensuality of Martial. The theory of life which 
Hafiz entertained was founded upon the relation of the human 
soul to God. The one God of Sufism was a being of exuber- 
ant benignity, from whose creative essence proceeded the hu- 
man soul, whose experiences on earth were intended to fit it 
for re-entrance into the circle of light and re-absorption into 
the primeval fountain of being. In accordance with the beauti- 
ful and pathetic imagery of the Mystic, life was merely a jour- 
ney of many stages, and every manifestation of life which the 
traveller met on the high road was a manifestation and a gift 
of God Himself. Every stage on the journey towards God 
which the soul made in its religious experience was like a way- 
side inn in which to rest awhile before resuming the onward 
course. The pleasures of life, all that charmed the eye, all that 
gratified the senses, every draught that intoxicated, and every 
fruit that pleased the palate, were, in the pantheistic doctrine 
of the Sufi considered as equally good, because God was in 
each of them, and to partake of them was therefore to be 
united more closely with God. Never was a theology so well 
calculated to put to rest the stings of doubt or the misgivings 
of the pleasure-seeker. This theology is of the very essence 
of Hafiz's poetry. It is in full reliance on this interpretation 
of the significance of human existence that Hafiz faces the 
fierce Tamerlane with a placid smile, plunges without a qualm 
into the deepest abysses of pleasure, finds in the love-song of 



INTRODUCTION 367 

the nightingale the voice of God, and in the bright eyes of 
women and the beaker brimming with crimson wine the 
choicest sacraments of hfe, the hoHest and the most subHme 
intermediaries between divine and human life. 

It is this that makes Hafiz almost the only poet of unadul- 
terated gladsomeness that the world has ever known. There 
is no shadow in his sky, no discord in his music, no bitterness 
in his cup. He passes through life like a happy pilgrim, sing- 
ing all the way, mounting in his own way from strength to 
strength, sure of a welcome when he reaches the goal, content- 
ed with himself, because every manifestation of life of which 
he is conscious must be the stirrings within him of that divinity 
of which he is a portion. When we have thus spoken of Hafiz 
we have said almost all that is known of the Persian lyric 
poet, for to know Hafiz we must read his verses, whose magic 
charm is as great for Europeans as for Asiatics. The endless 
variety of his expressions, the deep earnestness of his con- 
victions, the persistent gayety of his tone, are qualities of irre- 
sistible attractiveness. Even to this day his tomb is visited 
as the Mecca of literary pilgrims, and his numbers are cher- 
ished in the memory and uttered on the tongue of all educated 
Persians. The particulars of his life may be briefly epitomized 
as follows: He was born at Shiraz in the early part of the 
fourteenth century, dying in the year 1388. The name Hafiz 
means, literally, the man who remembers, and was applied to 
himself by Hafiz from the fact that he became a professor of 
the Mohammedan scriptures, and for this purpose had com- 
mitted to memory the text of the Koran. His manner of life 
was not approved of by the dervishes of the monastic college 
in which he taught, and he satirizes his colleagues in revenge 
for their animadversions. The whole Mohammedan world 
hailed with delight the lyrics which Hafiz published to the 
world, and kings and rulers vied with each other in making 
offers to him of honors and hospitality. At one time he 
started for India on the invitation of a great Southern Prince, 
who sent a vessel to meet him on the way, but the hardships 
of the sea were too severe for him, and he made his way back 
to Shiraz without finishing his journey. 

His out-and-out pantheism, as well as his manner of life, 
caused him at his death to be denied burial in consecrated 
ground. The ecclesiastical authorities were, however, induced 



368 THE DIVAN 

to relent in their plan of excommunication at the dictates of 
a passage from the poet's writings, which was come upon by 
opening the book at random. The passage ran as follows: 
" Turn not thy feet from the bier of Hafiz, for though im- 
mersed in sin, he will be admitted into Paradise." And so 
he rests in the cemetery at Shiraz, where the nightingales are 
singing and the roses bloom the year through, and the doves 
gather with low murmurs amid the white stones of the sacred 
enclosure. The poets of nature, the mystical pantheist, the 
joyous troubadour of life, Hafiz, in the naturalness and spon- 
taneity of his poetry, and in the winning sweetness of his 
imagery, occupies a unique place in the literature of the world, 
and has no rival in his special domain. 



FRAGMENT BY HAFIZ 

In Praise of His Verses. 

The beauty of these verses baffles praise: 

What guide is needed to the solar blaze? 

Extol that artist by whose pencil's aid 

The virgin, Thought, so richly is arrayed. 

For her no substitute can reason show. 

Nor any like her human judgment know. 

This verse, a miracle, or magic white — 

Brought down some voice from Heaven, or Gabriel 

bright ? 
By me as by none else are secrets sung. 
No pearls of poesy like mine are strung. 
Vol I. — 24 



THE DIVAN 



" Ala ya ayyuha's-Saki ! " — ^pass round and offer thou the 

bowl, 
For love, which seemed at first so easy, has now brought 

trouble to my soul. 

With yearning for the pod's aroma, which by the East 

that lock shall spread 
From that crisp curl of musky odor, how plenteously our 

hearts have bled! 

Stain with the tinge of wine thy prayer-mat, if thus the 

aged Magian bid, 
For from the traveller from the Pathway* no stage nor 

usage can be hid. 

Shall my beloved one's house delight me, when issues ever 

and anon 
From the relentless bell the mandate : " 'Tis time to bind 

thy litters on " ? 

The waves are wild, the whirlpool dreadful, the shadow 

of the night steals o'er, 
How can my fate excite compassion in the light-burdened 

of the shore? 

Each action of my froward spirit has won me an oppro- 
brious name; 

Can any one conceal the secret which the assembled 
crowds proclaim? 

• " The traveller of the Pathway "— vansaries grew popular, the term 

the MaRJan, or Shaikh. In former Magian was used to designate not only 

times wine was chiefly sold by Magians, " mine host," but also a wise old man, 

and as the keepers of taverns and cara- or spiritual teacher. 

371 



372 hAfIZ 

If Joy be thy desire, O Hafiz, 

From Him far distant never dwell. 

" As soon as thou hast found thy Loved one, 

" Bid to the world a last farewell." 

II 

Thou whose features clearly-beaming make the moon of 

Beauty bright, 
Thou whose chin contains a well-pit * which to Loveliness 

gives light. 

When, O Lord ! shall kindly Fortune, sating my ambition, 
pair 

This my heart of tranquil nature and thy wild and ruf- 
fled hair? 

Pining for thy sight my spirit trembling on my lip doth 

wait: 
Forth to speed it, back to lead it, speak the sentence of 

its fate. 

Pass me with thy skirt uplifted from the dusty bloody 

ground : 
Many who have been thy victims dead upon this path are 

found. 

How this heart is anguish-wasted let my heart's possessor 

know: 
Friends, your souls and mine contemplate, equal by their 

common woe. 

Aught of good accrues to no one witched by thy Nar- 
cissus eye: 

Ne'er let braggarts vaunt their virtue, if thy drunken orbs 
are nigh. 

Soon my Fortune sunk in slumber shall her limbs with 

vigor brace: 
Dashed upon her eye is water, sprinkled by thy shining 

face. 

