Bahrām sits on Saturday in the Black Dome, and the daughter of the king of the First Clime tells him a story.

Bahrām when bent on pleasure fixed his eyes upon the portraits of the seven brides.
From the Shammāsian temple*1181, Saturday, he pitched his tent on the ‘Abbāsian rug*1182.
To the domed-edifice of galia hue*1183 to (see) the Indian princess went Bahrām.
Till night-time he indulged in mirth and play, burning the aloes-wood and scattering scent*1184.
When night (came on and) in the moon’s behalf sprinkled (its) black musk over white silk (robes)*1185,
The king from that Cashmerian early Spring*1186 asked for some perfume like the morning breeze*1187.
He asked her to unlock a case of pearls*1188, and daintily address some words to him,
In story which should fill with keen desire, and make those drunk with love desire to sleep.
The musk-deer, Turk-eyed, and of Indian birth, loosened the (fragrant) musk-pod (of her speech).
May the five turns of music*1189, first she said, above the moon’s throne*1190 for the king be (played)!
As long as lasts the world may he have life, (and) on his threshold may all heads be (laid).
In everything he wishes to obtain, may tardiness be absent from his fate!
Her prayer concluded, she bowed down her head; from sugar brought the sweets of aloes-wood*1191.


With eyes cast on the ground in modesty, she told (her story)— finer never heard:
In childhood I’ve been told by relatives—quick-witted people of keen intellect—
That of the ladies of the heavenly fort*1192 one (most) ascetic, gentle, and refined,
Used every month to visit at our house, her dress composed entirely of black silk.
They asked her, Through what fear or fantasy, ingot of silver, are you (dressed) in black?
’Tis well that you impart to us the tale*1193, the blackness whiten of this (mystery)*1194;
That in your friendly feeling you explain what means the marvel of your (robes of) black.
The woman, powerless to avoid the truth, told (them) the story of the black silk (robes).
Said she, Since you will leave it not untold, I’ll tell you (of it) if you’ll credit me.
I was the slave-girl of a certain king, with whom, though he is dead, I am content*1195.
He was a fortunate and mighty king; to sheep from wolf he gave security.
He had seen troubles, but had bravely striven, and through injustice (suffered) dressed in black.
The people through his lamentable fate called him the king of those who dressed in black.
As (his) adornment in past times he had things red and yellow of (most) wondrous worth.
As roses in the garden kind to guests, like to the red rose in its sheath he smiled.
For guests he had a room prepared which turned its face from earth unto the pleiades*1196.
He had a tray laid, and had carpets spread, servants he kindly entertained (to serve).
Whoever came, he made him stop (awhile), and bade him welcome as his visitor*1197.
When they had laid the tray in fitting style, supplied provisions suited to his rank,
The king would ask his story, (and enquire) about his stay abroad and his own land.
Then whilst the king gave ear the traveller would tell each wondrous thing that he had seen.
After this method all his life was passed; whilst life endured this rule adhered to it.
(Then) for a time he disappeared from us; like to the Sīmurgh*1198 he withdrew from us.
When after this a long time passed, and none, as of the ‘Anqā*1199, could give news of him,
Through fortune’s grace the wearer of the crown one day ascended suddenly (his) throne.
His body head to foot was (clothed in) black: (his) tunic, head-dress, and (his) gown*1200 (were black).
Keen-witted all the time he ruled the world, he dressed in black though suffering no loss.
In blackness like the Stream of Life*1201 he lived; (but) none the reason of this blackness asked.
One night I was, in kindness and in love, waiting upon that “qibla”*1202 (of the world).
Resting his foot upon my lap in love, he was complaining of the stars of heaven.
Said he, See what a raid the sky has made; what games it’s practised on a king like me!
From Iram’s region*1203 it has cut me off, and brought me ’neath the blackness of the pen*1204.
No one has asked me where that region is, nor why this blackness on my silver lies*1205.
I thought upon an answer to the king; I gently rubbed my face upon his foot.
I said (to him), O aid to the distressed, best one of all the rulers of the earth,
Who on the earth has such an arm that he may graze (the face of) heaven with an axe*1206?
Into a hidden story to enquire (is not for us); you know (it) and can tell.
My master finding me (fit) confidant, bored rubies (red) and split the musk-pod open*1207.
He said, When in this sovereignty of mine I formed a habit of receiving guests,
I made enquiries of whome’er I saw into (his) past adventures, bad or good.
One day a stranger came from off the road, (whose) turban, shoes, and dress were all of black.
When I had ordered food, as was my mode, I summoned him and honoured him (as guest).
I said, O you, whose book I have not read, (tell me) on what account your dress is black.
He said, Desist! abstain from words (like) these, for of the Sīmurgh none have given news*1208.
I said, Disclose (the matter), seek no pleas; inform me of the pitch-pot and the pitch.
He said, you must excuse, for ’tis a wish (about a thing) which cannot be revealed.
No one has knowledge of this blackness, know, save only him who has this black (attire).
Secret cajoleries I used with him,—I an ‘Irāqian, he of Khurāsān*1209.
Cajolery had no effect on him, he lifted not the veil from the affair.
But when my entreaties had exceeded bounds, he grew ashamed at my uneasiness.
He said, There is in China’s realm*1210 a town, pleasant, adorned like highest paradise.
