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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 21


The Prelude

Let no king, great and warlike though he be,
Intrust his army to an enemy,
One from whose eyelids tears of envy pour,
Tears such as leeches know no drugs to cure;
For such a man, if of a noble race,
Will chafe to be denied the highest place,
To be a slave with wish insatiate,
And only speak as others may dictate.
No wisdom can the monarch's heart attend
Who calleth such a man as this a friend,
For if heaven hostile to his wishes prove,
And hath no blessing for him in its love,
He will be prone to act no friendly part;
The thwarted wish will rankle in his heart.
No sage would reckon him a man at all
That hath not wisdom for his pedestal,
And thou wilt see, when thou shalt hear this tale,
How far an evil nature may prevail.

How Tus went to Turkistan

When Sol arose in all its majesty,
And sat upon its lofty eminence,
Ascendant in the Sign of Aries,
While all the world became like golden wine,
The tymbals sounded from the court of Tus
With blare of trump and roll of kettledrum.
The battle-shout went up throughout the realm,
The air was full of war-cries, earth of turmoil.
The neighs and the shouts frayed Luna from her course,
While from the clash of arms and trumpeting
Of elephants thou wouldst have said: "The Nile
Hath overflowed the world!" The air was yellow,
Red, blue, and violet as Kawa's standard
'Mid cavaliers - the kinsmen of Gudarz -
Waved. Kai Khusrau with crown and mace and trumpets
Came to the entering in of his pavilion.
Tus with the golden boots and Kawa's flag
Set forth and with the great men that wore torques
And crowns - the aspiring kindred of Naudar -
Went proudly from the host before Khusrau.
The banner o'er them bore an elephant,
Its golden staff-head rising to the clouds.
They went together, like a darksome mountain,
And sun and moon ceased shining. When they carne
With flags and helms in haste before the Shah
He bade the chieftain Tus present to him
The warriors of distinction in the host,
And thus addressed them: "Tus is chief; he hath
The flag of Kawa; do as he commandeth."
Then in their sight he gave his signet-ring
To Tus, and said: "He is your chief and leader."
To Tus himself he said: "Be true to me,
And mark mine institutions and commands
No one must be molested on the march,
Such is the custom of my crown and throne.
Let no cold blast befall the husbandman,
Or artisan, or one that armeth not
Against thee; strive but with antagonists.
Refrain from troubling those who are at ease
Since all will have to quit this Wayside Inn.
Thou shalt on no account pass by Kalat,
For, if thou dost, things will go hard with thee.
To Siyawush (his soul be as the sun,
His place all hopeful in the other world!)
The daughter of Piran once bare a child'
But little shown in public by his sire.
He is my brother and resembleth me.
He is a youth of mine own age, high-fortuned,
And liveth with his mother at Kalat;
A world-lord he who hath the Grace and troops.
He knoweth no Iranian e'en by name,
And from that quarter thou must turn thy bridle,
For he hath troops and famous men of war
Upon a mountain steep and hard to reach.
He is a brave and warlike cavalier,
Great through his native worth and famed of person,
And therefore thou must take the desert-road
It is not well to touch the claws of lions."
Tus answered: "In thy counsels is success,
By that way which thou biddest will I go,
For good alone must come of thy behest."
He then departed quickly, and the Shah
Returned with loyal Rustam to the throne,
Where sitting with that elephantine hero,
The lords, archmages, and the stainless princes,
He spake at large about Afrasiyab,
His own heart's anguish and his father's wrongs.
Tus for his part with all his warriors
Came to a place where two roads met; the one
Went through a desert dry and waterless,
The other by Kalat and toward Charam.
The elephants and kettledrums were halted
Till Tus the general should come up, that so
The host might take the road that pleased him best.
When Tus had at his leisure reached the chiefs
He spake about the waterless, hot road;
Then to Gudarz: "Although this arid waste
Yield ambergris for dust and musk for soil,
Still on a long and toilsome march we need
Repose and water. Our best route will be
Kalat, Charam, encamping at Mayam,
With streams and fertile country on both sides
Why choose a desert and its miseries?
I went along that way in former times,
When Gazhdaham was leader of the host,
And never saw so troublesome a road
Although the ups and downs are few enough.
'Tis best to march along the other route,
And measure not the desert and its leagues."
Gudarz replied: "The noble Shah made thee
Commander of this host; lead as he bade;
Make not the troops' march grievous. They should not
By disobedience to the great king's orders
Be injured thus."
Tus said: "O famous warrior
Think not such things; this will not vex the Shah,
And therefore need not be a grief to thee."
He spake and bade the army to proceed,
And march toward Kalat and to Charam;
And, since Khusrau's commands he minded not,
See what a Tempest proved at last his lot!

How Farud heard of the Coming of Tus

News reached Farud: "The bright sun's face is darkened
By dust raised by the feet of elephants
And camels; earth is like the river Nile.
Thy brother's army marcheth from Iran
Against Turan for vengeance, purposing
To take the road that leadeth to Kalat.
I know not where their battlefield will be."
The inexperienced youth on hearing this
Grew very sore of heart and dark of soul.
He came down from the hold, unbarred the gate,
And going forth surveyed the lofty mountain.
At his command they brought in all the camels,
The sheep, and horses; none remained on waste
Or hill; he drove them all toward Mount Sapad
And toward Ambuh, returned, secured the gate,
And mounted on a rapid-footed steed.
When from Mayam the sound of drums arose,
And from Charam dust-clouds like ebony,
Jarira, gazing from the castle-roof,
Felt her heart throb in terror of that host.
To her, his mother, came the young Farud,
And said: "O chief of ladies! from Iran
A host hath come with elephants and tymbals,
And Tus the general is in command.
What sayest thou? What is the course to take?
We must prevent him from attacking us."
Jarira said to him: "O warrior
Be all thy days as fortunate as this
Thy brother is the new Shah of Iran
A world-lord shrewd is Kai Khusrau, and he
Well knoweth both thy name and native worth.
One father's blood and bone are in you both,
And Siyawush was peerless in the world.
Well may the age applaud him! At the outset
Piran gave me to him; he would not else
Have sought a Turkman spouse. Thus thy descent
On both sides is illustrious and royal.
Now, since thy brother seeketh to avenge,
And vindicate, the soul of Siyawush,
Thou shouldst be foremost in the race for vengeance,
In making ready and exacting it.
Don Ruman mail and go with raging heart,
And shouts of battle ringing in thy head,
For, since he seeketh vengeance on your grandsire,
Thy part should be revenge, not policy,
In that this grief may well make leopards wail,
And crocodiles come groaning from the river.
The birds too and the fishes in the water
Call curses down upon Afrasiyab,
For in the whole world not one sovereign
That girdeth girdle is like Siyawush
In prowess, manhood, fortune, and high birth,
In glory, weight, intelligence, and justice.
Thou art the son of that world-famous chief,
Art of the Kaian seed and look'st it too!
Thou must gird up thy loins then to avenge
Thy sire and prove thy birth and native worth.
See who the leader is of yonder host,
Show hospitality, invite - the lords,
And set upon the tables wine and gifts
Of scimitars, of helmets, of horse-armour,
Of coats of mail, and Indian swords. Thy brother
Is wealth sufficient for thee in this world.
Shall such just vengeance fall to aliens?
At this conjuncture lead his troops thyself,
New in revenge as he is new in reign."
Farud said: "Which of them must I address
Since I must have some helper 'mid these men,
These men so haughty on the day of battle,
Because I know not one of them by name?
How shall I send them greeting and a message?"
Jarira answered: "In the dust afar
Raised by the host look for two cavaliers,
Bahram and Zanga son of Shawaran.
Search for the blazons of these two great heroes,
For thou and I have nothing hid from them.
Oh! may thy head and name survive for ever,
And may the soul of Siyawush be bright
He and these twain were never separable,
They were his lords, he was their over-lord.
Go with Tukhar, but with no further escort,
And do not in thy heart misprize my words
When thou shalt ask about the chiefs and warriors
The brave Tukhar will point them out, for he,
Well knowing all the Iranians, great and small,
Will show thee sheep and shepherds."
"Noble lady!"
Replied Farud, "thy rede enlighteneth
Thy kin and folk."
A watchman from the look-out
Came, told Farud about that host, and said:-
"The mountains, vales, and plains are filled with troops,
And thou wouldst say: 'The sun is put in duress!'
The expanse of rock up to the castle-door
Is all flag, elephant, and warrior!"

How Farud and Tukhar went to view the Host

Tukhar departed with Farud - a youth
Whom fortune had abandoned. Whensoever
The sky above us is untowardly
No gentleness or rage availeth thee.
They chose the summit of a lofty mountain,
Commanding all the army of Iran,
And marvelled at the troops and their equipment.
The youth said to his confidant Tukhar:-
"Conceal not aught of what I ask of thee.
Tell me the names of all that thou beholdest -
The man of rank, the bearer of the flag,
The lord of partisan and golden boot -
All whom thou recognisest of Iran."
The Iranian host defiled between two mountains,
And what with golden helm and golden shield,
With golden ax and golden partisan,
Thou wouldst have said: "No gold is left unmined,
A cloud hath risen and rained jewelry!"
The roar of kettledrums along the pass
Affrayed the vultures as they flew o'erhead,
While thirty thousand sword and buckler men
Marched bravely on in all points dight for war.
Now when Tukhar had scanned the host, the prince
Began to question him. That expert answered:-
"I will clear up what is obscure to thee:
Know that yon flag charged with an elephant,
Those horsemen, and those blue steel scimitars,
Belong to noble Tus the general -
A bad opponent when he seeketh vengeance.
Behind him is another standard bearing
A blazing sun: 'tis that of Fariburz,
Son of Kaus, a general, thine uncle,
A man of Grace and purpose. Next to him
There is a mighty flag, its charge a moon,
With many valiant warriors. The chief
Call Gustaham the son of Gazhdaham,
Whom no two-headed dart or club affrayeth.
Next yon tall flag charged with an onager,
Encompassed by a band of warriors,
Is over Zanga son of Shawaran,
Whose troops are mighty men. The flag behind
That hath a moon on red, with musk-black fringes,
Belongeth to Giv's son Bizhan who spurteth
Blood to the sky. The flag charged with a tiger -
One that would make a mighty lion burst,
And, thou wouldst say, is leaping from its field -
Is borne by brave Shidush, while that behind him,
Whose blazon is a wild boar, 'One to bring,'
As that wouldst say, 'the heavens to the shears,'
Pertaineth to a brave chief hight Guraza,
Who counteth it but sport to fight a lion.
The next flag blazoned with a buffalo,
With cavaliers behind and chiefs in front,
Is famed Farhad's, the choicest of the chiefs
Thou wouldest say: 'His stature is sky-high.'
The banner with a wolf for its device
Betokeneth the valiant chieftain Giv.
The banner with the lion wrought in gold
Is floating o'er Gudarz son of Kishwad.
The streaming standard blazoned with a pard
Precedeth proud, imperious Rivniz.
The banner that is charged with a gazelle
Belongeth to Nastuh son of Gudarz,
And to his troops; that with the mountain-sheep
Pertaineth to another son - Bahram.
They all are lion-men - brave cavaliers;
To name each one were tedious."
Thus he told
The blazons of the chiefs to prince Farud,
Who viewed all, great and small. His heart grew glad,
His cheek flushed, and he spake thus to Tukhar
"We shall take vengeance for my sire with ease!
I will not leave in Chin or in Machin
A cavalier, when battling for revenge,
But catch the Dragon and reduce their throne
To straits."
Now when the Iranians had descried
Farud upon the mountain with Tukhar,
Tus the commander was incensed, and caused
The drums and elephants to halt. He said:-
"We need an enterprising cavalier
To hasten to the mountain-top to learn
Who these two warriors are and wherefore there.
If they be ours let him bestow on them
Two hundred lashes on their heads, if foes
Bind them and drag them hither faces downward;
If they be slain still let him drag them hither
Along the dust and have no fear of any,
While if they shall prove spies, who want to take
The number of our forces secretly,
Let him cleave both asunder on the spot,
Then fling them down the mountain and return;
But if a countless host be ambushed there,
Whereof a straggling few have shown themselves,
Let him return and give the intelligence
To us forthwith, and we will drive them thence."

