This far-road (the world) is a deceiver-road;
Because one beholds its light on the seventh heaven (exceedingly distant).


The light by which one travels on this road is in the seventh heaven; anything which is so lofty and distant appears not to the sight.

On this path (of the world) the angel (the pure man) will depart from the path (to the stage of God);
If one demon (the man of demon nature) come, ten will depart.

For the assaying (of gold) of these four directions (the world), a wayfarer
Weighs not two grains (of property) so long as he steals not one grain.

First, particle by particle, he (the wayfarer) takes;
When it becomes the coin (a dinar) they (greater rogues) take it away from him.


To the extent of a grain, he (the amir's lieutenant) takes from the (poor) old villager;
To the extent of a “man,” he sends to the court of the amir.

May the chattels (society) of these (bad) fellow-travellers (the people of the world) be far from me!
May my tongue, as to this matter (of complaining of the world), be excused!


In this place the good becomes bad, and the bad worse.

This couplet describes the deceitfulness of Time. If an angel, whose work is entirely good, were to come to this world, he would leave the path of safety and become lost. And if a demon, whose acts are entirely evil, were to come, ten would go away, or his ill-doing would be increased ten-fold.


The people of the world are traitors and thieves.


The gold dínar, weighing 1 1/2 miḳál, passed for 20 to 25 silver dirams, marked A.H. 78.

The silver dirams were of the following value, when the pound of silver is coined into 62 shillings:—

The first kind of diram = 1 1/2 miḳal = 8 19/96 pence
The second kind of diram = 1/2 miḳal = 4 18/96 pence
The third kind of diram = 3/5 miḳal = 5 3/80 pence
The fourth kind of diram = 7/10 miḳal = 5 421/480 pence

The medium value of the gold dínar would be =10s. 7 1/2d.

The medium value of the silver diram would be = 0s. 5 3/4d.


One “man”=82 2/7 lbs. according to the regulations of the present Government of India. It varies in different places. See canto xxi. couplet 55, and the tables of measures in Clarke's “Persian Manual.”


In extreme misery words of anguish issue from the tongue.

Of these friends of alien temperament (who love not God),
Behold the one of double face (of hypocrisy); seek not (spiritual) union.

Like the fox, deceit-practising,—two holes:—
One towards lust; the other towards avarice;

But, like the Scorpion at the time of rage,—
Neither the aperture of the eye, nor the aperture of the ear.


The representation-maker of hidden mysteries
Of the history of the villager (the historian, the fire-worshipper) spoke thus,

Saying:—When the King of China (the sun) placed his saddle on the dapple grey steed (dawn),
The sky placed the hoof of darkness (the sun) into the fire.


“Do rú,e” signifies—nifáḳ.

“Yak zabání” signifies—ittihád; yagánagí.


The fox has two holes to his earth.

Lust signifies—khurdan va poshídan va jimá' kardan.

Avarice signifies—the acquiring of unlawful property and the seeking of worldly dignity.


It is said that the scorpion has power neither of seeing nor of hearing.


The sun is called King of China because in the East he appears to rise out of China.

When they wish to make a person ill at ease,—they put his name on a horse-shoe, breathe on it some enchantment, and cast it into the fire. See Sale's Ḳurán, chap. cxiv.

Before the sun rises the sky is dappled with stars.

“Na'l” signifies—the foot (or hoof) of the sun.

At night the na'l (under the earth) is the foot of night; in the ruddy morning the na'l is in the fire.

Otherwise—In the morning the men of Zang were restless, saying:— Behold Sikandar has mounted and will do battle with us!

The sky caused the die (of the sun) to leap from ambush (of the horizon);
The stars cast their dice (of night) from the hand, saying —We have lost!

Of warriors, army-shattering,—the world (the battle-place)
Drew up many an assembly like the stars.

From the steel-mirrors (or the bells) of the elephants and bells of camels,
In place of the pearl of the oyster a worthless black stone escaped.


From the moving (of elephants or of camels) that on earth pressed the foot,
The bones in the limbs of the ox (earth-supporting) became shattered.

The King of Rúm renewed the custom of great kings;
Made the world full of clamour with the drum:


“Muhra az kaf berún afgandan” signifies—to lose at dice.

When they find a rival's play much superior, they cast the dice from the hand, saying:—“We have lost!” So the stars, on the rising of the sun, threw up the game.

Bakhtan, to play, to lose a game; burdan to win a game.


From the shining of the sun on so many polished steel plates and burnished bells the atmosphere became so hot that the pearl concealed in the oyster became a black stone, worthless and mean.

It is said—that the drop of the April cloud, that in the oyster-shell has become a pearl, sometimes (from the crash of thunder) changes, and (its essence being poured out) appears as a black stone.


“Púya” signifies—

(a) A motion betweed jaulán-i-maidán and áhistá raftan.

(b) The causing horses to move in a challenging manner in the midst of the army before engaging with the enemy. The agent to the verb (pressed) will then be púya. But the time for doing this had not arrived as they had not risen up to battle.

(c) Moderate motion, caused by bringing elephants and camels for water and forage, some time before engaging with the enemy. The agent to the verb (pressed) will then be the elephants and camels mentioned in couplet 14. At the time of battle they kept these animals steady, not in motion.

See canto xviii. couplet 45.

Arranged the army according to the regulations of Rúm,
Like the decoration of a picture on a wax-seal.

There was one of the army of Rúm, very courteous (respected);
An orator (bold of tongue) acquainted with every lan­guage.

Bold and speech-uttering, and knowledge-worshipping;
Dexterous with arrow and sword.


An orator,—his name, Tútiyá-Nosh;
His (fascinating) breath (speech) drew parrots to the snare.—

By sweet words man-fascinating,
The patience of hearers ravished.

Sikandar's companion, out of season (evening) and in season (morning),
As to the laws of sun and moon a mathematician (astro­loger).

Sikandar,—for the sake of message-bearing (embassage),
Called him to himself, on account of his reputation.

He ordered,—that he should use no delay;
Should go hastening towards the chief of Zang.


Should cause the fear of the king's sword to reach him;
—Perhaps he may listen; may turn back from the road.—

Should in the Zang language exercise guidance,
Saying:—“Iron (men of Zang) in the fire (men of Rúm) displays softness.”


“Gustákh-dast” signifies—chábuk-dast.


In some places the lines of this couplet are transposed.


See couplet 32.

The brave man, rose-faced, cypress-tree,
Caused this speech from the man of Rúm (Sikandar) to reach him (the King of Zang),

Saying:—“The holder of crown, and sword, and throne
“Has, by fortune's power, advanced the standard.

“He is prosperous (in fortune) and very impetuous;
“He is the burner like fire at the time of anger.


“When he draws (the bowstring of) the wild ass-hide (fixed) upon the deer-antler (bow-shaped),
“He stitches (with the arrow) the head of the ant to the foot of the ant.

“Thus best, that to him ye should display courtesy;
“Should bewail, and offer apology.

“It is not proper that that fire (Sikandar) should come to flaming;
“Because then with a sea of water it will not be ex­tinguished.

“The world, which tried him in peace and war,
“Experienced loss in war with him, and profit in peace.

“It is proper to prepare the soul for love towards him;
“It would not be auspicious to seek revenge from him.”


