The name of the pure world-possessor (God, is) the super­scription (of this letter);
The up-lifter (producer) of that sprouting from the dust;

The giver of loftiness to the lofty sky;
The opener of the eye of the wise:

The world-creator, but independent of the world;
The remedy-deviser, at the time of helplessness.—

He adorned earth's surface with man;
He made it (the earth) loin-girt (firm) with the revolving sky.


The Lord without dependence on service (of anyone);
In him, neither collectedness nor dispersedness:


The sky, by virtue of its intrinsic qualities and by its revolution, draws the earth to itself.


Immediately before couplet 5, in some copies, the following couplet occurs:—

The scabbard of the earth with sword-water (lustre),

He illumined, like the fountain of the sun.

“Be nisbat” signifies—a lord absolutely without the existence of slaves and creatures; not like the lords of the world, who, without slaves, are not lords, just as a man without the son's existence is not a father.

A one who is unlike everyone (of created things):
Every existing thing (terrestrial or celestial) is alike from His kingdom.

By whatever thou takest reckoning,—the proof (of His existence), strong;
Free of need of whatever thou mayst use.

For me and thee,—is first necessary, capital (resource),
So that by it we may truly do a thing.


Whatever He created is not by means (material);
For comprehending it (the circumstance of creation), power is not Reason's.

Wisdom is the pupil of His instruction;
The heart is of (the number of) those bearing the mark of submission to Him.

Full of His wisdom and command has become—the world,
Conspicuous as to command, hidden as to wisdom.

In this void plain (of the earth) for their souls—
The coming from Him, and also the returning (in death) to Him.

The illumination of the heart and the eye is from Him;
Sovereignty—mine and thine,—is from Him.

Help (avoidance) of His command is none's;
He is God; we,—slaves, order-accepting.


If He make me crown-possessor in this world,
It is not wonderful, on the part of the liberality of the Omnipotent.

O world-possessor of victorious fortune! Thou, also,
Broughtest not forth the crown and throne from thy mother.


Before the descending of man's soul the earth was void.

God gave thee this superiority (in treasure and in army) that is thine;
Be not arrogant with the god-given.

Perform thanks to God,—for on the ungrateful,
The man, truth-knowing, utters not praise.

In sensibleness, or in senselessness,—be not
Forgetfulness of His command to any.


If the Lord give me aid,—
If He also give me sovereignty,—it is not wonderful.

I am able—to display arrogance;
To sport with the sword with the lion (Dárá).

With the sword, I will seize the diadem and the throne;
With this dragon (sword), I will seize the moon (Dárá).

From the history of Jamshíd the king, readest thou not,
How that (mean) dragon (the sword of the men of Zuhhák) swallowed the (great) moon (Jamshíd)?

To that man of dragon-form (Zuhhák),—Firídún,
What he also did by his dragon-power.


When the dragon of the sky meets the moon, the moon is eclipsed.

The moon may signify—Dárá; the diadem bejewelled like the moon; all the regions of the world over which the moon shines.


The dragon signifies—the sword of the men of uhhák, who, pursuing Jamshíd into the mountainous country, there slew him.

Jamshíd is likened to the moon, because he was born with a resplen­dent face. Thus, the name Jamshíd is compounded of—jam, a great sultan, and shaid, a shiner.

uhhák slew Bahman. Now Bahman signifies the month (máh) of January; but máh signifies—the moon, as well as month.


uhhák is likened to a dragon on account of the snakes on his shoulder.

In the first line, if azhdahá pára be read, it will signify—dragon-born.

Firídún slew uhhák.


By the holder of the sky and the earth (God),
From whom that very (sky) and this very (earth) have (their) foundations:

By that God with whom whosoever is unacquainted,
The way of wisdom is not to that unwise one.

By the path (of Islám) of our ancient forefathers (Ibráhím, Ishák),
Who were prophets of our religion:

By the books of Ibráhím, God-recognizing,
For which religion I offer thanks to God:—

(I swear) that if I obtain power over the men of Irán (fire-worshipping),
I will take the religion of Zartusht from (their) midst:


Will leave neither fire nor fire-temple;
By my hand, the fire (and fire-temple) shall be fire-consumed.

Such a pure usage and true path (the destroying the marks of infidelity)
Is our way and the usage of our forefathers.

On this musk (of usage), one cannot scatter rubbish (to conceal it);
For the pleasant smell of the musk remains not hidden.

