The next day, when the fountain of the sun
Kindled fire from the sea of water (the sky, called the revolving water or crystal),

The two armies drew up the drums (on the backs of elephants);
(Opposed) like the pieces of chess—of ivory and of ebony.

The partridges of Rúm and the crows of Zang
Became (like) the hawk's breast, that is—two (parti-) coloured.

The blacks like the night (of great darkness); the men of Rúm like the lamp (of little luminousness),
Small and great,—like the crow and like the eye of the crow.


A cloud (the army of Zang) of rust-coloured appeared;
It poured down a river of blood from its (red) eye.

In that torrent (of blood) that passed from foot to head,
This one (the army of Zang) became injured; the other (the army of Rúm), drowned.


It is said that kos bar kashídan is contrary to Persian idiom. It here signifies—kos zadan; saff-i-mardumán árástan; muḳábila kardan.


The hawk's breast is partly white, partly black.


The crow's eye is red of colour and small.

The men of Rúm, in shortness of stature, were like the crow's eye; and the men of Zang, in tallness and blackness, like the crow itself.


The men of Rúm, small in stature, were drowned; the men of Zang, tall, were only injured in the torrent of blood.

The World-Khusrau (Sikandar) resolved on battle;
—The evil eye (through the pride of the might of his army) did (evil) work against the enemy (Palangar).—

Drew up the market of contest;
Excited dust with the running water (his steed).

A coat, silk-stuffed, (adorned) with (pictured) eyes of the wild ass,
He put on, and became free from (the danger of) the sword and the arrow:


A suit of flashing armour, ring-possessing (mail),
Which, like the fountain (of the sun), comes not (by reason of splendour) into the eye:


The second line is uttered by Niámí.

Observe the force of—Kár-kard.


At the age of twenty-two (B.C. 334), Sikandar, in complete armour, leaped on Asiatic soil, on the shores of the Hellespont, and ascended to the storm-exposed city of Priam; worshipped in the temple of the Ilian Minerva; and hung his own arms as a votive offering on the walls. In exchange he took down a suit of armour said to have been worn by one of the Homeric heroes. The shield of great size and strength—borne in all his after fields before him—might have graced the arm of the Tela-monian Ajax.

At the age of twenty-five (B.C. 331), at the battle of Arbela, Sikandar (according to Plutarch) was thus habited:—His short tunic of the Sicilian fashion, girt close about him, was covered with a quilted linen breast-plate; his polished steel helmet, surmounted by a white plume, the work of Theodectes; his steel gorget, set with precious stones; his sword, his favourite weapon, not to be excelled for lightness and temper, —a present from a Cyprian king; his belt, deeply embossed with massive figures, on which Helicon, at an advanced age, had executed all his skill to render it worthy of acceptance,—a gift from the Rhodians. With shield, lance, and greaves,—behold the warrior! See canto xix. couplets 189, 270.

Harír-i-gor chashm” is a silken cloth, on which they paint the eyes of the wild ass.


“Chashm-dár” may signify—halḳa-dár, each ring (halḳa) being equal in size to a man's eye.


A suit of flashing armour bestarred,

Which, in the eyes of men, shone like the star.

A spear of thirty yards, point-bearing,
Found nutriment (or shelter) in the water of the liver (of warriors):

As a sword-belt, an Indian sword like water (in moving or in cutting);
In lustre, greater than the sun's fountain:

On his head was such a cap of steel of Chín,
That the jewel of the mine became envious of its sheen.

A small spear, poison-possessing, suspended;
At the time of striking like the poison of the snake.


He bestrode a steed, mountain-like;
In being seen (in appearance) auspicious; in motion, pleasant.

At the time of meeting (early in the morning) he despatched a choice body of troops
To see when the enemy might come to the road (to meet him).

Palangar came not, for he was dis-spirited;
He was anchor-plunged (immersed) in reflection (of grief, or of stratagem).

Another man of Zang, like the intoxicated 'Ifrít,
He sent that he might acquire the jewel (of Sikandar's life).


“Arsh” is equal to the length from the elbow to the tip of the finger.

“Sinán-kash” may signify—point-uplifted; a fine point; or sinán kih ash.

In the last case the first line will be:—

A spear of thirty yards, whose point …


Himá,il. See canto xix. couplet 191; xxxi. 58.