• An allusion to the dimple and moisture of the chin, considered great 
beauties by Orientals. 



THE DIVAN 373 

Gather from thy cheek a posy, speed it by the flying 

East; 
Sent be perfume to refresh me from thy garden's dust 

at least. 

Hafiz offers a petition, Hsten, and " Amen " reply : 
" On thy sugar-dropping rubies let me for life's food 
rely." 

Many a year live on and prosper, Sakis of the court of 

Jem,* 
E'en though I, to fill my wine-cup, never to your circle 

come. 

East wind, when to Yazd thou wingest, say thou to its 
sons from me: 

" May the head of every ingrate ball-like 'neath your mall- 
bat be!" 

" What though from your dais distant, near it by my wish 

I seem; 
" Homage to your Ring I render, and I make your praise 

my theme." 

Shah of Shahs, of lofty planet, Grant for God what I 

implore ; 
Let me, as the sky above thee. Kiss the dust which strews 

thy floor. 



Up, Saki ! let the goblet flow ; 

Strew with dust the head of our earthly woe! 

Give me thy cup ; that, joy-possessed, 

I may tear this azure cowl from my breast, f 

• Jem or Jemshid, an ancient King of cule upon Shaikh Kazan's order of 

Persia. By Jem and his Sikis are to be dervishes, who were inimical to the 

understood, in this couplet, the King of brotherhood of which the poet was a 

Yazd and his courtiers. member. The dervishes mentioned 

t By the azure cowl is implied the wore_ blue to express their celestial ai 

cloak of deceit and false humility. pirations. 
Hafiz uses this expression to cast ridi- 



374 HAfIZ 

The wise may deem me lost to shame, 
But no care have I for renown or name. 

Bring wine! — how many a witless head 

By the wind of pride has with dust been spread ! 

My bosom's fumes, my sighs so warm. 

Have inflamed yon crude and unfeeling swarm.* 

This mad heart's secret, well I know. 

Is beyond the thoughts of both high and low. 

E'en by that sweetheart charmed am I, 
Who once from my heart made sweetness fly. 

Who that my Silvern Tree hath seen. 

Would regard the cypress that decks the green ?f 

In grief be patient, 

Night and day, 
Till thy fortune, Hafiz, 

Thy wish obey. 



VI 

My heart no longer brooks my hand : sages, aid for God 

my woe ! 
Else, alas! my secret-deep soon the curious world must 

know. 

The bark we steer has stranded: O breeze auspicious 

swell : 
We yet may see once more the Friend we love so well. 

The ten days' favor of the Sphere — magic is ; a tale which 
lies! 

Thou who wouldst befriend thy friends, seize each mo- 
ment ere it flies. 

• The disciples of Shaikh Hasan. because, unlike the others, it is not sub- 

H4fiz had incurred their displeasure by ject to the vicissitudes of appointed 

the levity of his conduct. place and season, " but is at all times 

t In the " Gulistan " of Sa'di a phi- fresh and green, and this is the condi- 

losopher declares that, of all the trees, tion of the free." 
the cypress is alone to be called free. 



THE DIVAN 375 

At night, 'mid wine and flowers, the bulbul tuned his 

song: 
" Bring thou the morning bowl : prepare, ye drunken 

throng ! 

Sikander's mirror, once so famed, is the wine-filled cup: 

behold 
All that haps in Dara's realm glassed within its wondrous 

mould.* 

O bounteous man, since Heaven sheds o'er thee blessings 

mild. 
Inquire, one day at least, how fares Misfortune's child. 

What holds in peace this twofold world, let this twofold 

sentence show: 
" Amity to every friend, courtesy to every foe.'* 

Upon the way of honor, impeded was my range; 
If this affect thee, strive my destiny to change. 

That bitter, which the Sufi styled " Mother of all woes 

that be," f 
Seems, with maiden's kisses weighed, better and more 

sweet to me. 

Seek drunkenness and pleasure till times of strait be 

o'er: 
This alchemy of life can make the beggar Kore.J 

Submit ; or bum thou taper-like e'en from jealousy o'er- 

much: 
Adamant no less than wax, melts beneath that charmer's 

touch. 

• In some MSS. we read : " The mlr- t Korah, Kore, or Kirim, the Dives of 

ror of Sikander is the goblet of Jem." his age, was an alchemist. He lived in 

King Jem, or Jemshid, had a talismanic an excess of luxury and show. At the 

cup: Sikander, or Alexander, had in- height of his pride and gluttony he re- 

herited from pre-Adamite times a magic belled against Moses, refusing to pay a 

mirror by means of which he was en- tithe of his possessions for the public 

abled to see into the camp of his enemy use. TTie earth then opened and swsl- 

D&r& (Darius). Hifiz here informs us lowed him up together with the palace 

that the knowledge imputed to either in which he dwelt. (See Koran, chap, 

king was obtained by wine. xxviii, and, for the Bible narrative, The 

t Referring to wine, which in the Ko- Book of Numbers, chap, xvi.) 
ran is declared to be the Mother of 
Vices. 



376 HAFIZ 

When fair ones talk in Persian, the streams of Hfe out- 
well: 
This news to pious Pits, my Saki, haste to tell. 

Since Hafiz, not by his own choice, 
This his wine-stained cowl did win, 
Shaikh, who hast unsullied robes. 
Hold me innocent of sin.* 

Arrayed in youthful splendor, the orchard smiles again; 
News of the rose enraptures the bulbul of sweet strain. 

Breeze, o'er the meadow's children, when thy fresh fra- 
grance blows. 
Salute for me the cypress, the basil, and the rose. 

If the young Magian f dally with grace so coy and fine, 
My eye shall bend their fringes to sweep the house of 
wine. 

thou whose bat of amber hangs o'er a moon below,J 
Deal not to me so giddy, the anguish of a blow. 

1 fear that tribe of mockers who topers' ways impeach. 
Will part with their religion the tavern's goal to reach. 

To men of God be friendly : in Noah's ark was earth § 
Which deemed not all the deluge one drop of water 
worth. 

As earth, two handfuls yielding, shall thy last couch 

supply. 
What need to build thy palace, aspiring to the sky ? 

Flee from the house of Heaven, and ask not for her 

bread : 
Her goblet black shall shortly her every guest strike 

dead. II 

• It was decreed from all eternity that § By " earth " is to be understood 

Hafiz should drink wine. He had there- Noah himself. 

fore no free agency and could not be II Fate, Fortune, and the Sky, are in 

justW blamed. Oriental poetry intervertible expres- 

t The boy serving at the wine-house. sions; and the dome of Heaven is com- 

X The curl of hair over a moon-like pared to a cup which is full of poison 

face is here compared to a curved mall- for the unfortunate, 

)>at sweeping over a ball. 



THE DIVAN 377 

To thee, my Moon of Kanaan, the Egyptian throne per- 
tains ; 

At length has come the moment that thou shouldst quit 
thy chains. 

I know not what dark projects those pointed locks de- 
sign, 
That once again in tangles their musky curls combine. 

Be gay, drink wine, and revel ; 
But not, like others, care, 
O Hafiz, from the Koran 
To weave a wily snare! 