See canto xv. couplet 2; xvi. 35.


In some copies, in place of sar-i-mor bar páe mor, the following read­ings occur:—

Sar-i-mar bar páe mor, the snake's head to the ant's foot.

Sar-i-mor bá par-i-mor, the ant's head with a (kind of) arrow.


“Nishastan” here signifies—iifá pazíraftan, to be extinguished.

At that time, when Sikandar's fire of anger is aroused, apology is ineffectual.


The King of Zang, when he gave ear to this speech,
Writhed on himself like the old snake.

From heat (of passion) his brain began to boil;
He raised a shout like rumbling thunder.

He ordered—that Tútiyá-Nosh
They should withdraw, and take sense out of his body (by slaying him).

Those demon-like ones took him away from the place before the king,
Like the stone (amber), straw-attracting,—the grass-blade.

They cut off his head; in a golden basin
His delicate form became bathed in blood.


When that basin became full of blood—what did the man of Zang do?
He drank it (the blood) like (simple) water, but drank not (simple) water!

Those persons who were with him (Tútiyá-Nosh) on the road
Went before Sikandar, water in the eye (weeping).


The King of Zang is likened to a snake on account of his contortions, blackness, and injuriousness.


úiyá-Nosh has been described as a man of sense; hence the Zang king ordered them to take away his sense.

“Dev sár” here signifies—kalán sar, the alif in sár being redundant.

Observe—kardigár, kardigar; sangsár, sangsar; gurgsár, gurgsar.


Casting some sand in front and bringing a basin, they used to cut off the victim's head so that no drops of blood fell on the king's carpet.


“Áb-khurdan” signifies—

(a) The subsiding of anger; because the drinking of water tends to quench anger.

(b) Making haste.

Notwithstanding that Palangar drank the blood of úiyá-Nosh, his wrath subsided not.

They represented, saying:—“That man of Rúm of beautiful countenance (Tútiyá-Nosh),
“How much ill he experienced from that man of Zang of cold (little) love.”

The king on account of that box-tree-like cypress,
Burned as the poplar from the heat of the fire.

By the (Zang) blood-shedding, his heart became aroused;
(And) on account of the blood spilt of such an innocent one.


The colour went wholly from (the face of) the men of Rum
When they saw (heard of) blood-devouring of that kind.

By that deed, the black men of Zang—white of teeth (full of laughter);
The lip of the men of Rúm,—hopeless of laughter.

That night best that is teeth-concealed (starless);
For that moment it expires when it laughs (is star-lit).

Sikandar, with deliberation one or two days,
Put out of his head anger, thought-consuming.

When the night stuck up (its) smoke (darkness) from the mountain (of Káf),
The bird (the owl) on the resolution of nightfall, uttered a plaintive tale.


The men of Rúm paled at the thought of being devoured by the men of Zang.


“Dandán-i-safaid” here signifies—khúsh-hál wa khandán; ṣubh.


This couplet is dependent on the first line of couplet 46.

Their joy is the cause of decline; just as the night, which expires when it displays its teeth (stars) and assumes an appearance of cheer­fulness.


Anger that renders a man void of reason is said to be—“thought consuming.”


(a) When night brought forth smoke (darkness) from the mountain, or from the skirt of the sky, the birds, on the resolution of night, began to sing.

(b) “Áhang” signifies—the dog star called “sháb-kash,” that appears at the end of night.

“Koh-i-dúd” signifies—the sky.

When the constellations of night appeared in the sky, the birds, at the resolution of night (falling), began to sing.

(c) When night at the manifestation of darkness (twilight) uttered a cry, the evening bird (the woodcock and others) began to utter a tale at the night's cry.

As a minstrel utters the voice of melody, and another minstrel, in consonance with it, strikes up.

“Koh-i-dúd” signifies—the darkness (twilight) at the coming of night.


When the Hindú of the sky (Saturn) hung from his waist
Bells of gold (stars) for watch-keeping over the king.

The king's messenger, bell-striking (standing in attend­ance), spoke,
Saying:—“May the king be worthy of crown and the enemy ruined!”

The advanced guard went for road-holding;
The picket for drum-place guarding.

The next day when the sphere displayed haste,
The sun stuck forth its head from the shoulder of the mountain (of Káf).

The drum a?? the monarch's door roared;
The world, like the clamour of bells, became restless.


This describes the shining of the stars, as couplet 49 the singing of the birds.

The Hindú of the sky may here mean—the azure sky.

“Ba harúní jaras bastan” here signifies—istáda búdan ba khidmat.

Messengers used to fasten bells to their bodies. See canto v. couplet 38.


As the sky in revolving shakes the stars, so the guards clash the bells on the waist and pray for the king.

“Jalájal” is a small bell giving a pleasant sound.


“alí'at” signifies—iláyat.


The drum-striker, with the throbbing of the raw hide (on the drum),
Cast the nose-strap into the throat of night.

The breath (voice) of the ox-tail (Rúmish trumpet) began to shriek;
The raw hide of the brazen drum began to clap its hands.

The balance (spear) of those steel-weighing (the warriors) by inclining downwards,
Urged a torrent (of blood) from one scale-pan to another (both armies).

The spear-point of the javelin, khaftán-piercing,
Passed through the fleshy part of the back (surface) of the navel.

From the short sword and the spear and the arrow of willow-leaf form
Armour and helmet became rent.


“Labísha” signifies—labása, labásha, labáshan, lawísha. It consists of—a cord passing through a curved, or a perforated piece of wood, or a stag's horn, which they attach to the upper lip of a restive horse. On giving it a twist the horse becomes helpless.

From the violence of noise of the drum the night thought—Behold, this is the rising of the sun; I must go to my place!

The nose-strap was applied to night (the restive horse), so that, being overpowered, it departed and day came.


“Khumbuk zadan” signifies—dast bar dast zadan; do dast barham zadan.

“Dam” may signify—the mouth.


When one pan of a balance is heavy and the other light,—they say that the balance is má,il (inclined).


“Fulaka” signifies—pára,e zamín; chirkha,e rísmán; pára,e gosht; gird-toda.

It means here the wooden, or the leathern, disc through which a tent-pole passes, and on which the canvas of the tent-roof is supported; or the leathern disc at the end of a spindle.

“Pusht-i-náf” signifies—rú,e náf, as “pusht-i-chaman” signifies— rú,e chaman.

That is—the spear passed through the back of a man, as the tent-pole passes through the disc supporting the tent-roof.


“Ḳuwárat” literally means—a slice; a strip (of cloth).


From fear of the assault, (and) from the flash of the sword,
The water in the heart of the stern thunder-cloud (the two armies) became blood.

When army to army turned its face,
The warrior came forth from both sides.

Much they grappled with each other;
Much the blood which they shed of each other.

The (army of) Zang prevailed over the army of Rúm;
Like the panther over the wild ass, limbs out-stretched in flight.


Note the difference between-hurrá, fear; and harrá, splendour. These two may each mean—a terrible sound.


Zang and Habsh are two distinct districts.

See canto xx. couplet 64; xix. couplet 242.