The date from the lofty date-tree is for that one,
Who causes injury to reach the date on the date-tree.

In the garden, the long neck (superiority) is to that one,
That gives perfume and colour, heart-delighting.


Of wild asses, that ass is head-exalting
Whose is superiority in masculine qualities.


The second line may be rendered:—

From whom that one and this one (of mankind) have their power.


In some copies, kammand, a noose, occurs instead of gazand, injury.

Of lions, verily more blood-shedding is the lion,
Whose teeth and claws are sharper.

Two lions are hungry; but one leg of the wild ass;
The roast meat is for that one to whom is power.

Two elephants (are) trunk-intertwining (in strife);
Of the two, one will take away the standard (of victory).

Thou art man, and I (am) man. At battle-time,
Man appears conspicuous from man by manliness.


I turn the rein (in feebleness) from the path (of the world) at that time
When I either lay down my head (in death), or take up the crown.

Thou thoughtest,—In the world is none (but thyself);
World-possessor only thou art, and that is all.

Beneath (in the shade of) every leaf (of the trees) is the hastener (after sovereignty);
At every stage (of his desire) is the path-finder.

With a deadly snake like me, display not deceit;
Display contest, display not sorcery.

Out of my kingdom,—my fief, thou givest;
(As if) out of Yaman,—the assignment of Canopus thou should give.


It is not proper to give to the buffalo cheese-water,
In which it may find a drop of its own blood.


“Muhra-bází” signifies—híla-garí va fareb, a game in which they deceive the enemy.


“Iḳá'” signifies—suyur ghal, a fief; land revenue; it is equivalent to já-gír in Hindústán.

The star Canopus is supposed to appertain to Yaman, where (on account of the elevation of the land) it shines with great brilliancy. Sikandar asks:—Why givest thou Canopus (already belonging to Yaman) to Yaman?

Beyond this, express not the boast of arrogance;
For, in essence, thou art dust (man); thou art not of fire (demon).

Repose; let go violence from thy hand;
For the diamond sustains injury from time.

That cup of wine (the requisites of feasting) which thou hast in thy grasp,
Keep; and strive not with the hard stone (glass-shattering).

A world so full of the white naphtha (of calamity)—
Preserve the willow (of ease) from the deluge of the fire (of Rúm)!


In ease pass thy pleasure;
With the world-seeker's island (the small territory of Greece)—what business (thine)?

Bring down a prey weaker than me;
For fatness (softness) springs not from the lion's (Sikan-dar's) loins.

This one (Dárá, or his ancestors) gave a garden (the small territory of Greece) to an indigent one (Sikandar);
That (the indigent) one gave not back (even) a cluster of grapes (tribute) from his (Dárá's) garden.


“Arzíz” signifies—arzír; raṣáș, tin or lead.

“Rașáș-i-abyaz” signifies—white tin.

“Rașáș-i-aswad” signifies—black tin, lead.

Notwithstanding the diamond's hardness, they pierce it with tin.

It often happens that the strong one is vexed to death by the weak one.


The first line hints at Dárá's love of drinking ('ayyáshí).


Naphtha white in colour is the best. The willow when young readily burns.


Greece (a small country compared with Irán) is regarded as an island (limited in extent).

The territory about Moșul, between the Tigris and the Euphrates, is called—El Jazíra, a place in which the body finds increase of power, and of which the very dust is perfumed.

Why is it necessary to hang to a bough,
From which one cannot scatter fruit?

The king's desire will be accomplished at that time
When it is possible to establish a bridge over the ocean.


Why is it necessary to set pride in array,
To present a request out of its own place?

Like Bahman, youthfulness prevails over thee,
That a great fierce dragon (Sikandar) should injure thee.

The demon strikes at thy path (to lead thee astray) like Isfandiyár,
That thou comest to battle with Rustam (Sikandar).

When Sulaimán associates with the demon,
He loses the ring (of sovereignty) from his finger.

Fear the ill-doing of Time;
For it has ruined the work of many like thee.


That reckoning (of assaulting Sikandar) that with thyself thou castedst up
Is not so,—thou wrongly playedst the game.

Draw back the rein from (abandon) this crude desire (of subduing Sikandar),
For no one brings the Símurgh into the snare.

Thou art not more man-devouring than the Zangí;
Thou art not more man-injuring than the Barbarí (the Moor).