XII 

Oh! where are deeds of virtue and this frail spirit 

where ? 
How wide the space that sunders the bounds of Here 

and There! 

Can toping aught in common with works and worship 

own? 
Where is regard for sermons, where is the rebeck's 

Tone?* 

My heart abhors the cloister, and the false cowl its sign: 
Where is the Magian's cloister, and where is his pure 
wine? 

'Tis fled: may memory sweetly mind me of Union's 

days! 
Where is that voice of anger, where those coquettish 

ways? 

Can a foe's heart be kindled by the friend's face so 

bright? 
Where is a lamp unlighted, and the clear Day-star's 

Hght? 

As dust upon thy threshold supplies my eyes with balm, 
If I forsake thy presence, where can I hope for calm ? 

* The rebeck is a sort of violin having only three chords. 



378 hAfIZ 

Turn from that chin's fair apple ; a pit is on the way. 
To what, O heart, aspir'st thou ? Whither thus quickly ? 
Say! 

Seek not, O friend, in Hafiz 
Patience, nor rest from care : 
Patience and rest — what are they ? 
Where is calm slumber, where? 



XIV 

At eve a son of song — his heart be cheerful long ! — 
Piped on his vocal reed a soul-inflaming lay. 

So deeply was I stirred, that melody once heard, 
That to my tearful eyes the things of earth grew gray. 

With me my Saki was, and momently did he 

At night the sun of Dai * by lock and cheek display. 

When he perceived my wish, he filled with wine the 

bowl; 
Then said I to that youth whose track was Fortune's 

way: 

" Saki, from Being's prison deliverance did I gain, 

" When now and now the cup thou ht'st with cheerful ray. 

" God guard thee here below from all the haps of woe ; 
" God in the Seat of Bliss reward thee on His day ! " 

When Hafiz rapt has grown, 
How, at one barleycorn. 
Should he appraise the realm. 
E'en of Kaus the Kay ? f 



• His locks being black as night and t Kai-Kaus, one of the most celebrat- 

his cheek cheerful as the Sun of Dai or ed monarchs of Persia. 
December. 



THE DIVAN 379 



XVI 

I said : " O Monarch of the lovely, a stranger seeks thy 

grace this day." 
I heard : " The heart's deceitful guidance inclines the 

stranger from his way." 

Exclaimed I then : " One moment tarry ! " " Nay," was 

the answer, " let me go ; 
" How can the home-bred child be troubled by stories of a 

stranger's woe ? " 

Shall one who, gently nurtured, slumbers with royal 

ermine for a bed, 
" Care if on rocks or thorns reposing the stranger rests his 
weary head ? " 

thou whose locks hold fast on fetters so many a soul 

known long ago, 
How strange that musky mole and charming upon thy 
cheek of vermil glow ! 

Strange is that ant-like down's appearance circling the 

oval of thy face ; 
Yet musky shade is not a stranger within the Hall which 

paintings grace.* 

A crimson tint, from wine reflected gleams in that face of 

moonlight sheen ; 
E'en as the bloom of syrtis, strangely, o'er clusters of the 

pale Nasrin.f 

1 said : " O thou, whose lock so night-black is evening in 

the stranger's sight, 
" Be heedful if, at break of morning, the stranger sorrow 
for his plight." 

•The pictured halls of China, or, in the cheek of his friend to the works of 

particular, the palace of Arzhan^, the art executed by Manes, in which dark 

dwelling of Manes. Manes lived m the shadows, like velvety down upon the 

third century of our era, and his palace human face, excite no surprise, 

was famed as the Chinese picture-gal- f The Nasrin is the dog-rose, 
lery. Hifiz compares the bloom upon 



38o hAfiz 

" Hafiz," the answer was, " familiars 
" Stand in amaze at my renown ; 
" It is no marvel if a stranger 
" In weariness and grief sit down." 

XVII 

Tis mom ; the clouds a ceiling make : 
The morn-cup, mates, the morn-cup take I 

Drops of dew streak the tulip's cheek ; 

The wine-bowl, friends, the wine-bowl seek ! 

The greensward breathes a gale divine ; 
Drink, therefore, always limpid wine. 

The Flower her emerald throne displays : 
Bring wine that has the ruby's blaze. 

Again is closed the vintner's store, 
" Open, Thou Opener of the door ! " * 

While smiles on us the season's boon, 
I marvel that they close so soon. 

Thy lips have salt-rights, 'tis confessed, 
O'er wounds upon the fire-burnt breast. 

Hafiz, let not 
Thy courage fail ! 
Fortune, thy charmer 
Shall unveil. 



XIX 

Lo! from thy love's enchanting bowers Rizvan's bright 

gardens fresher grow ; f 
From the fierce heat thine absence kindles, Gehenna's 

flames intenser glow. 

• In Mohammedan countries it is cus- t Rizvan is the gardener and gate- 

tomary to write upon the doors: " O keeper of Paradise. 
Opener of the gates! open unto us the 
gates of blessing." 



THE DIVAN 381 

To thy tall form and cheek resplendent, as to a place of 

refuge, fleet 
Heaven and the Tuba-tree, and find there — " Happiness — 

and a fair retreat." f 

When nightly the celestial river glides through the garden 

of the skies, 
As my own eye, it sees in slumber, nought but thy drunk 

narcissus eyes. 

Each section of the spring-tide's volume makes a fresh 

comment on thy name, 
Each portal of the Empyrean murmurs the title of thy 

fame. 

My heart has burned, but to ambition, the aim, still wished 

for, is denied : 
These tears that tinged with blood are flowing, if I could 

reach it, would be dried. 

What ample power thy salt-rights give thee (which both 

thy mouth and lips can claim), 
Over a breast by sorrow wounded, and a heart burnt within 

its flame ! 

Oh ! think not that the amorous only are drunk with rap- 
ture at thy sway : 

Hast thou not heard of zealots, also, as reckless and as 
wrecked as they ? 

By thy lips' reign I hold it proven that the bright ruby's 
sheen is won 

By the resplendent light that flashes out of a world-illum- 
ing sun.* 

Fling back thy veil ! how long, oh tell me ! shall drapery 

thy beauty pale ? 
This drapery, no profit bringing, can only for thy shame 

avail. 

t The lote-tree, known to Arabs as the the right hand I— shall dwell among the 

Tuba, is a prickly shrub. The Koran lote-trees without thorns. Under their 

says: "To those who believe, and per- feet rivers shall flow in the garden of 

form good works, appertain welfare and Delight." . . ,. , 

a fair retreat. The men of the right • According to Oriental belief, the 

hand— how happy Bhall be the men of ruby and all other gems, derive their 



38a hAfiZ 

A fire within the rose's bosom was kindled when she saw 
thy face ; 

And soon as she inhaled thy fragrance, she grew all rose- 
dew from disgrace. 

The love thy countenance awakens whelms Hafiz in mis- 
fortune's sea; 

Death threatens him ! ho there ! give help, ere yet that he 
has ceased to be ! 

While life is thine, consent not, Hafiz, 
That it should speed ignobly by ; 
But strive thou to attain the object 
Of thy existence ere thou die. 

