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Zoroastrian Heritage

Author: K. E. Eduljee





The epic

The Poet Ferdowsi


Writing & Books

Oral Tradition

Ferdowsi's Sources

Khvatay-Namak / Khodai-Nama

Achaemenian Era Book of King - Basilikai Difeterai


Other Legends

Ferdowsi's Original Work Lost

Differences in Shahnameh Copies

Reconstruction of an Authoritative Shahnameh

English Translations

Spelling of the Names

Resources-Persian Text


Ferdowsi's Manuscript

Earliest Surviving Manuscript Copies Known

Recent Manuscript Discovery in Beirut

Illuminated Manuscripts

Great Mongol/Demotte Manuscript

Bayasanghori Manuscript

Tahmaspi/Houghton Manuscript

Elation, Regret & Hope

Shahnameh's Characters

The Heroes - Story in Brief

English Translation

W = Warner & Warner
A = James Atkinson
Z = Helen Zimmerman

1. Prologue W

2. Creation W

3. Gaiumart W

3. Kaiumers A

4. Hushang W

5. Tahmuras W

6. Jamshid W

7. Zahak W

3-7. Shahs of Old Z

8. Faridun W

9. Minuchihr, Sam, Zal, Rustam W

10. Naudar W

11. Zav W

12. Kai Kaus 1 W

13. 7 Courses of Rustam W

14. Kai Kaus 2 W

15. Kai Kaus 3 W

16. Warriors W

17. Suhrab W

18. Siyawush W

19. Kai Khusrau 1 W

20. Kai Khusrau 2 W

21. Farud W

22. Kai Khusrau 3 W

23. Rustam W

24. Rustam's Exploits W

25. Bizhan W

26. Gudarz W

27. Great War W

28. Passing of Kai Khusrau W

29. Luhrasp & Gushtasp W

30. Gushtasp & Zardhusht W

31. Asfandiyar's Seven Stages W

32. Asfandiyar W

33. Asfandiyar's Fight with Rustam W

34. Rustam & Shaghad W

35. Bahman W

36. Humai & Darab W

36a. Humai & Darab A

37. Darab & Dara A

38. Sikandar A

Satire on Sultan Mahmud A

The Heroes - Story in Brief


The Characters

Locale - Sistan

Pahlavans & Their Role


Zal Woos Princess Rudabeh

The Birth of Rustam

Rustam's Horse Rakhsh

Rustam Meets Princess Tahmina

The Tragedy of Sohrab

Page 20

Kai Khusrau's Wars With Turan

The Prelude

THIS much achieved, the poet will present
Another tale of yore - how Kai Khusrau
Sat on the throne and sent an armament
Against Turan. Thus, if God's grace allow
Me life and health, shall I one story more
Leave to the world from this famed book of lore.
When in the garth a cypress sendeth off
A shoot, whose green top mounteth palace-high,
The tree rejoiceth in the height thereof,
Its prudent carriage, and prosperity,
The heart of fortune nourisheth the shoot,
And all the world partaketh of the fruit.
If sovereignty to native worth be due
The wearer of the crown must needs do right;
Three aspects of the matter let us view,
And presently a fourth will come in sight
Accomplishment thou wilt not fail to find
With high birth and with native worth combined.
Such are the three, and all in one content,
For save in company with native worth
How can there ever be accomplishment,
And, lacking that, what scion of high birth
Hast thou beheld? High birth the father's seed
Produceth, which may well fair fruitage breed.
Accomplishment thou learnest painfully
From others, at the cost of many a groan,
While native worth is greatest of the three -
A robe of honour given by God alone.
To these be wisdom added, that which will
Discriminate for thee 'twixt good and ill.
When any man possesseth all the four
He hath repose from travail, greed, and grief,
But not from death; that is an evil, sore
Beyond all others; there is no relief.
Now Kai Khusrau possessed all four, and he
Was fashioned thus by heaven's destiny.

