The answer of King Bahrām to the priest.

King Bahrām when he heard this (last) reply, gave to them such an answer as was meet.
He said, Your plea is not admissible; ’tis best the man of wisdom keep good faith*790.
This foe (of mine), your king, who’s seized the throne, is child to me, though an old man to you.
So will I take the crown off from his head that not a hair of it shall be disturbed;
Although my sovereignty does not depend on (showing) mildness and adopting pleas.
A king, a son of kings to Jamshīd*791 back am I, and I inherit all control*792.
The crown and throne are symbols, not control—what matters whether symbols be or not?
Whoe’er has worn the crown, sat on the throne—his crown’s the heavens, and his throne’s the earth*793.
Afrīdūn’s*794 crown and Jamshīd’s (lofty) throne have, neither, lasted till the present time*795.
Whoe’er has had (intrinsic) rank has risen, and for himself has made a crown and throne.
I who (though) crownless, throneless, know the way, possess a sword, I’ll take them by the sword.
Although a traitor has usurped my place; a spider o’er a cave has spun (a web)*796,
A dragon*797 (now) has reached the cavern’s mouth, and entrance from the spider will demand.
How should an ant belong to Gabriel’s kind, or gnat resist the foot of elephant*798?
The wild ass boldly lets its bray be heard only until the lion’s trumpet blares*799.
A contest with an ant would to the worm, which has no force, appear a dragon’s act*800.
The ass, which is submissive with adults, with children is unruly and perverse*801.
The sun, especially in Aries,—its light would quench a hundred lamps like this*802.
I live in hardship in another’s house, the while my house is in the hands of thieves.
My foe on honey or on sugar feeds; my eating’s of my liver or my heart*803.
Better, sword, dagger than to eat one’s heart: dagger to heart, and to the neck the sword*804.
The Persian realm entire my treasure-house, my camp remains (still) in the Arabs’ land.
Now Munẕir sends to me a tray of food; now Nu‘mān sacrifices makes for me*805.
With all (my) royalty they give me bread*806, whilst (there) they eat my bread so wickedly*807.
I, a young lion, taker of domains—how should my place come to an aged fox?
(From) me, the Kai*808, should foeman take the crown? Save to Kayānian how should tribute come?
The Kais’ position fits the Kais (alone); let none but Kais the Kais’ position have.
I am the king, and others are (my) slaves; those other ones are empty, I am full*809.
A king (who is a king) should muster troops; what dust can from a single horseman rise*810?
The wine the Magian elder has put down be only to the Magian elder given*811.
(From) what I’m saying, you (may) know full well, I seek to act with rectitude and truth*812;
But through fidelity to covenants*813, (and) not through arrogance and kingly weight.
(Then) if I act, I’ll act as you may will: to seek your satisfaction is my will.
As to your words, that you must have a plea by which the knot your compact ties be loosed*814
Be this the pretext that the crown be his who from between two lions seizes it.
(So) let two roaring lions at the dawn, which have not filled their stomachs (yet) with food,
Wild, sharp of claws, and full of raging wrath, and from their fiery breath emitting smoke,
Be by the keeper taken to the field, the while the troops form round about in lines.
The royal crown be put down from (his) head, and placed between the sturdy lions grim.
The one who from the lions takes the crown,—that day let (all) the people call him king.—
(So) after many pleasant courteous words spoken in kindness and in confidence,
The letter, sealed, and supplemented, too, by ample exposition and detail
To his devoted servants*815 he consigned, that they should bear it as it should be borne.
(Those) loyal men who’d from the king received (all) kindness and had heard those precious words,
(Set off on the) return to their abode, the new king’s image placed before (their eyes).
And through (the monarch’s) kindness each of them a lover of his kingly majesty.
They all said Bahrām is (in truth) the king, for he is king by race and by (his) name*816.
To him (in truth) we cannot be opposed; one cannot smear and hide a sun with clay*817.
That mounted hero is a lion bold and fierce; he hunts the dragon with a shaft.
When the fierce lion stretches out his claws, to stand against him none will have the power.
He forcibly will seize the throne and crown; he’ll drag the leaders at his horse’s feet.
’Tis best that we arouse him not to warmth; (’tis best) we light not an extinguished fire.
As for the lion, and the crown to be borne off—no such condition does he need.
But the condition is a weighty proof which indicates the lion and the wolf*818.
They all came off the journey to the court, and told the king’s condition to the king.
They read the letter and set forth the case; no word they added on to what they’d heard.
The old (king) who’d the throne essayed and loved, put down the crown, and sat below the throne.
He said, I’m weary of this crown and throne, through which life to a lion must be given.
’Tis better that I live below the throne than that between two lions I be killed.
How should the man of intellect dare eat food to be taken from a lion’s mouth?
In sword and cup*819, the master of the realm can be no other than the king Bahrām.
Give to the heir of these domains the throne; a young man, not an old, should wear the crown.
From this affair I (now) withhold my hand: I’m not the king, but the king’s loyal (slave).
The nobles gave him answer, speaking thus, O chief of kings and wearers of the crown,
Our stipulation with you as to rule is simply of this wise and prudent kind*820:
Since you ascended at our will the throne, at our will (only) give up your effects.
Since his condition touches lions, sure, much daring will he want to accomplish it.
To seize a crown from lions is no play:—(let’s see) what tricks the dark night will show forth*821.
To his condition we will give effect; secure the lions, put the crown by (them).
If he should fear, the ivory throne is yours, and if he’s killed, again the crown is yours.
(But) if he kill them and bear off the crown, let him take tribute (then) from these domains.
He will be worthy of the throne and praise; but still remote (the chance) it so should be.
The matter ended finally in this that the agreement should not be disturbed*822:
(That) when the morrow should be born the king (Bahrām) in lion-hunting should engage*823.