Bahrām finds out about the tyrannical vazīr.

Saturn and Jupiter in aspect trine*1864, the sun from Pisces then in Aries*1865;
The verdure, Khiẓr-like*1866, found youth again, the springs of water (too) renewed their life.
The heart of every spring became a Nile, and every fount became a Salsabīl*1867.
The earth in aloes dressed took musky scent, the breeze, musk-seller, steeped itself in musk*1868.
The New Year’s equable and temperate air made its way straight to world-illumining*1869.
From the air’s skirt was dew deposited; the heat broke up the form of winter’s cold.
By a new mortgage-deed the New Year’s breeze mortgaged its life to (all) the fragrant herbs*1870.
From the earth’s heart the plants put out their heads; the mirror of the sun was cleared of rust*1871.
The plants gave many jewels to the sight*1872; they made creation fresh and flourishing.
Down from the mountain gorge the pure white snow gave grandeur to the river by (its) tears*1873.
The morning breezes by their musky breath rubbed galia*1874 on the violet’s dark dress.
The fresh narcissus with (its) sleepy eyes deprived of sleep the eyes of all it saw.
The lotus from the torture of the fire*1875 found in the fortress, water, a retreat.
The fresh buds of the blossoms of the trees made pearls wide-spread as tulips’ petals are*1876.
The cypress which by shade gave canopies, combed the locks of the box-tree (with its leaves)*1877.
For the corona of narcissi drunk, the lilies put gold ingots on their palms*1878.
Through the north breeze the pastils of the Spring were scattering stars without the Judgment Day*1879.
Having tears in its eyes the fenugreek by eating of the saffron smiled again*1880.
The writer of God’s will in life’s whole book sanctioned the bloodshed of the anemone*1881.
The petals of the white rose, stringing pearls*1882; applying tutty, stems of hyacinths*1883.
The mouse-ear curled its hair in many a lock; tossing it on its back like Dīlamī*1884.
The leaves and grass were both content to be, those, as forked arrow-heads, and this, as shears*1885.
And with their musky clusters hyacinths diffused their pungent odour o’er the pinks.
The yellow wall-flower, still to live a while, had made the jessamine its special heir*1886.
The odour of the wild mint with its heat melted the sting of Scorpio of the sky.
The rose-buds dallied with the anthemis; the grass to the iris whispered secrets low.
The camphor-scented rose of musky breath, in gold and silver, like the loved one’s ear*1887.
The willow scent of aloes-wood diffused; sometimes it scattered camphor, sometimes musk.
The Judas’ tree and jasmine raised their flags, a black and white, before the willow-tree.
The willow gnawed its hands, regretting leaves lost through the bane of autumn’s piercing winds*1888.
The rose assumed its place as sovereign chief; the earth, e’en as the breeze, its loyal friend.
The nightingale upraised its voice (in song) all night until the crowing of the cock.
The redness of the rose on the green field played the five turns of music as the chief*1889.
The notes of the ring-doves on cypress-trees like cheerful song of those whose hearts are pleased.
The flute of turtle-doves with morning plaint had made the mountain partridge cease its laugh.
The cry of francolins around the field cut up the utmost heights of paradise*1890.
The nightingale in sad and plaintive tones had grown as slender as the harp’s silk string.
From the celestial writings of the Zand the Zand-intoner sang at night some words*1891.
The garden had become like painters’ scenes; joyous had (all) the birds and fish become.—
King Bahrām held on such a day as this a festive meeting in the mode of kings
(In) a domed chamber, raised above the sky, after the fashion of the Seven Domes.
A messenger of noble form arrived, who sought the palace of the seven brides.
That heavenly palace entering, his heart expanded like the (spacious) heavenly gates.
He praised and blessed the king in lengthy speech, and after that, respectful homage paid.
He said, Once more from China, picture-land, a rush of troops has occupied the earth*1892.
The khāqān with the king has broken faith, and from good faith departed once again.
The Chinese have no faith, conventions spurn: poison at heart, and honey outwardly.
An army (vast) with swords uplifted high has reached in countless troops the Oxus stream.
Over a wide expanse the torrents rush, (in size) each dragon*1893 in them like a sea.
Should the king have no thought for this affair, the Chinamen will drink our blood in bowls.
The king, who heard of this calamity, for safety from the sore affliction sought.
(So) ere the net were cast about (his) head, he drew (his) skirt from wine, (his) hand from cup.
He studied how he might with fitting deed and judgment crush the power of the foe.