How the Nobles did Homage to Kai Khusrau

When Kai Khusrau acceded, and the world
Had been apprised, he sat upon the throne
Of king of kings and donned the crown of greatness.
He meted justice out to each, uprooting
Injustice from the earth. Then all the nobles,
Possessed of crowns and sprung of royal race,
With foreign monarchs, potentates, and magnates,
Resorted to Khusrau: there was no head
Not taken in his toils. He cultivated
Waste lands and freed the mourners' hearts from woe;
The moisture rained down from the clouds in spring,
And cleansed the face of earth from rust and sorrow;
'Twas decked like Paradise with goodly havings
By reason of his justice and his bounty.
The world was full of happiness and peace,
The hands of Ahriman were barred from ill,
While envoys came from all the provinces,
From every man of name and potentate.
When tidings had been carried to Nimruz,
And reached the chief, the Lustre of the earth:-
"The glorious prince is seated on the throne,
And hath his foot upon the sky of power,"
He summoned his retainers from all sides
To go to offer homage to the Shah,
Departing on the journey in great state
And much content with Zal the son of Sam
The son of Nariman, and all the nobles,
Both great and little of Kabul - a host
Which made the desert as 'twere ebony
What while the tymbals split the leopards' ears.
Zal with an escort led the way; behind
Came Rustam followed by the violet flag.
When tidings reached the Shah: "The loyal Rustam
Is on his way," the people as one man
Arose prepared to go to welcome him.
The Shah was glad and bade the courier: "Take
Thy pleasure here, for Rustam reared my father,
And all eyes recognise his excellence."
The monarch ordered Giv, Gudarz, and Tus
To set forth with the tymbals and the pipes,
The drums beat at the portal of the Shah,
And all the warriors assumed their helms.
From every quarter of the land all went
With flag and kettledrum to welcome Rustam;
While those in chief command with many troops
Went forward two days' journey to receive him.
As soon as Rustam's standard came in sight,
And when the host's dust mounted o'er the sun,
Shouts rose with sound of trump and kettledrum,
And from the centre Giv, Gudarz, and Tus
Approached in haste the elephantine chieftain,
And gave him salutations joyfully.
All three of them embraced him; he meanwhile -
The lion-queller - asked about the Shah.
From Rustam they proceeded next to Zal,
The son of Sam, with open hearts and happy,
Then turned to Faramarz, rejoiced to see him.
Thence they approached the Shah, approached to gaze
Upon the glorious crown. Now when Khusrau
Beheld the elephantine warrior
Tears trickled from his eyelids down his cheeks.
Descending from the throne he greeted Rustam,
Who kissed the ground. The Shah said: "Paladin!
Live ever glad and happy, for thou art
The foster-sire of Siyawush and likewise
Art of all men most wise and reticent."
He clasped upon his breast the head of Zal,
And sorrowed for his own sire's sake the while, Then seated both chiefs on the royal throne,
And blessed them in God's name. When Rustam
From head to foot the person of the Shah,
And how he sat, held converse, and advised,
The hero's cheek flushed up and his heart ached,
So much reminded him of Siyawush.
He thus addressed the world's king: "To the world
Thou art, O Shah! the memory of thy sire.
I have not seen a king with Grace like thine,
Or one so like thy father."
When they rose
They had the tables spread and wine prepared.
Khusrau slept not till night was far advanced,
But held more converse touching what had chanced.

How Kai Khusrau made a Progress through his Realm

When Sol had drawn its shining scimitar,
And dark night's head had vanished, rose the blare
Of trumpets from the court-gate, and such chiefs
As Tus, Gudarz, and valiant Giv, Gurgin,
Ruhham the Lion, Gustaham, and others,
Came to the Shah in that famed audience-hall.
Now when they had assembled at his throne
He said to them: "I purpose to survey
The glorious realm and marches of Iran.
Go we in hunting wise and fleet a while
In happiness."
The nobles all agreed.
The monarch of the world went forth to hunt
With Rustam, that illustrious paladin,
With Giv, Gudarz son of Kishwad, Shapur,
Bahram, a wielder of the scimitar,
Gurgin, Bizhan expert in archery,
Farhad and Zanga son of Shawaran,
And one among the fighting-men, Guraza -
A host that darkened both the sun and moon
With helmets, maces, coats of mail, and casques.
The tracks and trackless waste were like a field
Of battle with the corpses of the game.
Khusrau passed through the country of Iran,
And subsidised and peopled all the lands
That then were uninhabited or ravaged,
Or ruined by misgovernment; he found
No toil injustice or munificence.
He tarried in each city and set up
His throne as fitted fortune's favourite,
Called for his purse and cup, and with dinars
Decked all the world; then sought another city,
Conveying with him crown and throne and wine,
Until with all the great men and the nobles
He reached at length Tzar Abadagan;
Then quaffing wine, and urging on his steed,
Approached the temple of Azargashasp,
Prayed in that Fane of Fire and praised the Maker.
He left in state to go back to Kaus,
With whom they sat - a merry company -
Not ceasing for a moment from their mirth
Till to their heads the sparkling liquor rose,
And all went eagerly to seek repose.