XX 

I swear — my master's soul bear witness, faith of old times, 
and promise leal! — 

At early morning, my companion, is prayer for thy un- 
ceasing weal. 

My tears, a more o'erwhelming deluge than was the flood 

which Noah braved. 
Have washed not from my bosom's tablet the image which 

thy love has graved. 

Come deal with me, and strike thy bargain: I have a 

broken heart to sell. 
Which in its ailing state out-values a hundred thousand 

which are well. 

Be lenient, if thou deem me drunken : on the primeval day 

divine 
Love, who possessed my soul as master, bent my whole 

nature unto wine. 

Strive after truth that for thy solace the Sun may in thy 

spirit rise; 
For the false dawn of earlier morning grows dark of face 

because it lies.* 

brilliancy from the action of the sun. • The zodiacal light or faint illu- 

By a similar process of Nature, ruby mination of the sky which disappears 

lips obtain their vivid color from the before the light of daybreak, 
sun above them. 



THE DIVAN 383 

heart, thy friend's exceeding bounty should free thee 

from unfounded dread ; 
This instant, as of love thou vauntest, be ready to devote 
thy head ! 

1 gained from thee my frantic yearning for mountains and 

the barren plain, 
Yet loath art thou to yield to pity, and loosen at mid- 
height my chain. 

If the ant casts reproach on Asaf, with justice does her 

tongue upbraid, 
For when his Highness lost Jem's signet, no effort for the 

quest he made.* 

No constancy — yet grieve not, Hafiz — 
Expect thou from the faithless fair; 
What right have we to blame the garden, 
Because the plant has withered there? 



XXII 

Veiled in my heart my fervent love for him dwells. 
And my true eye holds forth a glass to his spells. 

Though the two worlds ne'er bowed my head when 

elate, 
Favors as his have bent my neck with their weight. 

Thine be the lote, but I Love's stature would reach. 
High like his zeal ascends the fancy of each. 

Yet who am I that sacred temple to tread ? 
Still let the East that portal guard in my stead ! 

Spots on my robe — shall they arouse my complaint ? 
Nay ! the world knows that he at least has no taint. 

* Asaf, Solomon's " Vizir," was en- and rebuked Asaf for havine guarded 

trusted with the guardianship of the im- t^ie royal treasure so carelessly. By 

perial signet ring, which was possessed Asaf, H4iiz symbolizes in the present 

of magical properties. While in his instance his friend or favorite; by the 

care it was stolen. When Solomon ant is implied a small hair on the fare, 

granted an audience to animals, and and by the lost signet of Jem, a beauti- 

even insects, the ant, it is related, ful mouth, so small and delicate as to b« 

brought as an offering a blade of grass invisible. 



384 hAfiz 

My turn has come ; behold ! Majnun is no more ; * 
Five days shall fly, and each one's turn shall be o'er. 

Love's ample realm, sweet joy, and all that is glad. 
Save for his bounty I should never have had.f 

I and my heart — though both should sacrificed be. 
Grant my friend's weal, their loss were nothing to me. 

Ne'er shall his form within my pupil be dim, 
For my eye's cell is but a chamber for him. 

All the fresh blooms that on the greensward we view, 
Gain but from him their scent and beauty of hue. 

Hafiz seems poor ; 

But look within, for his breast, 

Shrining his love, 

With richest treasure is blest. 



XXIII 

Prone at my friend's high gates, my Will its head lays 

still : 
Whate'er my head awaits is ordered by that will. 

My friend resembles none ; in vain I sought to trace, 
In glance of moon or sun, the radiance of that face. 

Can morning's breeze make known what grief this heart 

doth hold, 
Which as a bud hath grown, compressed by fold on 

fold? 

Not I first drained the jar where rev'lers pass away : J 
Heads in this work-yard are nought else than wine-jars' 
clay. 

Meseems thy comb has wreathed those locks which amber 

yield : 
The gale has civet breathed, and amber scents the field. 

• Majnun, a celebrated lover, mad- shrine (of the world). The second line 

dened by the charms of Laila. of the couplet probably means: Other 

t This ode may have been written in revellers have preceded me, but their 
gratitude for the patronage of a man of heads are now potter's clay in the pot- 
rank, ter's field of the earth. 

t Literally in this toper-consuming 



THE DIVAN 385 

Flowers of verdant nooks be strewn before thy face : 
Let cypresses of brooks bear witness to thy grace ! 

When dumb grow tongues of men that on such love would 

dwell, 
Why should a tongue-cleft pen by babbling strive to 

tell? 

Thy cheek is in my heart ; no more will bUss delay ; 
Glad omens e'er impart news of a gladder day. 

Love's fire has dropped its spark 
In Hafiz' heart before: 
The wild-grown tulip's mark 
Branded of old its core.* 



XXV 

Breeze of the mom, if hence to the land thou fliest — Of my 

friend, 
Return with a musky breath from the lock so sweet 

Of my friend. 

Yea, by that life, I swear I would lay down mine in con- 
tent. 
If once I received through thee but a message sent 

Of my friend. 

But — at that sacred court, if approach be wholly denied. 
Convey, for my eyes, the dust that the door supplied 

Of my friend. 

I — but a beggar mean — can I hope for Union at last? 
Ah ! would that in sleep I saw but the shadow cast 

Of my friend. 

• The wild tulip of Shiraz has white the flower is compared to the brand of 

petals streaked with pink, the inner end love, pre-ordained on the Past Day of 

of each bearing a deep puce mark. The Eternity to be imprinted on the heart 

dark spot formed thus in the centre of of Hknz. 

Vol. I.— 25 



386 hAfIZ 

Ever my pine-cone heart, as the aspen trembling and 

shy, 
Has yearned for the pine-Hke shape and the stature high 

Of my friend. 

Not at the lowest price would my friend to purchase me 

care; 
Yet I, a whole world to win, would not sell one hair 

Of my friend. 

How should this heart gain aught, 
Were its gyves of grief flung aside ? 
I, Hafiz, a bondsman, still 
Would the slave abide 

Of my friend. 



XXIX 

Who of a Heaven on earth can tell, pure as the cell — Of 

dervishes ? 
If in the highest state you'd dwell, be ever slaves 

Of dervishes. 

The talisman of magic Might hid in some ruin's lonely 

site. 
Emerges from its ancient night at the wild glance 

Of dervishes. 

When the proud sun has run his race, and he puts off his 

crown apace, 
He bows before the pomp and place which are the boast 

Of dervishes. 

The palace portal of the sky, watched by Rizvan's unsleep- 
ing eye. 
All gazers can at once descry from the glad haunts 

Of dervishes. 

When mortal hearts are black and cold, that which trans- 
mutes them into gold 
Is the alchemic stone we hold from intercourse 

Of dervishes. 



THE DIVAN 387 

When tyranny, from pole to pole, sways o'er the earth with 

dire control. 
We see from first to last unroll the victor-flag 

Of dervishes. 

There is a wealth which lasts elate, unfearful of decline 

from fate ; 
Hear it with joy — this wealth so great, is in the hands 

Of dervishes. 

