THIS is steadfastness in the accomplishment of our objects; and persisting in the repulse of evils and mis­fortunes. And in truth, firmness brings forth happiness and blessings, and is productive of all the advantages of safety and salvation. Nor is there to any order among the tribes of mankind, that degree of dependence upon the quality of firmness, as to kings; for so long as the firmness of a monarch in protecting his subjects, and in repelling and subduing the rebellious and the mischievous, does not become apparent in the opinion of the noble and the vulgar, his troops and adherents will not lay the head upon the line of obedience; and men of revolt and contention will not refrain from schemes of disobedience and rebellion. Thus strength comes to a king by firmness; and prosperity to princes by seeking aid from it.

Each head which has obtained a crown of the jewels of firmness;
In dignity will pass beyond the sphere of the fixed stars.

A certain philosopher has said, that whoever wishes that the foundations of his sovereignty should be safe from ruin, should lay the structure of his proceedings upon firmness and steadfastness.

Place the foundation of business on firmness, and be secure;
For every structure which is upon a foundation, is permanent.

A man of firm steps, is one who does not turn his face from his own ways and proceedings, at the alarm of any con­sternation; and does not turn aside from his own customs and path, for the suggestion of any incitement: for the aid of the Companion of Safety does not appear except in the path of firmness. As the Divine philospher says:

“Do not suppose the path of safety to be in trepidation;
There is no temper better than firmness;
Hast thou a desire for exaltation of rank;
In projects of firmness, practise firmness.”

And the marks of firmness are two things: one is, that whatever affair he begins, he should consider the completion of it incumbent, as a duty of diligence.

They have related that the Emperor of Rome asked Naushīrvān, in what the stability of empire consisted. He replied, I never command any useless undertaking; and every affair, for which I give orders, I bring to a com­pletion.” The Emperor remarked that all the sages of Greece had said the same thing.

Whatever plan thou formest, like valiant men;
Practice perseverance, and make it complete;
That is to say, the standard, which thou raisest:
It is right, that thou shouldst not afterwards invert.

The second mark is, that any word which passes over his tongue, he should not speak, as far as is possible, to the contrary of it, As it is recorded in history, that Sultan Mahmūd was one day passing through the great square of Ghazuīn; he saw a porter, who, having placed a heavy stone on his back, was carrying for his palace; and in carrying it, much fatigue fell upon the man, and he suffered pain. The Sultan, when he observed the distress of the man, from the innate pity, and the natural kindness which he possessed, gave this order, “Porter, lay down this stone.” The porter threw down the stone in the middle of the square. The stone remained for a long time in the square, and the horses, when they came to the place used to shy and plunge. A party of the nobles, at a moment of con­venience, represented the circumstance to the prince, thus, “On such a day, a porter, according to the royal orders and imperial commands, having thrown down, into the middle of the square, a stone which he had upon his back, the horses pass by that spot with difficulty; and no one beside that porter is able to lift it up: if they should order that he may take it away from there, and make the way clear, it would appear suitable.” The king spoke thus, “It hath passed from our tongue thus, ‘Lay it down;’ if we should say, ‘Take it up,’ men would ascribe it to our inconstancy: let that stone remain in that very spot.” It is related that the stone lay in the square till the end of the life-time of the Sultan; and that even after his death, from a motive of respect for his word, no one, neither, of his children removed it.

The word of a king is the king of words;
In all circumstances it should be regarded;
That the contrary of it may not become public,
It is necessary to inscribe it on the tablet of the heart.