“The City of the Stupefied” its name; the house of mourning ’tis of those in black.
(Fair) as the moon is every person’s face, (and) all (are dressed) in black silk like the moon*1211.
Whoever from that city drinks of wine*1212, that city*1213 makes him put on black (attire).
Its cause is that it’s in one’s written fate, although it is a wondrous unread tale.
Though with throat-piercing stroke you shed my blood, more than these words I will not speak (to you).
He spoke these words, and (then) prepared to go*1214; on my desire (for knowledge) closed the door.
My head (still) at that story stupefied, the story-teller had gone far from me.
The story-teller went, the tale untold; the danger was that I should go distraught.
On such a chess-board though I pondered long, (and) brought down (many) pawns from every side,
His check to king and castle*1215 was too strong to let me scale (his) castle by a noose*1216.
I tried to lure to patience thoughts and care,—(such luring) gave no patience to my heart.
Though openly and secretly I asked, none could explain the matter as it was.
At last I quit the realm, and left to rule a relative of mine, of my own house.
I took of dress, of treasure, and of gems that which should keep the mind devoid of stress.
The town I sought,—inquiring oft its name,—I went and saw (then) that which I desired.
I saw a town like Iram’s garden*1217 decked, (where) every­one had raised a flag of musk*1218.
The face of everyone was white as milk, (and) all were dressed in dresses black as pitch.
(Then) in a certain house I settled down, and piled up dresses (in it), bale on bale*1219.
A year I sought to know about the town; but none informed me of the state of things.
When I’d examined into everything, I met a man of frank, ingenuous mind*1220.
Handsome, benign, refined, of judgment calm, speaking no evil thing of anyone.
By reason of his goodness and good sense, I sought to make acquaintance with the man.
(And) when his friendship had been gained by me, I girded up my loins to honour him.
I made him gifts of money freshly coined, and beyond measure (other) things (besides).
Day after day I added to his wealth, with gold did I a piece of iron gild*1221.
I made him utterly my game and prey, at times by silk, at times by silk-faced girls.
(So) the man by that scattering of gold became my prey like sacrificial ox.
My gifts of treasure thus affected him that he was troubled by the load of it.
One day he took me to his house (as guest); gave entertainment more than was his wont.
He set the tray before me and brought food, good service to his entertainment joined.
Upon his tray was all that was required—except the object of his guest’s desire.
When we had eaten every kind of food, we talked on every topic (that occurred).
When he had done his duty as my host, he offered me immeasurable gifts;
My gifts, together joined, before me put, and then sat down with deprecating words.
He said, So many gifts of gems and wealth no jeweller has (surely ever) weighed.
I who was satisfied with trivial gains,—wherefore the giving of all this to me?
What the return for (all) this lordly wealth? Command, that I may serve you (as you will).
I have one life, (but) if it thousand were, e’en (then) ’twould be of short weight in these scales.
I said, Why make this (show of) service, pray? Come to me more mature, what crudeness (this)*1222?
In the scales of the man of sense what weight or value have things so contemptible?
(Then) to my slaves, those reared with kindly care, I gave an intimation by a sign,
That they should run and from my private store bring money of the purest metal coined.
Of that pure precious coin I gave to him more than had been (bestowed on him) at first.
The man, who knew not (yet) of my design, was through my kindness overcome with shame.
He said, Already, through your nobleness, I’ve fallen short of giving you your due.
Once more (your) bounty you’ve bestowed on me, there’s room for shame, what can I find to do?
I did not put before you (all) your gifts that restitution should be made to you;
I put them thinking such a store should not without return be or some toil of mine.
Since you have treasure to the treasure joined, I am ashamed, though you may be content.
If you need anything from me, pray ask; if not take back these things which you have given.
Encouraged by his friendship (now assured), (and) conscious of his kindly sentiments,
I told him (then) the story of myself, the story of my kingship and my rule.
The reason why I’d hastened to this tract, and given up my sovereignty (awhile).
The cause, to-wit, my wish to know why all the people of this town were void of joy.
Why without loss they gave themselves to grief, and garbed themselves in black (as those who mourn).
The man when he had heard these words from me, was startled by the words, as lamb by wolf.
A while he stood like those whose hearts are scared, and closed his eyes like those who are ashamed.
He said, You ask an inexpedient thing, (but) I’ll give answer such as meets the case.—

* * * * *

When night o’er camphor scattered ambergris*1223, and men abandoned paths by men pursued,
He said, (Now) is the time that you should see what you desire, and know it (as it is).
Arise, that I the secret may reveal, and show to you the aspect of the case.
He spoke these words, and went out of the house; he made himself my guide upon the road.
He went in front, I (following) behind, of people there was not a soul with us.
He cut me off from men as though I were fay-born, and towards a ruin led me on*1224.
When we had gone into that ruined place, we fell like fairies, both, beneath a veil.
There was a basket fastened by a rope; he went and brought it quietly to me.
A rope was round the basket tied, (’twas like) a serpent round a serpent-basket coiled.
He said, A moment in this basket sit, and o’er the heavens and earth display yourself*1225,
That you may know why all who silence keep are in this manner dressed in black attire.
Except the basket nothing will display that which from you is hidden, good or bad.
Since I considered (it) some harmless charm, I sat down in the basket (there) at once.