Khosraus, the kiblahs of our prayer have weight to solace 

our despair,* 
But they are potent by their care for the high rank 

Of dervishes. 

O, vaunter of thy riches' pride ! lay all thy vanity aside. 
And know that health and wealth abide but by the will 

Of dervishes. 

Korah lost all his treasured store, which, cursed of Heaven, 

sinks daily more, 
(Hast thou not heard this tale of yore ?) from disregard 

Of dervishes, f 

The smiling face of joy unknown, yet sought by tenants of 

a throne. 
Is only in the mirror shown of the clear face 

Of dervishes. 

Let but our Asaf's eye request, I am the slave of his be- 
hest, 
For though his looks his rank attest, he has the mind 

Of dervishes. 

Hafiz, if of the tide thou think, which makes immortal 

those who drink, 
Seek in the dust that fountain's brink, at the cell door 

Of dervishes. 

• Khosr&u (Cyrus) is the title of sev- t Korah or Karun— the miser who dis- 

eral ancient kings of Persia, and is here obeyed Moses and was swallowed up 

used in the jp'ural to denote monarchs with his treasures by the earth. They 

in general. The term " kiblah," front- are said to be still sinking deeper and 

ing-point, signifies the object towards deeper. (See Numbers, xvi.) 
which the worshipper turns when he 
prays. 



388 hAfIZ 



Hafiz, while here on earth, be wise : 
He who to empire's rule would rise, 
Knows that his upward pathway lies 
Through his regard 

Of dervishes. 



XXXI 

In blossom is the crimson rose, and the rapt bulbul trills 

his song; 
A summons that to revel calls you, O Siifis, wine-adoring 

throng ! 

The fabric of my contrite fervor appeared upon a rock to 

bide ; 
Yet see how by a crystal goblet it hath been shattered in its 

pride. 

Bring wine ; for to a lofty spirit, should they at its tribunal 

be. 
What were the sentry, what the Sultan, the toper, or the foe 

of glee ? 

Forth from this hostel of two portals as finally thou needs 

must go, 
What of the porch and arch of Being be of high span or 

meanly low ? 

To bliss' goal we gain not access, if sorrow has been tasted 

not; 
Yea, with Alastu's pact was coupled the sentence of our 

baleful lot. 

At Being and Non-being fret not; but either with calm 

temper see : 
Non-being is the term appointed for the most lovely things 

that be. 



THE DIVAN 389 

Asaf's display, the airy courser, the language which the 

birds employed, 
The wind has swept ; and their possessor no profit from 

his wealth enjoyed.* 

Oh ! fly not from thy pathway upward, for the winged shaft 

that quits the bow 
A moment to the air has taken, to settle in the dust 

below. 

What words of gratitude, O Hafiz 
Shall thy reed's tongue express anon, 
As its choice gems of composition 
From hands to other hands pass on? 



XXXV 

Now on the rose's palm the cup with limpid wine is brim- 
ming. 

And with a hundred thousand tongues the bird her praise 
is hymning. 

Ask for a song-book, seek the wild, no time is this for 

knowledge ; 
The Comment of the Comments spurn, and learning of the 

college, f 

Be it thy rule to shun mankind, and let the Phoenix 
monish, 

For the reports of hermit fame, from Kaf to Kaf as- 
tonish. J 

When yesterday our rector reeled, this sentence he pro- 
pounded : 

" Wine is a scandal ; but far worse what men's bequests 
have founded." 

• How vain were the glories of Solo- is a celebrated explanatory treatise on 

mon! Asaf was his minister, the East the Koran. 

wind his courser, and the language of | K4f is a fabulous mountain en- 
birds one of his accomplishments; but circling the world. In this couplet and 
the blast of time had swept them away. the following the poet ridicules the as 

t The " Comment of the Comments " ceticg of his time. 



390 hAfIZ ( 

Turbid or clear, though not thy choice, drink thankfully ; 

well knowing 
That all which from our Saki flows to his free grace is 

owing. 

Each dullard who would share my fame, each rival self- 
deceiver. 

Reminds me that at times the mat seems golden to its 
weaver. 

Cease, Hafiz! store as ruddy gold 
The wit that's in thy ditty: 
The stampers of false coin, behold ! 
Are bankers for the city.* 



XLII 

'Tis a deep charm which wakes the lover's flame, 
Not ruby lip, nor verdant down its name. 

Beauty is not the eye, lock, cheek, and mole ; 
A thousand subtle points the heart control. 



XLIII 

Zealot, censure not the toper, guileless though thou keep 

thy soul : 
Certain 'tis that sins of others none shall write upon thy 

scroll. 

Be my deeds or good or evil, look thou to thyself alone ; 
All men, when their work is ended, reap the harvest they 
have sown. 

Never of Eternal Mercy preach that I must yet despair ; 
Canst thou pierce the veil, and tell me who is ugly, who is 
fair? 

* The false coiners are inferior poets who endeavor to pass oflF their own 
-.productions as the work of Hafiz. 



THE DIVAN 391 

Every one the Friend solicits, be he sober, quaff he 

wine ; 
Every place has love its tenant, be it or the mosque, or 

shrine. 

From the still retreat of virtue not the first am I to 

roam, 
For my father also quitted his eternal Eden home. 

See this head, devout submission : bricks at many a vint- 
ner's door : 

If my foe these words misconstrue — " Bricks and head ! " 
— Say nothing more. 

Fair though Paradise's garden, deign to my advice to 

yield : 
Here enjoy the shading willow, and the border of the 

field. 

Lean not on thy store of merits ; know'st thou 'gainst thy 

name for aye 
What the Plastic Pen indited, on the Unbeginning Day ? 

Hafiz, if thou grasp thy beaker 
When the hour of death is nigh, 
From the street where stands the tavern 
Straight they'll bear thee to the sky. 



XLV 

O breeze of morn ! where is the place which guards my 

friend from strife ? 
Where is the abode of that sly Moon who lovers robs of 

life? 

The night is dark, the Happy Vale in front of me I 

trace.* 
Where is the fire of Sinai, where is the meeting place? 

• Aiman (Happiness) is the valley in which God appeared to Moses — meta- 
phorically, the abode of the Beloved. 



392 hAfIZ 

Here jointly are the wine-filled cup, the rose, the minstrel ; 

yet 
While we lack love, no bliss is here : where can my Loved 

be met ? 

Of the Shaikh's cell my heart has tired, and of the convent 

bare: 
Where is my friend, the Christian's child, the vintner's 

mansion, where ? 

Hafiz, if o'er the glade of earth 
The autumn-blast is borne, 
Grieve not, but musing ask thyself: 
" Where has the rose no thorn ? " 



LIX 

My Prince, so gracefully thou steppest, that where thy 

footsteps fall — I'd die. 
My Turk, so gracefully thou glidest, before thy stature 

tall 

I'd die. 

" When wilt thou die before me ? " — saidst thou. Why 

thus so eagerly inquire ? 
These words of thy desire delight me; forestalling thy 

desire 

I'd die. 

I am a lover, drunk, forsaken: Saki, that idol, where is 

he? 
Come hither with thy stately bearing ! let me thy fair form 

see, 

I'd die. 