“Azbar” (the word az is superfluous) signifies—bálá; az bálá; az sabab.

By one (thrust of the) king's spear that reached him
The vein of life severed (its connection) with the man of Zang.


Like the mountain-fragment (in hardness) came another demon (a Zangí),
On seeing (the blackness of) whom the eye of beholders became sorrowful.

He suffered the same as that other inexperienced one.
In this way the dust of the grave scratched (stroked) the heads of several.

One of demon form, more black of face than that one,
Came into action like the wriggling (angry) snake.

The king against him also quickly drove his spear;
He immediately brought forth smoke (life) from him also.

Another black,—a more villainous tyrant than that one,—
Came into battle,—a more cruel blood-devourer than the lion!


The draught (of death) of his former friend verily he drank;
Fate performed the same foregone work.


The agent to the verb (severed) may be—the vein; Sikandar; or the spear.

The first has been shown in the text. The second will be:—

When the king reached him,—with one (thrust of his) spear,

He severed the vein of life of the man of Zang.

The third will be:—

The king's spear, with one (thrust) that reached him,

Severed the vein of life of the man of Zang.


Kharídan-i-sar” signifies—dast bar sar nihádan; shafḳat namúdan; tasallí kardan-i-khák.

The dust compassioned them; placed them under its protection; scratched (stroked) their heads, and passed over them.

The dust (with a view to swallowing them) produced an itching (kharáshí) in the head, the repelling of which lay in dying by Sikandar's spear.


Couplets 18 to 25 describe the four men of Zang whose heads the dust scratched (stroked).

No other bold one (warrior) came to the field (of battle);
For they were afraid of that savage lion (Sikandar).

The Khusrau gave the rein (to his steed) towards the tribe (army) of Zang;
He called forth his own enemy (Palangar) to battle.

When Palangar witnessed such superiority,
His limbs, from wounds unsuffered, went to pieces.

Whether he wished or not, he caused his horse to leap,
Urged his horse involuntarily towards the battle-place:


Cast the rein against (assaulted) the king, battle-displaying;
—(His) fortune lamenting (over his destruction) with much lamentation.—

Struck, with fortune's aid, many blows;
They were not effective against the lord of the throne (Sikandar).

The king of lion-boldness against that one of elephant-strength (Palangar)
Raged like the lion over the hunting of the wild ass:

Called first to mind the Shelter-giver (God);
Resolved on thorough success:

Made assaulting for battle with the Zangí.
—For the compass (Time) contracted towards the (black) point (Palangar)—


Urged his steed in warlike action against him;
Expressed laughter, lightning-like, at the black cloud:

Drove against him the spear (of thirty yards) of nine joints, in such a way
That both his (Palangar's) body and his coat of mail were pierced.

The compass (a) the many men of Zang contracted towards the point (a) the few men of Rúm
(b) Sikandar's circling (b) Palangar

“aríd” comes from—torídan, to make tumult or assault.

With a breath (of wind) the bark (body) of the enemy became wrecked;
Palangar died; the army was helpless.

The king ordered that on horse-back
The army should at once move (against the men of Zang).

The army on both sides stirred up motion;
They mixed night (men of Zang) and day (men of Rúm).


From fear of the whirring noise which came from (the flight of) arrows,
The silk garment beneath the cuirass of the (cuirass-wearers) became the shroud.

The noise of the flashing swords
Brought forth the cloud (smoke) from the (bosses of the) shields (of the warriors).

The cuirass-like armour, from the sun's heating,
In ardency like an oven in heat.

From the raging of the head in acute phrenzy,
The world fled from light (became dark to the warrior's eye).


In some copies the second line will be:—

The anchor (weapon by which he remained firm in contest) became weak; Palangar died.


“Chaḳáchak” signifies—the clashing of swords; the whizzing of arrows; and the crashing of maces.

The silk garment signifies—the ḳajágand, or padded coat.


“Tarang” signifies—tárak-i-sar, the crown of the head.

“Tarang á tarang” signifies—sarhá va tárakhá,e bisiyár, many heads and crowns of heads.

The couplet may then otherwise be rendered:—

The points of the sword gleaming and drawn forth (that from the blows of the two armies had become lofty) produced a white cloud from the leathern dresses (scales) of the fish.

“Máh-waraḳ” signifies—the boss of a shield.