(Then) when my body took (its) place in it, my basket, bird-like, rose into the air.
By some ring-working magic mechanism to the ring-juggling sphere*1226 it drew me up.
The rope betook itself to magic work, (whilst) in rope-dancing hapless I engaged*1227.
The rope stuck to my neck as (wick to) lamp; the rope was tight and firm, my neck was lithe*1228.
As (with) a captive whom good fortune leaves, (so) did the rope remove not from my neck*1229.
Though the rope was a tent-rope to my frame*1230, it, only, was the thread which held my soul*1231.
A tower came (to view) that reached the moon, from looking up at which one’s hat fell off.
When to that lofty tower the basket came, the knots (then) of my rope played tricks (on me)*1232.
It did its business with me, and went off; I raised much outcry, ’twas of no avail.
When I looked high and low upon the world, I saw myself bestowed upon the heavens.
The (lofty) sky had o’er me cast a spell; I found myself suspended like the sky.
Through anguish such as nearly caused my death, my eyes from terror could not do their work.
Upwards my heart could not with boldness look, (and) who would have the courage to look down?
With terror overcome I closed my eyes, to utter helplessness resigned myself;
Regretful, and repenting my emprise, (and) yearning for my relatives and house.
There was no profit in that penitence, save piety, and invocation’s aid*1233.
When after this a short time had elapsed,—upon the top of that long, lofty tower
A bird came up and perched as might a mount, (such) that from it my heart some trouble felt.
The branches of a tree its wings and plumes, its feet were like the bases of a throne.
And from the size it had from head to foot, the tower was, one might say, reduced to naught.
As long as any column was its beak, a Bīstūn*1234 with a cavern in the midst.
(The bird) would every moment scratch itself, and plume and clean itself unceasingly.
Each feather which it scratched out from the root scattered (abroad) a shell replete with pearls.
It went to sleep above my head, whilst I despaired as drowning man at water does.
I said, If I take hold of the bird’s foot, ’twill clutch me in its talons as a prey.
And if I wait, the place is full of risk, calamity’s below me and above.
A faithless man has through (his) baseness done an act so heartless of deceit to me.
What object had he in tormenting me, that in this manner he has crushed my hands*1235?
My property, perchance, led him astray, for that he’s brought destruction on (a friend).
To clutch the bird’s foot will be best for me, and thus may I escape this place of risk.
When came the time of cock-crow, (and) the birds and every wild thing which existed stirred,
That bird’s heart too by restlessness disturbed,—it flapped its pinions and bestirred itself.
Trusting in God, I lifted up my hands, (and) seized the foot of that strong-pinioned (bird).
It brought its feet together, spread its wings, and to the heights, like air, it carried earth*1236.
From early dawn to mid-day travelled I, a traveller-disquieter (the bird).
When the sun had become intensely hot, (and) o’er our heads the sky had passed (so far),
The bird (then) sought the shade, and, by degrees, it gained the pleasure of the lower tracts.
Until it reached a point from which to earth was (no more than) the measure of a lance.
Verdure like silk there was upon the ground, giving the scent of rose and ambergris.
I called down hundred blessings on the bird, and (quickly) from its foot I loosed my hand.
I fell like lightning, with an anxious heart, upon the soft grass, and the dainty flowers.
A good time I remained (there) lying down, my heart devoted to unpleasant thoughts.
When I was rested after (my) fatigue, a little better (then), I offered thanks.
In normal state I opened (then) my eyes, and gazed around the place on every side.
A garden I beheld whose ground was heaven; on it the dust of man had never lain*1237.
A hundred thousand flowers were blooming there; the verdure wakeful, whilst the water slept*1238.
Of different kind in colour every flower, the scent of each extended to a league.
The hyacinth’s (dark) locks with lasso loops took captive there the ringlets of the pink*1239.
The jasmine in its teeth took roses’ lips*1240, the meadow bit the tongues of Judas’ trees*1241.
The dust was camphor, ambergris the earth, the sand was gold, (and all) the stones were gems.
The running springs, rose-water to the sense, in them cornelians (shone) and lustrous pearls.
(Bright) rivulets from which this turquoise fort*1242 for limpidness and colour had to beg.
The fish amidst the rivulets were like to silver “dirams”*1243 in quicksilver placed.
Around the garden, hills of emerald hue, the wood on them of cypress, poplar, pine.
The stones were all red rubies to the view, and from their hue the poplar pale turned red.
Sandal and aloes stood on every side, the breeze rubbed sandal and burned aloes-wood*1244.
Ḥūrīs had turned their minds to forming it, and Gabriel had brought it from the heavens.
“Rest to the Heart” its name by Iram*1245 given, and by the azure sphere called “Paradise”.
I, who had found so (fair) a place as that, was full of joy as one who counts up hoards.
By reason of (its) beauty all amazed, I spoke (in thanks) the words, “Praise be to God!”
I wandered round about it, up and down, and viewed those gardens soothing to the eyes.
I ate some choice fruits from (the trees), and spoke thanksgiving for the bounty with my eyes.
Then ’neath a cypress went at last with joy; what cypress? (that of) freedom from concern*1246.
Till night-time I reposed in that retreat; I had not gone though endless work had called*1247.
I ate a little, slept a little (too); thanksgiving offered up for every state.