Should he, apart from whom I've suffered a Ufe-long ill- 
ness, day by day. 

Bestow on me a glance, one only, beneath that orb dark- 
gray 

I'd die. 



THE DIVAN 393 

" The ruby of my lips," thou saidst, " now bale, now balsam 

may exhale " : 
At one time from their healing balsam, at one time from 

their bale 

I'd die. 

How trim thy gait! May eye of evil upon thy face be 

never bent ! 
There dwells within my head this fancy ; that at thy feet 

content 

I'd die. 

Though no place has been found for Hafiz 
In Love's retreat, where hid thou art, 
For me thine every part has beauty, 
Before thine every part — 

I'd die. 

le m ^ Hi 4( « ♦ 



LXIII 

My heart has of the world grown weary and all that it can 

lend: 
The shrine of my aflFection holds no Being but my friend. 

If e'er for me thy love's sweet garden a fragrant breath 

exhale. 
My heart, expansive in its joy, shall bud-like burst its 

veil. 

Should I upon love's path advise thee, when now a fool I've 

grown, 
Twould be the story of the fool, the pitcher, and the 

stone. 

Go ! say to the secluded zealot : " Withhold thy blame ; for 

know, 
I find the arch of the Mihrab but in an eyebrow's bow." 

• " Mihr&b "—the niche in a mosque, towards which Mohammedans pray. 



394 hAfIZ 

Between the Ka'bah and the wine-house, no difference I 

see: 
Whate'er the spot my glance surveys, there equally is 

He. 

( 
*Tis not for beard, hair, eyebrow only, Kalandarism should 

care: 
The Kalandar computes the Path by adding hair to 

hair.* 

The Kalandar who gives a hair's head. 
An easy path doth tread : 
The Kalandar of genuine stamp, 
As Hafiz gives his head. 



LXIX 

My heart desires the face so fair — Of Farrukh ; f 
It is perturbed as is the hair 

Of Farrukh. 

No creature but that lock, that Hindu swart, 
Enjoyment from the cheek has sought 

A blackamoor by Fortune blest is he. 
Placed at the side, and near the knee 



Of Farrukh. 



Shy as the aspen is the cypress seen. 
Awed by the captivating mien 



Saki, bring syrtis-tinted wine to tell 
Of those narcissi, potent spell 



Of Farrukh. 



Of Farrukh. 



Of Farrukh. 



• Kalandars are an order of Moham- dar shapes his path by a scrupulous esti- 

medan dervishes who wander about and mate of duty. 

beg. The worthless sectaries of Kalan- f " Farrukh " (auspicious) is doubt- 

darism, Hafiz says, shave off beard and less the name of some favorite of the 

tonsure, but the true or spiritual Kalan- poet. 



THE DIVAN 



395 



Bent as the archer's bow my frame is now, 
From woes continuous as the brow 

Of Farrukh. 



E'en Tartar gales which musky odors whirl, 
Faint at the amber-breathing curl 

If leans the human heart to any place, 
Mine has a yearning to the grace 



Of Farrukh. 



Of Farrukh. 



That lofty soul 
Shall have my service true, 
That serves, as Hafiz, 
The Hindu * — 



Of Farrukh. 



LXXI 

When now the rose upon the meadow from Nothing into 

Being springs, 
When at her feet the humble violet with her head low in 

worship clings, 

Take from thy morn-filled cup refreshment while tabors 

and the harp inspire, 
Nor fail to kiss the chin of Saki while the flute warbles and 

the lyre. 

Sit thou with wine, with harp, with charmer, until the rose's 

bloom be past ; 
For as the days of life which passes, is the brief week that 

she shall last. 

The face of earth, from herbal mansions, is lustrous as the 
sky ; and shines 

With asterisms of happy promise, with stars that are pro- 
pitious signs. 

• " Hindu " is here equivalent to " slave." 



396 hAfIZ 

In gardens let Zor'aster's worship again with all its rites 

revive, 
While now within the tulip's blossoms the fires of Nim- 

rod * are alive. 

Drink wine, presented by some beauty of Christ-like 

breath, of cheek fair-hued ; 
And banish from thy mind traditions .to Ad relating, and 

Thamud.f 

Earth rivals the Immortal Garden during the rose and 

lily's reign ; 
But what avails when the immortal is sought for on this 

earth in vain ? 

When riding on the windy courser, as Solomon, the rose 

is found, 
And when the Bird, at hour of morning, makes David's 

melodies resound, 

Ask thou, in Solomon's dominion, a goblet to the brim 

renewed ; 
Pledge the Vizir, the cycle's Asaf, the column of the Faith, 

Mahmud. 

O Hafiz, while his days continue, let joy eternal be thine 

aim; 
And may the shadow of his kindness eternally abide the 

same! 

Bring wine ; for Hafiz, if in trouble. 
Will ceaselessly the help implore 
Of him who bounty shall aid ever. 
As it have aid vouchsafed before. 



* Zerdusht (in Latin, Zoroaster)— the t Ad and Thamud were Arab tribes 

celebrated prophet of the Gulbres, or exterminated by God in consequence of 

fire-worshippers. Nimrod is said to their having disobeyed the prophet 

have practised a religion similar to Salih. 
theirs. 



THE DIVAN 397 



LXXVII 

Upon the path of Love, O heart, deceit and risk are 

great ! 
And fall upon the way shall he who at swift rate 

Shall go. 

Inflated by the wind of pride, the bubble's head may 

shine ; 
But soon its cap of rule shall fall, and merged in wine 

Shall go. 

O heart, when thou hast aged grown, show airs of grace 

no more : 
Remember that such ways as these when youth is o'er 

Shall go. 

Has the black book of black locks closed, the album yet 

shall stay. 
Though many a score the extracts be which day by 

day 

Shall go. 



LXXXV 



To me love's echo is the sweetest sound 
Of all that 'neath this circling Round 



LXXXVI 



Hath stayed. 



A beggar am I ; yet enamoured of one of cypress mould : 
One in whose belt the hand bides only with silver and with 
gold. 

Bring wine ! let first the hand of Hafiz 
The cheery cup embrace ! 
Yet only on one condition — 
No word beyond this place! 



398 hXfIZ 

LXXXVII 
When beamed Thy beauty on creation's morn. 
The world was set on fire by love new-born. 

Thy cheek shone bright, yet angels' hearts were cold : 
Then flashed it fire, and turned to Adam's mould. 

The lamp of Reason from this flame had burned, 
But lightning jealousy the world o'erturned. 

The enemy Thy secret sought to gain ; 
A hand unseen repelled the beast profane. 

The die of Fate may render others glad : 
My own heart saddens, for its lot is sad. 

Thy chin's deep pit allures the lofty mind : 

The hand would grasp thy locks in twines entwined. 

Hafiz his love-scroll 
To Thyself addressed, ' 
When he had cancelled 
What his heart loved best. 

LXXXVIII ' 

The preacher of the town will find my language hard, 

maybe : 
While bent upon deceit and fraud, no Mussulman is he. 

Learn drinking and do gracious deeds ; the merit is not 

great 
If a mere brute shall taste not wine, and reach not man's 

estate. 