Black is the moon's body, and also the shield.

The phrase may mean—an iron shield, by burnishing, like a resplendent lamp.


In sar sám, a brain disease, in which, by reason of a swelling, some of the convolutions of the brain come to view,—light is unpleasant to the patient.

From the many men of Zang, slain on the dust of the road,
The earth with the sky (both) became black of face.


The (red) cornelian (man of Rúm) kindled fire from the black stone (man of Zang);
From the fire the black stone (man of Zang) became com­pletely consumed.

The black stone (the Zangí) became light (valueless); the jewel (the red cornelian, or the Rúmí) heavy (valuable);
This, indeed, is the custom of jewellers.

The musk-willow (the Zangí) became captive to the jasmine-leaf (the Rúmí),
The black crow the prey of the white falcon.

Perplexity attacked the constitution (of the men of Zang);
The house (of the brain) void of the chattel of wisdom.

By the encouraging of the brave chiefs (of Rúm)
The (weak) wild ass (the Rúmí) became bold in contest with the (powerful) lion (the Zangí).


From (their) uttering:—“Húy!” and again:—“Hán!”
Tumult brought forth its head (appeared) from the midst (of the men).

When the conflict of the two armies passed beyond limit,
Time folded up the leaf of one (the Zang).


The sky, really of an azure colour, is by poetical usage black.


The cornelion, red in colour, found in Yaman, is used for seal-stones. The shabba is a black stone threaded with pearls.


The musk willow is not black, though musk is.


“Cháwush” signifies—the chief of an army or of a káraván. The chiefs used to incite the warriors to battle.


“Hán” is a word of caution, or of encouragement; húy, the tumult arising from a concourse of men.

Victory became the guide (ally) of the strong one (army of Rúm);
The weak one (of the army of Zang) came to quarter-asking.

In that assault the army of Rúm
Bound its loins for Zangí-slaying in every direction.

Sikandar extended his hand to the sword (for slaughter);
Defeat came upon the market (of fortune) of the men of Zang.


When the army of Zang came to the stream, Zangána,
The melody (of victory) issued from the trumpet of Rúm.

The head of the monarch's standard ascended to the moon;
The path (of the people of the world) became void of the tumult of the men of Zang.

The rain of mercy (Sikandar's victory) poured down from the cloud (of Divine favour);
It washed the rust (of infidelity and injustice) of the men of Zang from the sword (of Time).

Beneath a golden standard the king (Sikandar) stood;
On his body a blue coat of silk.

On every side the dragging of a Zangí, like the croco­dile,—
On the neck the binding cord and halter.


The weak one signifies—the soldier of Zang who had no power of flight.


“Shahrúd” signifies—the name of a great stream in 'Irák; or of a stringed instrument used by the men of Rúm.

“Zangána” signifies—the name of a stream in Zang (in which the army of Zang was drowned); and of a musical instrument used by the men of Zang.


“Zingar-i-Zangí” may signify—the army of Zangbár.

“Tegh” may signify—the sword (of the men of Rúm).

When battle and strife occur,—rain (it is said) falls.


“Pálahang,” contracted from “páláhang,” is derived from—pál, a strap or rope, and áhang, a dagger.


The person whom they placed (protection seeking) beneath the standard (of Sikandar),
His head they cast off at the king's order.

In that valley none of the men of Zang remained;
But if there remained any—there remained only the vulture's portion.

That multitude (of Zang) that displayed opposition to the elephant (Sikandar)
Fell like the dead silk-worm at the ant's foot.

When the worldly one endures the burden of men,
He sometimes suffers the leathern shoe (of adversity); sometimes enjoys the silk (of prosperity).

When the (Zang) enemy became captive to contempt,
The men of Habsh went under Sikandar's protection.


Of those desert ones that were from Habsh, the king
Ordered not the slaying in that tumult:

Had compassion on the hardship (of the state) of their work;
Gave them protection from his own sword (of slaughter):

Ordered that they should brand them;
On this account the men of Habsh bear the mark on the head.


The ant feeds on the dead silk-worm.


In some copies, in place of giráyanda, the following occur:—

(a) “Khar banda,” the ass-slave, or donkey-boy.

(b) “Giráyanda,” or má,il kunanda; 'iláḳa dáranda ba amúr-i-dunyá, one possessing worldly affections.

