How good a property is information (regarding the pre­serving of the means of livelihood).
God forbid that the world should be void of this coin.

Of the people of the world—raises loftily his head that man
Who is skilful in the business (of livelihood) of the world:

He travels not this path (through the world) in pastime (careless of his own end);
He preserves the pack from the robber:

He casts not from his own load that weapon (needle, sieve, knife, etc,)
By which, one day, he may make his work easy.


Cast not away (in the hot season) the skin of coarse leather, (the leathern garment) though it be vile to thee;
For, in the cold season, it will be of use to thee.

On the mountain-slope died that ass
That, through carelessness, took not his housings with him.

The narrator (Nizámí) of the royal explanation (of this history)
Gave information to the inquirer, in this way,

Saying:—When Dárá led his ally to (the land of) Arman,
Thou wouldst have said,—the day of resurrection has appeared!


In some copies, 'ár instead of khár occurs.


See canto xxiv. couplet 112.

“Kol” signifies—a garment of sheep-hide worn by darveshes.

Of his action (of fury) no knowledge was Sikandar's
That he would bring the resurrection (a host) in battle against him.


Refugees, tribe on tribe, arrived,
Saying:—“The storm has brought the torrent (Dárá's army) to the sea (our cities of Arman):

“Dárá's assault has come from the path (of our cities);
“The land has become black with the steel-clad ones.”

An inquirer (a man of knowledge of Sikandar's army) said:

“The enemy (Dárá) intoxicated

“Is, night and day, careless wherever he is.

“If the king make a night-assault against him,
“Verily he will put (drive) him forth from his country.”

Sikandar laughed, and gave him reply,
Saying:—“The sun seizes not the world stealthily.


“At the time of rein-twisting (assaulting)—for a king
“It is not proper to conquer by stealth.”


“Zinháríyán” signifies—those seeking protection and making com­plaint of wrongs.


Plutarch says:—

On the 31st September, B.C. 329, on the eve of the battle of Arbela, the two armies being in view of each other, Darius kept his men under arms and took a general review of them by torch-light.

Alexander suffered his Makedonians to repose themselves, and with his soothsayer, Aristander, performed some private ceremonies before his tent and sacrificed to Fear.

The oldest of his friends, and Parmenio in particular, when they beheld the plain between Niphates and the Gordœan mountains all illumined with the torches of the barbarians, and heard the tumultuous and appalling noise from their camp, like the bellowing of an immense sea—were astonished at their numbers, and observed among themselves how arduous an enterprise it would be to meet such a torrent of war in open day.

They waited on the king and advised him to attack the enemy in the night, when darkness would hide what was most dreadful in the combat. Upon which he gave them answer:—“I will not steal a victory!”

Another spy began,
Saying:—“Dárá prepared not such an army

“That, in the imagination, could compute it
“Those persons (officers) who are army-understanding.”

Sikandar said to him:—“A sharp sword
“Makes shreds of the hide of a hundred oxen.

“To a wolf,—that is savage,
“What fear of the numerousness of the sheep?”


To the army, such an excellent reply,
From the lofty monarch, was agreeable.

Every moment, news became more ardent (instant),
That the raging dragon (Dárá) had come.

When Sikandar knew that that fierce cloud
Brought forth, thunder-like, the sword's flash (of battle),

He sent (a messenger),—that an army, from every region,
Should set out to the monarch's door.

From Egypt, and Afranchiya, and Rúm, and Russia,
An army, bride-like, became arrayed.


When that countless army became massed,
He sought the enumeration of the names of the renowned ones.

The general gave information that six hundred thousand
Warriors, extraordinary horsemen, were mustered.


The agent to the verb (compute) is the word “officers” in the second line.


Compare—píl-i-damán; már-i-damán; bahr-i-damán.


“Mufrad-sawar” signifies:—

(a) Kase ki dar sawárí yak tá,e waḳt báshad.

(b) Kase ki dar bahádúrí yaka yaka báshad.

When the business (mustering) of the army became completed,
He prepared an assembly (muster)—without wine-cup or music.

The brains (sages) of Rúm sate attentive;
They made the wax (of the heart) soft, in love for the king.

Of Dárá's action (in invading his kingdom) and of his strife,—the king
Urged speech, and was perturbed as to his (Dárá's) action.


Thus he spoke, saying:—“That renowned monarch (Dárá),
“Has bound his loins for seeking contest:

“Of peace or of war,—what plan shall I make with him,
“For this matter has reached near to strife?

“If, forth from the scabbard,—I bring not the sword,
“They will not bring forth my name for manliness.

“And if I take the crown from one crown-worthy,
“I shall have girded my loins in tyranny against myself (a king).

