(Some) description of Khavarnaq.

Nu‘mān gives up the sovereignty.

Khavarnaq through the glory of Bahrām—when it became so solacing a place*580
That by the sky ’twas called “earth’s cynosure”, and “Spring of China” by creation named,—
From hearing news about it, countless men to gaze (upon its splendour) (thither) went.
Whoever saw it uttered (words of) praise, and humbly swept its threshold with his sleeves.
One or another would in flowing verse each point (of beauty) of Khavarnaq show.
O’er Yaman since Canopus bright had shone, nor moon nor sun such worship had received*581.
It was an Aden in pearl-scattering; a Yaman bathed in bright Canopus’ rays.
Yaman from its adornments which were famed, became as Iram*582 honoured in the world.
A world-adorner ’twas like Aries*583, still more, that Bahrām made it (his) abode.
When Bahrām mounted to the roof of it, Venus to (wish him) joy took up the cup*584.
He saw a palace fashioned like the sky: its sun within it, and its moon without*585.
The sun, within, refulgent beauty showed; the moon, without, a lamp to travellers*586.
The wind was always blowing o’er its head; from cold autumnal breezes (it was) free.
On all sides of the palace looking down, he saw a plain as spacious as the sky.
Sweet water on one side was flowing past; in wholesome purity the Stream of Life*587.
And on another, like the “Sidra-throne”*588, a village lay replete with oil and milk.
The desert (lay) in front, and at the back was meadow-land o’er which the air breathed musk.
(One day) Nu‘mān was seated with Bahrām viewing (the prospect) on that royal roof*589.
All round that house of paradise he saw the anemone’s red hue, the meadow’s green.
The plain entire as Shushtar’s tracts*590, a place of mountain partridges*591 and pheasants (too).
He said, What can be lovelier than this? In such a place one cannot but be gay.
At that time his vazīr was close at hand, a just man and a worshipper of Christ.
He said, In truth, to know God’s lovelier than anything there is in your domains.
Of that deep knowledge should you be possessed, you would withdraw your heart from (all) this show*592.
(Then) through the kindler of that burning spark was softened Nu‘mān’s firm and forceful*593 heart.
Since the sky raised its seven (high) fortresses, so strong a crane had never been at work*594.
Nu‘mān sprang from his place and rent his robes; he ran down (from the roof) like one distraught.
He sought the village, turned his heart from self, (and) under­stood his business in a trice*595.
Descended from the palace Nu‘mān turned like any lion towards the desert waste.
He gave up thoughts of treasure and of rule:—religion and the world cannot accord.
He took himself away from sovereignty, and vanished from the people like a fay*596.
No person saw him more in his own house—how excellent the great king of his age!
Though Munẕir*597 used all promptitude the voice of happy fortune gave him no reply.
He mourned as it was fitting he should mourn, devoting to his sorrow sundry days.
Much grief he felt, had reason too for grief, his house becoming blackened through this smoke*598.
He seeing no escape from throne and crown, assumed the duties of the crown and throne.
Forced back oppression, justice forwarded, and fixed dominion on a solid base*599.
The monarch to the troops and country gave the robe, con­tentment, with his leadership.
Bahrām he cherished as (his) precious life; e’en as a father would—nay, better still.
He had a handsome son, by name Nu‘mān, who with Bahrām had drunk one nurse’s milk.
Through friendship and equality of age (Nu‘mān) would not a moment part from him.
They studied from one tablet both as one, and in the same assembly scattered pearls*600.
E’en like the sun and light, they’d never be from one another any day apart.
In that high citadel the prince (Bahrām with every care) was fostered several years.
Except for study he had no desire; his intellect to knowledge was his guide.
A learned man, a Magian*601, taught (the prince) Persian and Arabic and also Greek.
Munẕir, that king majestic and benign*602, as reckoner of the sky had skill unmatched.
The Zodiac’s twelve signs, the planets seven, casket by casket, lay disclosed to him*603.
He’d worked, too, at lines geometrical, and countless books like the Mijastī solved*604.
Observer of the water-coloured sky was he*605, the drops he’d measured drop by drop*606.
(Then) he had given his mind the knowledge (too) of the far-seeing secret store-houses*607.
Finding the prince had intellect and sense in learning and in solving mysteries,
He kindly put before him tablet, stile, (and) taught him (then) the secrets of the sky.
All the ideas which (from most) were hid, whether pertaining to the earth or heavens—
He gathered all together one by one, (and) when all had been gathered, taught him (them).
Till Bahrām so improved he knew in full the principles of every science known.
With tables and the astrolabe to guide he would unveil the face of the unknown*608.
When setting up the tablet and the stile he’d loose the knots from secrets of the sky.
When he was skilled in controversial arts he (next) elected to get skilled in arms.
In riding, racing, and in arms, he bore the ball off from the polo-playing sky*609.
When by that grade distinguished*610, he could tear claws from the lion, from the wolf the neck.
Before his skill in piercing with the lance dawn’s sword despaired at his pre-excellence*611.
He with his arrow pierced the hardest stone in such wise as (the softest) silks are pierced.
Whene’er he shot his arrow at a mark, upon the mark he scored a felling stroke*612.
When from the thumbstall he discharged the shaft, the bird (in flight) he brought down from the air.
If with his sword he struck at any stone, it turned to water, but of fiery hue*613.
A grain of millet if before his lance,—he’d bear it ring-like by the point away.
His arrows bore off rings from lions’ throats*614; his sword the ring loosed from the treasure’s lock*615.
And there where skilful archery was shown, (he with) his arrow with a hair would play*616.
He struck, though far away, whate’er he saw, whether enshadowed, whether in the light.
That which in shooting too he could not see—his luck hit that which it judged well (to hit).
The elephant and lion, hunting flocks, from him, Bahrām, of lions’ courage bragged*617.
At times he would attack the elephant, at times play with the raging lion fierce.
In Yaman wheresoever they conversed, they gave to him the name of “Yaman’s Star”*618.