How Kai Khusrau Swore to Kai Kaus to take Vengeance on Afrasiyab

When morn brought forth bright day, and scattered gems
Upon the dusky ground; the world-lord sat
With Kai Kaus - both noble, prosperous Shahs -
With Zal and valiant Rustam. Kai Kaus
Discoursed at large on matters great and small,
And, first, in speaking of Afrasiyab,
Bathed both his cheeks with blood-drops from his eyes,
Recounting what that king had perpetrated
On Siyawush, and how he had sent up
Dust from Iran, how many paladins
Had died, and how their wives and children suffered,
Thus saying: "Thou beholdest many cities
Waste in Iran, wrecked by Afrasiyab.
Since every needful, God-sent gift is thine -
Men, knowledge, might of hand, Grace, majesty,
And favouring stars - and thou in every point
Of native worth art raised o'er other kings,
I claim of thee an oath, and thou must keep it,
That vengeance on Afrasiyab shall fill
Thy heart, and thou shalt not allay that flame,
Regardless of his kinship with thy mother,
And heeding not what any one may urge.
Thou shalt not be seduced by wealth or power,
Howe'er thou be exalted or abased,
Nor shalt thou turn aside to treat with him
For mace or sword or throne or diadem.
I will declare the sanction of thine oath -
One binding on thy wisdom and thy soul
Swear by the righteous Judge of sun and moon,
By crown, throne, casque, and signet, by the justice
Of Faridun and by his precedent,
The blood of Siyawush, thy life, O Shah
The Grace, and by the favouring stars divine,
That thou wilt never turn aside to ill,
Wilt ask no arbiter but sword and mace,
And rise above thyself in thy resolve."
Whenas the youthful monarch heard the words
He turned both face and soul toward the Fire,
And took an oath: "By God, the Lord of all,
By day resplendent and night azure-dim,
By sun and moon, by throne and casque and signet,
By sword and by the Shah's own diadem,
I never will incline toward amity
For him, or dream of looking on his face."
This they recorded in the olden tongue
With scented ink upon a royal roll,
And Zal and Rustam signed as witnesses,
And likewise all the other mighty men.
The written oath attested in due form
Was put for safety into Rustam's hands.
When this was done they called for wine and feast,
And held a session of another kind;
The nobles passed a week with harp and wine
Within the hall of Kai Kaus. Khusrau
Upon the eighth day bathed, composed himself,
Then sought the place of prayer, and, in the presence
Of circling heaven's Lord, adored the Maker.
That night until the rising of the sun
He cried aloud with eyes fulfilled with tears,
And said: "O righteous Judge, the only God,
The World-lord, the Sustainer, and the Guide
Thus didst deliver me, a hostless boy,
Out of the Dragon's breath. Afrasiyab
Thou knowest reckless, not afraid to injure;
His curse is on the waste and peopled lands;
Revenge against him filleth guiltless hearts.
He hath poured fire upon these goodly coasts,
Hath sifted o'er the brave the dust of woe,
Unjustly shed the blood of Siyawush
Upon the earth, and rent our souls thereby.
The hearts of kings are filled with dread of him;
His throne and diadem are this world's bane.
Thou knowest that he is of evil nature,
And both a miscreant and sorcerer."
He laid his cheek full oft upon the ground,
And uttered praises to the Lord of all.
Departing thence he went back to the throne,
And thus harangued the exalted paladins: -
"O ye my men of name, my gallant hearts,
And swordsmen! I have ridden through Iran,
But, from the temple of Akzargashasp
To this place, seen not any one heart-glad,
Possessed of riches or of lands in culture.
All have been injured by Afrasiyab,
All hearts are filled with blood, all eyes with tears.
I am the first whose liver thus he wounded,
So that my soul and body smart through him,
And next there is that noble Shah - my grandsire -
Who from his heart still heaveth chilly sighs,
While men and women groan throughout Iran
At massacre and pillage, war and raid.
So now if ye are all my trusty friends,
Devoted to me in your hearts indeed,
I will make ready to avenge my father,
And turn this evil from the Iranians.
If ye will, all of you, renew the fight,
Strive, and contend like pards, so too will I;
Plains in the battles of the brave shall turn
To mountailis, and for all the blood shed there
Afrasiyab the criminal shall be
Responsible. If any of our host
Shall fall, their place is Paradise above.
What say ye then? What answer do ye give?
Advise me well. Afrasiyab, ye know,
Began the wrong. Requital should not rest."
The chiefs prepared to answer and arose
With rancour in their hearts. They said: "O Shah!
Keep thy heart glad and ever free from care.
Our bodies and our souls are wholly thine,
And thine our grief and joy, our loss and gain.
We all of us are mother-born to die,
And all of us, though free men, are thy slaves."
Whenas he heard this answer from the throng,
From Tus, Gudarz, and elephantine Rustam,
The Shah's cheek grew as red as cercis-bloom,
For he was young in person and in fortune.
He called down blessings on the company;
"May earth be peopled by the brave," said he.