“When (if) I put (drive) the Kayán king (Dárá) forth from this country (of Irán):
“This highway robbery on the Kayán king (and tyranny against myself)—how may I commit?


If muhr be read for mihr, the second line will be:—

They made the wax (of the heart) soft to the seal (of command) of the king.


If ránd pechída be read for rand va pechíd in the second line, we have:—

(a) Perturbed as to his (Dárá's) action, urged speech.

(b) Urged, as to his (Dárá's) action, perturbed spcech.

Sikandar unfolded the difficulties of the war to his officers, and thus showed his knowledge and far-sightedness. See couplet 31.


For respect Kayán (sing. Kay) is repeated and put in the plural.

In the first line, ki stands for chú.

Of Kayán descent none remained save Dárá.

Kayán is said to be contracted from Kaywán, Saturn.


“I fear less by this turpitude (of assaulting one of Kayán descent),—fortune's star
“Should give superiority to my enemy.

“In this usage and way, what is plan
“By which our work may not be ruined?

“By sound reflection and correct judgment,
“Ye may bring forth the answer to this matter.”

The world-experienced old men of lively sense,
When they heard the speaker's (Sikandar's) speech,

Opened at once their tongue in reply;
They renewed their prayers for the lord of the marches, (Sikandar),


“Saying:—Verdant of head be that auspicious tree (Sikandar),
“Whose name is lofty, and power great!

“Fresh be the world by his crown and throne!
“The crown of his door be his enemy's head!

“Every judgment of thine is (strong) like the true religion (of Islám);
“Why is it necessary to seek out the truth from us?

“But, we pass not beyond thy command;
“We travel only by the path of thy command.

“In such a way it comes to the mind of the world-experi­enced ones,
“Verily—of the approved wise ones,


Whoever causelessly designs a person's ruin,—fortune becomes his enemy and ruins him.


Kings used to affix the heads of their enemies to the gates of their cities.


“That, when the heart of the malice-seeker (Dárá) became malicious,
“Every thorn (of irritation) and dart (of alienation) sprang up from (Dárá's) path.

“Kindle thou also the fire of malice (as to Dárá);
“For fire, malice (of the enemy)-consuming, is auspicious!

“Thou art a new cypress; the enemy (Dárá), an old willow:
“Where exalts the (old) willow its head (in equality) with the (young) cypress tree?

“It is the season of making anew the old garden (of Dárá's empire);
“Its trees, bent down with age, (are) in the list for cutting down.

“With the brocade of this (thy) empire of new age,
“Adorn the cradle of the bride of the world (old become)!


“Thy enemy is the tyrant;
“The peasant turns away his head (revolts) from his injustice.

“For thee,—why is it necessary to fear that one,
“Who has many enemies (the injured peasants) even of his own house (country);

“Draw the pen upon (efface) the tyrant-rule;
“Satisfy the complaint of the people (against Dárá).


Otherwise, the first line may be:—

Now is the making new the time of the old garden (of the world).

If nuwán rá be read for nuwán dar, in the second line, we have:—

Now is the cutting down of the list of the old trees.

From couplet 49 it appears that the garden signifies—the world, not Dárá's empire.


“Kifáyat (bas) kardan-i-bedád” signifies—dúr kardan-i-badí.

“Since the empire (of Irán) is sated of thy enemy,
“Plant boldly thy foot for enemy-overthrowing!

“Shut up the bread in an oven so hot;
“Make sharper the rein of (urge) the steed of resolution (against Dárá).


“Where the king's foot is our head is (in homage).
“In this matter (of homage), where the heart that is better?

“Who may upset the king's desire?
“To whom is the boldness that he should express this breath?

“The permission (advice) of the guide (the counsellor, Aristotle) ends in this,—
“That the king should not exercise aggressiveness in respect to blood-(shedding):

“Should preserve the honour of the throne of the Kayán kings:
“Should not first bind his loins for blood-shedding.”

When Sikandar, in respect to that matter (of assaulting Dárá),
Found this aid from the army-leaders,


In accordance with the permission (advice) of his com­panions (councillors),
He became concordant, as to army-leading (against Dárá).

One day, when from Time's revolution
Concordant fortune came to his hand,

With auspicious omen, with arrangements for (clearing) the road.
He ordered that the army should move from its place.


In this matter,—where the heart better (in judgment that Sikandar's)?

Victorious in battle, rein-turning (proceeding) went—the king,
Loins tightly girt, against the malice of his enemy.

Like the raging lion,—of the sword of steel,
A key for territory-conquering in his hand!


An army like the hornet with sharp sting;
Even more (in number) than a swarm of hornets.

The banner was sought (made) from the lofty banner
That remained of the victorious Firídún,

At the time when that time was favourer;
And the sky was of friends the cherisher.