When night adorned (the world) in different mode, gathered collyrium up and crimson spurned*1248;
When o’er the hills the moon wove linen threads, and like a flower was cleft the eastern sky*1249,
A wind arose and swept away the dust,—a wind more gentle than the vernal breeze.
A cloud appeared like clouds of April-time, and o’er the verdure scattered lustrous pearls.
The road when swept and sprinkled by the shower became with idols*1250 like a temple decked.
I saw afar unnumbered ḥūrīs fair, through whom repose and self-control were lost.
A world of brightest pictures*1251 that possessed the daintiness of wine of fragrant scent.
Like a fresh spring was every picture*1252 (there), (and) all had henna in their hands (as flowers).
(Their) ruby lips like tulips in the garth; their rubies blood­wite (too) of Khūzistān*1253.
Their heads and arms were covered with gold chains; their necks and ears adorned with lustrous pearls.
Candles for monarchs fit were in their hands, (candles) devoid of snuffers, smoke and moths.
In lively, graceful manner they approached, displaying thousand beauties to the view.
Those girls of ḥūrī-kind bore on their heads a throne and rugs like those of paradise.
They spread the rugs and (then) set up the throne, with fierce attack assailed my self-control.
When after this a time, not long had passed, the moon, you’d say, descended from the sky*1254:
A sun (so brilliant) from afar appeared that through (its) light the sky was lost to view*1255.
(And), like the ḥūrīs and the fairies, came around it hundred thousand morning stars*1256.
The cypress, she, the girls to her (as) field; the red rose, she, the jasmine, they to her.
Each honeyed one*1257 a waxen-taper bore—the honey-bee and wax are well-conjoined.
Straight cypresses*1258 the garden filled in full; all were light-bearing night-illuming gems.
That queen august in fortune (then) approached, and like a bride sat down upon the throne*1259.
The world entirely tranquil, left and right,—when she sat down a resurrection rose*1260.
When she had sat a moment she unveiled her face and from her feet she drew the shoes.
(Then) from her palace-dome a queen came forth, with Ethiop troops behind, and Greek before*1261.
Her Greek and Ethiop modes like two-hued dawn set Ethiop troops against the troops of Greece*1262.
Narrow of eyes*1263, but not of heart (was she); each cypress (there), of earth, but she, of light*1264.
A moment like a rose with head inclined she rested, casting fire into the world*1265.
A short time having passed she raised her head, and to a confidant she had close by
She said, It seems to me some one is here, an earth-born one who has no right to come.
Rise, and go round the circuit (of this place), (and) bring before me whomsoe’er you meet.
That one of fairy birth rose from the ground, and like a fairy flew to right and left.
When she beheld me she was much amazed; she took my hand (then) in a kindly way.
She said, Arise, that like the wind we go; she who is chief of ladies thus commands.
I added nothing to the words (she spoke), for they were words which pleased me (much to hear).
I flew like crow with bird of paradise*1266, and came up to the throne where sat the bride*1267.
I went before her with alacrity; I kissed the earth before her, I earth-born.
She said, Arise, (that) place is not your place; the rank of servitude befits you not.
With one like me, of hospitable kind, the guest should in the kernel be, not shell*1268.
Still more, since you are handsome, pleasant-faced, and have been trained (too) by the trainer, worth.
(Come then), ascend the throne and sit by me; the moon’s in concord with the Pleiades*1269.
I said, O lady of angelic kind, such words address not to a slave like me.
Bilqīs’s throne is not a place for dīvs; no one but Solomon*1270 is fit for it.
I, (now), become a demon of the wilds,—how can I claim to be a Solomon?
She said, Ascend the throne, put forth no (pleas); use not such spells with one who charms can speak.
The place is all your own, command is yours, but you must be in harmony with me,
That you may be acquainted with my soul, that by my love you may gain happiness.
I said, Your shadow only is your mate; at the foot of your throne my crown’s the dust.
She answered, By my life and head I swear that for a time you shall come to my side.
You are my guest, O estimable man, and honour must be (always) shown to guests.
Since I could see no course but servitude, I stood as (humble) slave upon my feet.
(Then) an attendant gently took my hand, (and) seating me upon the throne retired.
When I was seated on that lofty throne, I saw a Moon, (and) seized it with a noose*1271.
That lovely idol (then) with pleasant speech gave token of much kindness and regard.
She ordered them to bring a tray with food, exceeding (all one’s power to) describe.
(Then) the celestial servants placed a tray, fragrant as ambergris (were) all the foods.
Turquoise the tray, of ruby were the bowls, the eye rejoiced in them, the soul was fed.
Whatever (food) the mind could bring to thought—the cook would bring before (us) in a trice.
As soon as we had finished (our) repast, (our banquet) of hot viands and cold drink,
The minstrel came, the cupbearer went off, (and) gaiety was left without a plea*1272.
A pearl was bored by every unbored Pearl*1273, verses were sung by every lovely one.
The dance a square oped, and a circle closed*1274; wings came to feet of those who would abjure.
Standing upright as tapers in the dance, they fashioned tapers on the open space*1275.
When they took rest, desisting from the dance, they made a bold attack upon the wine.
The cupbearers made zealous haste to give; it took away the guardianship of shame.