How Bahram came to Farud upon the Mountain

Bahram son of Gudarz said to the chief:-
"This matter shall not be concealed from us.
I will go forth to do as thou hast said,
And scale the mountain-top."
He struck his steed,
And went full of surmise toward the height.
Farud said to Tukhar: "Who is this man
That cometh hither with such insolence?
Good sooth! he taketh no account of us
At all, but cometh up the steep apace!
He rideth a bay charger with a lasso
Hung in his saddle-straps."
The counsellor
Replied: "He is not one to treat with rudeness.
I know him not by token or by name,
But take him for a kinsman of Gudarz.
When Kai Khusrau departed from Turan
He took a helmet of Afrasiyab's;
It is methinketh on that horseman's head,
And he hath royal mail to correspond.
He must be of the kindred of Gudarz;
So let us ope our lips and question him."
Bahrflm, when he came nearer to the crest,
Cried as a cloud might thunder: "Who art thou
Upon the mountain-top? Dost thou not see
Yon countless host, or hear their clamouring
And din of drums? Or art thou not afraid
Of Tus their watchful leader?"
Then the prince:-
"Thou wast not rudely treated: be not rude.
Good words, O veteran! Let no harsh challenge
Pollute thy lips. Thou art no warlike lion,
And I am not a desert-onager;
We are not to be treated in this fashion.
Thou art in no way my superior
In courage or in manliness or strength,
While as for head, foot, hand, heart, brain, and wits,
Tongue speaking fluently and eyes and ears -
See if I too possess them and, if so,
Forbear to threaten in thy foolishness.
If thou wilt answer I will ask thee somewhat,
And shall rejoice if thou advise me well."
Bahram said: "Ask away! Thou art in heaven
And I am on the earth."
"Who is your leader,"
Inquired Farud, "and wherefore make ye war?"
Bahram said: "Tus is leader for he hath
The drums and Kawa's flag. Of warriors
There are Gudarz, Ruhham, and Giv, Shidush,
Gurgin, Farhad the valiant, Gustaham,
With Zanga son of Shawaran, and chief
Of all the clan of fighting-men - Guraza. "
Farud returned: "Why nam'st thou not Bahram,
And leavest thus the matter incomplete?
In him of all the offspring of Gudarz
We most rejoice, and yet thou nam'st him not!"
Bahram replied to him: "O lion-man!
Who spake to thee in such wise of Bahram?"
Farud said: "From my mother heard I of him.
She said to me: 'Now when the host approacheth
Meet it and summon forth Bahram, and also
A noble, Zanga son of Shawaran,
Because they are thy father's foster-brothers,
And thou mayst well inquire for news of them."'
Then thus Bahram: "O fortune's favourite!
So thou art Fruit of that Imperial Tree!
Thou art Farud, young prince! Live long and happy! "
He answered: "Yea, I am indeed Farud
The fallen Cypress hath put forth a Shoot."
Bahram rejoined: "Display to me thy person,
Display to me the mark of Siyawush."
Thereat Farud showed to Bahram his arm.
A mole of ambergris on rosy flesh
Was there - a picture such as none on earth
Could skill to limn with compasses from Chin.
Bahram perceived: "He cometh from Kubad
Through Siyawush," then blessed him, did obeisance,
And scaled the lofty steep. The prince dismounted,
Sat on a rock, rejoicing, and thus said:-
"Exalted, shrewd, and Lion of the fight!
Were my two eyes to see my sire alive
In sooth it would not be a greater joy
To me than to behold thee glad and happy,
Accomplished, wary, and a paladin.
I came upon this mountain-top to ask
About the heroes of the Iranian host,
And learn who are their chief and men of name.
I will provide a feast such as I can,
Will entertain their paladin with joy,
Give many gifts of horses, maces, belts,
And scimitars, then march forth seared of heart
Before the host against Turan for vengeance.
The quest befitteth me who am fierce fire
When mounted on my saddle in the combat.
Be pleased to ask the paladin to come
With glad heart to the mountain, there to spend
A week that we may well advise together.
Upon the eighth day, when the tymbal soundeth,
And Tus the general mounteth on his steed,
I will make ready to avenge my father,
And, in the anguish of my heart, provide
A conflict which shall teach the warrior-lion,
While vultures' feathers testify aloft,
That 'tis no common noble of the world
Who girdeth him for vengeance such as this."
Bahram replied: "O prince young and accomplished,
And valiant cavalier! I will report
Thy words to Tus, and kiss his hand while urging
Compliance. Still our chieftain is not wise,
His head and brains brook not good counselling.
He is accomplished, rich, and nobly born,
But nameth not the Shah. When Giv brought home
That glorious one, Tus was provoked with him,
Gudarz, and Giv, supported Fariburz,
And said: 'I am descended from Naudar
The kingship of the world is rightly mine.'
He very well may disregard my words,
And in his anger quarrel with myself.
If any one but I shall come to thee
Let him not look upon thy head and helmet.
Tus said to me: 'See who is on the summit,
But ask him not what he is doing there.
To talk with sword and mace will be enough,
For why should any one be there to-day?'
When he is calm I will return to thee
With good news and conduct thee to our host,
Rejoicing; but if any one approach
Except myself put little faith in him.
More than a single horseman will not come
To thee, such is our noble leader's rule.
Consider well what is the wisest course,
Take refuge in the hold and quit this spot."
Farud took from his belt a turquoise mace
With golden haft. "Accept of this," he said,
"A keepsake from me; it will prove of service.
If Tus the general be well-disposed
We will have merry hearts and great content,
And I will furnish further other things,
Steeds, sells, gold, crowns, and royal signet-rings."

How Bahram went back to Tus

Bahram returning said to Tus: "May wisdom
And thy pure soul be mates! This is Farud,
The son of guiltless, murdered Siyawush!
He showed to me the mark which all the race
Inherit from Kaus and Kai Kubad."
The overbearing general replied:-
"The host, the trumpets, and the drums are mine.
My words to thee were: 'Bring the man to me,
Ask him no questions.' If he be a king
Who then am I, and wherefore am I here
With this array? A man of Turkman race,
Like some black raven on the mountain there,
Is hindering the progress of the troops!
Among the froward offspring of Gudarz
I can see naught but mischief to the host.
Thou wast afraid of one unskilful horseman!
It was no savage Lion on the height.
He saw our host, and duped thee. Thou hast gone
Both up and down for naught!" Then to the chiefs:-
"O men of name and slayers of the foe!
I need some noble and aspiring man
To face the height and Turkman, to behead him,
And bring his head to me before the host."
Rivniz girt up his loins for that encounter,
Which cost his life. Then said Bahram to Tus:-
O paladin! stain not thy soul so rashly.
Revere the Ruler of the sun and moon
Respect the Shah, for yonder is his kinsman -
A famous horseman and a warrior;
And even if a hundred cavaliers
Should go against him to the mountain-top
They would not 'scape his clutches with their lives
Thou wilt but bring glad hearts to misery."
This angered Tus, who would not be advised,
But bade some chiefs to hasten to the mountain,
And many valiant men rushed forth and raised
Their heads to make an onslaught on Farud,
But "Hold not," thus spake brave Bahram to them,
"This matter lightly; he on yonder height
Is of Khusrau's own kin, one hair of whom
Is better than a hundred paladins.
He that ne'er saw the face of Siyawush
Will find repose in gazing on his son."
Now when Bahram told of Farud the men
That had set forth retraced their steps again.

How Rivniz was slain by Farud

Then for the second time the son-in-law
Of Tus came forth - the laughing-stock of heaven -
And left the road that leadeth to Charam
For Mount Sapad, his fierce heart set on outrage.
Farud descried him from the mountain-top,
And, drawing from its case his royal bow,
Said to Tukhar the veteran: "Tus hath spurned
The message, for a horseman not Bahram
Hath come! My heart is confident but heavy.
See if thou canst remember who he is.
Why is he clad in mail from head to foot?'
Tukhar replied: "A valiant cavalier,
Rivniz by name. He is an only son
With forty sisters like the jocund spring.
He is unscrupulous, sly, plausible,
Accomplished, young, and son-in-law to Tus."
Farud returned: "Such talk is not for war-time.
If he approach for combat I will send him
To sleep upon his sisters' skirts. If merely
Mine arrow make him feel its wind in passing,
And he surviveth, hold me not a man.
Which shall mine arrow slay - the horse or rider?
How sayest thou, O veteran Tukhar?"
Tukhar replied: "The time for strife hath come.
Loose at the man; perchance the heart of Tus
May be perturbed for him. Tus knoweth not
Thy resolution for thou soughtest peace;
If he attacketh thee in wantonness
He will but bring disgrace upon thy brother."
When sword in hand Rivniz drew nigh, Farud
Strung his curved bow, shot down a poplar shaft,
And pinned the Ruman helmet to the head
Of him that came. He fell. His fleet steed left him.
Rivniz came headlong to the dust. When Tus,
The general, beheld this from Mayam
The mountain disappeared before his eyes!
Now wisdom hath a saw in this regard:-
"Man's evil nature is its own reward."

How Zarasp was slain by Farud

Then Tus said to Zarasp: "Let thy heart flame
As 'twere Azargashasp, don horsemen's armour,
And take good heed of thine own life and person.
Thou mayst perchance avenge this noble chief,
Or if not I myself will seek for vengeance."
Zarasp departed and assumed his helm.
With vengeful heart and windy pate he went
Toward Mount Sapad, like some fierce, vengeful lion,
And scaled the mountain, with uplifted head,
Loud shouts, fierce gestures, and impetuous heart.
Farud, that raging Lion, told Tukhar:
"Another challenger is on his way;
See now who this Iranian horseman is
That cometh galloping upon the mountain."
Tukhar declared at once: "It is the son
Of Tus, by name Zarasp, who wheeleth not
His charger from an elephant of war.
His sister was the consort of Rivniz.
This atheling hath come for vengeance too!
As soon as he can see thine arm and casque
Let loose a poplar shaft that he may come
Down from his charger headlong to the dust.
Sure am I that the heart of Tus will be
As 'twere a leaf in winter at his death,
And that insensate chief will understand
That we are not here to be sport for him."
When in the sight of all the Iranian host
Zarasp drew near upon the mountain-top,
The valorous Farud urged on his charger,
Shot at Zarasp and pinned him through the mail
And loins against the saddle. His spirit flamed
Upon the point. He fell. His windfoot steed
Abandoned him and galloped back full speed.