“'Inán-táb shudan” signifies—rawán shudan.


“Shamshír” is compounded of—shám, a claw, and shír, a lion. They used to make swords in the fashion of a lion's claw. As the lion's claw is the key to victory, so is the king's sword.


Couplet 67 is joined to couplet 66.

“Nishán justan” signifies—'alam sákhtan.

“Báz just” occurs in some copies instead of justa shud.

Herodotus nowhere mentions the standard of Persia; Xenophon states that the royal ensign was a golden eagle with its wings resting upon a spear; and Quintin Curtius describes it as the same in the time of Sikandar.

But, though the Persians had an eagle as an ensign, this is no reason for concluding that the standard of Kávah did not also exist.

Anterior to the service which led to the adoption of the apron of Kávah, there must have been a royal standard, and this probably was the eagle. The Persian historians state that the sacred banner of Kávah was seldom unfurled.

Since the introduction of the faith of Islám a variety of colours or flags has been adopted, of which the commonest has been a representa­tion of the Zu-l-fiḳár, or two-edged sword of 'Alí; but the sovereigns of Persia have for many centuries preserved as the peculiar arms of the country the sign of Sol in the constellation of Leo,—a lion couchant and the sun rising at his back. This device has not only been sculptured upon their palaces and embroidered on their banners, but also converted into an order which, in the form of gold or silver medals, has been given to the distinguished of the empire.

The sign of Sol in Leo was probably first adopted by Kay Khusrau bin Kay Ḳubád, who began to reign A.H. 634 (A.D. 1236).

From couplet 68, it appears that two standards belonged to Firídún (in Pahlaví, Frídún; in Dari, Afrídun, the Arbaces of the Greeks, B.C. 748-730), son of Ábtín, of the offspring of Tahmuras; one (the Firídún standard) that he kept over his own head, and the other (the Kávah standard) over the heads of his officers.

Much higher than the Kávah standard,
He fastened to the spear-head of his (Firídún's) standard a blue silk banner.

The Firídún standard, passing from Sulán to Sulán, may have reached Sikandar; while the Kávah standard (necessary for the gaining of victory) remained with the descendants of Firídún.

The Kávah standard consisted of a deer's hide embroidered with hundreds of forms, which Jibra,il, by God's order, had brought to Hoshang, the father of Siyámak; and by virtue of which he overpowered the Dev-i-sapíd, the slayer of his son, Siyámak.

By the passing of time it came into the hand of a widow, who sold it to Kávah, a blacksmith of Isfáhán, and Kávah used that hide as an apron.

When uhhák, of the offspring of 'Ád bin Iram Sám bin Nuh, became King of Fárs, by reason of his exceeding tyranny, something in the form of two snakes appeared between his shoulders—so that he became “of dragon-form.”

Some say that the Devil, who had long been subservient to uhhák, desired at last to kiss his shoulders, and that two serpents immediately fastened on the spot where he had imprinted his kiss, and fed incessantly on his flesh. The Devil then told him that alleviation of torment would be obtained only by the daily application of the brains of two men to the afflicted part. The jails in consequence were soon emptied.

Two of his sons having been taken to appease the serpents, and the turn having reached the third,—Kávah flew to arms and, with his apron displayed as a banner from a spear's head, marched at the head of the insurgents. He defeated uhhák in battle and slew him.

Discovering the retreat of Firídún, then sixteen years of age, he placed him on the throne, and Kávah's apron became the great banner of Persia, known as the Kávání dirafsh.

By Firídún and his successors it was richly ornamented with jewels and lodged in the royal treasury, whence it was never carried, save when the king marched in person.

At the battle of Kádissía this standard fell into the hands of the Arabians, who found it among the spoils of Yazdagird, defeated by Sa'd, General to Khalífa 'Umar, in A.D. 636.

'Umar ordered them to strip the jewels from the banner and to dis­tribute among the companions and the necessitous.

It is said that Zoroaster was descended from Firídún, and Cyrus from Kávah; it is also related by Mirkhond that Ibráhím lived in the time either of uhhák or of Firídún.

A pine shaft, fifty yards (in length),
Nourished in liver-blood.


On it a (banner of) dragon-form in silk,
At (seeing) which a cry of terror came to the beholder.

On its point, the tassel fixed, formed of a lock of hair of the ox-tail,
Like the black cloud on the mountain-top.

At farsangs from afar was conspicuous
A black eagle (the black hair of the ox-tail tassel)—its feathers and wings (the blue silk) of splendour (of gold).

That dragon (Sikandar) went with such an army (with wasp-sting).
Such a dragon-form (dragon-banner) at its head:

He made the world dusty with his tumult,—
For what? For a handful of dust (of this pitiful earth)!