The Special Correspondent of the “Daily News,” dating his letter Tchekislar (engagement of the Russians with the Teke Turkomans), 25th September, 1879, says:—

“I saw a wild ass of the desert run down and surrounded by a party of irregular horse. Its height is that of a small donkey; its head, but slightly larger in proportion to the body than that of the horse; its hoofs are not larger than those of a small fallow deer; the back and sides, of a reddish cream colour; the belly and under part of the neck, white; the eyes, large and dark (see couplet 279); the ears, much smaller than those of the English donkey, and delicately edged with black. The captured wild ass bit and kicked at everyone that ap­proached.”

In 1879 Sir William Merewether presented a pair of wild asses from Sind (a province in the west of India, bordering on Balúchistán) to the Zoological Gardens of Calcutta.

The male ass died soon after arriving; the female killed itself by dashing its head against the iron rails of the paddock. A post mortem examination showed that the animal had been in perfect health. Mr. Jamrach ascribes the death to hippomania. This breed is now very scarce.

In his book, “Clouds in the East,” Valentine Baker says:—

“In Persia, wild asses abound in the desert of Abivard, in the plains of Muhammadábád, in the open vales of the Attrek river, in the plains six miles south of Sanghos, and in the reedy banks of the stream be­tween Sanghos and Jah Jarm (thirty-two miles). The wild ass is of a yellow dun colour, with a black stripe down its back; as large as a small mule, and pleasant to eat.”

The Khurds, describing the swiftness of a good horse, will say:—“He can run down the wild ass.”

Between Sanghos and Jah Jarm, Valentine Baker, Capt. Gill, R.E., and the Persian escort, coming to within a third of a mile of a herd of fourteen wild asses, gave chase. Baker got within two hundred yards of the herd; but by that time his horse was done, as was also Capt. Gill's and the escort was nowhere.

The Bible, Psalm civ. 2, says:—They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst.

Of wild ass hide, which is stronger than other hides, they make bow­strings.

The man of Zang brought destruction to Rúm;
The owl (the filthy bird!) from every desolate land uttered its cry (of desolation),


Saying:—“The men of Rúm feared the previous repast (the relish of blood-drinking).”
Saying:—“What did the man of Zang with Tútiyá-Nosh?

“He (the man of Zang) cast the blood of the hero into the goblet;
“He, from wrong-headedness, drank that raw (pure) blood.”

When the men of Zang displayed such great dexterity,
Cowardly rein-urging (to the rear) came not from the men of Rúm (they stood their ground).

The chief, army-understanding (Sikandar), knew
That fear of the men of Zang had come to the men of Rúm.

When the army becomes timid as to fight,
It reflects not, save as to flight.


He (Sikandar) summoned before him the wise minister (Aristo);
He gave him information of his own concealed secret,

Saying:—“This valiant army has become faint-hearted;
“Of the sword-wound unsuffered it has become sated.


“Nesh khurdan” signifies—suffering injury.

“Pesh khurdan” signifies—taking a relish before meals.


Both armies remained on the field of battle.

“With an army, one can urge this contest;
“Alone, what may issue from a single horse-soldier (myself)?

“Of the blood-devouring of Tútiyá-Nosh, the hero,
“The whole of the army will die of fear.

“Each one displays the form of fear;
“No work comes from timid ones.


“Since this army, battle-seeking, has become faint­hearted,
“Bring water, and wash the hands of valour.

“All the men of Zang display boldness;
“Display recklessness (of desperation) like raging ele­phants.

“What artifice can one bring to the hand (use)
“By which defeat may come to the men of Zang?

“Deliver that opinion that may render assistance
“And may give me deliverance from this dread.”

The world-experienced minister, grievance-redresser,
With knowledge of affairs, expressed breath,


Saying:—“O king! may wisdom be thy guide!
“May victory be thy friend; and thy enemy weak!

“The World-Ruler (God), Creation-Shelterer,
“—O king, world-seizer,—may He be thy shelter!

“In every place, from mountain and plain (difficult matter), to which thou turnest thy face,
“May thy prosperity be from the sphere, victorious in revolution!


“Tanhá” here signifies—tan-i-tanhá. It relates to Sikandar.


“Áshufta” signifies—baham bar ámada; pareshán-hál.


“Nafas kushádan” signifies—sukhan guftan; ba sukhan ámadan.


In some copies bádá is written for bád in the second line. The final á signifies much, as in basá, khúshá.

“The black men, who are snakes, man-striking,
“Are not men; but verily Ahrimán (the evil principle).

“If the army of Rúm hesitate as to conflict with the army of Zang,—
“It is not wonderful; for this (the man of Rúm) is a fish (little injuring), and that a crocodile (man devouring).


“Of man-slaying is much fear;
“Of man-devouring,—how may one not fear?

“If we ask for peace from these stone-hearts,
“The wise will not call us wise.

“And if we make the place void of (forego) contest,
“They will at once bring forth the dust (of destruction) from the world.

“Yes; if they had possessed fear of us,
“The (coming of the) mediator (Tútiyá-Nosh) would have placed obligation upon them (and they would have considered his coming gain).

“Of what use is the coming of a mediator, when they are very senseless?
“And,—if thou desirest truth—are mediator-slayers!


“It is proper to employ one remedy;
“To counterfeit by artifice man-devouring.

“To capture some of the men of Zang on the path;
“To confine (them) in this court.

“For thee,—to sit silent and angry;
“To cast down the men of Zang on the dust:


Read otherwise:—

Of a man slayer …

Of a man devourer …


“Chara bar andákhtan” chára ba 'amal áwardan.

“Sákhtan” here signifies—muwáfiḳat kardan.

“To cut off, with torture, the head of one from his body;
“To send it to the cook for the purpose of eating:

“To say in the Zang tongue:—Wash this;
“Cook it, that the Khusrau, name-seeking, may eat it.


“Order that the cook secretly
“May place a sheep's head; and make it dust-sleeping (in the grave).

“May boil (half cook) the head of a black sheep;
“May bring it boneless to the king:

“The king—that leather, uncooked, half-raw,—
“Will rend, and with great avidity eat it:

“Will order that they bring also his (the Zangí's) brain,
“Saying:—No one has eaten anything better than this.

“If at first I had known, in the least,
“That such food would keep me healthy,


“I would not have cherished the captives taken by the warriors of Rúm;
“I would have devoured every man of Zang, pleasant of taste.

“When that pitiful man-devourer (Palangar) obtains news
“That there is a terrible man-devourer (Sikandar) worse than he,

“He will, by reason of this fear, abandon that hot malice;
“For one can make iron soft by iron.


“Lafcha” signifies—pára,e gosht be ustukhwán; sar-i-biriyán; but here it signifies—chafta, a sheep's head.


“Joshídan” signifies—to half cook.

The head was to be half-cooked, so that in rending and gnawing it sufficient time might pass for the men of Zang to witness the spectacle. Half-cooked flesh is less readily eaten than that fully cooked. See couplet 97.


“Hech” has two meanings—one is a general negation (salb-i-kully) the other a small quantity (miḳdár-i-kam).


Khúsh-namak” signifies—khúsh-zá,iḳa.

“If we accomplish this remedial measure,
“We may bring defeat upon those bold ones,

“From wolves (the men of Zang) we can escape by wolf­ishness (the rending of flesh half raw);
“For only (the action of) ignorance (wolfishness) can bring defeat upon (flight to) ignorance.”


