1,901. The Author apparently means here by “earth” the particular mode of treatment applied. If earth is put into water it makes it turbid and spoils it, but, if it is used to filter it, it makes it clear and useful. So wealth, if treated improperly, is useless, but if treated properly it is valuable.

1,902. The sense of shavad here is apparently not “should come”, but “should go”; i.e., “should not come” (rendered here “be used not”), for cf. the next distich but two.

1,903. I have translated from the reading:

Hama-rā rāst-kārī az kam-u bīsh

rāst rūshan shuda(h) ba-rishva-yi khvīsh.

The meaning is that the probity of no man was accounted perfect unless he bribed with the whole of his possessions. The implication that he was thus obliged to surrender his all makes this reading practically equivalent to that of the B. ed. of 1328, which is as follows:

Hama-rā Rāst-rūshan az kam-u bīsh
bi-s’tad ān az barāyi rishva-yi khvīsh.

“All, whether more or less, Rāst-rūshan took as bribes (the people had) to (offer) him.” The sense, however, of the adverbial locution az kam-u bīsh is quite different in the two readings.

1,904. A rhetorical paradox. The meaning is that the richer a man was the more likely he was to be noticed and utterly stripped.

1,905. “In others’ hands”; i.e., in the hands of the house-thieves, who were of course the vazīr and his agents.

1,906. “No one could strike a balance to the good”; lit., “no one wrote a sum-total for income”: dakhl-rā kas faẕālikī na-nuvisht.

1,907. i.e., no one would clear up the darkness of the secret.

1,908. i.e., the sky or fortune.

1,909. Lit., “the more he sought water the less he found it.”

1,910. i.e., firmly, tightly, as a stone is bound up, as it were, in itself.

1,911. “A sun-stirred dawn” means the white light of the dawn which is stirred up, as it were, by the sun, with perhaps some reference to the ruddy light of the sun about to rise.

The sense is here that the old man’s hair was white, and possibly too that he had a ruddy face.

1,912. i.e., he no longer attended to his business.

1,913. Chand naubat qivām dāshtam-ash. Qivām is here apparently equivalent to qiyām, which means “forbearing (with), making no change (as regards)”.

The B. ed. of 1328 has,

Chand naubat mu‘āf dāshtam-ash: “I pardoned him on several occasions.”

1,914. i.e., of course, from the present owners of the sheep and dog.

1,915. i.e., the course or policy pursued by the shepherd, which served as a model for the king.

1,916. Dar namūdār-i īn qaẓīyat-i man.

The B. ed. of 1328 and some of the I.O. MSS. read,

Dar namūdār-i aimanīyat-i man: “Within the purview of my trust.”

1,917. i.e., there must surely be some traces left.

1,918. Rūz or rūzgār siyāh shudan (bar kasī), “for the day or time to become black (to a person),” means “his becoming distressed”. With regard to “the list”, the sense is that it was written with black ink, but there is also some allusion to the wickedness of the vazīr as shown in the list.

1,919. “He said, Where grief and joy must bear their part,” the king may kill, the vazīr intercede: “Guft, Dar sharḥ-hā-yi mātam-u sūr,” kushtan az shah, shifā‘at az dastūr.

The first hemistich rendered more literally is,

“He said, In the proportions, or assessings of mourning and feasting.”

The sense of the distich is that in life grief and joy bear certain proportions to each other. The king who is all powerful may be sometimes severe, but it is the duty of the vazīr to seek to mitigate this severity if it seem to transgress the bounds of justice. In the next distich, however, the king intimates that the vazīr instead of trying to mitigate severity, which it is his duty to do, has used nothing but severity and oppression, and by doing so has blackened the name of the king who, being all powerful, is considered the real and responsible author of the oppression.

The B. ed. of 1328 reads,

Guft, Dar shahr-hā-yi mātam-u sūr: “He said, In towns where people mourn or feast.”