I, moved by love, wine holding me excused, behaved as those who’re drunken with the cup.
And that sweet-lipped one in (her) complaisance to dalliance of mine made some return.
Seeing her (thus) inclined to love for me, I fell down like her ringlets at her feet.
I planted kisses on my loved one’s feet; the more she said, Refrain! the more I kissed.
The bird of hope flew high upon a branch, the field of con­versation widened out.
In wine and kisses I rejoiced with her, with single heart and thousand (ardent) souls.
I said, O heart’s delight, what is your wish? You who can boast of name*1276, what is your name?
She said, I, Turk*1277 of charming form, am known as “Charming Turkish Predatory Raid”*1278.
Through sympathy, community of mode, said I, there is relationship in names.
Your name is “Turkish Raid”, (and) this is strange, another kind of “Turkish Raid”’s my name*1279.
Arise, that we may make a raid like Turks, and throw the dark Hindūs upon the fire*1280;
Make of the Magian wine*1281 food for our souls; make lovers’ sweets the sweet fruits for (our) wine.
Let us, since bitter wine, sweet fruits are here, put on a tray the fruits, take wine in hand*1282.
I found from (all her) blandishments such leave as took away the distance which had been.
Her twinkling eye said, ’Tis your time to toy; be ready, fortune’s with you in accord.
Her smile gave heart, (and said), The time consents; snatch kisses, your beloved (now) concedes.
Admitting to a store of kisses sweet, giving me thousand when I asked for one,—
I grew warm as the drunken man becomes—the loved one, found, I, lost to self-control.
My heart’s blood heated was to ferment stirred, (and) when its beating reached (that) beauty’s ears,
She said, To-night with kisses be content, no more scrape off the colour of the sky*1283.
Whatever passes this is not allowed—’tis best the lover ingrate should not be.
As long as calmness may abide in you, play with (my) locks, snatch kisses, taste my lips.
(But) when you come to this that you no more can turn away the reins from nature’s call,
Of (all) these girls, each one of whom’s a Moon, and a (resplendent) dawn to lovers’ night,
The one you find most lovely in (your) eyes, on whom you find desire fix its regard,—
Command, and I will let her go from me, and bring her under your control at once;
That in your service she may (then) engage, and to a special chamber be attached;
That she may charm your heart and show you love; be as your bride and also as your slave;
Ut aqua e rivulo suo emissa vim flammæ tuæ opprimat.
Another night if a new bride you wish, I’ll give you one, you’re lord of all you want.
From these I’ll give you every night a pearl; another should you wish, her too I’ll give.
She spoke these words, (and) when she’d closed her speech, she treated me with kindness and regard.
She looked at her attendants secretly, and her whom she deemed worthy of (my) love
She summoned, gave her courteously to me, saying, Arise, (and) do whate’er you will.
The Moon bestowed upon me took my hand,—I, lost in wonder at that moon-faced one.
For in her grace, her beauty, and her charm she was a friend whose airs might well be borne.
She went (before), I (followed) after her, her ringlets’ slave, the Hindū of her moles*1284;
Until I reached a house of beauty rare;—she entered not till she had let me in.
When we had gone into that wondrous house, we were like bass and treble in accord.
Spread on a high-placed rug I saw a bed (made) of the finest rarest painted silks;
The brightly burning candles on the rug burnt ambergris and fashioned rubies red*1285.
I laid my head upon the pillow (then); and clasped that beauty tightly to my breast.
A harvest mine, with rose-decked willow white*1286, soft, delicate and lovely, white and pink.
Concham margaritiferam cui sigillum superimpositum erat (inveni); illius conchæ margaritis sigillum abstuli.
Till day-time in my bosom she remained: my bed was full of camphor and of musk.
With day, she rose and like my fortune (went), and the require­ments of a bath prepared.
She made a spacious tank my bathing-place, yellow with gold, and red with (lustrous) gems.
When with rose-water I had bathed in it, I came forth crowned and vested like the rose*1287.
(Then) from that treasure-house I came away; the stars were each and all upon the heavens.
I crept into a lonely nook, (and there) performed at once the duties God ordains*1288.
And all those brides and beauties of Sarāy*1289 had gone away, and no one there remained.
I, in that verdure, like a yellow rose*1290, remained in meadows by a rivulet.
I laid my head, (still) heavy with the wine, on dry rose-petals*1291 and fresh blooming flowers.
I slept from dawn until the evening time, fortune awake, I happily asleep.
When night, musk-deer, its musk-pod opened out*1292, and the sphere, bringing galia*1293, scattered pearls*1294,
I raised (my) head up from (my) sleeping place, (and) like the verdure sat beside the stream.
As on the night before came cloud and breeze, one scattering pearls, the other offering scent.
The breeze swept (clean), the cloud (too) sprinkled rain; that, jasmine sowed, this, planted violets*1295.
When the meads were with ambergris perfumed, rose-water, stream on stream, laid down its head*1296,
The beauties full of gaiety returned, the sky again became a conjurer*1297.
They brought a throne (constructed) of gold planks, (and) for it brought a cover (set) with gems.
When the exalted throne was well arranged, and a silk cover fastened over it,
They then prepared a regal banquet (there), the ornaments of which were all of light.
Noise and disturbance in the world arose, when from the left and right that troop arrived.