The king ordered—that the warriors of Rúm
Should display endeavour in that land and clime:

Should lay an ambush in the way of the men of Zang;
Should seize some of the men of Zang.

Those warriors, order-accepting, went;
They took captive some of the men of Zang:

Conducted them to the king's drum-place,
And consigned them to the officer of the guard.

The king's watch-keeper brought them
The back of the head red (with blows), blood-like, and a great face, black.


The king—with fury, like the roaring lion,
That brings low the heavy stag,—

Ordered so that—of one of that number of the men of Zang
They cut off the head, like a mountain-fragment;

Gave it to the cook, saying:—“Take it;
“Prepare whatever is fit for the king.”



When an ignorant one comes, it is proper to turn the face towards ignorance;

It is necessary to let down the veil upon the face of speech.

To one non-understanding why expressest thou the boast of intel­lectuality?

To a child it is proper to speak childishly.


“Sarhang-i-naubat” signifies—piyádagán-i-bár-gáh ki ba naubat-gáh háir báshand.


“Naubatí-dár” signifies—kase ki muháfi-i-naubatí bashad; or kase ki kárash nigáh bání,e ashkháș báshad.

He (Sikandar), on the other hand, uttered the secret to the cook—
How it was proper to prepare for him this repast.

On foot before the Khusrau the other men of Zang
Were at that custom and usage helplessly astonied.


When the Khusrau ordered that they should bring the tray;
Should lay the victual (table) -cloth.

The intelligent person (the cook) brought the tray,
On it boneless pieces of meat (a sheep's head).

That food,—the king rent in pieces with force,
Like a lion that rends the hide of the wild ass.

He ate with satisfaction, and wagged his head,
Saying:—“I have never seen better food than this.

“Since a man of Zang is in eating so heart-attracting,
“To eat any other roast-meat to me is not agreeable.


“Always I will devour the leg of a Zangí with wine;
“For I may not obtain roast-meat of better flavour than this.”

The king, elephant-binder (powerful), in thought of the black men,
Continued eating of that counterfeited sheep's head.

When he made them fearers of the dragon (himself),
He released them, like snakes in the desert.

Those black men went to the King of Zang;
They unfolded the news of that sorrowful day.

Saying:—“This one, dragon in disposition, man in fashion,
“Is a crocodile that has brought loss upon us.


“He devours the men of Zang raw,
“As men of Zang eat the almond-kernel.

“When he brings into bonds the heads of the men of Zang,
“He eats them like the head and boneless pieces of flesh of a sheep.”

Terror came into the heart of the men of Zang,
Because the coarse canvas (harshness) brought forth its head from the painted silk (delicateness).

Their fire (of battle) -exciter (the army-leader, Palangar) became pale;
His fierce fire (of wrath) from the ardency (which it had) settled down.

The next day, when the cock (the sun) expanded its wings (arose in flight),
The brain of heaven (the sky) became void of fancy (stars).


The (white) cock (the sun) uttered a shout (crowed) at the black ghúl (night);
The sound of the drum began to throb.

The clamour of the trumpet of shrill sound,
(Was) like the trumpet (tumult-exciting) of (the angel) Iráfil on the Resurrection Day.

On account of the clamour-bringing forth of the ox-tail (the Rúmish trumpet),
The power of Taurus (alarmed) became lost from the sky.


A demon is afraid of the crowing of a cock; because it utters the call to prayer. In the traditions it is stated:—

“The white bird sends blessings upon me.”

Whenever the (white) cock of the ninth heaven begins to crow, the cocks of the earth also crow; and in the early morning, when the earthly cock, on beholding the world, utters a crow, you may make prayers, which will be answered.

In the crowing of a cock are many excellencies, the foremost of which is—that assuredly devils, on hearing it, will flee. For this reason it is customary to keep a cock in the house.


The second line may mean:—

Venus (the minstrel of the sky) became lost (went forth) from Taurus (her house).

Drums of wolfish hide, by reason of tumult,
Brought to boiling the brain of the world.

From the screaming of the clarion, wound-scattering,
The brain of the sphere (became) pierced by the sharp wound.


In that hold and seize (tumult) the heart of the warriors (of Rúm)
Brought forth (encouraged) with the scream of the Turkí reed.

The earth-shaking (sounding) of the whip (the mace)—in the brain (of warriors),
Produced a fiery whip (a flame, wick-brain consuming) like the lamp.

The arrow, steel-gnawing (weapon-shattering, kept), pro­ceeding
Through the limbs of lions (warriors) steel-devouring.

The lustre of the surface of the sword so gleamed
As the star from the dark cloud at night.

Again the two armies arose:
They arranged their ranks in another form.


Two clouds from two directions began to shout;
Two seas of fire came into agitation.


“Tumbuk” signifies—a small drum that conjurors play.

“umbuk” signifies—a clarion.


“Dár o gír” signifies—hold and seize. They give the order some­times for holding (arresting) the criminal; sometimes for seizing and slaying.


Since on suffering a severe blow something like a flash of lightning (“stars”) is fancied, they say in Persia:—

“Chirágh az chashm jastan,” the leaping of the lamp from the eye.


“Palárak” signifies—jawhar-i-shamsher; áhan-jawhar-dár. The arrow, steel-filing, went into the bodies of men, steel-biting, and passed through.

“Rau árau zadan” signifies—rawán gardídan, coming and going suc­cessively without delay, so as to cause the sound of—fasháfash; just as the crashing of the sword-blow causes—chaḳáchaḳ.

The armies of Rúm and Zang commingled;
White and black (hostile), like the boar of two colours.

The hoof of horses, wind-fleet, steel-shod,
Made the earth red with the blood of warriors.

The twang (of the strings) of the bows, arm-breaking,
Snatched from themselves (made senseless) many indi­viduals.

The flashing of the sword, mirror-shining,
More gleaming than the fountain of the sun.


The army of Rúm planted high the standard;
The earth (hidden) in the bow; the sky in the noose!

Within the centre of the army Sikandar, (son) of Faylikús,
Drew up a wing, like a bride (in splendour).

The chief of the army of the men of Zang, of pitch colour,
Brought forward a wing of an army like the mountain Besitún (hard).

The ranks of terrible elephants, in one place a crowd;
Like the circumference of a declivity (and like) the loins (flanks) of a mountain.

Eye-lashes, spear-like (sharp); eyes cornelian-like (red);
From trunk to tail immersed (clad) in iron.


The boar is very pugnacious.


“Tarang” means—the twang of a bow-string; the crash of a mace-blow; and the crackle of glass breaking.


The earth was concealed with the number of bows; and the sky with the number of nooses attached to lofty spears, bound—nay, lost so that it could not be seen.

Possibly,—the earth was bound to the bow; and the sky to the noose.


Be-sitún is a mountain, one league from the town of Kirmansháhan, on the road from Hamadan to Bághdád. According to Diodorus, the sculptures were hewn by the order of Semiramis; according to the Persians, of Khusrau Parvíz, A.D. 591. See supplemental volumes to the works of Sir W. Jones, 1801, vol. ii. p. 763; and Sir W. Ouseley's “Travels in the East,” vol. iii. p. 333.