How Kai Khusrau numbered the Paladins

With matters in this stay the sky revolved
Till Sol appeared in Virgo; then the Shah
Called all the archimages of the realm,
And spake to them at large in fitting terms.
He closed the door of audience for two sennights,
And had the muster-roll compiled afresh.
He bade the commissaries to call over
The names of great and small, and had them written
In solemn form befitting paladins.
The kin of Kai Kaus five score and ten -
Chiefs of the host - came first upon the list,
And at their head was Fariburz the son
Of Kai Kaus - the new Shah's kinsman. Next
He chose him eighty scions of Naudar,
All armed with maces and all warriors.
Their leader was Zarasp the general,
Who used to make their welfare his concern
In everything - a crown of kings, the son
Of Tus - the lord of iron mace, of scimitar,
And drum. Gudarz son of Kishwad came next,
Whose counsels were the safeguard of the host.
His sons and grandsons numbered seventy-eight -
Brave mountaineers and horsemen of the plain;
They carried Kawa's standard and illumed
The throne and fortune of the Kaian race.
The seed of Gazhdaham were sixty-three,
And great men all; their chief was Gustaham.
The kinsmen of Milad - a hundred horsemen -
Had for their chief victorious Gurgin.
Tawaba's kindred numbered eighty-five
Brave cavaliers, the wardens of the treasure,
While Barta was the warden over them,
And most illustrious of them all in fight.
Next three and thirty scions of Pashang,
Brave men, who bore the double-headed dart
In battle-time, their chieftain was Rivniz -
A mighty man both valiant and discreet,
Who used to go before the drums in war,
The warriors' warden, son-in-law to Tus.
The kinsmen of Barzin, three score and ten
In sum, all Lions on the day of battle,
Had over them Farhad, himself an Anvil
Of steel in fight. Guniza led in person
His kinsmen - five score and five warriors.
Apart from these, the lords and paladins,
The princes and the mighty men of worship,
Were more than any archimage could reckon,
So many were the chiefs with Grace and glory!
They wrote upon the monarch's muster-roll
The names of all efficients, and the Shah
Bade them to quit the city and march out
Toward the wastes and plains. He said to them:-
"About the ending of the month must rise
The clarion-blast and sound of Indian bells,
And all must march with joy against Turan."
They bent their heads before him to the ground,
And all called blessings down upon him, saying:-
"O Shah possessed of Grace divine and glory,
Who givest lustre to the crown and girdle!
We all are slaves, thine is the sovereignty,
From Aries to Pisces all for thee."