That lovely bride of Yaghmā*1298 in the midst who took from (all her) lovers self-restraint.
The throne she then ascended (and) sat down; the throne received from her the hue of Spring.
She ordered them to seek me, and erase my name (thus) from the roll of absentees.
I went; they called me to the throne again, and seated me according to their wont.
Again, according to (their) previous plan, they set a tray with (rare) provisions decked.
(Thus) every food which suited (such a) cloth, and to the feaster’s heart would bring delight,
As it should be prepared had they prepared, and each one ate, and then had done with food.
They put on wine, the (tuneful) harp was played, and the lutes were caressed by being struck.
So the cup-bearer’s sweetness and the cup, sweet, wholesome, made the mart of love more brisk.
Intoxication’s gladness filled the head*1299, love was associated with the wine*1300.
My Turk*1301 displayed (her) kindly thoughts (again), and treated her Hindū*1302 with gentleness.
She showed extreme desire to treat me well, and acted in my interests as a friend.
With coquetry gave glances to her love, so that her handmaids left her presence (soon).
Retirement favouring, with a friend (so) fair,—fire from my heart flew (quickly) to my head.
Her waist I compassed, vying with her locks, (and) drew her as a lover to my breast.
She said, Beware, impatience now’s misplaced, (this) night is not the night for breaking faith.
With sugar, and the finest*1303, if content, still give me (many) kisses, taste my lips.
The person who takes pleasure in content is one of noble nature whilst he lives.
But he who to desire becomes akin, will, in the end, fall into penury.
I said, Devise some means, pray, for the stream is o’er my head, the thorn is through my foot.
Your pitch-black ringlets are a chain, and I, e’en as a madman, by your chain am bound.
I pray you put a chain upon (your) door*1304, that I, like one in chains, be not distressed.
The night has ended and the morn has dawned, but our affair has reached no (proper) end.
If you would kill, I grudge you not my life: behold, here (is my) head, (and) here the sword!
To what end this resistance so perverse? The rose smiles not until the cloud has wept*1305.
A rill of water, you; I water seek; earth, you, I, scented water for your hands*1306.
To one who thirsts and dies upon your road give water, for there’s water in your well*1307.
But if you give not water,—live for aye*1308! My lustre be the dust beneath your feet!
Do not with thirst a humble atom burn; with one drop gratify a thirsty one*1309.
A piece of earth by water borne away, a water-seeker in the stream immersed*1310
Take it to be, or dates dropped into milk, or needle stuck into the midst of silk*1311.
I take it as a bird which perched, then flew, not an ass fallen, water-bag torn open*1312.
If it be aught but this let me arise, and scatter dust upon my ardent wish.
She answered me, Be on this night content; say, Let the black steed’s shoe be in the fire*1313!
This fancy if you put off for a night, you’ll gain light from an everlasting lamp*1314.
Sell not a whole stream for a single drop; for this has only stings, but honey, that.
Close on yourself the door of one desire, (and) ever (after) smile with joyousness.
Take kisses still and with my ringlets toy, and with the girls here keep on playing “nard”*1315.
You have the garden, seek not mountain slopes; you have the bird, look not for milk of birds.
You have enjoyment and your heart’s desire, why do you put your hand to perfidy?
Restrain yourself this night and do not strive; content yourself with what last night bestowed.
When from this lofty height I do descend, I’ll come the better for my coming late*1316.
From a tank you may bring fish to your hook; later you’ll gain possession of the Moon*1317.
The flowers of any mead are trampled down; sweet basil*1318 makes another (kind of mead).
Since in that game I found her slow (at play), I calmed myself and tried to suit (her mood).
Constrained to patience I renounced (my wish)*1319, and went on drinking wine to cheat (my heart);
Upon her honeyed kisses set my heart, resigned myself to fast from other things.
Again heat came upon (me), fevered one: by wine and kisses longing was renewed.
When once again my charming Turk perceived the fierceness of the fire within my heart.
With one of those fair beauties she arranged that she should come and quench my burning fire.
A friend in truth such as the heart desires: the heart desires all things symmetrical.
Joyful is he who has a friend he loves! If there be (one) may she at least be such*1320!
I went that night, the custom (now confirmed); that night the longing of my heart increased.
Of finest sugar I partook till day, and with a fairy hand in hand I danced.
When, as a bleacher, day washed linen-cloth, and the jar of the dyer, night, was broken*1321,
All those (bright) colours which beguiled the eyes had left the carpet of adornment far*1322.
(There) was I seated ’neath a cypress-tree, free from associate and concordant friend.
Longing, when night returned, to drink of wine with beauties of Ṭarāz and Turkistan*1323;
Put round my waist the ringlets of a Turk, take to my heart a heart-caresser fair;
With one of honeyed lips now drink a cup; now gain my wish with one of roseate cheeks.
All was made ready when the night returned; my throne was higher than the Pleiades*1324.
For some time thus I had with lute and wine enjoyment every night without a break.
For nine and twenty nights my mart thus brisk with (times) heart-stirring such (as I’ve described).
Light was my prospect early in the night; later at night a ḥūrī shared my nest.
The garden mine by day, and heaven at night, the earth of musk, the house of golden bricks*1325.
King of good luck and joyousness was I,—a sun with me by day, a moon at night*1326.