Of this dust of cat-colour (grey, deceitful) how much (wilt thou take thought)? How long
Can one, by lionishness, make it wolf-bound (captive)?

Some of the prisoners doomed to feed the serpents took refuge in Mount Ararat and founded the present race of Kurds.


The standard is likened to a black eagle on account of the blackness of the silk.

Naṣíru-d-dín says:—

Firídún's standard was not in Sikandar's possession (as might be supposed from couplet 66); but at an auspicious time, after inquiring of the old men and after understanding the tale of its superiority, he made another standard for himself in the fashion of the standard of Firídún, but loftier.


From couplet 74-85 Niámí speaks.

“Gurba az baghal afgandan” signifies—letting the cat out of the bag; abandoning deceit.


“Gurba dar ambán dashtan” signifies—keeping the cat in the bag; having secret deceit.

A perverse morsel is the world,
In it, (for the devourer) is sometimes the sweetmeat (joy); sometimes the liver (grief).

The sky in sublimity; the earth in profundity—
This one is the blood-tray; that one, the dust-tray.

On these two blood (stained) trays,—written,
With the blood of Siyawush, much of the tale (of tyranny of the sky and earth).

The likening of the earth's dust to the cat is on account of its grey colour; of its devouring men's food, which by every artifice it endeavours to obtain; and of its mode of mouse-catching, wherein it lies apparently asleep, really in ambush.

The first “chand” signifies—tá chand.

The second “chand” signifies—tá kai.

“Gurg-band” signifies—the state of a man surrounded by seven wolves so that there is no hope of life; or a strong band by which they restrain wolves.


“Pechída sar” signifies—sar bastá; ná ma'tum, ham mukhálif, do rang.

The world is like a morsel of food, whose mystery is unknown.

(Yes; this much is known)—there is in it sometimes the sweetmeat (of ease); sometimes the (blood, or grief of the) liver.

God Most High has said:—The creating of man is for the enduring of toil.


“Tasht-i-khún” signifies—a basin that, at the time of slaying the malefactor, they place beneath his neck so that his blood may fall into the basin and not on the carpet; here it means—the earth, by reason of its taking and absorbing the blood.

“Tasht-i-khákí” signifies—a basin full of dust, with which they conceal the blood of the slain man by pouring it on the earth; here it means—the sky by reason of its roundness and loftiness.

In the world is no ease; for the earth is the man-slayer, and the sky the blood-concealer.

“Tasht-i-khún” may signify—the earth stained with dust.

“Tasht-i-khákí” may signify—the sky stained with the ruddiness (blood) of the crepuscle.


There are two trays—the sky, full of dust; the earth, full of blood.

Khún-i-Siyawush” signifies—the name of a wood (baḳam) with which they dye garments red. This wood is produced from the blood of Siyawush (the son of Kay Ká,us), whom, guiltless, Afrasiyáb, King of Túran, slew. Wherever his blood fell on the earth this wood sprang up.

On these two basins the circumstance (of the tyranny of sky and earth) is written with the Khún-i-Siyawush (the blood of Siyawush, or the wood baḳam); and the ruddiness (blood) of the crepuscle on the skirt of the sky is the sign of the slaughter of Imám Hasan and Imám Husayn (may God be satisfied with them!).

The earth devoured; and (from now) up to the time of devouring them much time has not passed,
Yet its belly is not sated of devouring them (guiltless).


If the earth bring forth its stock in trade (the blood of guiltless ones devoured),
It would bring forth (reveal) all its dust (drowned) in blood.

In this basin (of blood, i.e. the earth) the lament of none (of the guiltless ones) falls (is effective);
For the road is closed against the grievance-redresser (who would shatter the basin and give release).

When it (the basin of the earth) closed the path of (man's) complaint by the throat,
The complainer throat-bound (silent is) best.

Best—that thou make a fortress of thy own screen (of retirement);
Perform thy work in silence (uncomplaining, preparing for the next world),

Come, cup-bearer! that fire, repentance-consuming (wine of senselessness),
Kindle in the hearth of my brain.


In assembly-illuminating (on beholding God's majesty) my heart is happy,
Like the candle, when the fire (of wine) is in the head.

Then, by beholding the ruddiness (blood) of the corpuscule, is evident what a quantity of the blood of Suláns, name-possessing, has been poured into this basin; and, by seeing the wood baḳam, how many bodies of men of good name have been mixed with the dust.


Khurd-i-shán” signifies—khurdan-i-shán.


“Gulú basta,” in the second line, signifies—silent.

“Gulú bastan” signifies—to strangle.


Hișár kardan. See canto xix. couplet 240; xli. 136.