He saw no refuge save in troops and hoards, for such the means of conquest are alone.
He found the royal treasury was void, that arms and army too were scattered wide.
(Thus), helpless like a toothless lion, he, a chain his collar was, his realm a jail.
The monarch, I have heard, had a vazīr, an impious man, one far removed from God;
Who’d named himself, from a self-chosen roll, Rāst-rūshan,*1894, but he was not bright (or) straight.
His brightness and his straightness most minute; his straight­ness crooked, and his brightness dark.
He made the king assured of good repute, whilst good repute attached not to his name.
When the vazīrate was in Narsī’s hands*1895, in the vazīrate there was fear of God;
But when Rāst-rūshan seized the vazīrate, all perished that was either just or true.
The king in drinking and in pleasure sunk, (Rāst-rūshan) gave a loose to tyranny,
He raised up trouble, and abolished good, he sought for land, and heaped up property.
The king’s vice-gerent (too) by gold and gems he gained as partner in (his) hurtful acts.
He said, The people have grown covetous; they have become rude, bold, and mannerless.
Creatures of earth, (’tis true), born of the earth, (but) wild beasts they, (and only) men in form.
If we with sense and judgment punish not, the evil eye will punish (soon) the realm.
In their satiety they boldly use our wealth to further interests of their own.
We must subject and overpower these wolves: how long appear to heed not and ignore?
Men, they are evil and of evil stock; appearing Josephs, they are worse than wolves*1896.
Wild beasts (like them) pay no heed to good faith, and till the sword compel, spurn all commands.
You may have read, concerning the distressed, of what Siyāvash*1897 suffered from wild beasts.
How King Jamshīd*1898 was humbled to the dust, and how Darius, king, was crucified*1899.
Their riches are a tank, and sated, they: water left long in tanks must putrify*1900.
The water, which by earth gets turbid, dark, also by means of earth gets clear and good*1901.
If drunk the monarch, sober is the foe; asleep the watch, the robber is awake.
If harsh control be used not by the king, his royal power and state will (soon) be marred*1902.
Let chastisement be yours, and counsel mine: seize anyone I say is to be seized.
Bold and presuming subjects are as fiends; let them alone and they exceed all bounds.
The king who (fitting) chastisement inflicts,—from him both enemies and demons flee.
By no one’s show of friendship be seduced; consider only as your friend the sword.
(So) do your best by (fitting) chastisement not to impair the splendour of your rule.
The king, with trust in us, is given to wine: I have the pen, and you the sword in hand.
Chastise the rich by (seizing on their) wealth; and circumvent the poor by killing (them).
The good and bad are both (your) legal (prey): deprive the bad of life, the good, of wealth.
Lower the people in their rank and wealth, that you may be exalted in their eyes.
Whene’er the subjects are depressed and weak, the realm is always on a solid base.
The king’s vice-gerent, as one void of sense, joined with him in his acts of tyranny.
With such ill-treatment as was pointed out he would oppress the subjects of the king.
Until the degradation passed all bounds, he treated all men as of no account.
Persistent in oppression (both) remained: (men) they imprisoned, and bore off their all.
In town and village outcry ruled alone: no other words than “Seize and fine” were heard.
Till in the kingdom, ere a year had passed, no land or wealth remained to anyone.
The probity of each man was*1903 approved according to the measure of his bribe.
Of gold and jewels, male and female slaves, to no one aught remained in (all) the realm.
The richer than the poorer more in want, not from deficiency, but having more*1904.
House-holders through the theft of the house-thieves had left their houses all in others’ hands*1905.
The city and the army, wearied out, as outcasts wandered all from hill to hill.
No ox or seed remained in any tract; no one could strike a balance to the good*1906.
When desolate the realm, the treasury was all at once deprived of revenue.
Save the vazīr, who had (both) house and hoard, no person’s gain was aught but grief and pain.
Since to prepare for war the monarch had no treasure and no army, and was sad,
He sought at once from all the chiefs in turn their several reasons for his ruined state.
Through fear of the vazīr whose fires rose high, no one would tell by day what passed at night*1907.
Each one gave some false reason, speaking thus: This needy man has gone, and that one fled.
The ground gives no returns, no grain remains, so in the treasury no treasure’s left.
(The peasant) gone from lack of means and cash, our monarch’s lands now feel the bad effects.
With favour and indulgence from the king, he will (no doubt) return to his affairs.
Those pleas did not suffice the king, yet still he made not on the lion ill-timed war.
Of the ill turns of the tyrannic dome*1908 he thought as much as seemed to him required.