No wish there was which I had not attained save that in which I thought my fortune lay.
Since I was thankless for the favours shown, the claims on gratitude exceeded bounds.
I washed my page of words of joyousness, for I from (having) more (still) sought for more.
When the moon’s term*1327 had stretched to thirty nights, the night effaced all traces of the stars*1328.
The palace of the sky’s black coping (then) drew in with love the moon’s embroidery*1329.
The cloud and breeze which came on previous (nights) made their fresh, cheerful presence felt afresh*1330.
Again disturbance came upon the world; the clink of trinkets mounted to the sky.
The girls according to their previous use—apples in hand, and pomegranates in breast*1331
Approached, set up the throne, and circled round, and lifted up their voices (tunefully).
That Moon of sun-like brilliance (also) came, (her) musk-diffusing ringlets o’er her breast.
The wonted lights before her and behind—say not “behind” when candles are “before”*1332.
With graces and adornments numberless she went up to her banquet-hall again.
The minstrels framed their notes upon the modes: they, skilled in modes, relaxed not in their work.
The cupbearers poured out the rosy wine*1333 to the sweet modulations of the harp*1334.
(Then) said the queen of those of honeyed lips, Bring that associate of mine at once.
Again those beauties led me courteously, and brought me (forward) to their charming (queen).
When (my) kind friend beheld me she arose, (and) at (her) right appointed (me) a place.
Doing her homage, I sat down with joy, and of (my) former longing thought again.
Again in order they set up the tray, with rare provisions which exceeded bounds.
When from the trays we’d eaten of the food, (then) wine began its cheering offices.
From the cupbearers’ hands which, like the sea, were prodigal, the bowls as shells cast pearls*1335.
Again I grew distraught and drunk with love, (and) seized upon her (long and) snake-like locks.
Again my demons*1336 from their cords escaped, and fastened me, (with love) distraught, with ropes*1337.
A spider I became in dalliance, and in the night-time learnt to dance on ropes*1338.
I grew insane like asses seeing corn, or epileptics seeing the new moon.
Trembling, as does a thief before a hoard, I put my hand upon her slender waist;
Over pure silver did I pass my hand; restraint was hard, and I was soft and weak.
When (that bright) Moon of lovely face saw this, with kindliness she put (her) hand on mine.
She, envied of the ḥūrīs, kissed my hand, that I might keep it from the treasury.
Said, To a treasure closed stretch not your hand, for the long hand*1339 attains not to its aim.
The mine is sealed, the seal cannot be broken; how can it be? Be sure it cannot be.
Be patient, for the date-tree is your own; (then) do not be in haste to reach the dates.
Drink you the wine still, the “kabāb” will come*1340; look at the Moon still, for the Sun will come.
I said, O Sun, by whom my garden lives, fountain of light, and source of (all) my joy,
The dawn, your face, has risen like the rose—how should I die not, near you, like a lamp*1341?
You show sweet water to a thirsty one, (and) then say, Close your lips, (and) drink (it) not.
When your resplendant face displayed itself, a fairy seen, the intellect was crazed*1342.
When pearl-like ears you offer to (my) view, once more, my heart perturbed, I am your slave*1343.
How can I strive against the moon’s*1344 attack? How can I with a mote conceal a sun*1345?
When you are in my hands how hold them off? How non-existent I, when you exist*1346!
You are of earth, I also am of earth; a fairy if you are, a man am I.
How long the biting of (my) lips to last? the tasting of the water of (my) mouth*1347?
Devise some means,—I’m one by grief o’ertaken,—by which to-night I gain my heart’s desire.
Because my soul has reached my lips through grief, give me warm kisses*1348, give me not cold words.
If fortune make your love my helpful friend, (then) fortune’s help will make me fortunate.
You say (to me), Grieve not, I am your friend; pursue your business, I’m engaged in it.
To whom has happened harder case than this? Deliver me, for I have suffered this.
Though you have haunches like a (young) gazelle’s*1349, how long into a hare’s sleep will you lull*1350?
I fear this ancient wolf of vulpine craft*1351 in wolfish, vulpine dealings will engage*1352;
That like a lion-taker*1353 it will charge, and, as a leopard might, will cast me down.
Consumed am I by my desire for you, (then) suffer me to attain to my desire.
(But) if you close the door to my desire, in (my) desire to-night shall I be burnt.
(Then) suffer my exactions, (even) kings and sultans bear the exactions of (their) guests.
When once again I had no patience left, she said, It will be so, withhold your hand.
Though life they touch, I’ll suffer your demands—you from Khallukh*1354, from Ethiopia I*1355.
(Yet) is it fitting such a life (as mine) to offer to a guest like you as gift?
But this desire (of yours) of which you speak,—late you will gain it, and you seek it soon.
If from a thorn a paradise can spring, such an affair will come from one like me.
And if from willow aloes’ scent can rise, from me this business will to being come.
Take whatsoever you desire of me, save one desire which is a vain one (now).
My cheeks and lips and bosom, all, are yours—except one pearl the treasure all is yours.
With this if you’re content, there’s more at night, and of such nights a thousand wait you still.
When your heart is inflamed by the pure wine, I’ll give you a cupbearer like the moon*1356;
That from her you may gain your heart’s desire, and leave my skirt in freedom from your hand.
