[The Battle of (Yaugamela—20 miles S.W. of) Arbela (Arbil), fought 1st October, B.C. 331.]

The proud moving (revolving) of the azure sphere;
Verily, the revolving of the moon and the sun around (the world).

Think not that it (the revolving) is for pastime's sake;
(That) such a pavilion (the sky) is for nothing.

In this pavilion (of the sky surrounding the earth), no thread (of the sky's revolution) is useless;
The end of the thread (of the sky's revolution, i.e. to­morrow) is not evident to us.

Neither gives one the chamberlain admittance within this screen;
Nor uplifts he this screen from earth's surface.


“Gard bar gashtan” signifies—gard á gard-i-'álim gardídan.

“Rishta” signifies—the sky's revolution, on which the seasons depend.

In “Notices of Persian Poets,” by Sir Gore Ouseley, 1846, p. 38, this passage has been mistranslated, thus:—

The graceful motion of the cerulean sphere,

With its orbits, the stars, and moon, and sun,

Think not that they have been made for idle sport,

Or that this fair curtain (the canopy of heaven) has been formed in vain.


In some copies couplets 4 and 5 are omitted.


Neither can one turn the head from this thread (of the sky's revolution);
Nor can one find the end of the thread.

Who knows what will arrive (chance) to-morrow,—
Who will become hidden from the eye (in the grave)?

Whom dead, they will place out of the house at the door?
On whose head, they will plant the crown of fortune?

The relater of the good and the bad of the dust (of the world)
Gave information of those pure (perfect) kings (Sikandar and Dárá),

Saying:—When in the morning the King of China (the sun) exercised justice,
And the bride of Paradise (morning) gave the pearl (the star) for the dínar (the sun),


The (two) armies arrived at the place of the battle-field;
Formed two circles, like the mountain Káf:

Strewed crows' feet in the path of contest;
The chiefs stirred up shouting.

Advanced guard against advanced guard in every direction in haste;
Neither ease in the heart, nor sleep in the eye.


They say that Sikandar was orthodox (mu,min) and Dárá, a Muslim; because he was of the faith of Zardusht, whom all the sages ('ulamá) have called a prophet.

See canto xxii. couplet 66; xxxii. 10; xl. 3.


“Șubh rá” signifies—dar șubh.

“Bár dádan” signifies—'adálat kardan.

“'Arús-i-'adn” may signify—the morning, because in Paradise all seasons are as the morning; night adorned with stars; the moon, whose light remains in the morning.

“'Adn” is the name of one of the eight abodes of bliss.


Khasak” signifies—hasak, the name of the mughílán thorn (Egyp­tian or Arabian, different from the acacia).

From the numerousness of the army on both sides,
The hand and foot of the striver was tied down.

They sate down face to face on the battle-field,
(And) displayed tardiness as to aggression.


Perhaps a (treaty of) peace may intervene;
When it will be unnecessary for them to draw forth the swords.

When from the youthfulness (of Sikandar) and the wilful­ness (of Dárá) there was:—
Indeed, on that side that pertaining to water; on this side that pertaining to fire.

Strife came forth from delay,
The malicious heart (of both armies) became intent on malice.

After that delay,—when they found the path to malice,
They turned away the head from seeking love (peace).

The voice of the drum began to roar;
The sky gave a kiss on the mouth of the drum.


The clashing of the armour of the raging elephant
Broke (through its terrifying sound) many a shoulder-bone on (of) the backs of elephants.


“Ábí va átáshí” may signify—opposition or contrariety.

Dárá's constellation was watery—Pisces; Sikandar's fiery—Leo. For this reason peace was impossible; for there is enmity between these two constellations. See canto xix. couplet 171; lxxii. 6.


The sky, from which all commotion arises, kissed the drum's mouth, saying:—Well, thou excitedst strife and performedst the obligation due to my rank.


“Á,ina” signifies—elephant-armour (bargastaván) of gold, silver, copper, and other metals, in form rounded like a spherical mirror.

