1,851. i.e., the pure should receive good treatment from all sensible people.

1,852. The argument in this and the two preceding distichs is that since God had hitherto saved him from misfortune, he should take the misfortunes which had just befallen him as a token that he was about to commit a sin, and as a warning against it.

1,853. i.e., the covetous eyes of lustful passion looked upon their love.

1,854. “Beasts of prey”; i.e., illicit passions.

1,855. “The puppet-playing sphere” is the sky, which acts through the planets as a showman plays puppets.

1,856. The “world’s pole”: “one of the two points in which the axis of the earth is supposed to meet the sphere of the heavens; the fixed point about which the stars appear to revolve. These two extremities or fixed points are called ‘the poles of the world’.” The pole star is the nearest star to the northern of these two poles.

The meaning of the distich is that the streaks of dawn (gossamer) appeared above the horizon to the north pole.

“The spider of the astrolabe” is the centre of the rete which looks like a spider in the middle of its web. This web-like part of the astrolabe is compared here to the white lines of dawn.

But this and the preceding distich might be rendered:

“When from the mountain rose the fount of light, (and) banished from the world the evil eye:
“the spider of the astrolabe at dawn when to the world’s pole it spun gossamer,”

and in this rendering the “spider” would represent the “sun”, the “astrolabe” the “sky”, and “gossamer” “the sun’s rays”.

The astrolabe may be said to represent the sky, since it is an arrangement of rings representing, besides the equator, the prime meridian, the ecliptic, etc. (See Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe.)

1,857. “A lamp”; i.e., the sun.

1,858. i.e., subjection to illicit passion.

1,859. “The portion”; i.e., the marriage portion which the bridegroom engages to pay the bride. (See Note 1,526.)

1,860. Et gallus et piscis membrum virile significant.

1,861. i.e., amongst all living creatures.

1,862. Zoroastrians were called sapīd-pūsh or sapīd-jāma, “clad in white.”

1,863. “Domes”; i.e., the domes, the seven skies.

1,864. “Saturn and Jupiter in aspect trine.” Two planets are in trine aspect when they are 120 degrees, i.e., four zodiacal signs, apart from one another. The symbol for this aspect, which is favourable, is &25b3.

1,865. The sun passes from Pisces into Aries on the 21st of March, which is in Persia the beginning of the New Year and of Spring.

1,866. “Khiẓr-like.” (See Notes 274, 1,201, 1,562, and 1,698.)

1,867. “A Nile”; i.e., the celestial Nile, one of the supposed rivers of paradise.

Salsabīl is also the name of a supposed stream in paradise.

1,868. “Aloes”; i.e., aloes-wood, likened in respect of its colour to the earth.

1,869. i.e., caused the flowers to grow.

1,870. i.e., devoted itself to making them grow and flourish.

1,871. i.e., the sun shone brightly without clouds or mist. Mirrors were made of metal.

1,872. This hemistich might also be rendered:

“The plants increased the lustre of the eyes”: Sabza gauhar fuzūda bīnish-rā.

1,873. i.e., the snow was melted by the heat of the sun and flowed down into the river.

1,874. Galia; i.e., galia moschata, a mixture of perfumes containing musk. (See the latter part of Note 146.)

1,875. A reference both to the colour of the red lotus and also to the fiery heat of the sun.

1,876. The (white) blossoms of Spring are likened to pearls, which pearls by their number are made “wide-spread” (i.e., abundant), farākh, as the tulips’ petals are farākh, though in another sense, i.e., that of “wide”. I have attempted to convey the double meaning by the term “wide-spread”.

1,877. i.e., the cypress and box-tree intermingled their foliage.

Allusion is made to the comb-like leaves of the cypress, and the curliness of the foliage of the box-tree.

1,878. The “gold ingots” are the yellow stamens.

1,879. Both “pastils” and “stars” mean flowers; i.e., the flowers were scattering themselves or were scattered.

By the use of the word “stars” for “flowers” it may be said, too, that the former were scattered or dispersed before the Resurrection. (See the Qur’ān, lxxxii., 1, 2.)

1,880. “Saffron.” (See Note 1,459.)

The distich implies that the fenugreek and the saffron grew close together.

By “tears” may be meant the stamens, or, perhaps, dew-drops.

By “smiling” may be meant displaying its clusters of red flowers.

1,881. i.e., simply, the anemone had been created red.

1,882. i.e., appearing in their whiteness as pearls.

1,883. The stem of the hyacinth is likened to the style used for applying collyrium.

The dark blue blossom of a species of hyacinth is compared with tutty or collyrium.

The sense of the hemistich is that the hyacinth showed itself in its beautiful colouring.

1,884. Dīlam, a region and town in Gīlān on the Caspian, the inhabitants of which had curly hair. (See also Note 280.)

