A famine in the world from drought.

One year the blades produced so little grain that for the wide world narrowed was the stock.
The dearth so fierce an onslaught made on food*860 that people like the beasts ate grass and herbs.
The world became afflicted through that dearth; and bread gained (even) from its lightness weight*861.
They spoke of this condition to Bahrām, saying, There is complete dearth in the world.
Men like unto the worms (are) eating men; now they eat men, now carrion they devour.
When the king saw the price of grain was high, the doors he unlocked of his granaries.
He sent a letter (then) to every town in which there (happened to) be any store,
That the comptrollers of the town*862 should meet, to unlock the doors of the closed granaries;
To arrange with rich men at the market rate, give (gratis) to the poor, and treat them well.
That what remained in store-houses should be before the birds put in the time of need.
That in his time no one from want of food should die—How fine such generosity!
Whatever grain there was (then) in his stores, whoe’er (had need) drew from his granaries.
His camels ever and again (were used) to bring from foreign lands (supplies of) grain.
Efforts he used, his treasures he consumed, and formed plans to (preserve) the life of all.
Four years whilst seed and produce failed did he support the people by the treasury.
When he had gained the rule thus did he act; and from such practice he had gained the rule.
The people all escaped the dearth with life, except a single one who died from it.
The king’s heart through his dying destitute like frozen water was with grief compressed.
(And) through that grief he turned his face to God; and for his failure made excuses (thus):
Giver of sustenance to those who live,—Your giving of it not like (that of) men,—
By one exertion of Your power divine You make more little, and (make) little more.
I cannot stay the hunger of one deer upon the desert plain, though long I strive.
You are He whose compelling order*863 gives to each one of the people sustenance.
If through the dearth one single being died, guiltless was I in that of any fault;
For I’d no knowledge of his life, and when he’d died of what use (then) was it to know?
When humble supplication thus he made, a hidden monitor said in his heart:
By reason of your well-intentioned thought from your dominions God has taken death.
Since during four years’ resignation you approve not even one should die from want,
An order, four years valid, has been writ that from your country death should keep away.
Of (all) the great and small of his domains no person, I have heard, for four years died.
Happy the king who by his generous gifts has kept death from his subjects far away!
Whoever in the world was born survived—what better than receipts without expense?
So from the people’s increase (in that time) neither the plains nor mounts remained untilled.
From Isfahan to Rai, (so) have I heard, house followed upon house as in the reed*864;
(And) if he (so) desired a man could go from roof to roof to Isfahan from Rai.
If this narration seems improbable*865, the author is responsible, not I*866.
Those who enjoyed good gifts were numerous, but more than the enjoyers were the gifts.
Join palm with palm—the branches are increased, and more abundantly are dates supplied*867.
When scarce the people, food is (also) scarce; the more the men the greater the returns.
The people trooped from town to plain and hills, to lightsome sport and pleasure gave their hearts.
Guitar and rebeck-players, harpers too, forming a line extend­ing two leagues long.
There was a tank of wine near every stream; a joyous party met in every street.
Each one (of them) bought wine, and sold (his) sword; tore up (his) iron-mail, sewed gold-brocade.
The people altogether laid aside (their) arms, (and) none of swords and arrows thought.
To rich or poor, no matter whom, the king gave money from his own (abundant) stores.
Whoe’er the means of pleasant living had with luxury and feasting gaily lived.
And him devoid of means the monarch made content with fortune, and the world with him*868.
He found some work for every one to do, gave him a certain share of pleasure too.
He had the day divided into two—one half for work, and one for play and sport.
From taxes for seven years he freed the world; uprooted the distress of seventy years*869.
Six thousand persons skilled (in various arts)—singers, musicians, dancers, players too—
He brought together out of every town*870, and made each district (in the pleasure) share;
So that where’er they should betake themselves, they might amuse, and they be happy too.
The ascendant of earth’s cycle being Taurus, its ruler, Venus, in conjunction too*871
In such a cycle how should grief appear—one in which Venus as the spirit rules*872?