This couplet may be rendered:—

From the clash of the armour of the raging elephant (the warrior),

(The hair on the body arose and appeared as) the shuttle (of the weaver) broken on the back of the elephants (warriors).

The trumpet brought forth the lion's roar;
The brain became sated of (distressed by) the breath (scream) of the ox-tail (trumpet).

From the Turkí reed such clamour issued
That it brought forth agitation (the cry of fear) from the reed (windpipe) of the warriors.

The sharp crack that arose from the whip
Went forth from this adorned valut (of the sky).

The movement (of masses of armed men) came forth from conflict's path;
Tumultuous action came upon (affected) the manly men (the warriors).


Thou wouldst have said:—“The earth is rent asunder;
“(The angel) Saráfíl has blown (the trumpet of) the Day of Judgment.”

The dust of the earth closed the path (of motion) against the air;
The rein of safety departed from the hand.


Khar-muhra” signifies—náḳús.


“irák” signifies—the noise of breaking wood or of cracking a whip.


In the second line, dar ámad signifies—asar kard.

“Hazáhaz” signifies—tahríḳ-i-mardum bará,e jang, the motion of men for battle.


When the Almighty had determined on the creation of Ádam, He sent the augels Michá,il, Jibrá,il, and I'sráfíl to fetch seven handfuls of earth from different depths and of different colours (whence the dif­ference of complexion); but the earth apprehensive of the consequence, and desiring them to represent her fears to God that the creatures He designed to form would rebel against Him and draw down His curse upon her,—they returned without performing God's command. Where­upon, He sent Azrá,il, who executed His commission without hesitation, for which reason God appointed him as the angel to separate the souls from the bodies—that is, the Angel of Death.

The Arabs call him—Abú Yahi,a; and the Persians—Murdád.

This tradition comes from the Talmud.

See Sale's Kurán, art. “Ádam.”

“Bar darídan” may elegantly be rendered intransitively; if transi­tively, its agent is—Saráfíl.

From much dust on the top of the helmet and the saddle,
The earth became sky; the sky, earth.

In the path of conflict there descended and ascended,—
The moist blood, to the fish (beneath the earth); and dust, to the moon (in the heavens).

From the hoof of steeds in that broad plain,
The earth became six, and the sky became eight.


The loud shouts (of the warriors) became liver-consumers;
The noose-rings became neck-seizers.

From the heat of the breath (of warriors half slain), a cloud was established in the air;
From the fire of the flash of the sword, the world (of warriors) burned.

From much sword-lowering (in striking) on blood and dust (the bodies of slain men),
The brain (the middle space) of the air became full of pure souls.

The army-possessor of Irán, also, early in the morning
Arrayed his army in complete order:


“Asmán” may signify—the top of the helmet and the saddle.

“Zamín” may signify—uplifted dust resting on the helmet and the saddle.

The meaning may be:—

From the dust on the helmet and the saddle such senselessness seized the warriors that in their sight no difference remained between the earth and the sky.


So much dust flew upwards that (it might be said) one layer (abaḳ) of the earth went to the sky. Then the earth had six layers, and the sky (which formerly possessed seven layers), eight.


“'Asa,” a sneeze that comes from the soul's motion, here signifies— clashing. When a man sneezes he lowers his head. The first line may then be rendered:—

From much sneezing (clashing) of the sword on account of the blood (of the slain) and the dust (of the battle-field).

From couplet 14 to 32 the battle is shortly described; now follows the detailed description.


“Șubh-i-bám” signifies—bám-dád.

Drew up first the ranks of the right wing;
Made with the sword the mouth of the dragon open.


Arrayed skilfully the ranks of the left wing;
—Thou wouldst have said:—“ A mountain of steel has sprung up!”—.

Established the (lofty) van-guard in the front, in such a way
That the face of the sun and moon became obscured.

Of the centre, which was like the mountain of steel,
Was the strong citadel for the shelter-seeker (Dárá).

On the other side the army-marshaller of Rúm (Sikandar)
Arrayed the army like a date-tree of wax (impression-accepting):

Gave arms and warlike stores to the asker;
Made strong (with them) the back of the asker (who sought for weapons).