On each elephant, an ivory throne of a different kind;
On it, a man of Zang becapped with a musk (black)-crown,

When he (the man of Zang) used to shout at the head­strong elephant,
If he (the Zangí), had shouted at fire, he would have con­sumed (destroyed) the fire.

By reason of the many elephants which came forth for contest,
The earth, from the elephants' feet, became of blue colour (black).

He (Sikandar) sent the footman (the pawn at chess) for the elephant (bishop) manœuvre (chess-move).
In every corner (of his army) a hundred elephants secured (for battle, unable to run away).

When the order of battle was prepared,
The nature (of the combatants) was disengaged from love.


A tyrant, a black one, by name Zarácha,
Moved from the army-place of the men of Zang.

Elephant-like (screaming) he came, in hand a (crocodile's back-) bone,
By which he was wont to break the elephant's bones:

A great black snake,—wolfish enchantment, his;
From head-largeness (conceitedness), head-swellingness, his:


On every elephant he spread a throne of different fashion, and on it sate an Ethiopian, black of head.


If that man of Zang had shouted at his refractory elephant, he would have consumed him (the elephant) with his terrible voice. Why speak of the elephant?—If he had shouted against (consuming) fire, he would have consumed the fire.


The second line may be:—

From the elephants' feet the earth became (full of waves) like the river Nile.


See couplet 168 and canto xi. couplet 51.


“Afsún gurgí” signifies—an enchantment that they utter on the warrior who first approaches. The enchanter appears in the sight of others as a wolf; and the others appear in his sight as sheep. When the enchanter utters this on himself, no weapon is effective against him.

A mouth,—large and black like the cauldron,
From which the eye of the beholder became white (sense­less);

(His head) a jar—evoked from a reddish black stone,
With jars of foul fluid over it poured:


A great shoulder and chest like the steel shield (expanded and hardened);
Ask not in truth the tale of the robustness of that one.

Thou hast seen a standard, (the black) tassel at its head?
He (Zarácha) differed not from its form a hair.

If there (at the standard's head) there were a small inverted cup,
In his head were two eyes like the cup (full) of blood.


When senseless, the blackness of the eye is concealed, and the white­ness revealed. The eye becomes dazed at beholding anything exceedingly black, and gladdened at anything fresh and green.


“Sirka áhan” (sikáhan) signifies—

(a) By the dictionary—a tincture of pomegranates and vinegar.

(b) According to a commentator—a stinking black fluid of iron and vinegar, used for dveing cloths and leather (black). See canto xxvi. couplet 43.

Khamáhan” signifies—

(a) According to the dictionary—a black shell, inclining to redness.

(b) According to a commentator—a black, hard stone, inclining to red­ness, of which they make seal-stones.

“Zarácha” is likened—as to form, to a jar (khum); as to colour, to the blackness of khamáhan; and as to odour, to the stench of sikáhan.

His head was a great jar made of black stone, over which many jars of foul fluid were poured.

His head was black, covered with black, foul hair.


The second line may be:—

His form differed not from it a hair.

In former times the shaft of the royal standard used to be fifty arash in length.


Zarácha was—in stature, like the standard; and in blackness of face, like the tassel at its head.

They used to attach the tassel to an inverted cup at the head of the spear-shaft.

In the Zang language he praised himself much,
Saying:—“Than the (consuming) fire beneath the smoke, I am more consuming (beneath my blackness)!

“I am Zarácha, the elephant, steel-devouring (greatly intoxicated with lust),
“Who, on elephants' backs, drag my (ponderous) píl-pá (mace).


“When I put wine into the píl-pá cup,
“(Intoxicated), I sever the elephant's tendon with a píl-pá (war-weapon).

“When in the battle-field I draw forth the sharp sword,
“I make the mountain, by the assault (of my sword-point), stone-shedding.

“If the lion (of gentle nature) come before me, or if the lion (of savage nature),
“Like the rumbling thunder-cloud I pour on him a torrent (of blows).

“My ebullition (wrath) casts down the horse (of ebullition) of the Nile;
“My face (the mighty mountain bird, the roc) makes the (mighty) elephant the (feeble) footman.


Zarácha compares himself to fire beneath smoke; for he possessed both the colour of blackness, and the fire of audaciousness.


“Píl-pá” signifies—an Ethiopian war-weapon; or a large long-necked flask like an elephant's foot.

I am Zarácha—the elephant, steel-devouring,

On the back of (such) elephants I drink the píl-pá (goblet).


In some copies:—

When I put wine from the píl-pá into the cup.

At the present time in Africa it is common, before slaying a wild elephant, to ham-string him.


Otherwise:—Like the rumbling thunder-cloud I pour on him a torrent (of blood from his wounds and thus slay him).


“Faras afgandan” signifies—to overcome.

“Rukh” signifies—the great mountain bird, the roc, which carries off the elephant and the rhinoceros; and in the form of which the rukh (the castle at chess) is made. See Lane's charming translation of the “Arabian Nights' Entertainments.”

The meanings may be:—

faras, the knight at chess píl, the bishop at chess
rukh, the castle at chess piyáda the pawn at chess

In “Dissertations Relating to the History and Antiquities of Asia,” 1793, p. 258, Sir W. Jones says:—“The game of chess, invented by the Hindús, seems to have been immemorially known in Hindústán by the name of Chaturanga, or the four members (elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers) of an army. This word became in Persian, Chatrang; in Arabic, Shatrang (the king's distress). Thus, the Sanscrit name has by successive changes given birth to—axedrez, sacchi, echecs, chess, check, exchequer. It was probably carried into Persia from Cányacubja by Borzúieh, the favourite physician of Naushiraván, in A.D. 560. The Castle.—The name comes from rath (Hindí), a chariot; rukh (Persian), a hero; roc (old French), a fortress. The English, French, Spaniards, and Italians retain the form of the castle (without the elephant); the Danes, Germans, and Indians—the elephant (without the castle); and the Russians—the boat. The Queen.—Farz, farzín (Persian), a minister; fierce, fierges, feers (old French). The Knight.—Asp (Persian), the steed. The Bishop.—Fíl, píl (Persian), an elephant; alfyn, awfyn, alfin (old English); aufin, fol (old French); alfin (Spanish). Checkmate.—Sháh-mát (Persian), ‘the king is dead.’ When playing with their sovereign, they say:—Sháham, ‘O my king!’ A king of Persia ordered that instead of saying this, they should exclaim:—Nafs mát, ‘the person is dead.’”

“Weapons (the hand and foot) like the male lion from my body spring;
“Besides, I have the weapon of steel (the sword).


“Like the diamond (the steel sword) and iron (the mail armour)—my veins and body!
“Of diamond and iron—mine, what need?

“When in neck-extending (arrogance) I extend my neck,
“I fear neither the watery (the pitiless crocodile) nor the fiery (the merciless demon):

“I rend with the sword the loins of heroes;
“Devour pitilessly the kidnies of brave ones:


Then man made of dust is as nothing before me.

The natal constellation of Dáráwas watery—Pisces; and of Sikandar, fiery—Leo, the sun's mansion. See canto xv. couplet 50.

“Am of dragon-form for man-slaying;
“Am not man-slayer, but man-devourer!

“Shame of none in the world—is mine;
“Contention is great; and peace is not.