How Tus fought with Farud

A shout ascended from the Iranian host,
And all the warriors put on their helms.
Tus with a full heart and with weeping eyes
Donned his cuirass in haste. He greatly mourned
Those gallant chiefs and trembled like a leaf.
He mounted on his saddle and appeared
As 'twere the mountain-mass that men up pile
Upon the back of lusty elephants,
And turned his charger's reins toward Farud
With heart revengeful and with head a-fume.
Tukhar the spokesman said: "A Mountain cometh
In fury toward the height. 'Tis Tus the chief
Contend not with the veteran Crocodile.
Secure thee in the hold and wait on fortune.
Expect no merrymake since thou hast slain
Alike his son and son-in-law in battle."
The young Farud, wroth with Tukhar, replied:-
"When war and strife confront us what care I
For Tas or elephant or mighty lion,
For warrior-leopard or for tiger? These
But give a man the heart to fight, and serve not
To scatter earth upon the raging fire."
Then said Tukhar the much-experienced: "Kings
Despise not counsel. Iron though thou be,
And able to uproot a mount of flint,
Yet art thou but a single cavalier;
And thirty thousand warriors of Inin
Will come against thee to the mountain-top.
No strong-hold will be left here, stone or dust
They will sweep all away, and furthermore
If evil by this means shall come to Tas
His downfall will cause sorrow to Khusrau,
And so defeat the vengeance for thy sire -
A breach which nevermore will be repaired.
Why combat with a Lion in thy rage?
Go to the hold and fight not foolishly."
This, which he should have spoken at the first,
He left unsaid till then; so to Farud
All through this worthless, foolish minister
Resulted battle and the loss of life.
The youth had eighty moon-faced female slaves
At home who stood upon the roof to watch him,
And babbled ceaselessly. He could not brook
The thought of a retreat before their eyes,
But raised his reins and rushing on like wind
Set to his string another poplar shaft;
But first Tukhar said: "If thou meanest fight,
The best for thee, or else thou mayest not conquer
The noble Tus, will be to overthrow
His steed, for monarchs do not war afoot,
However much they may be put to it;
Besides one wooden arrow from a bow
Will never set a period to his life,
And when the general shall reach the summit
His warriors will follow, and thou hast not
The power to oppose; thou hast not looked
His arrows in the face."
The youth attended
To what Tukhar said, strung his bow, and shot.
The poplar arrow struck the general's steed -
A bow-shot worthy of a cavalier -
The charger came down headlong and expired
While Tus both raged and blustered. He returned
To camp, his buckler hanging from his neck,
On foot, all dusty, and distraught in mind,
Farud the while with gibes pursuing him:-
"What ailed the noble paladin, and how
Will he proceed amid the ranks of war
Who cannot fight a single horseman here?"
The women-slaves began to laugh, and sent
Their peals of laughter through the sky. They cried:-
"The old man staggereth down the mountain-slope,
Affrighted at the arrows of a youth!"
When Tus descended from the height the chiefs,
Full of concern, approached him, did obeisance,
And said: "O famous paladin of earth
What can be better than thy safe return?
We have no cause to bathe our cheeks in tears."
The noble Giv was grievously distressed
Because the valiant general had come back
Afoot, and said: "This youth exceedeth bounds
In turning thus our chieftains' faces pale
What though he be a king and weareth earrings,
Is he to flout so great a host as this?
It is not right that we should acquiesce
In his pretensions thus. If Tus displayed
Some hastiness, Farud hath filled the world
With tumult. We would die for Siyawush,
But we must not forget this injury.
Farud hath given to the winds Zarasp,
That noble cavalier sprung from Naudar!
The body of Rivniz is drowned in blood!
What further shame is ours? Farud, though he
Jamshid's own son, Kubad's own marrow, be,
Hath made a new departure witlessly."

How Giv fought with Farud

Giv spake, armed in hot haste, and came forth proudly
Like wild sheep on the mountain. Seeing him
Farud heaved from his breast a chilly sigh,
And said: "This warrior-host discerneth not
Between uphill and down! Each combatant
Is braver than the last - the crown of hosts -
But wit is lacking in their paladin;
A witless head is like a soulless body.
I fear me they will fail in their revenge
Unless Khusrau himself invade Turan;
Then back to back will we avenge our sire,
And haply get our foes within our clutches.
Now tell me who this noble horseman is,
Whose hand and brand will shortly ask for tears?"
Thereat Tukhar glanced at the plain below,
And said to him: "It is the raging Dragon,
Whose neezings make birds topple from the air,
Who put Piran thy grandsire's hands in bonds,
And brake two Turkman hosts! He hath unfathered
Full many a little child. His foot hath been
On many a river, mount, and wilderness.
Full many a father too hath he unsonned,
And treadeth underfoot the lion's neck.
'Twas he that bare thy brother to Iran,
And crossed Jihun although he saw no boat.
They call him Giv - a very Elephant
Or river Nile upon the day of battle.
When thou shalt set thy thumbstall to the bow-string
Thy poplar arrow will not pierce his mail,
Because he weareth that of Siyawush;
So draw thy bow and let the arrow fly
Against his steed. The great beast may be wounded,
And Giv the rider may return afoot
With shield on neck as did their general."
The brave prince bent his bow until the top
Was at his shoulder, shot, and struck Giv's charger
Upon the breast. Giv came down and retreated.
Then from the battlements of Mount Sapad
A shout rose. Giv's brain shrank before the jeers,
But all the mighty men approached him, saying:-
"Praise be to God, exalted warrior
Because the horse is hurt and thou art not,
Nor art thou captured but can'st go again."
Bizhan the warrior came to Giv like wind,
And uttered words most unacceptable:-
"My father - lion-quelling paladin,
Whose might is greater than an elephant's
Why did a single horseman see thy back?
Thy hand was wont to be the heart of fight,
But now because a Turkman shot thy steed
Thou wentest reeling like a drunken man! "
Giv answered saying: "Since my horse was wounded
I should have forfeited my life to him
He spake in savage tones,
Which when Bizhan perceived he showed his back,
And Giv in fury at his levity
Lashed at Bizhan's head with a riding-whip,
And said: "Did no one ever teach thee this -
That circumspection is required in war?
Thou hast no wisdom, providence, or brains,
And may he cease to be that nurtured thee."
Bizhan was pained because his sire was wroth,
And swore an oath before the Almighty Judge:-
"I will not take the saddle off my steed
Until I have avenged Zarasp or perished."
Departing with a heart oppressed by care,
And head all vengeance, unto Gustaham
He spake thus: "Let me have a steed of thine -
A handy one, such as will climb with ease
The mountain-side - so that I may assume
My mail that one of us may seem a man.
A Turkman hath ascended to the heights,
So as to draw the eyes of all the host,
And I desire to go and fight with him
Because my soul is darkened by his deeds."
But Gustaham: "This is not well. Climb not
The height so rashly. When we have to march
The world will be all ups and downs and waste.
Now of my horses fit to carry armour
I have but two remaining, and if he
Destroy one I shall not obtain another
To take its place in action, strength, and size.
Zarasp - a world-lord - with Rivniz, and Tus,
Who holdeth all the world of no account,
And thine own sire, that hunter of fierce lions,
Who recketh not how heaven's wheel may turn,
Have all retreated from him with sore hearts;
None made a fight against that Mount of Flint.
Would that we had a vulture's wings or eagle's,
For none will get inside the hold afoot! "
Bizhan replied to him: "Break not my heart,
Break not mine arms and shoulders too just now,
For I have sworn a great oath by the moon,
The world's Judge, and the Shah's own diadem,
That if I am not slain I will not ride
Back from the mountain but avenge Zarasp."
Then Gustaham replied: "This is not good,
For wisdom doth not recognise such fierceness."
Bizhan responded: "I will go afoot,
And so avenge Zarasp: I need no horse."
Then answered Gustaham: "I would not have
A single hair to perish from thy head;
And if I had a hundred thousand steeds,
Whose manes and tails were full of royal gems,
I would not keep them or my treasure, life,
Or iron mace or falchion back from thee.
Go thou, inspect my horses each in turn,
And take whichever of them thou preferrest.
Bid that be saddled. If 'tis slain so be it."
He had one charger that was like a wolf,
Long in the barrel, tall, and spirited
They mailed it for the brave, young atheling.
Giv, mindful of Farud's deeds, fumed at heart
Thereat, then sent and summoned Gustaham,
And uttered many a saw concerning youth.
He sent Bizhan the mail of Siyawush,
Besides a royal helmet of his own.
When Gustaham had brought the mail Bizhan
Incased himself as quick as dust and went
To Mount Sapad as one on vengeance bent.

How Bizhan fought with Farud

Farud said to Tukhir: "Another chief
Hath come! Look forth, see who he is, and who
Will weep for him."
That man of words replied:-
There There is not one to match him in Iran,
For he is Giv's son and a valiant hero
Victorious like a lion in all combats.
Giv hath no other son, and this is dearer
To him than life and wealth. Direct thy hand
Against the steed, and break not the Shah's heart.
Bizhan too hath the mail, and Giv hath linked
The gorget of the helm, of Siyawush
Thereto. These neither double-headed dart
Nor shaft can pierce. Bizhan may fight afoot.
Thou wilt not shine as his antagonist;
He graspeth, look! a sword of adamant."
Farud's shaft struck the charger of Bizhan
Thou wouldst have said: "It had no life." It fell,
And when Bizhan had disengaged himself
He made toward the summit, sword in hand,
And shouted: "O thou valiant cavalier!
Remain and see now how a Lion fighteth,
And realise how heroes though unhorsed
Will still advance to battle with the sword.
Thou shalt behold it if thou wilt await me,
For thou shalt never think of fighting more."
Farud above was angered too because
Bizhan withdrew not, and again that Lion
Discharged a shaft. Bizhan the brave held up
His shield above his head. The arrow pierced
The shield but missed the mail. Bizhan sped on,
And, when he reached the summit, drew his sword.
Farud the noble turned away from him;
The ramparts rang with cries. Bizhan pursued
Apace, sharp sword in hand, and gashed the bards
Upon the noble steed which came to dust.
Farud howbeit gained the castle-gate,
The garrison secured it with all speed,
And showered many stones down from the walls
Upon Bizhan, who knew that 'twas no spot
To loiter at. He cried: "O famous one!
Hast thou - a warrior and cavalier -
Thus turned from one on foot and felt no shame?
Woe for the heart and hand of brave Farud!"
He left the scene of combat, came to Tus,
And said: "To fight so brave a warrior
Would need a famous lion of the desert,
And if a mount of flint should turn to water
In strife with him the chieftain need not marvel:
Imagination boggleth at such prowess!"
The general 'Tus swore by the Lord of all
"I will send up this hold's dust to the sun.
To avenge beloved Zarasp the cavalier
I will attack without delay, will make
This Turkman wretch a corpse, and with his gore
Engrain the stones like coral to the core."