Arrayed the left and the right with the helmet and the sword,
Like the decoration of the rose-bush with tears (rain) from the cloud:

Made the rear and front like the hard mountain;
Upreared the centre with the grandeur of the Pleiades.

When on both sides they had arrayed the army,
The champions sought an opponent in every direction.

In neck-striking, torment began;
Light went far from the eye of the world (darkness came).


The second line may be:—

With (out of) the sword made the dragon of open mouth.


Niámí and Firdausí use the word “janáh” in the sense of Muḳad-dama, the advanced-guard.


“Panáhanda” may signify—the deserter from the enemy's army; or the feeble one of his own.

From much blood that collected in the spot,
The dust became like fiery red sulphur.


By reason of the sword, on the slain one was no spot
In the pit (wound) of which was no dragon (sword).

The crocodile of the poplar (arrow) from the ambush of the bow,
Rested not a moment in one spot.

The noose a dragon, coil in coil,
In plunder of the treasure (men's heads), mouth opened.

From the shrieking of huge, raging elephants,
Distress broke upon the throats of lions (warriors).

From much sword-delivering at the neck,
No one was able to exalt his neck (for fear of its being severed).


Father with son in malice arrayed;
Pity, departed; affection, risen.

The shaft of the standard,—banner dipped in blood;
Safety,—tent pitched out of the world (departed).

From the many wounded by the arrow-point fixing (in the body),
The hand of those arrow-point drawing blistered became.


Of the uplifted swords no place was void.

For in their pits (scabbards) was no dragon (sword).


For the arrow was no rest. If it came from the enemy it was imme­diately taken up and cast back.


From (terror of) the shrieking of raging elephants

No cry issued from the lions (warriors).


From the shrieking of raging elephants

The courage of the warriors arose, and they raised high the voice.

“Gira dar gulú shikastan” signifies – in the first case—uftádan-i-gulú va be áwáz mándan; in the second case—uftádan-i-gulú va áwáz buland bar áwardan.


“Tír paikán fishán” signifies—an arrow, the point of which, after striking, remains in the wound.

Conflict's fire became so hot
That sparks issued from the shoes of the horses.

From the centre of the army, Dárá, world-seeker,
Enraged like the black ravening lion,


For enemy-biting and enemy-overthrowing,
Displayed the chest and the arm of Bahman.

Wherever he kept raising his arm,
He kept hurling the enemy's head at his (the enemy's) feet.

So long as he made it not void of life he passed not by a body;
So long as he cast it not down (to the earth) he struck not at a head.

In that assaulting, from much Rúmish blood,
He spread a thousand (scarlet) Rúmish satins (bloody bodies).

And on that side, Sikandar with the sharp sword,
—The (commotion of) resurrection stirred up in the world:


Both hands brought forth with effort;
In each hand the sword (sharp) like the diamond,—

Caused the sword to pass (cleave) in such a way,
That on account of it regret of life came not to the enemy.


At battle time warriors used to take a small quantity (two handfuls) of water on their horse, so that they might not be distressed with the heat of battle, thirst-exciting.


Here begins the fighting of Dárá and Sikandar.


Before being killed by a weapon the enemy died of fear.


“Baz afgandan” signifies—to spread, used transitively and intransi­tively.


Sikandar had, apparently, two swords, one in each hand. See couplets 61, 71.

When his dagger (sword) used to come on the elephant's head,
He used to scatter (the brain of) his head beneath his feet.

When he used to pour anger on the river-water (the enemy's army),
He used to excite the fire (of destruction) from the river-water,

Like a lion that expresses fire with his breath (mouth);
(And) confuses (by fear) the breath of mares.


To Dárá they represented, saying:—That fierce lion (Sikandar),
—Many a fierce lion,—that he has laid low from his steed—

With him, best,—that the king should put on one side (the desire of) battle;
For from that warrior, the elephant takes the side (retreats):

Should say to the army—that, all at once
They should urge the steed in battle against him.