(c) “Kiráyanda,” or kiráya kunanda, one who hires himself out.

(d) “Kirábanda,” or mulázim i-kiraya, the servant of hire.


See canto xix. couplets 63 and 242; xviii. 1.

By that burning mark he made them luminous (of face);
For the lamp, by fire, becomes luminous.

From much plundering for the king's sake,
The booty could not be contained in the exhibition-place.


When the king beheld those goods of great weight and value,
He saw the plain full of treasure, like the ocean.

Besides the bejewelled cup and golden maces,—
Jewels (of Yaman) in ass-loads; aloes (fit for burning) in heaps.

Also of gold of the mine, and of rubies and pearls,
He filled many ox-hides.

Of camphor, silver-like (white), the plain (was) wearied;
Of silver, camphor-like (white and pure), a hundred mountain-fragments.

Verily, those huge elephants, treasure-drawing;
Verily, those Arab-steeds, peacock-like (in beauty and decoration).


Many captives of Greece and Barbary
Surpassed (in beauty) the moon and Jupiter.


A commentator observes that:—

Ghárat” signifies—the carrying away of horses; and that ghanímat is property taken by force from infidels.


Plain and ocean are opposites. The ocean is supposed to contain most precious jewels.


“Ḳanar” signifies—an ox's skin full of gold, to the value of 1000 dínárs.

Its value is, according to Richardson's dictionary:—

(a) 40 ounces of gold = 1,000 dínárs
120 lbs. of gold = 1,200 dínárs
100 rals of gold = 70,000 dínárs

(b) 100 rals=98 3/4 lbs. (avoirdupois), according to Lane's “Modern Egyptians,” vol. ii. p. 32.


Some say that Zangí should be read for Yúnání, Grecian.

It is difficult, however, to understand how the men of Zang (who are very black) could surpass (in beauty) the moon and Jupiter. A com­mentator observes—that the couplet may describe beauty absolutely, not the beauty merely of white complexion; and that a black complexion has brilliance and splendour.

From the horse-armour bejewelled,
Also from the resplendent pictured carpet (of seven colours),

All the surface of the plain was full of property;
With the treasure of jewels decorated.

The king,—from pursuing his victory over the army of Zang and plundering of treasure,
Rested; and became free from pain and toil:

Glanced at those slain for the sake of warning;
Laughed outwardly; wept inwardly,


Saying:—“In this conflict, so many creatures (of God)—
“Why is it necessary to slay with sword and arrow?

“If I place the crime on them,—it is unlawful (for they obeyed their leader);
“If I regard the crime on my part,—that also is a mistake (for I slew the robbers).”

Head-casting down (slaying) is the nature of the sky;
It is not possible to draw the head from destiny.

Like smoke—from beneath the veil of sombre hue (mourn­ing garment),
Turn not the head from the (order of the) azure (black) vault (of the sky).


“Bar gustawán” signifies—a covering worn by men at battle-time; and sometimes cast on horses to preserve them from wounds. It is called—kajín; kajím.


“Ba 'ibrat” signifies—pand giriftan.


Couplets 83 to 89 are uttered by Niámí.

The second line means—Be content with Heaven's decree!

The heavens that are like azure-coloured silk,
Are blue (black) dyers of all garments (of the dis­obedient).


In this screen set awry (the sky), utter not a song (of joy);
In this excited (uplifted) dust (of the earth), seek not water (to quench the thirst).

Who knows—this excited (uplifted) dust,
With the blood of how many hearts it is mixed?

If the beholder be not blind, every path (of the earth)
Consists of the (decomposed) hide of the deer, and the undressed (raw) leather of the wild ass.

Come, cup-bearer! make me intoxicated with the wine (of senselessness);
Put wine-sweetmeat (of senselessness) into the head when thou givest the wine.

With that wine with which I render my heart happy,
It, I make in hell (the vicissitudes of Time) the talc of (the preserving substance against) fire.


See couplet 44.


In a dusty land there is no water.


Talc preserves the substance it covers from the injury of the fire.

Those senseless with the cup of God's majesty—the vicissitudes of Time affect not.

It is said—that the fire of hell becomes cold with the love of men of God Most High; and that it raises the cry:—Let them pass from me; for my fire (by reason of their fire of love) rises to depart!