1,920. This seems opposed to the general idea that Chien qui aboie ne mord pas, but all the editions I have consulted read, bi-khurūshand, and not na-khurūshand. It forms a parallel, however, to the conduct of the vazīr, who does make an outcry in accusation when he lacerates by robbing.

1,921. Kas ba-raf‘-ash qalam nayārad pīsh; lit., “no one will advance the pen for his dismissal”; i.e., probably, write and petition for his dismissal; but qalam pīsh āvardan is not given by the dictionaries, the nearest to it being qalam āvardan, “to write.” One might suggest ‘alam pīsh āvardan, “to advance the standard,” which would be, I think, practically equivalent to ‘alam burdan or bastan, “to set up the standard”; i.e., “to prepare to contend.”

1,922. i.e., in the sombreness of his disgrace the light of truth will best appear.

Another sense may be that the light of the king’s angry reproaches striking suddenly upon the darkness of the vazīr’s wickedness will show it up more distinctly.

1,923. “Two-sworded” refers to the white streaks of dawn which extend from the east to the north and south.

“By its single stroke” means by the simultaneous appearance of these streaks.

The second hemistich signifies “deprived the moon of its more ruddy colour”.

1,924. This distich may also be rendered, “’Tis clear to me as truth that through your means truth has departed, clearness passed away”: Az tu bar man chu rāst rūshan gasht rāstī raft-u rūshanī bi-guẕasht.

1,925. i.e., of the threatenings or strokes of the sky or fortune which may affect me and my people.

1,926. Theologians and other learned and distinguished men wore a special kind of turban.

1,927. I have translated from the reading of the B. ed. of 1328:

īnchunīn kas chunīn barad tauqīr.

I.O. MS. 1168 reads,

īnchunīn bih vazīr, ū na vazīr.

I think the second vazīr in this has the sense of “helper”, and should translate,

“well (used) thus the vazīr, he (was) no help.”

1,928. i.e., they used their wits against him who had used his against them; or they injured the injurious. Or, possibly, they used words as bitter as his deeds had been.

1,929. Lit., “burnt at the fraud on his life”: sūkht bar ghabn-i zindagāni-yi ū. This is the reading of the B. ed. of 1328,

Another reading is,

sūkht bar ‘ain-i zindagāni-yi ū: “burnt at the source or spring of his life.” The only sense of this, I think, is, “suffered affliction at (his death in) the flower of his age.”

1,930. “The price of blood”; i.e., on account of his brother’s death.

1,931. “The service due”; i.e., to a man in his position.

1,932. “Through love of it he wished to take the field”; i.e., he wished to dispute the possession of it with me, the word dasht being used here apparently in the sense of dasht-i āvard-gāh.

A rhetorical image is also conveyed by the apparent paradox of the vazīr’s wishing to take “the field” (or, rather, in this connexion, “the plain or wilderness,” dasht) through love of “the garden”, bāgh.

1,933. Lit., “that I may give light to your lamp.” Cf. the expression Chirāgh rūshan! “(May your) lamp (be) bright”! used in wishing success.

1,934. i.e., every person has love and desire of something.

1,935. “Fields,” kisht-ābād. This term does not occur in the dictionaries, but I take it to be equivalent to kisht-zār, “a place of seed, a sown field.”

“Like Baghdād”; i.e., fine and flourishing. Baghdād is also called Dāru ’s-Salām, which means both “the mansion of peace”, and also “paradise”.

1,936. “Places on the sea,” daryā-bār; i.e., probably places near pearl-fisheries—possibly by the Persian Gulf. (Cf. the next distich.)

1,937. “Like dawn’s lamp”; i.e., like the sun.

1,938. “I in appraising was most moderate,” dar bahā dāshtam basī āzarm. “Moderation” as an equivalent of āzarm is not found in the dictionaries; but it is, I think, sufficiently indicated here by the context. The nearest equivalents given are “modesty, bashfulness”, or, perhaps, “easiness.” “Equity, justice” are also given, so that the sense may be that the merchant was most equitable in the price demanded.