How Farud was slain

Now when the shining sun had disappeared,
And dark night led its host across the sky,
The daughter of Piran approached her son -
Farud - with anxious mind and aching heart,
And lay down near her darling, but all night
Remained the spouse of grief and misery.
She dreamed that from the lofty castle rose
A flame in front of him she loved so well,
Illuming Mount Sapad and burning all
The castle and the women-slaves. She woke
In pain, her soul in anguish and dismay,
Went out upon the wall and looking round
Saw all the mountain filled with mail and spears.
Her cheek flushed up and fuming at the heart
She hastened to Farud, and cried to him:-
"Awake from slumber, O my son! the stars
Are bringing down disaster on our heads
The mountain is all foes, the castle-gate
All spears and mail!"
He said: "Why such to-do?
If life is o'er for me, and thou canst count not
On further respite for me, mine own sire
Was slain in youth, my life is wrecked like his.
Gurwi's hand put a period to his days,
And now Bizhan is eager for my death;
Yet will I struggle, perish wretchedly,
And not ask quarter of the Iranians."
He gave out mail and maces to the troops,
He placed a splendid helm upon his head,
And with a Ruman breastplate girt about him
Came with a royal bow grasped in his hand.
Now when the shining sun displayed its face,
And proudly mounted to the vault of heaven,
The war-cries of the chieftains rose on all sides,
While massive maces whirled amid the din
Of clarions, tymbals, pipes, and Indian bells.
Farud descended from the castle-ramparts
With all his gallant Turkmans. Through the dust
Raised by the horsemen, and the feathered shafts,
The mountain-top was like a sea of pitch.
There was no level ground or room to fight;
The rocks and stones played havoc with the steeds,
While shouts ascended as the armies strove.
Tus ready armed for battle, grasping shield
And trenchant falchion, led the way in person,
Escorted by the chieftains of the host
Afoot. Thus they attacked till noon was high,
And then the troops of brave Farud were thinned,
The hills and valleys had been filled with slain,
The youth's good fortune had abandoned him.
The Iranians marvelled at him, none had seen
So fierce a Lion, but as battle pressed him
He saw his fortune adverse; of the Turkmans
No cavalier remained with him; he fought
Alone; he turned and fled down toward the hold.
Ruhham sought with Bizhan to intercept him
They charged him from above and from below.
When on the lower ground Bizhan appeared,
With stirrups firmly pressed and reins held loose,
The youth espied the helm, drew out his mace,
And went like some fierce lion at his foe,
Not knowing what the vaulted sky decreed.
He thought to strike Bizhan upon the head,
And smash both head and helmet with one buffet.
Bizhan was staggered by the young man's stroke,
And lost both sense and power. Ruhham behind
Saw this and shouted, clutched his Indian sword,
And struck the lion-man upon the shoulder;
His hand fell useless. Wounded he cried out,
And urged his steed which, as he neared the hold,
Bizhan came up and houghed. Farud himself
Afoot with certain of his followers,
Thus stricken in the battles of the brave,
Reached and secured with speed the castle-gate.
Woe for the heart and name of brave Farud
His mother and the slaves drew near, embraced him,
And sadly laid him on his ivory throne
His day, his season for the crown, were over.
His mother and the female slaves plucked out
The scented tresses of their musky hair,
While the beloved Farud plucked out their lives
The throne was strewn with hair, the house all sorrow.
Then with a faint glance and a sigh he turned
Toward his mother and the slaves, and said,
With one last effort to unclose his lips:-
"It is no marvel that ye pluck your hair;
The Iranians will come with girded loins
To sack the hold and make my slave-girls captive,
Make castle, castle-wall, and rampart waste.
Let all whose hearts and cheeks burn for my life
Go fling themselves down from the battlements
That none may be the portion of Bizhan.
I follow soon because he severeth
My blameless life and is, in this my day
Of youth, my death."
He spake, his cheeks grew wan,
His spirit soared away 'mid grief and anguish.
As 'twere a conjurer this drunken sky
Deludeth us with tricks - threescore and ten -
At whiles employing blast or cloud and then
The sword or dagger or the agency
Of some unworthy wight. At whiles to one
Plunged in calamity 'twill grant relief,
At whiles allot crown, treasury, and throne,
At whiles chain, dungeon, bitterness, and grief
Man must accept his lot whate'er it be;
Mine own affliction is my poverty.
The man of wisdom, had he died at birth,
Had suffered not the heat and cold of earth,
But, living after birth, bath want and stress,
Constrained to weep a life of wretchedness.
Woe for his heart, his usance, and intents!
His pillow is the dust in all events.

How Jarira slew herself

Now when in failure thus had passed away
Farud, the hapless and inglorious son
Of Siyawush, the slave-girls scaled the roof,
And dashed them to the ground. Jarira kindled
A pyre and burned the treasures. Sword in hand
She locked the stable of the Arab steeds,
Hamstrung, and ripped them up. All blood and sweat
She sought the couch of glorious Farud,
Upon whose coverlet a dagger lay,
And, having pressed her cheeks upon his face,
Ripped up herself and died upon his breast.
The Iranians forced the portal of the hold,
Prepared for pillaging, but when Bahram
Approached those walls his heart was rent with sorrow.
He sought the couch of glorious Farud,
With cheeks all tears and heart a-fume, and thus
Addressed the Iranians: "Here is one by far
More wretched and dishonoured than his sire,
For Siyawush did not destroy his slaves,
Nor was his mother slain upon his couch,
Though round him likewise all his palace flamed,
And all his home and goods were razed and burned.
Still heaven's hands are long enough to reach
The wicked, and it turneth not in love
O'er men unjust. Shall ye not shame before
Khusrau who, charging Tus so earnestly,
Sent you to take revenge for Siyawush,
And gave you much advice and parting-counsel?
When he shall hear about his brother's death
He will cut short respect and clemency,
And for Ruhham and passionate Bizhan
The world will have but little pleasure left"
With that came Tus the general with the drums
Along the road that leadeth to Kalat,
While with him were the chiefs Gudarz and Giv,
And therewithal a host of warriors.
The general marched along to Mount Sapad,
Advancing swiftly and without remorse;
But when he reached the throne where wretchedly
The poor, slain man lay pillowed with his mother,
While on one hand beside the pillow sat,
All tears and wrath, Bahram, and on the other,
With all the men of battle crowding round
About him, Zanga son of Shawaran,
While tree-like on the ivory throne the hero -
A moon in face, a teak in stature, slept -
A Siyawush upon his throne of gold -
With coat of mail and helmet, mace and girdle,
While Giv, Gudarz, the other men of name
And gallant chiefs, bewailed him bitterly,
Then Tus poured out his heart's blood down his cheeks
In anguish for Farud and his own son,
While Giv, Gudarz, and all the warriors
With sighs and tears turned and upbraided him:-
"Thy fury beareth thee remorse as fruit
Sow not the seeds of fury in the garden.
Thus in thy haste and fury hast thou given
At youth of Kaian stock with all his Grace,
His stature, form, and bearing to the wind,
Hast given Zarasp, that chief sprung from Naudar,
And given too - that victim of thy rage -
Rivniz! Ill fortune bath left naught undone!
But parts and wisdom in the passionate
Are like a sword that groweth blunt with rust."
While thus they spake Tus wept; his rage and fury
Abated; he replied: "From evil fortune
No lack of toil and moil befalleth man."
He gave directions to his men to build
Upon the mountain-top a royal charnel
Wherein they placed a throne of gold, the mail,
Sword, mace, and girdle, then prepared the corpse,
Requiring roses, camphor, musk and wine,
And with the camphor they embalmed his head,
His body with rose-water, musk, and gums.
They set him on the throne and left him there;
That famed, accomplished, lion-hearted man
Thus passed away. Beside the prince they set
Rivniz and great Zarasp, while Tus, with beard
Like camphor, shed a stream of tears of blood.
'Tis always thus! However long we stay
Proud Elephant and Lion must away!
The hearts of stone and anvil quake with fear
Of death; no root and leaf escape it here.

How Tus led the Host to the Kasa Rud, and how Palashan was slain by Bizhan

When Tus the general had made an end
Of fighting with Farud, and left the heights,
He halted at Charam three days. The blare
Of trumpets rose upon the fourth; then Tus
Led forth the host and sounded pipe and tymbal,
While all the earth from mountain unto mountain
Turned ebon. Whatso Turkman troops he saw
He slew and flung them down upon the road,
Left all the marches neither woof nor warp,
And thus proceeded to the Kasa rud,
Where he encamped the army: all the earth
Was covered by his tents.
"Troops from Iran
Are at the Kasa rud! " Such tidings reached
Turan, and from the Turkmans there came forth
Shrewd Palashan, a youthful warrior,
The leader of their host, to view the foe,
And count the camp-enclosures and the flags.
Within the lines there was a rising ground
On one side, and unoccupied by troops
There Giv was sitting with Bizhan, conversing
On matters great and small. Appeared the flag
Of Palashan, come from the Turkman host,
Upon the road, whereat the gallant Giv
Unsheathed his sword. "I will go forth," quoth he,
"Behead, or bring him captive to our folk."
Bizhan said: "Man of name! the Shah bestowed
A robe of honour on me for this end;
According to his order I must gird
Myself to fight the warrior Palashan."
"Haste not to battle with this savage Lion,"
Giv answered. "God forbid that thou shouldst fight him,
And straiten mine own day. A Lion he,
This desert is his feeding-ground, he preyeth
On none but warriors."
Bizhan replied:-
Oh Oh! put me not to shame before the world-lord
By speaking thus, but let me have the armour
Of Siyawush. Be mine to hunt this Leopard."
Then gallant Giv gave him the coat of mail.
Bizhan, when he had made the buckles fast,
Bestrode a rapid charger, and rode off
Upon the desert with a spear in hand.
Now Palashan, who had brought down a deer,
Was roasting some kabab upon a fire,
And eating with his bow upon his arm,
The while his horse was ranging free to graze
It saw afar the charger of Bizhan,
Neighed loudly, and ran in; so Palashan
Knew that a horseman came prepared for fight,
And shouted to Bizhan: "I fling down lions,
And fetter divs. Declare thy name; thy star
Shall weep for thee."
He said: "Bizhan am I -
A brazen-bodied div when fight is toward.
My grandsire is a Lion of the fray,
My sire is gallant Giv, and thou shalt see
My prowess. This brave day, when battle breatheth,
Thou, like a carrion wolf upon the mountains,
Eat'st ashes, smoke, and blood! How cometh it
That thou art leading troops upon the waste?"
He answered not but gave his mighty steed
The rein. The warriors closed, the dark dust flew.
Their spear-points brake; both took their scimitars,
Which shivered with their strokes. The riders shook
Like leaves upon a tree, the steeds were drowned
In sweat, and staggered. Then the noble Lions,
The combatants, drew forth their heavy maces.
Thus went it till Bizhan with mace on shoulder
Sent up a shout, struck valiant Palashan
Upon the waist, and brake his spine. His corpse,
All helmed and mailed, fell headlong from his charger.
Bizhan, dismounting with the speed of dust,
Cut off the warrior's head and carried it
Together with the arms and steed to Giv,
Who had been troubled o'er the fight, and thought:-
"How will the wind of battle blow to-day?"
And groaned and fidgeted upon the watch
Until Bizhan's dust rose upon the road.
The youth came bringing head and mail and charger,
And placed them all before his sire who cried:-
"For ever be victorious, O my son!"
They went with joy toward the chief's pavilion,
And brought to him the breastplate, helmet, steed,
And head of Palashan. Tus gladdened so
That thou hadst said: "He will pour out his soul."
"Son of the Backbone of the host," said he,
"Head of the famed of our Shah's diadem!
Live ever joyfully, aspiring still,
And banished far from thee be foeman's ill."

How the Iranians suffered in a Snowstorm

Thereafter tidings reached Afrasiyab:-
"The marches of Turan are like a sea
A host hath reached the Kasa rud, and earth
Is blackened in revenge for Siyawush."
The king said to Piran: "Khusrau hath made
His object clear; perchance we may prevent him
By marching forth with flags and drums in force;
If not the army from Iran will come,
And we shall see not shining sun or moon.
Go gather troops together from all quarters;
Few words are needed."
On the Iranian side
A tempest rose and none took thought of fight;
A dense cloud came like flying dust, their lips
Congealed with cold, the tents and camp-enclosures
Were turned to ice, snow carpeted the mountains,
And for a sennight's space earth disappeared.
There was but little food or rest or sleep
Thou wouldst have said: "Earth's face is turned to stone."
They slew and ate their horses. Multitudes
Of men and cattle perished. None at last
Possessed a charger. When the eighth day came
The sun prevailed, the earth was like a sea,
The troops were mustered, and Tus spake of fight;
He said: "The host hath suffered greatly here;
'Tis well that we proceed upon our march.
Cursed be these fields and fells, all from Kalat
And Mount Sapad down to the Kasa rud! "
Then from the warrior-throng thus spake Bahram:-
"I needs must tell the general my mind
Concerning this. Thou makest us keep silence!
Thou fightest with the son of Siyawush!
I told thee: 'Do not so: it is not right.'
See what a loss hath followed and what ill
May yet confront thee, for the buffalo
Is still within its hide!"
Is not more famed than was Zarasp the brave,"
Said Tus, "nor was Farud slain innocent.
'Twas written thus, and what hath been hath been.
Look through the host and see whom thou canst find
In courage and in aspect like Rivniz,
Through whom my cup was filled with wine and milk.
His form was youthful but his words were sage.
Now let us speak no further of the past,
Or whether he was justly slain or not;
And since Giv took a present from the Shah
That he might set that mass of faggots blazing,
Which now is in the way, 'tis time to do it,
And light up heaven with the conflagration;
Thus we may gain a passage for the troops."
Giv said to him: "This will not be a toil,
Or, if it be, a toil not unrequited."
Bizhan was grieved: "I cannot give," he said,
"Consent to this. Thou rearedst me in stress
And hardihood, without a chiding word
It must not be that I a youth sit still,
While thou an old man girdest up thy loins."
Giv said: "My son! I took this enterprise
Upon my shoulders; 'tis the time for arms,
Not for indulgence and decrepitude.
Be not in dudgeon at my going, I
Can burn a flinty mountain with my breath."
He passed the Kasa rud albeit with stress,
The world for warp and woof had ice and snow,
And when he reached the barricade of faggots
Its length and breadth were more than he could tell;
He used a javelin-point to kindle fire,
Threw it upon the mass and burned the pile.
For three weeks conflagration, wind, and smoke
Allowed no passage through the burning mass,
But when the fourth week came the army went
Across the river for the fire was spent.