He took no measures to arrange affairs, nor struggled further (at the time) with fate.
When saddened by the trouble of the affair, the king would ride out to the chase alone.
In hunting he recovered cheerfulness, (and) when thus cheered he came back home again.
When sadness held him captive, on a day, he felt an eager longing for the chase.
He went out all alone to hunt the prey, with blood to wash off from (his) heart the blood.
So far he hunted as his will inclined; he conquered sadness and defeated care.
When from the chase of leopard, lion, boar, he had resolved to go back home again,—
In all the heat and hurry of his course his brain had melted through the fire of thirst.
He hastened all around the tracts about, but found no water there, though much he sought*1909.
He saw some smoke (then) like a dragon black, raising its head high to eclipse the moon;
Coiling and writhing, roll involved in roll, designing, (as it seemed), to mount the sky.
He said, Although that smoke has risen from fire, yet from the kindler water I must seek.
When he had gone some steps towards the smoke, he saw a tent (there) rising to a height;
A flock of sheep (too) seething in the sun, from hoofs to ears like to a stew of meat;
A dog suspended from a branch he saw, with fore and hind legs bound tight like a stone*1910.
He swiftly urged (his) horse towards the tent; he saw an old man like a sun-stirred dawn*1911.
The old man when he saw (his) guest sprang up, and girded up (his) loins to wait on him.
Like the earth (humble) he received (his) guest, and held the reins of (one like) heaven (high).
First praise and blessing did he offer him, and afterwards he helped him to dismount.
Whatever he had ready in the house he brought with soft and deprecating words.
He said, There is no doubt that such a tray is quite unsuited to a guest like you;
But in these parts is little husbandry, (so) if the tray is poor there’s some excuse.
When the king saw the shepherd’s piece of bread, he drank a draught of water, and abstained.
He said, I’ll then, and not before, eat bread, when you shall truly tell me what I ask:
To-wit, why this poor dog is (thus) tied up: why he, the lion of the house, is bound?
The old man answered (him), O handsome youth, I will exactly tell you what has passed.
This was a dog the guardian of the flock; to him I had entrusted my affairs;
Through his fidelity and trustiness I was rejoiced by his companionship.
He from the flock would always keep afar the robber’s hands, the claws (too) of the wolf.
To him I left the guarding of my house, and him I called my (faithful) guardian dog.
He with foe-lacerating teeth and claws was to me night and day (as) iron arms.
If from the country to the town I went, the flock was happy in his watchful care.
And if my business in the town was long, he would take home the flock again himself.
(Thus) he kept watch for me for several years, was true, and saved me from (all) fear and toil.
Till one day in the book of (my) affairs I noted down the number of my flock.
I saw that it was short by seven head, (then) thought there was an error in my count.
When in a week I counted (them), again I found them short, but kept the secret close.
(Then) with good judgment and good sense kept watch; trespass on no one’s part did I observe.
Although for several nights I (thus) kept watch, no night did I discern the cunning rogue.
Whilst in the business more alert than I, than I by far more watchful was the dog.
All night my heart was full of grief and pain, finding the flock diminishing in sheep.
And when again I verified the count, they still fell short as on the former day.
By twos and fives they were diminishing, like ice which had been melted by the sun.
So far that the collector for the poor took what remained from me as legal alms.
And I, a dweller in the wilderness, became a shepherd after owning flocks.
That sore and heavy trouble humbled me; it took effect on (my) discouraged heart.
I said, This stroke, given by the evil eye,—of what wild beasts is it the handiwork?
With such a dog, whose acts were lion-like, who has this insolent presumption used?
Till one day on the border of a stream I slept (awhile), and (then) awoke from sleep.
Then with my head bent down upon my staff, making no noise, I walked along with it.
A female wolf I saw spring up afar, which came and sat down near before the dog.
In her dog-language (then) she called the dog; the dog ran up to her with friendly mien.
He ran around her, scattered dust about, now wagged his tail, and now pricked up his ears.
Postremo lupæ clunes conscendit, fulfilled his wish, and business came to nought*1912.
(Then) he returned, lay down and took his rest, the seal of claims to silence on his mouth.
The wolf, since she had given now (her) bribe, sought the reward due to the service done.
A stout, fat sheep, the leader of the flock, whose legs were weighed down by its heavy tail,
She carried off, and in a trice devoured, and many such a bribe had she consumed.
The cursed dog, to gratify his lust, left to the wolf’s control my flock of sheep.
That flock of sheep, he had to serve and tend,—he sacrificed it to his love-affairs.