“Softness keeps the striver languid (as regards his opponent);
“The (refractory ass) comes forth proper (obedient) from beneath the housings of labour.

“At that time, when a Zangí like me is laughing,
“He is (you may say) a black lion of diamond teeth.”

This he said, and cast on his eye-brows a fold;
Like a snake that, from passion for the treasure, casts itself in folds.

From the army of Rúm a horseman, powerful and skilful,
First cast himself against that fire (Zarácha).

He displayed bravery for fire-quenching (Zang-slaying);
Like a moth whose blood comes into agitation (at the sight of a candle).


The man of Zang, war-tried, came against him;
He (the Zangí) snatched his head with one blow from his body.


In the second line is the cause of the first. If they put not the pack­saddle on the ass and employ him not on work, he becomes lazy. Even so the man of war, if he practise not prey-seizing (muzáwalat), becomes soft and languid.

“Gardan,” signifying—neck, makes in the plural—gardanhá

“Gardan,” signifying—warrior, makes in the plural—gardanán

“Sar,” signifying—head, makes in the plural—sarhá

“Sar,” signifying—chief makes in the plural—sarán


How terrible must he then be in rage!


“Gosh malídan,” usually signifying chastising, here means—display­ing bravery and skilfulness.


Like a moth whose (time of) being slain comes near.


“Jang-súd” signifies—

(1) Kase ki súd-i-khudrá dar jang dída báshad.

(2) Kase ki súda yá farsúda,-i-jang báshad.

But here—kár-azmúda; jang-dída.

Another man of Rúm went like the fierce wind:
While he winked his eye he laid down his head (in death).

Another revenge-seeking one (of Rúm) came to battle;
The sky brought his foot also to the stone (dust).

Thus,—to the number of seventy men,
Of the men of Rúm, in conflict, came to the sword (of slaughter).

The wish came to no other warrior
That he should go battle-making with that one of hell (Zarácha).


The heart of the army of Rúm departed from its place (became perturbed),
As (the heart of) wax from the fiery stove.

When that one of hell made the army (of Rúm) weak (from fear),
No one come forth for battle with him.

The chief of warriors, the king (Sikandar), sphere-inclining (of lofty ambition),
Made (his own) place void in the body of his choice troops.

He resolved upon battle with the man of Zang (Zarácha);
Gave the spear a twist for Zangí-slaying:


“Pá,e ba sang ámadan” signifies—falling; for when a person's foot “comes against a stone,” he stumbles and falls.


“Zabání” signifies—

(a) (If derived from zabána,e átash, a fire-flame)—of or belonging to hell; or the angel guardian of hell.

(b) (If derived from zabán, the tongue)—an eloquent one, or a boaster. See couplet 163.

If zamání be read for zabání, the second line will be:—

That he should go battling with him (Zarácha), even for a little while.

Zarácha, an infidel, was, according to the Ḳurán, hellish.

The jewel-studded belt girded on the waist;
The Indian steel (sword) drawn forth by the hilt:


On his graceful body a sky-coloured (azure) coat of mail;
Like the twisted locks of the men of Zang, knot within knot:

A Yaman sword, with poison-water boiling,
Suspended, sword-belt-like, from his shoulder-side:

(And) a noose, curved like the eye-brow of the people of Tughmách,
In curvature like the bow-corner (bow-horn) of the men of Chách:

He cast a (padded) cloth over the back of his bay horse;
(And) that warrior of elephant-strength came to the saddle:

Entrusted the rein of his swift bay steed to fortune;
Displayed superiority over that one of strong hand (Zarácha, fortuneless).


How descends the black eagle upon the mountain-partridge?
How leaps the sun (at rising) upon the earth?

Swifter than that,—the Khusrau, stout of body,
Attacked with fierceness that Ahriman (Zarácha).

He shouted at him, saying:—“O old crow (black of body, great of age)!
“A young eagle has come, rest-taking.

“If thou turn not the rein from the path,
“I will make the world black to thee like thy face.


“Marghúl” signifies—mú,e pechída.


The people of these two towns in Turkistán are very handsome.


Zarácha trusted not to fortune, but to his own valour.

The crow on seeing the eagle is, through terror, unable to fly, an?? becomes a prey.

“For the reason that thou art black of face (confounded), —from the sharp sword,
“Thou shalt flee in this battle-field.


“Go not, until I make thy (black) face red with blood;
“Until I make thee more interlocked (in death's throes) than thy hair-lock.

“Rust falls on the mirror-like sword,—
“I am that mirror (lustrous sword); for from me (by continuous warfare) rust has fallen.

“Rúmish white lead takes away eye-pain (and eye-redness);
‘My sword takes through fear redness (ruddiness) from the yellow (black) face.

“Why boastest thou, saying,—I am the demon, man-devouring?
“Devour me, who am greater than the demon-man.

“Thou knowest not the strife of the sword and the mace?—
“I will with a strong arm teach thee.


“If thou come from the (terrible) place (Zang)—guard thy place;
“Otherwise, I will put thy head beneath my foot.

“I am that chief of Rúm, of Arab (keen) sense,
“Who, like the morning-dagger (the true dawn), am Zang-slayer (darkness of night destroyer).


Rust falls not on the sword of him who is perpetually engaged in warfare.


In the idiom of the Persians, yellow is synonymous with black.


“Dev-mardum” may signify—a masnás, a man having only one leg and one arm, moving by leaps.

Why boastest thou—I devour the masnás?

Devour me, who am greater than the masnás.

“When I strike the Indian steel (the sword) against the head of the huge elephant,
“The elephant-driver casts his garments into the jar of indigo (in mourning over the slain elephant).

“When with iron (sword) I make a hole within the stone (and make the mountain-stone slave to my sword),
“The sense of the chief of Zang (Palangar) goes to Zang.”

When he (Sikandar) uttered this speech he stood in the stirrup,
Raised the arm; loosed the rein (gave rein to the steed):


Assaulted him like the raging lion,
A mace (the head) of lion form in his hand.

From the severity with which he struck the mace on his (Zarácha's) head,
Fever-trembling fell upon the mountain Alburz (Zarácha).

With one wound (blow) of that mace of hard steel
He took the life of that ebony-tree.

Head, and neck, and chest, and foot, and hand,
He shattered to pieces, from head to foot.

When the work of (slaying) Zarácha reached a conclusion,
Another toil (of combat) appeared.


The Indian steel may signify—the two-edged sword, invented by the people of India.


(a) So long as here, fear-stricken of me, he goes not to (his country) Zang, he will remain stupified and senseless.

(b) When with the iron (spear) I make a hole in the mountain-stone (and cause a mournful sound to issue from the mountain), the chief of Zang (living) in Zang (far distant) goes (becomes) sense­less. See couplet 274.


“Alburz” signifies—

(a) A mountain in Mazandarán.

(b) The name of a hero of great stature.

See couplet 160.


A black, in form the lofty date-tree,
—The eye of the gardener trembling at it,—

Attacked the Khusrau like a savage dragon,
Delivered against him a sword-wound (blow) like fire.

Against the king's armour the sword was not effective:
The man of Zang growled (with vexation) like the black thunder-cloud.

When the Dárá of Rúm (Sikandar) beheld that black,
He drew forth the black crocodile (the sword) from the scabbard.