1,885. The forked or double-headed arrow is not adequately described in the dictionaries, but it is mentioned by them as a cutting weapon. This, taken with the simile in the hemistich, would tend to show that the head of it had the shape of a crescent moon, the inner curve being sharp like a knife. The scalloped edge of many leaves, especially that of the holly, gives examples of this shape.

The grass is likened to shears on account of its bifurcations.

1,886. The jessamine blossoms later than the yellow wall-flower.

1,887. In connexion with the rose the “gold” refers to its stamens, and the silver to its petals. As regards the loved one the “gold and silver” mean her ear-rings.

1,888. Lit., “From the bane of the ‘arrows’ (bīd-barg, which means literally ‘willow-leaves’) of Autumn’s winds the branches (of the willow) were biting (their) hands on account of their lost ‘willow-leaves’ (barg-i bīd).”

The hands or fingers of the willow are of course its leaves, and if the sense is not purely metaphorical, these leaves must be the early buds, which on account of their short and stunted appearance might suggest the idea of their having been bitten. Wa-’llāhu a‘lam.

1,889. i.e., played them for itself. (See Note 1,779.)

1,890. i.e., pierced them by its shrillness.

1,891. The Zand; i.e., the Zend Avesta, the Zoroastrian Scriptures. “The Zand-intoner” is the nightingale.

1,892. For an account of the expression khāqān-i Chīn, see Note 694.

With regard to the people now spoken of, and their irruption, the following account by Canon Rawlinson (The Seventh Oriental Monarchy) may be quoted:—

“Various names are given to the people with whom Persia waged her wars during this period. They are called Turks, Huns, sometimes even Chinese; but these terms seem to be used in a vague way, as Scythian was by the ancients, and the special ethnic designation of the people appears to be quite a different name from any of them. It is a name the Persian form of which is Haïthal or Haïathêleh, the Armenian Hephthagh, and the Greek Ephthalites, or sometimes Nephthalites.

“Different conjectures have been formed as to its origin; but none of them can be regarded as more than an ingenious theory. All that we know of the Ephthalites is that they were established in force, during the fifth and sixth centuries of our era, in the regions east of the Caspian, especially in those beyond the Oxus River, and that they were generally regarded as belonging to the Scythic or Finno-Turkic population, which, at any rate from 200 B.C., had become powerful in that region. . . . It is probable that they belonged to the Thibetic or Turkish stock, which has always been in advance of the Finnic.

“We are told that the war of Varahrān V. (Bahrām V.) with this people commenced with an invasion of his kingdom by their Khacan or Khan, who crossed the Oxus with an army of 25,000 (or according to others of 250,000) men, and carried fire and sword into some of the most fertile provinces of Persia. The rich oasis, known as Meru or Merv, the ancient Margiana, is especially mentioned as overrun by his troops, which are said by some to have crossed the Elburz range into Khorassan and to have proceeded westward as far as Rei, or Rhages. When news of the invasion reached the Persian court, the alarm felt was great; Varahran was pressed to assemble his forces at once and encounter the unknown enemy; he, however, professed complete indifference, said that the Almighty would preserve the empire, and that, for his own part, he was going to hunt in Azerbijan, or Media Atropatene. During his absence the government could be con­ducted by Narses, his brother.”

Bahrām, however, started from Azerbijan with a small force, and, marching by night and carefully masking his movements, reached the vicinity of Merv, and by a night attack completely defeated the invaders and drove them back across the Oxus. The Khāqān was killed, and no further hostilities occurred in this quarter during the rest of Bahrām’s reign.

In a footnote Rawlinson says, “Mirkhond calls the invader ‘the Khācān of China’, though he speaks of the army as composed of Turks.” (See also Notes 694, 991, and 995.)

1,893. “Each dragon”; i.e., each warrior.

1,894. Rāst-rūshan means Straight-bright.

1,895. Narsī (Narses) had been previously the king’s vazīr. Bahrām had also a brother of the same name. (See Note 1,892.)

1,896. An allusion to the wolf which was reported to have devoured Joseph. (See the Qur’ān, xii., 17, 18.)

1,897. Siyāvash was the son of King Kai-Kā’ūs. He was falsely accused of making love to his step-mother, but when cast into fire escaped from it unscathed. He was ultimately killed by Afrāsiyāb, king of Tūrān.

1,898. For an account of Jamshīd, see Note 1,377.

1,899. Darius. Firdausī mentions only Dārāb and Dārā as the Darii, the second the son of the first. Dārāb, he recounts, died a natural death, and Dārā was stabbed by his vazīr Jānūsiyār, with whom and another vazīr, Māhiyār, he had fled from the victorious Alexander. Alexander afterwards had both vazīrs put alive upon the cross, where they were stoned to death by soldiers. Nizāmī must therefore be speaking metaphorically of the sufferings of Darius at the hands of his servants.

1,900. i.e., they have so much wealth that they are sated before being able to use it all, and it consequently goes to waste, and, if perishable, is spoilt.