(Though) often (this occurred) I made no change*1913; I let him off though guilty of offence.
Until at last I took him with the wolf, and bound him for so serious a crime.
I put him to the torture of a jail, that he might be again subservient slave.
No dog of mine, a robber on my road; or else a butcher of my sheep is he.
He has betrayed the trust (reposed in him), and trustiness exchanged for treachery.
Even should death result I have full leave*1914 to see that he shall not escape such bonds.
No person whosoever would applaud the man who towards the guilty acts not so.
Bahrām, the king, (then) from the (shepherd’s) words took secretly a warning (to himself).
These words a hint were when he understood; something he ate, then hastened towards the town.
He said within himself, From this old herd I’ve learnt to rule— how good the course (pursued)*1915!
As in the case I’ve witnessed*1916 I, (in truth), the shepherd am, my subjects are the flock.
The basis of affairs not resting sound, the trusted must be asked about the breach.
Then he who’s my vazīr, sharp-sighted man, my trusted agent to protect the flock,—
From him must I enquire where are the troops; though lost the learned, where the pulpit is*1917.
That he may tell me what this ruin means; who the real basis of this havocked state.
He asked his agents when he reached the town, to give a clear account of those in jail.
When he had looked into the list, the day, like to the list, grew black before his eyes*1918.
Perplexed, amazed, he saw a whole world smit, and clearly noted every person’s name.
He said, Where grief and joy must bear their part, the king may kill, the vazīr intercede*1919.
By tyranny he’s blackened the king’s name, for his own name securing good repute.
The king knew what the (man’s) devices were: the thief within the house would pillage it,
Like the dog which abandoned flock to wolf, and craft employed against the valiant herd.
Dogs are like this in their rapacity, they make an outcry when they lacerate*1920.
He thought it prudent leaving him awhile (in freedom, suddenly) to check the man.
Said he, If him in power I (seem to) keep, for his removal none will (dare) contend*1921.
But if I strip him of his pomp and state,—light best shows in the dark and sombre night*1922.
(Then) in the morning when the day grew light, and the dark night had folded up its pack,
The dawn, two-sworded, by its single stroke had made the moon tired, weary of its blood*1923,
Bahrām set up (his) court upon the sky, granted the people public audience.
The grandees from all parts assembled (there), and ranged themselves according to their rank.
Rāst-rūshan entered by the palace door, and boldly went to his exalted place.
With stern and angry gaze the monarch looked, and shouted in a way to strike him dead:
You, who have ruin brought on all my realm, have stripped my realm of splendour and renown;
Have heaped up jewels in your treasury, scattering my jewels and my treasured store;
Have taken from my troops all arms and stores, so that no arms or stores are left to them;
Deprived my (loyal) subjects of their all, planted your feet in every person’s blood;
Required from subjects not the taxes due, but all their means at times, at times their rank;
The claims my bounty gives me cast aside, having no shame before me,—shame on you!
His Faith would own ’tis worse in every one to overlook a favour than his Faith.
To meet the claims of favours by one’s acts brings favours still to him who has received.
When that Rāst-rūshan came to me in you, justice departed, brightness was dispelled*1924.
Both troops and treasure you have injured so that neither troops nor treasure now remains.
What did you think, that in my drinking bouts the sleep of negligence would seize me so
That you’d deprive of use a drunkard’s hands, and break the subjects’ and dependents’ legs?
On me may dust be (scattered) if Bahrām forgets the sword when taking up the cup!
If I forget myself in wine and song, I’m not forgetful of the azure sphere*1925.
By such words countless iron rings he forged, (and) cast them all around the vazīr’s neck.
He ordered then that a repulsive guard should drive him off from paradise to hell.
A halter of (his) turban*1926 (then) they made; they drew him in and put him into bonds:
His legs in fetters and his arms in chains,—such reverence so vile a one receives*1927.
When might was brought against that mighty one, the king dispatched a crier round the town,
That the oppressed in this (cause of) complaint should ask for justice, which the king would grant.
When all the multitude and soldiers heard, they turned their faces towards the monarch’s court.
The evil of that evil-natured man they told, and pierced a dragon with a snake*1928.
The king commanded that the prisoners, out of their bleeding and afflicted hearts,
Should each make known of what he was accused, so might he for the fetters forge a key.
The captives, from captivity released, approached the king, more than a thousand men.
The king selected seven from them all, and questioned each of them upon his case.
He said to every one, What is your crime? Whence come you? To what tribe do you belong?