How Kai Khusrau bestowed Treasures upon the Paladins

Wherever there were horses running wild
Their keepers drove them to the camp in herds.
The Shah commanded: "Let the lasso-throwers -
The warriors brazen-bodied in the fight -
Catch these swift Arab chargers in the noose."
Anon the conquering world-lord took his seat
With mace in hand upon the throne of gold,
Unlocked his treasury of dinars, and said:-
"The treasures of the great should not be hidden.
In times of strife and fighting for revenge
They look with scorn on treasure and dinars;
So all our wealth and thrones will we bestow
Upon the brave, to make our Tree fruit sunward,
And why delay since treasure helpeth them?"
A hundred pieces of brocade of Rum
With jewelled patterns on a golden ground,
With beaver-skins, gold raiment, and a goblet
Of royal gems - he had these brought. "Behold,"
Said he, "the price set on the worthless bead
Of that fierce Dragon, murderous Palashan,
Now made commander by Afrasiyab
That he may slumber while that chieftain watcheth.
Who in our camp will bring his head and sword
And steed to dust upon the day of battle?"
Bizhan the son of Giv sprang to his feet
Forthwith, he undertook to slay that Dragon,
And carried off the stuffs and cup of gold,
With all the jewels, blessing Kai Khusrau,
And saying: "May this crowned head live for ever!"
Then went back to his seat retaining still
The goblet with the jewels in his hand.
The Shah then bade his treasurer to bring
Two hundred robes of gold embroidery
With beaver-skins, brocade, rich painted silk,
And two slaves rosy-cheeked with girded loins,
And thus he said: "These presents will I give,
And will confer more favours on, the man
That bringeth unto me, or to the chieftains
Assembled here, the crown worn by Tazhav,
Which crown Afrasiyab set on his head,
And hailed him as a high-born son-in-law."
Again Bizhan the son of Giv arose,
Who had a hand far reaching in the fight,
And seized upon the presents and the slaves
While all assembled wondered; he exclaimed:-
"May earth be prosperous under Kai Khusrau! "
Then sat down gladly giving many thanks.
The Shah commanded and the treasurer
Brought out ten slave-boys with their girdles on,
Ten steeds of rapid pace with golden bridles,
And ten veiled maidens in their bravery;
The watchful ruler of the people said:-
"steeds and all these Beauties are for one
Who, when Tazhav hath fled, need not possess
A lion's heart. Tazhav hath by his side
In battle one whose voice would tame a leopard,
A slave with cheeks like spring, of cypress-stature,
With reed-like waist and with a pheasant's gait,
A Moon-face, Ispanwi by name, a Jasmine
In visage, heart-alluring, breathing musk.
Her captor must not, strike her with the sword,
For swords are not for such a cheek as hers,
But noose her waist and take her to his bosom."
Bizhan smote on his breast and volunteered
Again. He drew anigh the all-conquering Shah,
Began to laud the monarch of the world,
And supplicate the Maker. The great king
Rejoiced in him and spake thus: "Famous chief!
May paladin like thee ne'er help our foes,
Ne'er may thine ardent soul and body part!"
Then said the world-lord to the treasurer:-
BringBring forth ten golden beakers from the hoard,
And let them put pastilles therein; bring also
Ten goblets of pure silver brimmed with jewels,
One topaz goblet filled with musk, and one
Of turquoise, one of lapis-lazuli,
With emeralds and carnelians showered therein,
Mixed with rose-water and with musk; ten boy-slaves
With belts, and ten fine steeds with golden bridles.
These are," he said, "for him who, having strength
To fight Tazhav upon the day of battle,
Shall bear his head off from the stricken field,
And bring it to the warriors of the host."
Then Giv son of Gudarz smote on his breast,
And undertook to fight that paladin,
Whereat they brought those noble slaves and gifts,
And set them in array in front of him.
He called down many blessings on the Shah,
And said: "May crown and signet ne'er lack thee."
The Shah commanded then the treasurer:-
SetSet out ten golden trays before the throne,
And mix in them dinars and musk and jewels;
Set too ten Fairy-faced with crowns and girdles,
Two hundred beaver-skins, brocade of gold,
Ten girdles, and a royal diadem.
This is for him," he said, "that grudgeth not
His labour for the sake of fame and treasure.
Let such depart hence to the Kasa rud,
And there salute the soul of Siyawush.
He will behold a mighty pile of fire-wood,
Whose height is greater than ten lassos' length.
It is a pile raised by Afrasiyab
Upon the spot whereat he crossed the river.
He wished that none should pass there from Iran
Turan-ward. Some bold warrior must go hence,
And make the Kasa rud a sheet of flame,
So that if e'er it be the scene of fight
The wood may prove no cover for the foe."
Again Giv spake: "This is my quarry; mine
Shall be the task to set the pile a-blaze.
I fear not combat if the foe shall come,
But will invite the vultures to a feast."
The Shah bestowed on Giv those goods as well,
And said to him: "Famed chieftain of the host!
May this bright crown ne'er lack thy sword. So be it.
Oh! may the Brahman never lack the Idol! "
He ordered: "Let the treasurer produce
Forthwith a hundred divers-hued brocades,"
Chose from his hoards a hundred lustrous pearls -
"All drops of water frozen," thou wouldst say -
And brought out from the women's bower five handmaids,
Whose heads and tresses were concealed by crowns.
He said: "This is a present meet for one
Whose wisdom is the king of his pure mind -
A daring, prudent man and eloquent,
Who turneth not from lions in the fight -
If he will carry to Afrasiyab
A message, weeping not for dread of him,
And will convey his answer back to me.
Who of this noble company will dare?"
Gurgin son of Milad held forth his hand,
And gat him ready for that enterprise.
The Shah bestowed on him the slaves, the robes
Of gold-embroidery, and royal gems.
He called down blessings on the Shah and said:-
May May wisdom wed the soul of Kai Khusrau! "
Whenas earth's face grew black as raven's plumes,
And when night's Lamp rose o'er the hills, the Shah
Went to his palace, and his mighty men
Departed, each one to his home again.