How Bahram captured Kabuda

Tus, when the host was mustered, left the fire
For Giravgard. They marched in fair array,
Camped on the hills and plains, took due precautions,
And hurried out the scouts on every side.
Tazhav the cavalier - one used to fight
With lions-dwelt at Giravgard and kept
The herds there, driving them from hill to hill.
News came: "A host hath come forth from Iran
The cattle must be driven out of reach."
He sent a warrior with all dispatch
To tell a herdsman of Afrasiyab's -
Kabuda hight, an able man withal,
And there was need for his ability:-
"Depart at dark and keep thyself unseen;
Observe how large the Iranian army is,
And see whose are the standards and the crowns.
My purpose is to make a night-attack,
And fill the mountains and the plains with blood."
When it was dark Kabuda drew anigh,
Like some black div, the army of Iran.
That night Bahram, whose lasso snared the heads
Of elephants, was on the outpost-guard,
And, when Kabuda's charger neighed, Bahram
Pricked up his ears, sat firm, and strung his bow;
Then urged his mighty charger from the spot.
Without a word he let an arrow fly,
Though darkness hid Kabuda from his sight,
And struck the royal herdsman on the belt;
His face turned black; and falling from his steed
He begged for life. Bahram said: "Tell me truly
Who sent thee hither? Whom wouldst thou attack?"
Kabuda said: "If thou wilt grant me quarter
I will reply to all thy questioning
My master is Tazhav. I am his servant,
And sent by him; so put the not to death,
And I will guide thee to his dwelling-place."
Bahram replied: "Know that Tazhav to me
Is as a bullock to a rending lion."
He cut Kabuda's head off with a dagger,
Secured it to his royal saddle-straps,
Took it to camp and flung it down in scorn
As that of one unfamed, no cavalier
To fight.
The voice of chanticleer and lark
Arose, and yet Kabuda came not back
Tazhav the warrior was sad at heart,
Aware that evil had befallen him;
Then summoned all the troops that were about
Available, and promptly led them out.

How the Iranians fought with Tazhav

Now when the sun had set up on the plain
Its standard, and its sword had turned the rear
Of night to violet, Tazhav the chieftain
Led forth his men. Shouts from the look-out reached
The Iranians: "From Turan a host bath come
To fight. Their leader is a Crocodile
With flag in hand."
Then from the nobles Giv
Went forth to him, escorted by a troop
Of valiant warriors, fiercely asked his name,
And said: "O lover of the fray? hast come
With such a force as this to meet the claws
Of Crocodiles?"
The bold Tazhav replied:-
"A lusty heart and lion's claws are mine.
Tazhav am I, I fling down men and pluck
The heads of valiant Lions from their trunks.
By birth and worth I am Iranian,
Sprung from the warriors and the Lions' seed.
Now I am marchlord of the country round -
A chosen chief, the king's own son-in-law."
Giv said: "Nay say not so, 'twill dim thy glory.
Would any leave Iran and settle here
Unless he lived on blood or colocynth?
If thou art marchlord and king's son-in-law
How is it that thou hast not mightier powers?
With such a band as this seek not the fray,
Nor go with vehemence against the brave;
For I who speak - a hero worshipful
And famous - trample on the heads of marchlords.
If thou with all thy troops wilt do my bidding,
And hence depart Irinward to the Shah,
Go first of all to Tus our general,
Apply to him, and hearken to his words.
I will take care that thou shalt have a gift
From him - goods, slaves, and steeds caparisoned.
This seemeth well to me, O prudent man!
What say'st thou? Shall I have to fight to-day?"
Tazhav the traitor said: "O gallant one!
None lowereth my flag. Now I have here
The throne and signet, horses, flocks, and soldiers;
Moreover in Iran no person dreameth
Of such a king as is Afrasiyab.
Slaves too have I, and herds of wind-foot steeds,
Which wander over mountain, vale, and plain.
Look not upon my little band but me,
And at the mace upon my saddle-bow,
For I will maul thy troops to-day till thou
Repent thy coming."
Then Bizhan exclaimed:-
O famous chief-engrosser of the fight,
Exalted and shrewd-hearted paladin
In age thou art not as thou wast in youth.
Why givest thou this counsel to Tazhav?
Why so much love and amity for him?
Our business is to draw the sword and mace,
And to cut out these peoples' hearts and brains."
He urged his steed; the battle-cry went up;
They laid upon their shoulders sword and mace.
A cloud of murky dust rose in the midst
So that the sun became invisible,
The world grew gloomy as a winter's cloud,
And men beheld not shining star or moon.
Bold Giv who used to rob the sky of lustre
Was in the midst, Bizhan the deft of hand,
Who dallied not in action, led the van.
Tazhav, who wont to fight the rending lion,
And wore his crown, opposed them with Arzhang
To help him and Mardwi the Lion - two
That wearied not of fight yet gat small fruit
That day, for brave Arzhang withdrew himself,
The more part of the Turkman troops were slain,
And froward fortune turned its head away.
Tazhiv the valiant fled. That famous Lion,
Bizhan, pursued him, shouting eagerly,
And with a spear in hand. Thou wouldst have said:-
"It is a maddened, roaring elephant! "
One spear-blow struck Tazhav upon the waist,
And all his lustihood departed from him.
The man reeled, but the Ruman coat of mail
Gave not, nor did the fastenings of it break.
Bizhan flung down his spear and made a clutch,
Like leopard springing at a mountain-sheep,
And then, as falcon bindeth lark, snatched off
That crown of great price which Afrasiyab
Had set upon his head, a crown that never
Was absent from his thoughts and from his dreams.
He urged his steed toward the castle-gate,
Pursued thus by Bizhan at lightning-speed,
And, when he neared the castle, Ispanwi
Came wailing with her face suffused with tears,
And cried out loudly to him: "O Tazhav!
Where are thy host, thy mettle, and thy might
That thou shouldst turn thy back upon me thus,
And leave me in this castle shamefully?
Give me a seat behind thee; let me not
Be left inside the castle for the foe."
The heart of proud Tazhav was set on fire,
And his cheeks flamed. She mounted swift as wind
Behind him on his steed and clasped his waist..
He rushed along like dust with Ispanwi;
They made toward Turan. The charger sped
Awhile till man and beast were both fordone,
And then Tazhav addressed his handmaid, saying:-
"O my fair mate! here is a grievous case!
My charger is exhausted with this work,
Foes are behind, in front is a ravine,
And though we race Bizhan some distance yet
Still they will have their will of us at last;
So as they are not enemies to thee
Remain behind while I urge on my horse."
Then Ispanwi alighted from the steed
Tazhav's face was all tears at losing her,
Yet sped he on to reach Afrasiyab,
And all the while Bizhan was in pursuit,
Who when he spied the moon-faced Ispanwi,
Her musky hair descending to her feet,
Came to her, took her with all gentleness,
Made room for her behind him, and returned
Toward the army of the paladin.
He reached the entrance of the tent of Tus,
Rejoicing, whence arose the sound of drums,
Because Bizhan, that horseman brave and wary,
Was coming with his quarry from the fight.
Tus and the chiefs - those lovers of the fray -
Then set themselves to pillaging the hold,
And afterward they went to seek the herds
That roamed about the desert of Turan.
They took, as warriors are wont, their lassos,
And quickly furnished all the host with steeds,
While in the palace whence Tazhav had fled
Were fierce Iranian horsemen lodged instead.

How Afrasiyab had Tidings of Tus and his Host

Now when Tazhav with wet eyes and in dudgeon
Came to the presence of Afrasiyab
He spake thus: "Tus the general arrived,
And brought a host with trump and kettledrum,
While as for Palashan and other nobles,
Their heads were brought down to the dust in anguish.
The foeman fired the marches and the fields,
Destroying all the herds."
Was grieved thereat and sought a remedy.
He spake thus to Piran the son of Wisa:-
"I bade thee: 'Gather troops from every side,'
But thou hast loitered through old age or sloth,
Or disaffection; many of our kin
Are slain, and watchful fortune's face is from us;
But now we may not tarry, for the world
Hath grown strait even to the vigilant!"
Then all in haste Piran the general
Went from the presence of Afrasiyab,
Called up the troops from all the provinces,
Served arms out, paid the soldiers, and marched forth.
The frontier passed he gave each man his post,
The right wing to Barman and to Tazhav -
Two cavaliers whose strength was that of lions -
The left wing to the valiant Nastihan -
One in whose clutches lions were as lambs.
The world was filled with blast of clarions,
And clang of cymbals and of Indian bells,
Air was a blaze of or, gules, and purpure
With all the spears and divers-coloured flags,
While what with troops, steeds, elephants, and camels
There was no passage left 'twixt sea and sea.
Piran went forth in haste. Afrasiyab
Departed from his palace to the plains,
And numbered all the army man by man
To see how many noble warriors
There were. He made the total five score thousand -
All lion-men and wielders of the sword -
Then bright. and glad oft blessed Pinan, and said:-
"Thou settest forth with joy to victory
Ne'er may thine eye behold the bale of time."
The army marched along troop after troop,
No plain was visible or sea or height;
Piran commanded: "Quit the accustomed route,
Take the short road; the foeman must not hear
Of these my noble and illustrious troops,
So may I bring this great host like a mountain
Down unawares upon yon army's head."
He sent intelligencers out forthwith,
And shrewdly sought to learn how matters stood;
Then, stubbornly proceeding on his march,
Advanced toward Giravgard prepared for battle.
The chiefs reported what the spies announced:-
"Tus the commander tarrieth where he was
No sound of drums hath risen from the troops,
For all of them are drinking themselves drunk,
And wine is in their hands both day and night.
He hath no mounted outpost on the road,
Not reeking of the army of TLĖran."
Piran, when he had heard this, called the chiefs,
Spake unto them at large about the foe,
And said thus: "Never in the fight have we
Held such a vantage o'er the enemy!"