Dárá of true power so saw
That the army should move (together) like a river of water (continuously flowing):

Should all in a body strike at one head (Sikandar's);
Should all together strike at Sikandar.


When the lion's roar is heard mares tremble exceedingly, raise their tails, and flee.

The second line may be:—

(And) confuses the tails of mares.


“Pahlú kardan” signifies—já,e guzáshtan; pahlú duzdídan; pahlú kashídan; pahlú tahí kardan; kinára kardan.


If ba be redundant in ba yak sar, the word signifies—all.

If ba be not redundant in ba yak sar, the word signifies—on one side.

The first line will then be:—

(a) Should all, in a body, all strike

(b) Should all, in a body, strike on one side.


At the order of the order-giver (the monarch) of the crown and the throne (Dárá),
The army raged (and) strove mightily:

Pressed the rein, stirrup to stirrup (in close array);
Clung to the sword with both hands.

When Sikandar beheld the tumult of the enemy,
He considered small the power of battle on his part (alone).

He ordered that the army of Rúm also
Should not hold life dear in giving it (to the enemy):

Should close the path against the enemy;
Should bring the enemy to the dust (of destruction).


The two armies, like the ant and the locust, charged;
Made battle, world within world (in countless hosts):

With the steel sword and the poplar arrow,
Made the thoroughfare narrow (straight) for the ant:

Drew forth poison (the stinging arrow) like the great (poisonous) wasp of Gílán;
Rent the earth with the wasp-arrow.

Sikandar, in that fierce battle-place,
Pressed his foot like the root of a tree.

Against him, an elephant-overthrower hurled his steed;
He went, Ahriman-like, towards the one of elephant-body (Sikandar):


Struck on the warrior's head, a blow,
At which the moving cypress (Sikandar) trembled;

Rent the khaftán; shred the mail-armour;
—Behold the work which steel effected on the hard stone (the quilted khaftán)!—


See couplet 60.

The arm of the shining sun (Sikandar) was not severed;
But was hurt beneath the force of the blow.

To the extent of a hair the king's body escaped from injury:
He (Sikandar) struck a sword-blow and cast down the enemy's head:

Feared that fearless enemy;
Estimated from that (warrior) the heart (of courage) of the enemy (Dárá):


Became intent on that that he might turn the rein (flee) from the enemy:
Might free his breast from the (chance of the) spear-wound.

Again, hopeful of fortune,
He remained firm on his own ground.

When he beheld in the omen (of slaying the warrior) his own victoriousness,
He considered his own power superior to his enemy:

Strengthened his arm for battle;
Strove with a balance equal to his own (Dárá).

The army rested not from blood-shedding;
From wrestling, foe with foe.


The war-tried ones of the Irán army
Took up (closed) the road against the army of Rúm.

The warrior of Rúm became distressed with contending with them (the men of Irán);
Death desired to make them (the men of Rúm) captive.

Again with fortitude they remained firm;
Departed not, like the mountain of iron, from their ground.


“Ráh giriftan” signifies—tang kardan.

Held the standard for the sake of honour;
Abandoned not their booty to the enemy (the men of Irán).

When the man of Zang (night) studded jewels (stars) in the crown (firmament),
The King of China (the sun) descended from the throne of ivory (day);


(And) from the midst of the dark night the resplendent moon gleamed,
Mirror-like, luminosity-possessing,

The two armies collected together, (each) in one place,
Departed from enmity, and were wearied:

Came to the place of repose from the conflict;
Washed the wound from off the body, and dust from the face;

In thought—from the vault swiftly revolving,
What will, to-morrow, pass over our heads?

The next day, when that orange, face-washed (the sun at rising),
Brought forth, like the angels, its head from the corner (of the east).


On both sides, the army arrayed its ranks;
The lions arose for hunting.


“Az khușúmat shudan” signifies—az khușúmat raftan, an expression contrary to Persian idiom.


“Zakhm shustan” may signify—'iláj kardan, to apply a remedy. It is here thus elegantly used.


“Ráhiyán” may signify—the angels who, by God's order, issuing at the time of morning from the corner of the sky and descending to the earth,—are the watchers of the actions and the circumstances of men; or Șúfís, who issue in the morning from the corner of retirement.