How Kai Khusrau sent Rustam to the Land of Hind

When daylight made the hills like sandarac,
And cockcrows reached the clouds, the matchless
With Faramarz and with Zawara came
Before the Shah to speak about Iran,
The crown, the state, and matters great and small.
Then Rustam said: "Illustrious, glorious Shah!
There is a district in Zabulistan,
That formed a portion of the realm of Tur
Till Minuchihr drave all the Turkmans out.
It is a goodly and a glorious land;
But when Kaus grew hoar and spiritless,
When fame, the Grace, and prowess quitted him,
Turanians seized it and Iranians ceased
Therein. The folk now carry to Turan
Both toll and tribute, heeding not the Shah.
The march is full of elephants and treasure.
The innocent are troubled by this folk
With constant pillage, massacre, and raid,
And all the insolency of Turan.
Now that the kingship of Iran is thine,
Thine from the ant's foot to the lion's claws,
'Twere well to send a valiant paladin,
And mighty host, to make this people bring
Their tribute to the Shah and look to him.
This region ours we can defeat Turin."
The Shah said: "Live for ever! Thou art right.
Take order for sufficiency of troops,
Selecting all the famous warriors,
For since the district marcheth with thine own
Its purchase will be worthy of thy fame.
Commit a mighty host to Farimarz,
As many warriors as shall suffice.
The business will succeed with him; his hook
Will catch the crocodiles."
The paladin
With flushing cheeks called many a blessing down
Upon the Shah, who bade the chamberlain
To spread the board, bring wine, call minstrelsy,
And listened spell-bound to their melody.