How Piran made a Night-attack on the Iranians

Out of that noble host Piran made choice
Of thirty thousand horse with scimitars,
Who marched at dead of night; no tymbal sounded,
No trumpet blared, none raised the battle-cry.
Now when the wary chief led forth his troops
Seven leagues remained betwixt them and the foe,
And first they came upon the Iranians' herds
At large upon the desert of Turan,
Took many beasts and bore them off withal -
Mishap unparalleled! The overseers
And herdsmen were all slain, the Iranians' fortune
Had grown averse. Thence like a murky cloud
The Turkmans marched upon the Iranian host -
All drunken and disposed in groups unarmed;
Howbeit Giv was in his tent alert,
Gudarz the chieftain sober. Then arose
The war-cry with the crash of battle-axes,
And Giv - that fight-engrosser - was astound.
There stood in front of his pavilion
A steed caparisoned in battle-gear.
The gallant hero lion-like arrayed
His body in the mail of Siyawush,
And, raging like a leopard at himself
In shame for his own indolence and sloth,
"Up! Up! " quoth he. "How is it that to-night
My brain is filled with fumes instead of war?"
Then having mounted rushed forth like a blast.
He saw the heaven dark with night and dust,
And entering the chief's pavilion
Exclaimed: "Up! Up! The enemy hath come
While we - the warriors of the Shah - are sleeping!"
Departing thence he visited his sire,
An ox-head mace in hand. As quick as smoke
He went about the host, awoke the sober,
And chode Bizhan: "Is this the place for wine
Or fighting?"
The Iranians were hemmed in,
The war-cry rose, the tumult dazed the drunken,
A cloud ascended and its rain was arrows.
Soft pillows were beneath the drunkards' heads,
Above were sword, hot mace, and scimitar.
Now when dawn showed forth from the Sign of Leo,
And gallant Giv surveyed the host, he saw
The waste all covered with Iranian slain,
And watchful fortune's head averse from them.
Gudarz too looked about on every side;
The foemen's number grew continually;
Against the little force there ranged itself
A host like ants and locusts. Tus too looked,
And saw no fighting-men save Giv, Gudarz,
And other cavaliers all sore bestead.
The flags were rent, the kettledrums o'erturned,
And the survivors' cheeks like ebony,
For sires had lost their sons and sons their sires,
And that great host was utterly o'erthrown,
Since so the swiftly circling vault, which now
Affordeth pleasure and now pain, decreed.
Unable to resist they turned their backs,
Abandoning their camp in their confusion,
Disorganised, without their drums and baggage,
And sorely stricken both on left and right.
On this wise fared they toward the Kasa rud -
A strengthless mob. With vengeful souls and tongues
All jeers the Turkman horsemen followed Tus,
And thou hadst said that maces from the clouds
Rained in the rear on hauberk, helm, and mail.
None made a stand, the warriors took refuge
Among the mountains, foundered like their steeds,
And had no spirit, strength, or staying power.
Now at the heights the Turkman host turned back,
Exhausted by the fight and long pursuit,
And Tus no farther feared the foe's assault.
The Iranian troops bewailed their many lost,
Who if they lived were wounded or in bonds -
Alike a cause for tears. No crown or throne
Remained, no tent, no steed, no warrior;
The land was barren and provided nothing,
While nobody went forth to seek the wounded.
The son bewailed the father bitterly,
And burned in anguish for the suffering.
The use and custom of the world is this
To keep back from thee what its purpose is.
Its juggling tricks behind a veil are done,
It acteth harshly and capriciously,
While in greed's grip we travail long, and none
Can tell appearance from reality.
From wind thour camest and to dust wilt go
What They will do to thee how canst thou know?
The more part of the Iranian troops were slain,
The rest had come back wounded; at their beds
No leeches were, but grief and tears of blood.
Tus battle-maddened was beside himself,
So to Gudarz the hoary veteran,
Deprived of child and grandchild, home and land ,
There came the other veteran warriors
With broken hearts to seek his leadership.
He placed a watchman on a mountain-top
To keep his eyes intently on the foe,
While outposts went their rounds on every side
To find perchance a cure for this distress.
He bade a noble of the Iranians
To girdle up his loins to give the Shah
The news of what the captain of the host
Had done, and how, by their ill day opprest,
They had small profit from their vengeance-quest.

How Kai Khusrau recalled Tus

The courier carried to the Shah the tidings
Of that eclipse of fortune. Brave Khusrau
Was troubled when he heard, his bosom throbbed
With grief. To anguish at his brother's case
Was added anguish on the troops' account.
That night he uttered malisons on Tus
Till cock-crow. Summoning a prudent scribe,
And pouring out the fulness of his heart,
He wrote a letter in a wrathful strain,
With eyes all tears in mourning for his brother,
To Fariburz the son of Shah Kaus -
A letter for the chieftains of the host.
First in the letter came the praise of Him,
Who made both earth and time, thus: "In the name
Of Him Who is the Lord of sun and moon,
And giveth power alike to good and bad
From Him come triumph and defeat, from Him
Both good and bad get might and their desire..
He fashioned the world and place and time,
He fashioned ant's foot and massy mountain,
And hath bestowed life, lustihood, and wisdom,
High throne and majesty and diadem.
No man can free himself from that control.;
The lot of one is Grace and throne, another's
Misfortune, want, grief, suffering, and hardship;
Yet see I that All-holy God is just
In everything, from yonder shining sun
To darksome dust.
Tus with the flag of Kawa,
And forty warriors wearing golden boots,
I sent out with a host against TlirAn,
And, first fruit of revenge, my brother perished!
Let not Iran have such another chief!
Let not the host have such another leader!
Alas! Alas! my brother, young Farud -
The head of nobles and the stay of heroes!
I was in tears of anguish for my sire,
A long while was I burning in that sorrow,
And now my brother is the cause of tears!
I know not who are friends and who are foes.
'Go not,' I said to Tus, 'toward Charam;
Breathe not upon Kalat or Mount Sapad,
Because Farud is with his mother there.
He is a warrior of royal race;
He knoweth not this army whence it is,
And if they be Iranian troops or what;
He will come forth to stop the way and stake
His head upon the issue of a fight.'
Alas! that warrior of royal birth
Whom wretched Tus hath given to the wind!
If he had been commander heretofore
It had been evil hap for Shah Kaus,
And furthermore he slumbereth in battle,
And only rouseth to sit down to drink.
There is no prowess in his neighbourhood,
And may a soul so darkened cease to be!
When thou shalt read this letter stir thyself;
Put far away from thee food, rest, and sleep;
Send 'Tus back with all speed, observe mine orders,
And heed not other counsels. Thou art chief,
The captain of the host; 'tis thine to wear
The golden boots and hold the flag of Kiwa.
Illustrious Gudarz will counsel thee
In all; haste not to fight, keep far from wine,
Abstain from slumber, seek not at the first
To fight through anger, tarry as thou art
Until the wounded are restored to health;
Then Giv will lead thy van for he possesseth
Grace, stature, and the clutches of a leopard;
Bring from all sides material for the war,
And God forfend thou think of banqueting! "
They sealed this letter with the Shah's own signet,
Who thus enjoined the messenger: "Depart
Upon the road; repose not night or day,
And take another horse at every stage."
So sped the messenger until he came
To Fariburz and gave him the dispatch,
Who summoned Tus and Giv and all the chiefs,
Spake of the past, read the Shah's letter to them,
And then a new Tree fruited in the world.
The nobles and the Lions of Iran
All called a blessing down upon the Shah,
The leader Tus gave up the royal standard,
The drums, the elephants, and golden boots
To Fariburz, and said to him: "They come
As worthy comrades to a worthy man.
May fortune always give thee victory,
Be every day of thine a New Year's Day."
Then Tus took all the kindred of Naudar,
Those warlike cavaliers and their command,
And making no delay upon the road
Came from the field of battle to the Shah,
And kissed the ground before him, while Khusrau
Vouchsafed not so much as to look at him,
And only spake to utter malisons,
Disgraced Tus in the presence of the court,
And said at last: "Thou man of evil mark
Let thy name cease among the illustrious.
Dost thou not fear the holy Lord of earth?
Hast thou no awe or reverence for heroes?
I gave to thee a royal helm and girdle,
And sent thee forth to fight against the foe.
Did not I say: 'Go not toward Charam'?
Yet didst thou go and give my heart to sorrow,
Didst first of all take vengeance on myself,
And minishedst the race of Siyawush!
My noble brother - brave Farud - whose peer
The age had not thou slowest, and to fight
With him 'twould need a host of men like thee!
Thereafter when thou wentest to the fray
Thou wast absorbed in minstrelsy and feasting!
Thou hast no place among the throng of men,
The things for thee are chains and straps and madhouse;
Nor hast thou business with the men of rank,
Because thou hast no wise considerance.
Thy white beard and descent from Minuchihr
Have given thee hope of life; else had I bidden
One of thine enemies to be thy headsman.
Go! Let a prison be thy home henceforth,
And let thine evil nature be thy jailor."
He drave Tus out, put him in bonds, and tore
The root of gladness from his bosom's core.

How Fariburz asked a Truce of Piran

So Fariburz, since he was paladin
As well as prince, assumed the casque and bade
Ruhham display his name and native worth
By going from the mountain to Piran
To treat with him: "Go to Piran," he said,
"Convey to him a friendly embassage,
And say: 'The process of the turning sky
Hath been fraught ever thus with hate and love
It lifteth one to heaven on high, another
It maketh vile, sad, and calamitous,
Him specially that seeketh warriors' hurt.
Now night-attacks are not the wont of heroes
And mighty men that brandish massive maces.
If thou wilt cease from arms we too will cease;
If thou preferrest war then we will fight,
But let there be a one month's armistice
In order that the wounded may recruit.'"
The brave Ruhham went out from Fariburz,
And took with him the message and the letter.
He went his way, the Turkman outposts saw him,
And asked him who he was and whence he came.
Ruhham replied: "A warrior am I,
A man of prowess, weight, and watchfulness -
The bearer of a message to Piran
From Fariburz the son of Shah Kaus."
A horseman of the outpost went like dust
To tell the tidings, and thus spake: "Ruhham,
Son of Gudarz, hath come to see the chief."
Piran commanded him to be brought in,
And treated with all honour and respect.
The eloquent Ruhham approached in dread
Of what the foe might purpose, but Piran,
On seeing him, received him graciously,
And placed him on the throne. Ruhham then told
His business, and Piran said: "'Tis no trifle;
Ye stirred up strife; we marked no sloth in Tus;
He crossed the border like a savage wolf,
And slaughtered great and small remorselessly.
What multitudes he slew or carried off!
Our country's weal and woe were one to him.
Still now, although they took us unaware,
The Iranians are repaid for their ill deeds;
So if thou art the captain of the host
Demand of me according as thou needest.
If thou wilt have a month of armistice
None of our horsemen shall go forth to fight.
If thou wilt fight I too am fain for war;
Prepare and set the battle in array.
If ye will use the month that we accord
In marching from the frontiers of Turan,
And in a swift retreat to your own borders,
Ye will behold your reputation saved;
But if not we will close with you in fight;
Ask not for any armistice henceforth."
He gave a robe of honour to Ruhham,
One suited to a man of his repute,
And brave Ruhham conveyed to Fariburz
A letter like the one that he had brought.
When Fariburz had gained a month's delay
He clutched in all directions like a lion.
They loosed the fastenings of the money-bags,
They gathered bows and lassos from all sides;
They went about, reorganised the host,
And partially regained what had been lost.