When the beguiling of her tongue I saw, I gave ear to her, but I did not hear.
Although I strove for calm and modesty, my sword was keen, and fervid was my fire.
(Then) from afar said Fortune, Foolish man, Beyond ‘Abbādān there is ne’er a town*1357.
I immature, through too much diffidence, after (the chance of) much had little gain.
I said, O you through whom my case is hard, you who have taken from me all repose,
A hundred thousand men (ere this) have died in eager longing to discover hoards.
(Then) I whose foot has struck upon a hoard,—though pain befall,—how should I hold my hand?
As long as I have still a single breath I cannot let your ringlets leave my hands.
Either arise and dance upon this mat, or else demand a mat and pour out sand*1358.
Either light up my candle on this throne, or fix me on a gibbet like a throne*1359.
With heart and soul and intellect and sight, how can I do without you patiently?
Honey your lips, your cheeks the rose, then think the honey has its bee, the rose its thorn*1360.
Where is he who’d not eat rose-honey sweets*1361? May he who would not eat them never eat!
The aim I’d gain from you, enslaving (queen), I’d gain for nothing though my life were given.
Who would not gain a treasure (then) for naught, and at the cost of life a wish like this?
I shall give light for this night like a lamp, for, as a lamp, from love of you I burn.
My burning keeps me bright with life as lamps: the living burns, but branded is the dead*1362.
Should the sun not revolve in burning state*1363, ’twould be in woeful state through dearth of light.
My brain has been asleep; what doubt of this?—the sleeping and the dead are reckoned one.
This not the wish I seek (to gain) from you; a dream I call it for myself (alone)*1364.
(But) if my eyes had not beheld your face, how could they (e’er) have seen such dreams as these*1365?
(Now) if you are resolved to shed my blood, be prompt, lest towards you promptness be employed.
Then in the ferment of my blood and brain I threw myself towards that lovely flower.
Again I put my arm around her (waist);—her eyes (were) languorous, and I was drunk.
Thesauri portam repente arripui, ut rubinis sardachatem insererem*1366.
Moram affectavit dum peteret ut quod ad illud mel attineret patiens essem; ego vero non audivi.
She vowed, This treasure’s yours, (but) for to-night there’s hope, your heart’s desire to-morrow comes.
In wish for me, a world-illuming sun, you’ve passed from night to night and day to day.
Do with the hope to-night of treasured store, and seize the treasure on the ensuing night.
One night of patience, sure, is possible: to-night is but a night, ’tis not a year.
(But) this desire which for herself she showed increased my own desire a hundred-fold.
(Whilst) she was speaking (in these terms to me), like a keen dagger did I clutch her waist*1367.
Postremo ad id pervenerunt res ut manu sollerti zonam affixam solvere possem.
My obstinate persistence when she saw, (all) my impatience and disquietude,
She said (to me), A moment close your eyes, ut sacchari receptaculi portam aperiam.
Quum id quod petis nudaverim, open your eyes and take me to your breast.
(Deluded) by the sweetness of her plea, ab ejus thesauro oculos meos clausi.
A moment’s respite when I’d given her; Open your eyes! said she, I opened them.
In hope of (longed for) prey I set myself to take a lovely bride unto my breast.
Turning to her with eager glance, I saw—that I was in the basket as at first!
No man or woman near me, I alone, my sole companion only bitter sighs.
Far from the brightness of the light like shade; a raider far from predatory raids.
Whilst full of fears, beneath the column soon a movement took the place of quietude.
My friend approached, and from the column high loosed the rope of my basket from (its) tie.
When Fortune was full tired of her pretence, my basket from the column glided down.
Then it retired from me and fled away. My friend embraced me, offering excuse.
He said, If I’d explained a hundred years, you never would have credited the truth.
You went and saw (yourself) that which was hid. To whom could such a tale as this be told?
Since from such tyranny we hotly chafed, in our complaint of it we dressed in black.
I said, O you who are oppressed like me, you whose good judgment I approve (in this),—
I who have been oppressed have no resource save, with a silent tongue, to dress in black.
Go (then) and bring to me black silk (attire). He went and brought it on that same dark night.
In black silk (garments) I attired myself, and that same night prepared to take the road.
I reached my city with contracted heart, coloured, (as one might say), with (deepest) black.
I who am king of those who dress in black in grief cry out, as does a (thunder) cloud,
That I whilst longing eagerly fell far from such a Moon with wish ungratified.
When my lord made no secret of the case, (but thus) recounted (all) the tale to me*1368,
I by his money purchased, (humble slave), chose the same thing as he himself had done:
Like Alexander, for the Stream of Life I went into the blackness of (its) Shades*1369.
The moon in blackness gains (her) majesty; hence do they make the king’s umbrella*1370 black.
There is no hue more excellent than black: the fish’s head’s not equal to its back*1371.
To have black hair comes from one’s being young: such blackness gives a youthful look to men.
The eyes by means of black*1372 can see the world; no dirt is seen upon (a thing that’s) black.
(And) if the night’s fine silk were not black-hued, how should it merit the moon’s love (of it)?
Seven hues are there beneath the seven thrones*1373; higher than black there is not any hue*1374.
After the Indian princess for Bahrām had fully brought this story to an end,
The king bestowed praise on the narrative, embraced (the princess then) and happy slept.