How Kai Khusrau reviewed the Host

When bright Sol rose above the hills, and when
The minstrels tired of song, the kettledrums
Clanged at the court-gate and the troops drew up
Before the palace. On the elephants
They bound the tymbals and the trumpets blared.
Upon one elephant they set a throne;
That royal Tree bore fruit; the Shah came forth,
And took his seat, crowned with a jewelled casque.
He wore a torque of royal gems and held
An ox-head mace. Two earrings, decked with pearls
And precious stones, depended from his ears;
His bracelets were of jewels set in gold;
His belt was pearls and gold and emeralds.
His elephant with golden bells and bridle
Proceeded to the centre of the host.
He had with him the ball within the cup;
The shouting of the army rose to Saturn;
The earth grew black and heaven azure-dim
With all the swords and maces, drums and dust;
Thou wouldst have said: "The sun is in a net,"
Or " Water hath o'erwhelmed the arching sky! "
The clearest sight could not behold the world,
Or gaze upon the sky and stars for spears;
Thou wouldst have said: "The billows of the sea
Are rising," as the host marched troop by troop.
They brought the camp-enclosure from the palace
Forth to the plain, and shoutings frayed the skies.
The custom was that when that famous Shah
Upon his elephant let fall the ball
Within the cup, and girt his loins, no place
Remained for any one throughout the realm
Save at the Shah's own gate. Such was the token
To all his realm of that famed king of chief's.
The Shah remained upon his elephant
On that broad plain to see the troops march past.
First to defile before the world's new lord
Was Fariburz with golden boots, with mace,
And sword. Behind him was his flag sun-blazoned.
He rode a chestnut steed, his lasso coiled
Was in the saddle-straps. He passed along
In pride with Grace and lustre, his retainers
Were buried in their gold and silver trappings.
The world-lord blessed him, saying: "May the
And Grace of heroes ever be thine own,
Thy fortune triumph in each enterprise,
Thy whole existence be a New Year's Day;
May health be thine in all thy goings forth,
And no infirmity on thy return."
Behind him was Gudarz son of Kishwad,
Whose counsel brought the world prosperity.
A lion clutching mace and scimitar
Was charged upon the flag that followed him.
Upon his left hand marched the brave Ruhham,
And on his right the noble Giv; Shidush
Behind him bore the banner lion-charged,
Which threw a violet lustre on the ground,
While thousands of exalted warriors followed,
All cavaliers and armed with lengthy lances.
Behind Giv and accompanied by troops
His sable banner came charged with a wolf,
While of Ruhham, that man of high ambition,
The flag rose cloudward tiger-charged. These sons
And grandsons of Gudarz were seventy-eight
In number, and they crowded that broad plain,
Each followed by his flag distinct in hue -
All valiant men with swords and golden boots.
"The whole world," thou hadst said, "is 'neath Gudarz,
The chiefs' heads are beneath his scimitar."
He called down blessings on the crown and throne
As he approached; the Shah returned the blessings
On him, on Giv, and all his warriors.
The next behind Gudarz was Gustaham,
The son of Gazhdaham the vigilant;
His weapon in the battle was a spear,
His comrades were a bow and poplar arrows;
And when a shaft went flying from his arm
'Twould pierce a rock or anvil to the core.
He was attended by a mighty host
With maces, scimitars, and rich array.
His banner blazoned with a moon waved o'er him,
And raised its head resplendent to the clouds.
He called down benedictions on the Shah,
Who gloried in him. Next came shrewd Ashkash,
Endowed with prudent heart and ready brain.
His troops were from Baluchistan and Kutch,
And very rams to fight. No one had seen
Their backs in battle or one finger mailless;
Their banner was a pard with claws projecting.
Ashkash felicitated Kai Khusrau
At large upon the happy turn of fortune.
Meanwhile the Shah upon his elephant
Surveyed the troops, whose ranks stretched out two miles,
And in abundant satisfaction blessed
His sleepless fortune and his glorious land.
Behind Ashkash was well approved Farhad,
Who tendered all the troops, and everywhere
Was like their foster-father in the fight.
He had a banner charged with a gazelle,
Whose shadow fell upon him as he rode.
His troops were all equipped with Indian swords,
With Turkman armour and with Sughdian saddles.