He struck such a blow with his sword at that date-tree,
—Like the ravening lion at the old stag,—


That the head of the man of Zang fell from the lofty date-tree,
Like the Zang-man who fell from the date-tree.

Another man of Zang went to battle;
He opened his tongue with a handful of boasting,

Saying:—“The black cloud has come from the mountain (army) of Zang;
“It rains not, save dragons and crocodiles (sword-blows):

“I am Siya Gúla of hero-arm (powerful);
“Am equal in the balance to the ponderous mountain:

“Pluck up the elephant's neck from the body;
“Drink in a breath the fountain of the Nile (render it dry).


“For that one, whose life I pluck with iron-weapon,
“I stain many garments in the foul fluid (black colour).”


No gardener had seen such a lofty date-tree.


“Gúla” (gulúla) may mean—a musket-ball; a large ball thrown from an engine; the name of the Zang warrior.


I cause many to wear garments of mourning. See couplet 159.

When that world-seeker (Sikandar) saw that that foolish speaker
Made his own navel (person) musk-smelling (odoriferous) with (his own dried) blood.

He raised the sword-point against his (Siya Gúla's) neck;
And cast down his head from that foolish talking.

A powerful black, more terrible than that one,
Urged his rein for battle against the Khusrau.

He (Sikandar) struck against him the sword, poison-water drunk, in such a way
That the man of Zang came, from wandering (in battle), to the dust.


Another black placed the saddle on the black horse;
Sikandar, with another wound, laid his eyes together (slew him).

Again, until the night,—of the renowned ones of Zang,
To none desire of battle came,

The world-possessor, in possession of victory, became con­soled;
He turned in the time of evening to the place of rest.

When (at the time of setting) the form of the sun of the hue of pomegranate flowers (ruddy)
Took blueness (darkness) from the jar of pure indigo (night),


The second line means:—

He displays what is wanting in himself.

As long as the blood of the deer's navel is raw, the navel (musk-containing) gives no perfume. When it dries and the colour of the blood departs, it gives forth the fragrance of musk.


“Tegh-i-zingár-khurd” may signify—

(a) A sword, rust-eaten or old.

(b) A sword, zingár-coloured.

(c) A sword, constantly moist with blood, for cleansing which there is no leisure.

It is said that this is an erroneous reading, and that “zuhráb” should be read for “zingár.” See couplet 191.

The care-keeper (the sky) of the standard (Draco) of snake form (night)
Plastered gold (the stars) on its painted silk of blue colour (dark night).


The guards (pickets) of the army, according to the regula­tions of watching,
More vigilant than the man star-recognising (the astro­nomer)—

Put not away from the eye guard-keeping;
(But) kept the watch-keeping that is the custom.

When in the morning-time, with happy star, came
The red rose (the sun) on the arch of the water-lily (the sky).

Sikandar came forth from his sleeping-place;
He arrayed the army for conflict with the enemy:

Urged the steed, rein-turning (obedient);
Urged that water (the steed) like fire:


Pressed his foot (remained firm) within the centre of the army;
Entrusted a section (of the army) to every warrior-hero.

Established the left and the right (wing) with (out of) the iron-fortress (the army armour-wearing),
Carried down its strong foundations like the mountain.

Verily the army of Zang and the tribe of Abyssinia
Became in every corner sword-drawing.


“Nigahbán” may signify—God.

“Durafshidan” signifies—larzídan, quivering (in the breeze).

The first line may mean:—

The keeper of the standard of snake-form (the standard-bearer).

The form of a snake used to be embroidered on the silken banner.


“Pá fishurdan” signifies—pá muhkam kardan dar já,e.

The first pahlú means—pahlaván; and the second—araf.


From couplets 242 and 243, Habsh and Zang are two different countries. The people of Habsh (Abyssinia) are said to be a tribe of the men of Zang, desert-dwelling. See canto xviii. couplet 1.

See canto xx. couplet 64; xix. 63.

On the right flank the men of Abyssinia; on the left the men of Barbary;
n the centre the man of Zang (the chief) demon-like.

When the king's drummer beat the drum of battle,
The Zangí bell-holder shook the bell (of battle).


The black cloud (the army iron-clad) began to roar;
The heat (flash) of the sword went from the fish (beneath the earth) to the moon.

The shout burst from both armies in such a way
That from terror of it the demon's brain became dis­tracted.

The dust fastened a lump on (choked) the throats (of warriors);
Their limbs from sleeplessness (during the past night) became yellow (and powerless).

On account of the mace of heavy weight and the sharp sword,
The mediator sought the path of flight.

From much screaming of the (Rúmish) clarion (and) Zangí brazen bowl,
Fear came to the revolving sphere.


From (terror) of the trumpet, empty of brain,
Earth cast out of its head its brain,—the mountain!

From the brazen fortress (body) of the drum of thunder noise,
Tumult fell upon the brazen (strong) fortress.


The second line may be:—

The sound of the drawing of the sword went from the fish-like scabbard to the moon.


Such was the conflict that the mediator (to whom no loss could occur) sought flight.

“Miyánjí” signifies—mutawassi; risálat-pesha.


The drum of brass is likened to a brazen fortress.

From reed blowing in far (high) note
Suspicion was that the trumpet of (the angel) Saráfíl had come.

From much striking of the mace and the sword on the earth
Dust came forth from every corner to the cloud.

From the steel point of the flying arrow,
Blood (the jewel-essence) clotted in the heart of the hard stone (the jewel-mine).


The bow of arched eye-brow (bow-notch) with eye-lash arrow,
Brought forth milk (blood) from the breast (bosses) of the cuirass.

The noose knotted, whorl within whorl,
Returned not at all, save around the neck (of an enemy).

Like the Indian juggler, swiftly rising (in the dance),—
The brandishing of the Indian sharp sword.

From the rythm of the spear-thrusts
The steed, under the subjection of the rein, began to dance.

By the point of the arrow of wasp-sting
The surface of iron and stone became rent.


The arched eye-brow (the bow), eye-lash (arrow) shooting, was so beautiful that milk (through love of it) issued from the breast (bosses) of the cuirass.

Through love for children, whom she may have cherished,—milk, even in a woman's breast, is often so agitated that it may be seen pouring from the breast. The cuirass is regarded as the mother of the bow and the arrow.


The sword is likened to the Indian juggler.

“Mu'allaḳ zadan” signifies—charkh zadan, to brandish.

“Mu'allaḳ zanán” signifies—a class of jugglers, who move head below, feet above, and spin in a reverse direction.

The second line may be:—

The master of the sharp sword (the warrior active as the juggler) springing (in the air).


“Zambúra” signifies:—An arrow (or a weapon) with a sharp head.


The earth, stained (or distracted) with the blood of those cleft asunder (with the sword),
The air bound by the sighs of those wounded.

The king drew up his army for conflict;
Like a mountain that is of lapis luzuli (beautiful in appear­ance).

That same swordsman of Zang (the chief, Palangar), strenuous in exertion,
Raised a cry like the Russian bell:

Heart-split, foam gathered on the lips;
Mouth wide open, like the back of a tortoise (seamed and serrated).

When a horseman from both sides went forth,
The heart of both armies became strong (comforted).


They displayed much manliness;
Also skilfulness; also recklessness.