Efficient is the Name Divine ; be of good cheer, O 

heart ! 
The div becomes not Solomon by guile and cunning's 

art. 

The benisons of Heaven are won by purity alone : 
Else would not pearl and coral spring from every clod and 
stone ? 



THE DIVAN 399 



CI 

Angels I saw at night knock at the wine-house gate : 
They shaped the clay of Adam, flung into moulds its 
weight. 

Spirits of the Unseen World of Purities divine, 
With me an earth-bound mortal, poured forth their 'wil- 
dering wine. 

Heaven, from its heavy trust aspiring to be free, 
The duty was allotted, mad as I am, to me. 

Thank God my friend and I once more sweet peace have 

gained ! 
For this the houris dancing thanksgiving cups have 

drained. 

With Fancy's hundred wisps what wonder that I've 

strayed, 
When Adam in his prudence was by a grain bewrayed ? * 

Excuse the wrangling sects, which number seventy-two : 
They knock at Fable's portal, for Truth eludes their 
view. 

No fire is that whose flame the taper laughs to scorn : 
True fire consumes to ashes the moth's upgarnered com. 

Blood fills recluses' hearts where Love its dot doth 

place, 
Fine as the mole that glistens upon a charmer's face. 

As Hafiz, none Thought's face 
Hath yet unveiled ; not e'en 
Since for the brides of Language 
Combed have their tresses been. 



•By a "grain" is meant a grain of wheat; according to Mohammedans, the 
forbidden fruit of Paradise. 



400 hAfIZ 

CXV 

Lost Joseph shall return to Kanaan's land— Despair not ; 
Affliction's cell of gloom with flowers shall bloom : 

Despair not. 

Sad heart, thy state shall mend ; repel despondency ; 
Thy head confused with pain shall sense regain : 

Despair not. 

When life's fresh spring returns upon the dais mead, 
O night-bird ! o'er thy head the rose shall spread : 

Despair not. 

Hope on, though things unseen may baffle thy research ; 
Mysterious sports we hail beyond the veil : 

Despair not. 

Has the revolving Sphere two days opposed thy wish, 
Know that the circling Round is changeful found : 

Despair not. 

If on the Ka'bah bent, thou brave the desert sand. 
Though from the acacias thorn thy foot be torn, 

Despair not. 

Heart, should the flood of death life's fabric sweep away, 
Noah shall steer the ark o'er billows dark : 

Despair not. 

Though perilous the stage, though out of sight the goal, 
Whither soe'er we wend, there is an end : 

Despair not. 

If Love evades our grasp, and rivals press our suit, 
God, Lord of every change, surveys the range : 

Despair not. 

Hafiz, in thy poor nook — 
Alone, the dark night through — 
Prayer and the Koran's page 
Shall grief assuage — 

Despair not. 



THE DIVAN 40I 



CXXIX 

Endurance, intellect, and peace have from my bosom 

flown, 
Lured by an idol's silver ear-lobes, and its heart of 

stone. 

An image brisk, of piercing looks, with peris' beauty 

blest. 
Of slender shape, of lunar face, in Turk-like tunic drest ! 

With a fierce glow within me lit — in amorous frenzy 

lost— 
A culinary pot am I, in ebullition tost. 

My nature as a shirt's would be, at all times free from 

smart, 
If like yon tunic garb I pressed the wearer to my heart. 

At harshness I have ceased to grieve, for none to light 

can bring 
A rose that is apart from thorns, or honey void of sting. 

The framework of this mortal form may rot within the 

mould. 
But in my soul a love exists which never shall grow 

cold. 

My heart and faith, my heart and faith— of old they were 

unharmed. 
Till by yon shoulders and yon breast, yon breast and 

shoulders charmed. 

Hafiz, a medicine for thy woe, 
A medicine must thou sip, 
No other than that lip so sweet, 
That lip so sweet, that lip. 

Vol. I.— 26 



402 hAfIZ 



CXXXIV 

Although upon his moon-like cheek deUght and beauty 

glow, 
Nor constancy nor love is there: O Lord! these gifts 

bestow. 

A child makes war against my heart ; and he in sport one 

day 
Will put me to a cruel death, and law shall not gainsay. 

What seems for my own good is this : my heart from him 

to guard ; 
For one who knows not good from ill its guardianship 

were hard. 

Agile and sweet of fourteen years that idol whom I 

praise : 
His ear-rings in her soul retains the moon of fourteen 

days. 

A breath as the sweet smell of milk comes from those 

sugary lips ; 
But from those black and roguish eyes behold what blood 

there drips ! 

My heart to find that new-born rose has gone upon its 

way; 
But where can it be found, O Lord ? I've lost it many a 

day. 

If the young friend who owns my heart my centre thus can 

break, 
The Pasha will command him soon the lifeguard's rank to 

take. 

I'd sacrifice my life in thanks, 

If once that pearl of sheen 
Would make the shell of Hafiz' eye 

Its place of rest serene. 



THE DIVAN 403 



cxxxv 

I tried my fortune in this city lorn : 

From out its whirlpool must my pack be borne. 

I gnaw my hand, and, heaving sighs of ire, 
I light in my rent frame the rose's fire. 

Sweet sang the bulbul at the close of day, 
The rose attentive on her leafy spray : 

" O heart ! be joyful, for thy ruthless Love 
Sits down ill-temper'd at the sphere above. 

" To make the false, harsh world thyself pass o'er. 
Ne'er promise falsely and be harsh no more. 

" If beat misfortune's waves upon heaven's roof, 
Devout men's fate and gear bide ocean-proof. 

" Hafiz, if lasting 

Were enjoyment's day, 
Jem's throne would never 

Have been swept away." 



CXLV 

Breeze of the North, thy news allays my fears : 
The hour of meeting with my Loved one nears. 

Prospered by Heaven, O carrier pigeon, fly : 
Hail to thee, hail to thee, come nigh, come nigh 1 

How fares our Salma? What Zu Salam's state? 
Our neighbors there — are they unscathed by Fate ? 

The once gay banquet-hall is now devoid 
Of circling goblets, and of friends who joyed. 

Perished the mansion with its lot serene : 
Interrogate the mounds where once 'twas seen. 
Vol. I.— 26 



404 hAfIZ 

The night of absence has now cast its shade : 

What freaks by Fancy's night-gang will be played ? 

He who has loved relates an endless tale : 
Here the most eloquent of tongues must fail. 

My Turk's kind glances no one can obtain : 
Alas, this pride, this coldness, this disdain ! 

In perfect beauty did thy wish draw nigh : 
God guard thee from Kamal's malefic eye ! * 

Hafiz, long will last 

Patience, love, and pain? 
Lovers' wail is sweet : 

Do thou still complain. 



CXLVI 

O thou who hast ravished my heart by thine exquisite 

grace and thy shape, 
Thou carest for no one, and yet not a soul from thyself 

can escape. 

At times I draw sighs from my heart, and at times, O my 

life, thy sharp dart : 
Can aught I may say represent all the ills I endure from 

my heart ? 

How durst I to rivals commend thy sweet lips by the ruby's 

tent gemmed, 
When words that are vivid in hue by a soul unrefined are 

contemned ? 