How the Iranians were defeated by the Turkmans

When with the ending of the month came war,
For they observed their compact honourably,
The soldiers' shouts went up on every side,
And all set forward to the battlefield;
The din of trumpet, drum, and bell shook heaven,
While what with chargers' crests, reins, hands, and swords,
Bows, battle-ages, lances, maces, bucklers,
And lassos, gnats could find no way. "The world,"
Thou wouldst have said, "is in the Dragon's maw,
Or heaven level with earth! "
Upon the right
Was Giv son of Gudarz, an archimage
And marchlord, on the left the skilled Ashkash,
Who shed blood in a river when he fought;
Before the standard at the army's centre
Was Fariburz, the son of Shah Kaus,
With men of battle. He harangued his troops,
And said: "Till now our prowess hath been hidden,
But we will fight to-day as lions fight,.
And make the world too narrow for our foes;
Else will our maces and our Ruman casques
Laugh at the host for this disgrace for ever."
They made a heavy rain of arrows fall
Like autumn tempests beating on a tree.
For arrows and the dust of shouting troops
No bird had room to fly, the falchions shone
Like diamonds and flamed amid the dust.
Thou wouldst have said: "Earth is a negro's face;
The stars are warriors' hearts." The multitudes
Of maces, spears, and trenchant scimitars
Brought Doomsday on the world. Giv from the centre
Advanced with lips a-foam and raised his war-cry.
He with the noble kinsmen of Gudarz,
With whom the issue lay for good or ill,
Strove with their spears and arrows, showering sparks
From steel. Gudarz fought fiercely with Piran,
And slew nine hundred of his kin. Lahhak
And Farshidward saw how their mighty host
Was going up in dust and charged on Giv,
Upon his mace-men and his valiant troops.
Shafts fell in showers from the chieftains' bows
Upon those famous warriors clad in mail
Till none could see the surface of the ground,
Earth was so hidden by the mass of slain,
While no man turned his back upon another
Or left his post. At length Human spake thus
To Farshidward: "We must attack the centre,
And, routing Fariburz, deprive the host
Of his support; it will be easy then
To beat the right wing and to seize the baggage."
They fell upon the centre, Fariburz
Fled from Human, the fighting line was broken,
The haughty chiefs gave way, each took his course,
Not one Iranian warrior stood his ground.
They saw the drums and standard in position
No more, and so with eyes bedimmed with fighting
They turned their backs upon the enemy,
And in that action only grasped the wind.
The tymbals, spears, and standard were o'erthrown,
Men could not tell the stirrup from the rein,
For they had lost all stomach for the fight;
The mountains and the plains were drenched with blood.
Then Fariburz, as foes were gathering
On every side, made for the mountain-skirt
With those Iranians whose life was whole,
Although for such a life one needs 'must weep.
Gudarz and Giv with many warriors
Of fame among the troops still held their own;
But when Gudarz observed the centre bare,
No flag of Fariburz, no chiefs or troops,
He turned with heart afire as if to flee
'Twas Doomsday for the kindred of Gudarz.
Giv said to him: "O ancient general:
Much hast thou seen of mace, and sparth, and arrow,
And if thy purpose is to flee Pinin
I needs must scatter dust upon my head.
Of chieftains and of veteran warriors
There will remain not one alive on earth.
For thee and me there is no cure for dying.
Death is the very last calamity,
And, since our rugged hour hath come upon us,
The foe should see thy face and not thy back.
I will not quit my post, let us not shame
Thy father's dust. Hast thou heard never then
This ancient saying from some man of lore:-
'When buttressed bacX to back two brethren stand
A mountain-mass is but as dust in hand'?
Thou art alive with seventy valiant sons,
And thou hast many Elephants and Lions
Among thy kindred. Break we with our swords
The foe's heart and uproot him though a Mountain."
Gudarz, when he had heard the words of Giv,
And marked the helmed heads of his warrior-kin,
Repented of his cautious redo and took
A firmer stand. Guraza, Gustaham,
With Barta and brave Zanga came to them,
And made a compact by a binding oath:-
"Though maces stream with blood we will not quit
This field, but, back to back, strive to retrieve
Our honour lost."
They took their stand and plied
The mace. Full many a noble foe was slain,
But fortune favoured not the Iranians.
Then old Gudarz said to Bizhan: "Depart
Hence quickly, take with thee thy mace, and arrows,
Direct thy horse's reins toward Fariburz,
And bring me Kawa's standard. It may be
That Fariburz will come with it himself,
And flush the face of earth with violet."
Bizhan on hearing this urged on his steed,
Came like Azargashasp to Fariburz,
And said to him: "Why art thou hiding here?
Employ thy reins as warriors use to do,
And stay no longer on the mountain-top;
But if thou wilt not come entrust to me
The flag and horsemen with their blue steel swords."
But Fariburz, no mate for wisdom then,
Cried out: "Away! Thou art in action rash
And new to war. The Shah gave me the standard,
The host, crown, throne, and leadership. This flag -
Becometh not Bizhan the son of Giv,
Or any other warrior in the world."
Bizhan laid hand upon his blue steel sword,
Struck at the standard, clove it in the midst,
Seized half thereof and, rushing from the throng,
Made off to bear the banner to the host.
Now, when the Turkmans saw it on the way,
A band of lion-hearted warriors
Went toward Bizhan and drew their iron sparths,
And blue steel swords, to fight for Kawa's standard.
Then spake Human: "Yon is the violet flag
Wherein is all the virtue of Iran;
If we can take it we shall make the world
Strait to the Shah."
Bizhan strung up his bow
As quick as dust, discharged a shower of arrows
Upon his foes, and, as he drove them back,
Prepared a banquet for the ravening wolf.
The cavaliers hard by said unto Giv
And Gustaham: "The Turkmans are retreating;
Perchance Bizhan is coming with the standard."
The brave chiefs of the Iranian host advancing
With massive maces slew the Turkman horse
In numbers. Famed Bizhan arrived apace,
And thence the chieftains held the ground for him
Up to the host. Like lion fierce he came
With Kawa's flag, the soldiers gathered round it,
And air grew violet - dim with horsemen's dust.
Once more the ininian host advanced to fight,
And in the foremost rank Rivniz was slain,
Who was as dear as life to Kai Kaus,
A younger son, a prince who wore a crown,
Beloved by Fariburz. When that head fell
Full many a noble hero rent his clothes,
And Giv exclaimed: "Chiefs, valiant warriors!
Upon this field of battle Fariburz,
The son of Shah Kaus, esteemed Rivniz
Above all else. The grandson and the son
Of old Kaus - Farud the son of Siyawush
And now Rivniz - have perished all in vain!
What greater wonder hath the world in store?
We must not let his crown fall to the foe
Amid the ranks of war, for that would be
Disgrace upon disgrace through it and through
The slaughter of Rivniz."
Now brave Piran,
The noble chieftain, heard the words of Giv,
And o'er that crown the battle rose afresh.
On both sides many fell and fortune quitted
The Irlinians, yet Bahram the warrior
Charged lion-like the foe and carried off
The crown upon his spear-point, while both hosts
Stood wondering, the Iranians full of joy
At rescuing that crown so late assumed.
The combat waxed more fierce, none turned aside,
They raged and smote each other on the head
Until the day grew dark, and eyes were baffled.
Eight of the kinsmen of Gudarz survived;
The rest had fallen on the battlefield.
Of Giv's seed there had perished five and twenty -
Men who were fit for diadem and treasure -
With seventy of the offspring of Kaus,
All cavaliers and Lions in the fight,
Besides Rivniz that crowned warrior,
No unit merely in the reckoning.
Nine hundred horsemen, kinsmen of Piran,
Were missing in the battle on that day,
While of the lineage of Afrasiyab
The fortunes of three hundred slept, howbeit
The field, the day, and therewithal the standard -
The lustre of the world - were with Piran
'Twas not the Iranians' day for combating;
Their combat-seeking ended in mishap,
They turned their faces from the battlefield,
Abandoning the wounded to their fate.
Now Gustaham had had his .charger killed
As fortune turned away, and he in mail
Went spear in hand afoot like one bemused.
Bizhan, approaching him as day grew dark,
Said to him: "Ho! Get up and ride behind me
There is none dearer to me than thyself."
So both of them bestrode a single charger.
When day was done they sought the mountain-skirt,
Abandoning the battle in a rout.
The Turkman cavaliers, with joyful hearts
Released from travail and anxiety,
Returned to their own camp with haughty mien
And fit for fight, while on the Iranian side
The ears were deafened by heart-rending cries,
As all mourned on the mountain friend or kinsman.
Such is the process of this ancient sky!
Turn as it may there is no remedy,
And still it turneth o'er us loving none,
But treating friend and enemy as one,
Well may it be a cause of dread to all
Whose fortune's head is bending to a fall!

How Bahram returned to look for his whip on the Battlefield

That night, when both the armies were at rest,
Bahram came to his sire in haste and said:-
"O mine illustrious sire and worshipful!
When I retrieved that crown, and raised it cloudward
Upon my spear, I lost a whip of mine.
Those villain Turkmans, when they pick it up,
Will break their jests upon the great Bahram;
The world will be all ebon in mine eyes.
The Turkman general will use a whip
That hath my name inscribed upon the leather.
I will go quickly and recover it
However great and long the toil may be.
Doth this ill come upon me from the stars
That my renown may go down to the dust?"
Said old Gudarz: "O son! thou wilt but end
Thy fortunes. Wilt thou face the foemen's breath
So madly for a stick bound round with leather?"
Giv said: "My brother! go not forth. New whips
Have I in plenty - one whose haft is gold
And silver, two with handles of fine pearls
And other genes. When Farangis unlocked
The treasury and gave so many arms
And belts to me I took this whip and breastplate;
The rest I left unheeded in Turan.
Moreover Shah Kaus bestowed upon me
A whip resplendent as the moon with jewels,
And five I have besides of golden work
Inwrought with royal gems, and all the seven
Will I bestow upon thee. Go not forth
And wantonly provoke a new engagement."
Said brave Bahram to Giv: "I cannot hold
This shame of small account. Your talk is all
Of colour and design, mine of a name
Now wedded to disgrace. I will recover
My whip or, by endeavouring this, will bring
Mine own head to the shears."
Bahram misread
God's purpose, and his fortune proved averse.
The fool is all agog to take his leap
Just when his fortune falleth into sleep!
Bahram pricked forth by moonlight to the field,
And bitterly bewailed the slain, those luckless
And heart-seared ones. The body of Rivniz
Was whelmed in blood and dust, his tunic rent.
BahrAm the Lion wept for him and cried:-
"Alas! O young and valiant cavalier!
Men slain like thee are but a pinch of dust!
For nobles palaces, for thee a trench!"
Among his brethren flung on that broad plain
He roamed. One, stricken by the scimitar,
Of all those chiefs still lived. He marked Bahram,
Wailed, asked his name, and said: "O Lion! I live,
Though flung among the slain, and I have craved
For two days bread and water and a robe
To sleep upon! "
Bahram made haste to him
With loving spirit and a kinsman's heart,
Began to weep and lacerate his cheeks,
Rent his own raiment into strips to bind
The wounds, and said: "Fear not; 'tis but a scratch,
And merely needeth binding. Thou shalt go,
When I have bound it, to the host again,
And speedily recover of thy hurts."
He thus restored one that was lost but knew not
That he himself was doomed to lose his way.
He said: "Stay here, youth: till I hurry back.
While I was fighting for the crown I dropped
My whip; when I have found it I will come,
And take thee to the army with all speed."
Thence hasting to the centre of the field
He searched about until he found the whip,
Which was amid a heap of wounded men
With much dust showered thereon and blood withal.
Alighting from his steed he took it up,
And heard the sound of neighing. His steed likewise
Perceived the neighing of some mares, became
As nimble as Azargashasp, rushed off,
And turned its head toward them while Bahram
In dudgeon followed after in his tunic
And helmet, with the sweat upon his face
With hurrying, until he reached the horse
And, having caught it, mounted carrying
In hand an Indian sword; but, when he spurred,
The steed moved not a foot. Both man and horse
Were covered o'er with dust and sweat. Bahram
Was so chagrined that with his scimitar
He slew the steed. Thence to the battlefield
He went as swift as wind. There all the plain
Was covered with the dead, and all the ground
Like cercis-bloom. "How can we make our way
Upon the plain," he said, "without a horse?"
The foe grew ware of him and from the centre
There hasted forth a hundred cavaliers
To capture him and from the battlefield
Convey him to Pinin. Bahram the Lion
Strung up his bow and showered shafts upon them -
A hero's shafts - so who could bide about him?
He slew or wounded most of them and sprang
Like some fierce lion at his enemies.
The rest withdrew and sought Piran, exclaiming:-
"Behold a Lion both in pluck and might,
Who though afoot will do his kind in fight!"