At the time of malice-spreading behold,—
How much blood I expelled from Zangí and Barbarí!


Rustam slew Isfandiyár (Xerxes, B.C. 486), led astray by the demon; a dragon devoured Bahman (Ardashír Daráz-dast, or Artaxerxes Longi-manus, B.C. 465).


See Sale's Ḳurán, chapter xxxvii.


See Clarke's translation of the Bustán, p. 256.

Exercise courtesy; turn back from malice-brooding;
For man is not injured by the good man.


I first bound not my loins for this malice;
Thou castedst off the cover from the snake-basket:

Preparedst an army for my blood-shedding;
Hastenedst towards me, assault-making.

For that reason that,—thou perturbest my place;
Takest from me the country of my forefathers;

For me also it is necessary—to rise;
To bind the loins, and to array the army;

To urge the army from beyond the bottomless sea (of the eastern Mediterranean),
To open (let loose) with the sword a sea of blood!


If thou be wise I am not senseless:
I am to the same degree, sensible; to the same degree, wise.

If fortune cast splendour upon thy work (of sovereignty),
I also am not far from prosperousness.

If the world gave a work to thy hand,
In this matter a great power is also mine.

For thee the crown (is) helper; for me, the sword, ally;
I am sword-striker, if thou be throne-possessor.

If thou display sword-play, I will put on the mail-armour;
If thou display peace-making, I will fasten my girdle (in attendance).


Rely not—on thy masnad and throne;
Because for every throne (-possessor), is a bier.


“Nayazárad” here signifies—azurda shavad.


The second line means—thou excitest strife.


Observe the play on—takht, a throne, and takhta, a bier.

For every kingdom, is decline; for every country, a passing away; and for every king, death.

Regard not the mountain's mass, stone-established ??
Say not:—“How may disaster reach the mountain ??

When at battle-time the earth quakes,
It brings forth with ease the dust (of destruction) the mountain.

When the time of an empire comes to an end,
The seeker's hand easily reaches it.

How is the (work of the) world not straitened—
Myself and thyself in battle come?


As to thee,—mine is no desire, save this,
That in one balance two weights are not proper.

Weigh me not with a weight equal to thyself;
For Bahman, by the dragon, came to sorrow.

If in reply thou establish my respect and honour (and peace),
I will, like the mountain, cast the stone of myself int?? water (I will keep firm as to peace).

In whatever way thou displayest hot or cold,
I am the accepter of concord (the hot), or of war cold).


“Sang-bast”—see canto xxxi. couplet 11.



When earthquake attacks the mountain, it takes with ease the (of destruction) from the mountain.


“Maní va tú,í” signifies—sarkashí va mukhálifat.


In one country two kings cannot be contained.

The word “man” may signify the hole in the scale-beam t?? which they pass the suspending cord.

In one balance two tongue-holes are not proper.


Couplet 81 relates to war; this, to peace.

“Sang dar áb afgandan” signifies—to be firm,—as the root ?? mountain Ḳáf is in the water, and thereby firmly established.

Come: what hast thou of the sword (of war), or of the cup (of peace)?
For in these two I have a perfect power.


When the world-possessor (Dárá) heard this letter,
His brain began to boil with rage.

He sent (a messenger), and sought haste for war:
In this matter, Sikandar (also) was not slothful.

He (Sikandar) collected near (to Dárá) the army for contest.
Each (army) arrayed with war-weapons.

When Dárá obtained news that that dragon (Sikandar)
Wished not to abandon the pursuit of the lion (Dárá),

He moved—the moving possessed of majesty,
Like mountain-forms from earthquake.


Army arrived opposite to army;
Time opened wide the door of rage.

The land of the island—which is Mosul,—
Is a pleasant place of ease and a delightful spot.

In that land was the battle-field of the two Khusraus,
From fear of whom the mountains were a-quaking.

If now they seek for (a relic) of these two Khusraus,
It is possible to find the warrior-bone in the soil (of Mosul).

Come, cup-bearer! take off the fastening from the wine (of senselessness);
Measure out (the wine), the measuring of the wind,—how long?


See couplet 50.


“Bád paimúdan,” wind-measuring, signifies—doing a useless act.


Make me intoxicated with the wine of the special cup (of Divine love);
I may perhaps obtain release from this tavern (of corporeal affections).