As strength to thy beauty accrues ev'ry day from the day 
sped before. 

To features consummate as thine, will we liken the night- 
star no more. 

• Kamil was an Arab whose glance inflicted death. 



THE DIVAN 



405 



My heart hast thou reft : take my soul ! For thine envoy 

of grief what pretence ? 
One perfect in grief as myself with collector as he may 
dispense. 

O Hafiz, in Love's holy bane, 

As thy foot has at last made its way, 

Lay hold of his skirt with thy hand. 
And with all sever ties from to-day. 



CXLIX 

Both worlds, the Transient and Eterne, for Saki and the 

Loved I'd yield : 
To me appears Love's satellite the universe's ample field. 

Should a new favorite win my place, my ruler shall be 

still supreme : 
It were a sin should I my life more precious than my friend 

esteem. 



CLV 

Last night my tears, a torrent stream, stopped Sleep by 

force : 
I painted, musing on thy down, upon the water-course. 

Then, viewing my Beloved one's brow — my cowl burnt 

up— 
In honor of the sacred Arch I drained my flowing cup. 

From my dear friend's resplendent brow pure light was 

shed; 
And on that moon there fell from far the kisses that I 

sped. 

The face of Saki charmed my eye, the harp my ear : 
At once for both mine ear and eye what omens glad were 
here! 



4o6 hAfIZ 

I painted thine ideal face till morning's light, 

Upon the studio of my eye, deprived of sleep at night. 

My Saki took at this sweet strain the wine-bowl up : 
I sang to him these verses first ; then drank to sparkling 
cup. 

If any of my bird-like thoughts from joy's branch flew, 
Back from the springes of thy lock their fleeting wings I 
drew. 

The time of Hafiz passed in joy : 
To friends I brought 
For fortune and the days of life 
The omens that they sought. 



CLVII 

Come, Sufi, let us from our limbs the dress that's worn for 

cheat Draw: 
Let us a blotting line right through this emblem of deceit 

Draw. 

The convent's revenues and alms we'd sacrifice for wine 

awhile. 
And through the vintry's fragrant flood this dervish-robe 

of guile 

Draw. 

Intoxicated, forth we'll dash, and from our feasting foe's 

rich stores 
Bear oflf his wine, and then by force his charmer out of 

doors 

Draw. 

Fate may conceal her mystery, shut up within her hiding 

pale, 
But we who act as drunken men will from its face the 

veil 

Draw. 



THE DIVAN 



407 



Here let us shine by noble deeds, lest we at last ashamed 

appear. 
When starting for the other world, we hence our spirit's 

gear 

Draw. 

To-morrow at Rizvan's gfreen glade, should they refuse to 

make it ours. 
We from their halls will the ghilman, the huris from their 

bowers 

Draw. 

Where can we see her winking brow, that we, as the new 

moon of old. 
At once may the celestial ball, as with a bat of gold, 

Draw? 

O Hafiz ! it becomes us not 
Our boastful claims thus forth to put : 
Beyond the limits of our rug 
Why would we fain our foot 

Draw? 



CLIX 

Aloud I say it, and with heart of glee : 

" Love's slave am I, and from both worlds am free." 

Can I, the bird of sacred gardens, tell 
Into this net of chance how first I fell ? 

My place the Highest Heaven, an angel bom, 
I came by Adam to this cloister lorn. 

Sweet huris. Tuba's shade, and Fountain's brink 
Fade from my mind when of thy street I think. 

Knows no astrologer my star of birth : 

Lord, 'neath what plant bore me Mother Earth ? 

Since with ringed ear I've served Love's house of wine, 
Grief's gratulations have each hour been mine. 



4o8 HAfIZ 

My eyeball's man drains my heart's blood ; 'tis just : 
In man's own darling did I place my trust. 

My Loved one's Alif-form * stamps all my thought : 
Save that, what letter has my master taught ? 

Let Hafiz' tear-drops 

By thy lock be dried, 
For fear I perish 

In their rushing tide. 



CLXVI 

Knowest thou what fortune is? 

'Tis Beauty's sight obtaining; 
'Tis asking in her lane for alms, 

And royal pomp disdaining. 

Sev'rance from the wish for life an easy task is ever ; 
But lose we friends who sweeten life, the tie is hard to 
sever. 

Bud-like with a serried heart I'll to the orchard wander ; 
The garment of my good repute I'll tear to pieces yonder; 

Now, as doth the West-wind, tell deep secrets to the 

Flower, 
Hear now of Love's mysterious sport from bulbuls of the 

bower. 

Kiss thy Beloved one's lips at first while the occasion 

lingers : 
'Await thou else disgust at last from biting lip and 

fingers. 

Profit by companionship: this two-doored house for- 
saken. 
No pathway that can thither lead in future time is taken. 

• " Alif-fortn," meaning a straight and erect form: the letter Alif being, as 
it were, of upright stature. 



THE DIVAN 409 

Hafiz from the thought, it seems, 

Of Shah Mansur has fleeted ; 
O Lord ! remind him that the poor 

With favor should be treated. 



CLXXIII 

With my heart's blood I wrote to one most dear : 
" The earth seems doom-struck if thou are not near. 

" My eyes a hundred signs of absence show : 
These tears are not their only signs of woe." 

I gained no boon from her for labor spent : 
" Who tries the tried will in the end repent." 

I asked how fared she ; the physician spake : 
" Afar from her is health ; but near her ache." 

The East-wind from my Moon removed her veil : 
At morn shone forth the Sun from vapors pale. 

I said : " They'll mock, if I go round thy lane." 
By God ! no love escapes the mocker's bane. 

Grant Hafiz' prayer: 

" One cup, by life so sweet ! " 

He seeks a goblet 

With thy grace replete! 



CLXXX 

O thou who art unlearned still, the quest of love essay : 
Canst thou who hast not trod the path guide others on the 
way? 

While in the school of Truth thou stay'st, from Master 

Love to learn, 
Endeavor, though a son to-day, the father's grade to earn. 



4IO hAfIZ 

Slumber and food have held thee far from Love's exalted 

good: 
Wouldst thou attain the goal of love, abstain from sleep 

and food. 

If with the rays of love of truth thy heart and soul be 

clear, 
By God ! thy beauty shall outshine the sun which lights 

the sphere. 

Wash from the dross of life thy hands, as the Path's men 

of old, 
And winning Love's alchemic power, transmute thyself to 

gold. 

On all thy frame, from head to foot, the light of God shall 

shine. 
If on the Lord of Glory's path nor head nor foot be 

thine. 

An instant plunge into God's sea, nor e'er the truth 

forget 
That the Seven Seas' o'erwhelming tide, no hair of thine 

shall wet. 

If once thy glancing eye repose on the Creator's face, 
Thenceforth among the men who glance shall doubtless be 
thy place.* 

When that which thy existence frames all upside-down 

shall be. 
Imagine not that up and down shall be the lot of thee. 

Hafiz, if ever in thy head 

Dwell Union's wish serene, 
Thou must become the threshold's dust 

Of men whose sight is keen. 

• " The men who glance " arc lovers. The spiritual or true lover is he who 
loves God. 



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