They all were princely scions of Kubad,
And all were dowered with God's Grace and with justice;
The face of each was like the shining moon,
And like the shining sun in battlefield.
Farhad beheld the throne's new occupant,
And called down blessings on the youthful Shah.
Guraza, eldest offspring of Givgan,
Came next accompanied by all his kin,
A favourite in whom the Shah rejoiced.
Upon his saddle was a lasso coiled;
He bore a banner blazoned with a boar;
His troops were warriors and lasso-flingers.
These cavaliers and heroes of the plain
Saluted many times and then marched past.
Behind him Zanga son of Shawaran
Came rushing with his gallant hearts and chieftains.
Behind him was his flag charged with an eagle,
And as a moving mountain so moved he.
Ofttimes he called down blessings on the Shah,
His mien and stature, sword and signet-ring.
All that were from the country of Baghdad
Were armed with lances and steel swords, and marched
Beneath the eagle while their general
Himself was seated on an elephant.
Behind him was the valiant Farimarz
Of noble stature, Grace, and majesty,
With tymbals, elephants, and many troops,
All eager for the fray, and mighty men
Brought from Kashmir, Kabulistan, Nimruz,
All noble and the lustre of the world.
He had a banner like his valiant sire's -
That Rustam who could be surpassed by none -
With seven heads, "The heads as of a dragon
That had escaped from bonds," thou wouldst have said.
In favour like a fruitful tree he came,
And uttered many a blessing on the Shah,
Who with a heart that joyed at Faramarz
Gave him much prudent rede and said to him:-
"The nursling of the elephantine chief
Will be pre-eminent among the people.
Thou art the son of wary-hearted Rustam,
Thou art from Zal - Sam's son - and Nariman.
Now is the land of Hindustan thine own,
All from Kannuj up to Sistan is thine;
So bear thyself that harm may not befall
Him that assayeth not to fight with thee.
In every place be thou the poor man's friend,
Be noble unto those of thine own kin,
See heedfully what friends thou hast, and who
Are men of wisdom and can soothe thy griefs,
Give, entertain, and never say: 'To-morrow.'
How know'st thou what to-morrow will bring forth?
I have bestowed on thee this kingship. Hold it.
Make no war anywhere in wantonness,
Be not in youth acquisitive of treasure,
Aggrieve not any that hath not grieved thee,
And trust not thou this treacherous dwelling-place;
Tis sandarac and ebony by turns.
Thy duty is to leave a noble name,
And mayst thou never have a sorry heart.
For thee and me alike the day will pass,
And turning heaven reckon up thy breaths.
Thou need'st a happy heart, a body hale;
Consider if a third thing is to seek.
May He who made the world be gracious to thee,
And smoke fill thy foes' hearts."
The chief, on hearing
The words of this new master of the world,
Dismounted from his fleet steed, and invoked
Full many a blessing on the young Shah, saying:-
"Mayst thou wax even as the new moon waxeth."
He kissed the ground and, having done obeisance,
Turned and departed on his longsome journey,
While matchless Rustam, with his brain distraught
At losing Faramarz, accompanied
His son two leagues, instructing him withal
In warfare, feast, and wisdom, wishing him
A life of joy; then sadly turned and went
Back from the desert to the tent-enclosure.
The Shah got off his lusty elephant,
And, mounting on a rapid-footed steed,
Withdrew in state to his pavilion,
With aching heart and deeply pondering.
When Rustam had returned the wine was brought;
Khusrau filled up a mighty bowl, and said:-
"Mirth as thy mate sufficeth, and no sage
Will name to-morrow. Where are Tur and Salm
And Faridun? All lost and one with dust!
We go about and toil and gather wealth,
Yet frustrate all the wishes of our hearts,
Since in the end the dust will be our share,
And not one of us will escape that day.
Fleet we the darksome night with goblets brimmed,
And when day cometh with its measured steps
We will command that Tus shall blow the trumpet,
That tymbal, kettledrum, and clarion sound;
Then shall we see o'er whom the turning sky
Will stretch its hand in love in this campaign.
And yet what profit is our toil to us
Since from the first what is to be will be?
We shall be quit alike of good and ill;
Why should a wise man gorge himself with care?
Still by the aid of Him who made us all
I will take vengeance for my father's fall"

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