1,939. “A few days, good or evil, (passed away),” Rūzakī chand az siyāh-u safīd.

In translating, I have taken az siyāh-u safīd, lit., “of black and white,” with rūzakī chand. In this the expression would portray the merchant’s varying states of mind, whilst offering also a rhetorical embellishment in the reference of “black and white” to the day of twenty-four hours.

If the expression be taken with “wile on wile” of the second hemistich it would refer to the more or less plausible nature of the wiles employed. Cf. in the last distich but one, “all kinds of vain excuses,” gūna-gūna(h) bahāna.

1,940. The rhetorical antithesis is between the pearls taken by the vazīr and the stones which he bestows. The expression mānda ba-sang, “left upon stones,” may be taken both literally and figuratively, referring in the former case to the stone of the jail, and in the latter to the abject state to which the prisoner is reduced. (Cf. the idio n ba-sar-i sang nishāndan, or nishastan, “to seat, or sit on stone or stones,” which means figuratively “to render, or become abject”.)

The reading of the B. ed. of 1328, mānda ba-tang, “left in affliction,” is probably incorrect.

1,941. As regards the shell the pit would, of course, be the sea.

1,942. i.e., her mouth was so small that it and nothing might be considered synonymous.

The second hemistich means that her mouth night be called “honey in smiles” by reason of its sugary smiling. It is possible, however, that the sense may be, “(she had named ‘nothing’) ‘honey in smiles,’ because her mouth (which was as nothing) gave sugary smiles.”

1,943. i.e., even as the night perishes before the sun, so the day perished before the brightness of her face.

1,944. The musician has called himself “foreign” in the second distich.

1,945. i.e., the Spring was deprived of all its beauty before her beautiful face.

1,946. i.e., her face was bright as a luminous candle.

1,947. i.e., she burnt her lover’s heart.

1,948. Lit., “A bright and straight one.” The words “bright, straight” are a play upon the vazīr’s name, Rāst-rūshan.

1,949. i.e., the world is attached to your court and belongs to it.

1,950. The complainant who speaks of himself as ra’īs-i fulān raṣad-gāh, “the chief or superintendent of a certain revenue-office” (or it may be “observatory”), was probably one of the Magi or priests, to whom, says Canon Rawlinson, Chosroës the First allowed a certain administrative power in civil matters, and the supervision of the collection of the revenue.

Canon Rawlinson says too that besides the offerings which were lavished upon them by the faithful, they were allowed to claim tithes of their possessions, and possessed considerable endowments in land, which furnished them with an assured subsistence. He adds that, “Besides the sacerdotal, the Magi claimed to exercise the prophetical office. From a very early date they had made themselves conspicuous as omen-readers and dream-expounders; but not content with such occasional exhibitions of prophetic power, they ultimately reduced divination to a system, and by the help of the barsom, or bundle of divining rods, undertook to return a true answer on all points connected with the future upon which they might be consulted.”

This makes it probable that to these functions they added those of astrologer. This conjecture, if the man was a priest, is, at least, slightly supported by his applying the title star-king to Bahrām in the preceding distich, and also by the fact that raṣad-gāh means not only a “revenue-office” but also an “observatory”.

That this was a prevailing opinion is, I think, probably supported by the following lines in the Shāh-nāma relating to Yazdijard’s wish to know when and where he should die:

Zi-shāhī pur andīsha shud Yazdagird zi-har kishvarī mūbidān kard gird

Ba-akhtar-shināsān bi-farmūd shāh ki tā kard har yak ba-akhtar nigāh

Ki tā kai buvad dar jahān marg-i ū kujā tīra gardad sar-ū targ-i ū:

“(Then) Yazdagird, concerned about his reign, from every part assembled (all) the priests.

“The king commanded the astrologers to observe, each one, (the aspect of) the stars:

“To find when in the world his death should be, (and) where his head and helm should be obscured.”

The king’s object was evidently only to have the stars con­sulted, so that if the priests were not the astrologers there seems to be no reason for his having assembled them. (See also Note 780.)