From the steel of the sword and thong (bow-strmg) of the bow
The sky displayed the force of arm of many a one.

From the tumult of the army (on both sides) patience came forth (and departed),
To such a degree that the rein passed from the hand, and the foot from the stirrup.

With Dárá were two confidential officers,
In apparent friendship near, but from real friendship far.

From Dárá's tyranny, vexed to the soul;
The heart of sadness arrived.


On that, their purpose—that they might accomplish the blood-shedding of Dárá,
And display against him (Dárá) their own (secret) hate.

When, in this way, they prepared the market,
They besought safety in return for blood from Sikandar.

Saying:—“We are the only special attendants of Dárá;
“There is none more confidential than we with Dárá.

“From Dárá's tyranny we are vexed to the soul;
“We have come before thee for his blood-shedding:

“To-morrow we desire to assault him;
“To make the land (of Irán) void of his oppression.


The second line may be rendered:—

The sky displayed tumult (kashákash).


“Ikhláș” signifies—dostí áhir va mujází, apparent and feigned friendship.

Khiláș” signifies—dostí báiní, inward (heart) friendship.


Muhammad Gulví says:—The two officers (Máhiyár, Jánosiyár) were of Dárá's van-guard. Otherwise they could not have gone to Sikandar; they would have been with Dárá.


“Only to-night, keep with effort thy ground;
“For to-morrow the enemy (Dárá) will come from his footing.

“When to-morrow he raises his standard in the ranks of battle,
“He will suffer the sword-blow, side-cleaving.

“But on the condition that, without hand-toil (difficulty),
“Thou makest open to us the lock of the treasure;

“Makest each of us rich;
“Makest the work of both of us like gold, with gold.”

Sikandar made covenant as to that desired;
Gave his hand to the covenanters of the wealth.


Not his, was the belief that those two of unjust faith
Would commit this crime against their own lord.

But everyone brings to his hand (employs) that pearl (design),
By which he may bring defeat to his own enemy,

In that path in which injustice appeared justice,
The old story came to his memory:—

“That, doubtless, the hare of every country,
“The dog of that country can seize.”

When these traitors, lord-slaying,
Learned from the lord of knowledge (Sikandar)


The two attendants spoke thus on account of the laxity which they saw in the army of Rúm.



Sikandar made covenant as to that wealth;

Gave (his) hand desired (in making agreements) to the covenanters.


In the traditions it is said:—Al harbu khud'atun, war is fraud!


It came not at first to Sikandar's mind that these officers would prevail over Dárá. Hence, for his own consolation, he utters this proverb.


That he would give them gratification as to the treasure,
Would give assistance towards the blood-shedding of his enemy,

They abandoned the right due to favours of (obligation to) the king (Dárá),
They took up the pursuit of slaying the king.

When the thief (night) took the ruby (ruddiness) of the sun,
The (men of the) world pressed their foot (were firm) in ruby-seeking.

With theft (of the sun) they seized the moon,
Saying:—It took away that pure jewel (the setting sun).

The two armies, waist-belt drawn (tight), like two moun­tains,
Became wearied of battle-essaying;


Returned to their own abiding place,
And made preparation for the contest of the next day.

Come, cup-bearer! put me (with wine) far from myself (make me senseless on beholding God's Majesty),
Make the world (Nizámí's life) full of light, with the red wine (of senselesness).

The wine that leads my path to the stage (of being without sorrow):
All (worldly things) take away the heart (sense); it takes away heart-sorrow.


“Pá,e bar dáshtan” signifies—surágh giriftan.


This and the following couplets describe night. But (from couplets 110 and 111) it appears that the two officers came to Sikandar at night. Hence, the coming of day, not of night, should here be described.


Only the moon (not the stars) can steal the sun.

The seizing of the moon by men signifies—the rising of the moon.

The couplet means—the sun set, the moon arose.


“Kamar-kashída” signifies—kamar-basta.


“Mará ráh” signifies—ráh-i-man.