The army of Zang brought forth destruction from the army of Rúm;
For this was feeble, and that terrible.

The king (Sikandar) thought of his delicate army;
For conflict comes not from delicate ones.

To his heart, he said:—“That best—that I should display lionishness;
“That towards these fearful ones (of Zang) I should discover boldness.


“Kafída” signifies—shigáfta; tarkída.

The first line should properly be:—

Lip gaping (like the crow) …

The second line may be:—

Mouth wide open like the back (bed) of the river Kashaf.

“When the army becomes sluggish as to their assaulting,
“It is necessary to wage this contest by myself (alone).”


Again he went forth like the sun,
That hastens the blood-shedding (annihilating) of night.

Some individuals of that hard, black race
He killed like a dog with one blow (of his sword).

The one who beheld such power as his (Sikandar's),
Shunned his (Sikandar's) steel.

When the warlike army-chief (Sikandar) remained un­assailed,
He urged his steed against the army of Zang.

Palangar, who was chief of Zang,
Knew that the crocodile (Sikandar) had come from (his shelter of) the river (the Rúmish army).


To his companions he spoke, saying:—“This raw prey army abandoning),
“Where takes he his soul when he enters my net (the Zang army)?”

He arranged his king-like weapons;
Adjusted his sword on the armour:

Put on a khaftán of rhinoceros hide,
—From sleeve to body encrusted with gold:


This describes—the rising of morn, and the departing of night.

Like the sun—see canto xx. couplet 9; and couplets 189 and 270 of this canto.


“Pahlú tahí kardan” signifies—kinara kardan; gurekhtan; durí guzídan; ek sú shudan.


“Palangar” may signify—one possessed of panther (palang) force.

For the meaning of Sikandar (Iskandar) see canto xv. couplet 20.

The shelter of the crocodile is the river.


The khaftán (ḳazagand) is a leathern coat padded with silk or cotton.

According to the sect of Abú Hanífa (may God be satisfied with him!) the eating of rhinoceros-flesh is lawful.

A helmet of steel of mirror hue (burnished),
Like pure silver, he placed on his head:

A sword—flashing like the eye of the wild ass,
Damascene diffused over it, like the (trace of the) ant's foot—


He (Palangar) drew; and came against the fierce lion (Sikandar).
—It is not proper to go boldly towards lions.—

To the king he spoke, saying:—“O lion, prey-experienced (war-tried)!
“Be patient (hopeless) as regards thy own life; display patience (as to its departing).

“Go not, so that I may display the contest of warriors,
“So that I may show in this battle-field the rage of lions.

“We shall see to which of us is superiority;
“To which in this matter is victory.”

At the raging of the man of Zang, inexperienced in action,
The blood in the monarch's heart raged.


When the ill-wisher brings into action (reveals) his malice,
He brings the striver's (his enemy's) blood into agitation (and seeks his own destruction).

Sikandar said to him:—“Boast not so much;
“Utter not foolish boasting before men:


The first line may be:—

A sword flashing like silk pictured with the eyes of the wild ass.


The second line is uttered by Niámí.



Be patient; stand; display patience as to thy life; and delay in hastening to battle.

“Express not so much boast of manliness;
“Tremble at thy own shadow.

“Though thou be a lion,—fear the lion-overthrower;
“Exercise not boldness with the overthrower of the bold.

“The body (of thy opponent), that thou canst not remove from its place,
“In conflict with it,—why is it necessary to press the foot (to contend)?


“Stretch forth thy hand to the lion's flank (grapple) at that time,
“When thou hast great power in lion-overthrowing.

“Thou fightest for the plunder (destruction) of thyself,
“For thou art the sparrow; yet thou actest as the hawk.

“Come, that we may grapple; the place is fit:
“We shall see which of us is the hardship-endurer.

“Boast not as to opponent-overthrowing;
“Thou wilt be taken if thou boast.”

The man of Zang (Palangar) was enraged at the king's speech;
He entered into contest (twisting) like black smoke.


He delivered a sword-blow at the king's helmet,
—From the lightning (the sword), when reaches injury the cloud (the black helmet)?

At that one of hideous visage the king (Sikandar) was enraged;
The hair of his body raised its head, sword-like.


This couplet has two meanings:—

(a) Whomsoever thou renderest subject,—fear; for God is powerful, and may make him ruler over thee.

(b) Thou art such a cowardly one that thou fleest from thy own shadow.


Thy boasting is the cause of greater wrath on my part.

With force he struck a sword-blow at his body;
The blow was not effective against his (Palangar's) cuirass.

They made many assaults on each other;
They delivered not one deadly wound.

In this way, until night came overhead,
The blows of neither were effective.


When the man of Zang (Palangar) became distressed by the king's blows,
He said to him:—“The sun has gone towards the moun­tain (is setting):

“Night has come; it is proper to abandon blood (shedding) at night;
“By the promise of coming to-morrow, it is fit to make the engagement (of combat).

“When the night of dark action (darkness-spreading) becomes chattel-burner (departs),
“The fire (the sun) bursts forth from the revolving of day (after night).


If “pakhta soz” he read, the first line will be:—

When the night of dark action became the consumer of white cotton (the white dawn).

The first line of couplet 303 refers to:—

Thieves of dark action, who keep the cotton (pakhta) appertaining to the fire steel (tinder, sokhta), and by means of it light a fire for cooking. Sometimes the fire spreads to the forest and turns night into day.

Sa'dí says:—

One night fire fell on some tinder;

In a moment a world was consumed.

In some copies there occurs the phrase—pukhta-soz, which signifies:—

(a) One who causes loss. Thus, in the morning the darkness of night is diminished, and the beauty of the stars quenched.

(b) Meat very much cooked, called Muharrá, thus prepared:—One misḳál of must of wine, with the flesh of a fat lamb and condi­ments, in a linen bag, they put into a pot and boil on the fire till it becomes well cooked. When this stage is reached they draw forth the fire from beneath the pot.

The bringing forth of the sun from the screen of night (that is, the pukhta-soz) is likened to the coming forth of fire from beneath the pot.

You may say—the sun beneath the night is a fire that, after the night being cooked, is drawn forth.

“In this conflict I will execute against thee such a deed
“That thou shalt fly into the snake's hole.

“On the condition that, when the army (the whiteness) of the morning urges,
“I see thee also in the morning time like the morning.”


This he said, and turned from contest with the king;
To this matter the king consented.

With the respite of the night they came excuse-seeking;
From the battle-field they came to the sleeping-place.

Come, cup-bearer! of the wine (of senselessness) of last night from the jar,
That has remained left of Ká, us and Kay,

Give; so that (my) temperament may be (joyous) like the black race (of Zang);
From drinking the cup the head becomes joyous.


In some copies the second line is:—

When it (my temperament, i.e. Niámí) drinks awhile, the head becomes joyous.

At this time Sikandar was prosperous, like the past kings; hence Sujawush does not mean—Sujawush of distraught fortune, the son of Kay Kaus (Cyaxares) and the father of Kay Khusrau (Cyrus, B.C. 558), —but black (like the Zang race).

Ká,us and Kay here signifies—those perfectly senseless, who, having drunk the wine of senselessness and departed,—have left to those on earth a portion of that wine of senselessness in the jar of Divine bounty.