How Bahram was slain by Tazhav

The troops on their return informed Piran
Of that youth's deeds, and much talk passed thereon.
Piran inquired: "Who is this man? What name
Hath he among the noble?"
One replied:-
"Bahram the lion-queller, the host's lustre."
Piran said to Ruin: "Arise. Bahram
Can not escape. If thou canst take him living
The age will rest from strife. Take troops enough,
For he is famed and valiant."
Hearing this
Ruin went off on hostile thoughts intent.
Bahram perceived him quick as dust and showered
Shafts on him, sitting on a mound the while,
A Lion bold with shield before his head.
Ruin son of Piran was arrow-pierced,
The others lost all keenness for the fight.
They came disheartened to the paladin,
Full of concern and dudgeon, saying thus:-
None None ever fought so, and we have not seen
In any stream so fierce a crocodile."
Piran was sore distraught at this account,
And trembled like the leaf upon the tree;
Then mounting on his fiery steed went forth,
Accompanied by many warriors,
And coming to Bahram said: "Famous chief
Why is it that thou combatest afoot?
When thou wast in Turan with Siyawush
Thou usedst to be prudent, shrewd, reserved
We should eat bread and salt together, we
Should sit together and become fast friends.
With such high lineage and native worth,
Such lion-manhood and exceeding prowess,
Thy head must not be levelled with the dust,
And kin and country sorrow for thy sake.
Come let us make a covenant by oath
On such wise as shall satisfy thy heart;
Then will I make affinity with thee
And, having made it, will advance thee more.
Thou canst not fight against these famous troops
On foot! Be not a traitor to thyself."
Bahram said: "Paladin wise, shrewd, and ardent,
My lips have tasted nothing for three days,
And day and night have I been combating;
But Yet I must resume the fight forthwith
Unless thou wilt provide me with a steed
To bear me back to the Iranians, -
Back to the old Gudarz son of Kishwad."
Piran said: "Know'st thou not, O atheling!
That I can countenance no such design?
What I suggested is the better course
Thou art a brave man; act not recklessly.
Consider that the horsemen of our host
Hold it no small dishonour to themselves
That many of the scions of the great -
Men who wore diadems, well skilled in war -
Were killed or wounded by thee in the fight,
And smirched with dust. Who will approach Iran
Now but with tingling in his blood and brain?
If there were no fear of Afrasiyab,
And that his heart would be enraged at me,
I would, O youth! provide thee with a steed
To bear thee homeward to the paladin."
He spake thus, turned about, and went his way,
Love in his heart but prudence in his head,
While from the host Tazhav - a man whose might
Surpassed an elephant's - came forth to meet him,
And asked him what had passed. Piran replied:-
"There is no warrior equal to Bahrim.
I gave him out of kindness much good counsel,
Showed him his course, and proffered goodly league;
Mine offers found no access to his heart;
He fain would go back to the Ininian host."
Tazhav replied: "Love will not win his soul;
Now I will go and if I capture him
Afoot will put him 'neath the stones forthwith."
He hurried to the field impetuously,
Where brave Bahram was all alone in arms,
And, when he saw Bahram with spear in hand,
Cried loudly like a furious elephant,
And said to him: "Thou wilt not get away
In this fight from these famous warriors.
Dost thou expect to go back to Iran?
Dost thou expect to lift thy head on high?
Thou hast cut off our princes' heads. Abide,
For now thine own time draweth to a head."
He bade his mates: "Lay on and give it him
With arrow, double-headed dart, and dagger."
The troops closed in a body on Bahram,
All who were chief among the valiant men,
While he the hero having strung his bow
Dimmed with his shafts the brightness of the sky.
When arrows failed he took his spear in hand,
Till plain and hill were like a sea of gore,
And when the spear was cloven he.still shed blood
With mace and sword like raindrops from a cloud.
The fight continued on this wise: Bahram
Was wounded by the shafts of his brave foes,
And, when the hero's strength and vigour failed,
Tazhav came up and struck him from behind
A sword-cut on the shoulder. Brave Bahram
Fell from the hillock on his face; the hand
That used to wield the sword was smitten off;
He ceased from combating and all was over.
E'en fell Tazhav grew hot of heart for him,
And, as in shame and grief he turned his reins,
He felt the warm blood tingling in his veins.

How Giv slew Tazhav in Revenge for Bahram

When bright Sol showed its back, Giv, heart-oppressed
About his brother, spake thus to Bizhan:-
"Joy of my heart! my brother cometh not!
We must go forth and ascertain his case;
Let us not have to sorrow for the slain."
The valiant pair departed swift as dust
Toward the battlefield - the place of strife.
They sought him everywhere and, having found him,
Rushed anxiously toward him, shedding tears
Of blood. He lay - a wreck of gore and dust;
One hand was severed; all was over with him.
The gallant Giv fell from his charger's back,
And roared out like a lion. At the sound
Bahram moved, turned, and gaining consciousness
Spake thus to Giv: "O seeker after fame!
When thou hast shrouded me upon my bier
Avenge me on Tazhav; that Bull may not
Withstand the Lion. From the first Piran,
The son of Wisa, proved a friend to me,
Unlike the chiefs of Chin who sought revenge,
And then Tazhav, the injurious, gave these wounds,
Forgetting birth and rank."
Giv, when Bahram
Had spoken this, wept tears of gall and said:-
"I swear by God the Judge Omnipotent,
By white day and by azure night that till
I shall avenge Bahram my head shall see
No covering save a Ruman helm."
All vengeance
And grief he mounted, Indian sword in hand.
Now when the world's face dusked Tazhav returned
From outpost duty. Spying him afar
Brave Giv rode toward him with a freer breath
On seeing him thus parted from the host,
No chiefs or warriors near. Giv loosed his lasso,
And caught the foe about the waist forthwith,
Then placed the lasso 'neath his thigh, wheeled round,
And lightly dragged Tazhav from saddle-back,
Flung him to earth disgraced and all forlorn,
And springing from the saddle bound his hands.
Giv, mounting, like a madman haled Tazhav
Along the ground who begged for mercy, saying:-
"No fight is left in me, thou valiant man!
What have I done that of this countless host
Thou givest me to-night a glimpse of Hell?"
Giv struck him with the whip two hundred times
Across the head, and answered thus: "No words!
Dost thou not know, thou wretch! that thou hast set
A fresh tree in the garden of revenge -
One that will reach to heaven, one whose trunk
Is fed on blood while daggers are its fruit?
Since thou must hunt Bahram thou shalt explore
The Crocodile's strait gullet, for the ill
That robbed Bahram of life wrung Giv's heart too."
"Thou art the eagle and the lark am I,"
Tazhav replied. "I bore Bahram no grudge,
Nor caused his death; the cavaliers of Chin
Had slain him ere I came."
"Pernicious wretch: "
Said Giv, "spare thine excuse and futile words."
Giv dragged him to Bahram, the wounded Lion.
And said: "Behold this faithless head'; I pay
The savage with the meed of savagery.
I thank the Maker, the Omnipotent,
That fate hath granted to me time enough
To take thy foeman's life before thine eyes."
Tazhav begged quarter, saying: "That hath been
Which was to be. How will it profit thee
To take my head?"
Then wallowing in the dust
Before Bahram he cried: "O noble man!
I will be thy soul's slave and wait upon
The keeper of thy tomb."
Then said Bahram
To Giv: "WHower liveth hath to die.
Though he hath done me hurt he need not taste
The pangs of death, so spare his guilty head
That he may keep my memory alive."
But Giv, who saw his brother with such wounds,
And him that did the hurt a captive, seized
Tazhav's beard with a shout and headed him
As 'twere a lark! Bahram wept blood and marvelled
At heaven's processes, then raised a cry
Whose like, so strange it was, none ever heard:-
"If I shall slay, or thou slay in my presence,
My brothers or my kinsmen will be slain!"
This said, the brave Bahnim gave up the ghost.
'Tis ever thus with this world! He that would
Obtain the reins must bathe his hands in blood,
Slay or be slain! Shun thou ambition's mood.
Brave Giv wailed o'er Bahrhm and strewed dark dust
On his own head, then, having bound his brother
Upon Tazhav's steed, mounted presently.
He brought the body from the battlefield,
And had a royal sepulchre prepared.
He filled the skull with spicery and musk,
Enwrapped the corpse in silk of Chin, and set it
In royal state upon an ivory throne
To sleep, suspending over it a crown,
And painting the tomb's portal red and blue
Thou wouldst have said: "Bahram hath never been."
The famous warriors were absorbed in grief
For fortune changed, and for Bahram their chief.

How the Iranians went back to Khusrau

When bright Sol topped the mountains, and the head
And crown of white day showed, the scattered troops
Began to gather, and their converse ran:-
"Full many of the Iranian host are slain.'
Our leader's fortune hath deserted him,
So mighty were the Turkmans' hands in fight!
The army must not tarry longer here
We verily must go before the Shah,
And see how fortune turneth. If his heart
Be not intent on war then thou and I
Have no occasion to exert ourselves.
The sires have lost their sons, the sons their sires,
And most are wounded or in sore distress;
But if the Shah shall bid us to engage,
And shall equip a noble host, then we
Will march, our hearts filled with revenge and strife,
And make the world too narrow for our foes."
Thus minded they retreated from those marches,
Their eyes surcharged with tears, their hearts with
As brother sorrowed over brother's blood,
And sighs were on their tongues for kinsmen slain.
They marched together to the Kasa rud,
Farewelling with their tongues their fallen friends.
The scouts that went forth from the Turkman host
Saw none remaining on the battlefield,
And tidings reached Pinin the son of Wisa:-
"The land is cleared of the Ininians."
Pinin, on hearing this, without delay
Sent forth spies secretly on every side
And, being certified that that proud foe
Was gone indeed, released his heart from care.
He set forth with an escort at the dawn,
And went about to view the battlefield.
The plain and mountains, valleys and ravines,
Had tents and tent-enclosures numberless.
He gave them to the soldiers, marched away,
And marvelled at the process of the world
One day a rise, another day a fall,
Now all is gladness and then terror all,
In sooth our best course is the cup to raise
That maketh earth look bright, and fleet the days.
Piran sent one to tell Afrasiyab,
Who heard and joyed released from care and trouble.
The multitude light-hearted in their gladness
Adorned the road whereby Piran must pass;
They decorated all the roofs and doors,
And poured out drachms in showers upon his head.
As soon as he approached Afrasiyab
The king went forth with gifts to welcome him,
And called down many a blessing on him, saying:-
"Thou hast no peer among the paladins."
Then from the palace of Afrasiyab
For two weeks rose the sounds of harp and rebeck,
While on the third Piran resolved to go
Rejoicing to his home. The Turkman king
Made ready presents for him: thou wouldst be
Impatient if I told of the dinars,
The royal jewels, belts of gold with gems,
The Arab steeds with golden furniture,
The Indian scimitars with golden sheaths,
The splendid throne of teak and ivory,
The couch of turquoise and the amber crown,
The girls from Chin, the boys from Rum, with beakers
Of turquoise filled with musk and spicery.
This wealth Afrasiyab sent to Piran,
And added many other gifts beside,
While as the general left the royal presence
The king addressed him thus: "My loyal hero!
Be prudent, keep the fellowship of priests,
And guard the army from the enemy.
Dispatch in all directions trusty men
To act as spies and privily withal,
For Kai Khusrau is now possessed of wealth;
Beneficence and justice deck his land.
Since noble lineage and crown and throne
Are thine desire not any good beside.
Be not secure because the foe hath gone,
But seek fresh tidings as occasion serveth.
Thy soul will suffer if thou sleep'st at ease
So long as Rustam is the paladin -
The only man that giveth me concern -
For his whole business is to seek revenge.
I fear that he will rouse himself and lead
The armies of Iran against Turan."
Piran, as captain of the host and kinsman,
Accepted all the counsel of the king,
And set forth with his troops toward Khutan.
Now that the story of Farud is ended
Hear the campaign wherein Kamus contended.

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