Although the world is a pleasant place of ease,
The hastener's shoe is in the fire (of perplexity).

This decorated garden of the world has two doors,
Bolt and fastening of both of these uplifted.

By the garden-door (of birth) enter, and fully gaze;
By the other garden-door (of death), move proudly out.

If thou be wise, associate not with a rose,
Of whose remaining behind (in the world) is no help.


That (present) moment which thou hast, prepare for glad­ness;
For that coming is nothing, and that past is nothing.

We have not come (into the world) for the pursuit of heart-happiness,
But for the sake of toil and laboriousness.

No one calls asses to the nuptial feast,
Save at the time when water and fuel are wanting.


“Na'l dar átash” signifies—muarib. See canto xix. couplet 11.

The striver, either after excellence or after opulence, is ever perplexed.


In some copies couplets 2, 3, and 4 occur after couplet 61 of canto xvi.

Khú giriftan” signifies—ulfat giriftan.

From this world thou shalt depart; but that rose will not go with thee. Nay, it will stay here.

The rose may signify—any thing, or person, beloved.


The poet denies what he stated in couplet 5.


As asses are for carrying water and fuel, so the people of the world for enduring toil.

The representer (Nizámí) of the verse of this history
Uttered words according to the manner of true (truthful) ones,

Saying:—When the fire of the bright day (the sun's heat) passed away.
The vault (the sky) swiftly revolving, became full of the smoke (of the darkness of night).


Night established (got ready) the ornament of the moon;
The light (of the moon) in the (dark) shade (of night)— was a wonderful thing.

The (mounted) picket of the camp of both kings,—
Watch-keepers became till the morning-time.

By the coming and going (perambulating) of the watch­man, like the ass-mill,
The night bird, from the noise of the guard, rested not.

From fear of the raging elephant, many a sleeper, who,
Distracted every moment, leaped from sleep.

From toil and pain,—of man, the body slumbered,
(From terror of the past day), the glance momently issued from sleep.


Both armies secretly prayer-uttering,
Saying:—“Would that to-night had been long.

“Perhaps its length would have made delay;
“The battle-day would have appeared with great delay.”


They call night—illu-l-ar, earth-shade.


“Durráj” signifies—a bird that utters a cry at night. In poetry it means a night-watchman who keeps challenging so that men may be alert, and perambulating the castle-walls, calling out to prevent robbers from approaching.

The thought of the strivers (Dárá and Sikandar) was such
That they would scatter (extinguish) anger, the rager.

When the resplendent sun raises its head,
And the white (day) becomes clear from the black (night),

The two Khusraus would (in peace) bring rein within rein;
Would bring to view the path of friendship:


In peace and happiness with each other,
Would become illumined; and would not turn the head from it (peace).

When Dárá, in that matter, sought an opinion (of peace),
The heart of the councillor was sluggish in judgment.

None became the guide to peace,
They expressed to him the judgment for sword and blood,

Saying:—“Than the Rúmí, wound-endured,—the Irání,
“How is he weaker in conflict?


“Șufrá” is the bitter humour (bile) of the body, the mother of anger.


Couplets 17-20 describe what Dárá and Sikandar thought.

“'Inán dar 'inán áwardan” signifies—báham muḳábil shudan; ba yak dígar mușáfaha kardan.


From couplets 25 and 26 it appears there were two councillors.


“Ḳá,im rekhtan” signifies—'ájiz ámadan.

The particle ba prefixed to ḳá,im is redundant.

In chess, ḳá,im is the time when the two opponents are standing opposed: the conqueror is called ḳá,im andáz, the ḳá,im-caster.

When the chess-player sees his opponent playing the piece of power, he makes the king ḳá,im in a corner, and casts the piece from his hand, saying:—“the game is ḳá,im,” and thus he reveals his own weakness.

See canto xix. couplet 168.

“Nesh-khurd” signifies—nesh-khurda, as sáya-parwar stands for ??ya-parwarda.

“When, to-morrow, we press the foot in battle,
“We will not leave one of the warriors of Rúm in his place.”


By this persuading they gave patience (as to peace-seeking) to the king,—
One in boldness, the other in deceitfulness.

Those messengers (the two confidential officers) strove also in that way;
Because they had made a covenant as to his blood.

On the other side, Sikandar, remedy-devising,
How he might keep his foot (of superiority) in that con­test,

Kept before (his mind) the design of those two confidential officers;
Kept, besides that, his own alertness (as a warrior).

To the warriors of Rúm, thus he spoke,
Saying:—“To-morrow, in this circle of difficult (dangerous) ground,


“We will endeavour to strive in a manly way;
“Will, by effort, make the vein of life firm.

“If we prevail, the country is ours;
“And, if we go, the country (of Rúm and Greece) is Dárá's.

“The Day of Judgment, which is hidden from our judg­ment,
“Will be a day,—that day is our to-morrow!” (Then fear not).


“Mándan” signifies—guáshtan.


“Sarhangí” signifies—chalákí. Kí is redundant in the second line.

In dreadful imaginings like these,
The two armies, with fear and perturbation, slumbered.

When the world unfolded itself in splendour,
The world began another pastime.


The handful of sparks (the stars) became changed to fire (the sun);
That silver (the constellation, scattered) like grain became the cake (collected as the sun's orb).

The two armies, mountain-like, came into motion,
From which motion the world became distressed.

The king (Dárá) of the lineage of Firídún (and) the stock of Bahman,
When he arose in the early morning,

Of the army, in the order of battle, all the weapons,
Of quiver (and) the poplar-arrow,—arrayed:

Set on foot a hundred mountains of steel (steel-clad warriors);
Made, at his feet, a place for the treasure.


When, on the right wing, the work (the battle array) became fit,
The left wing became, at the same time, like a brazen fortification.

The (lofty) van-guard carried from the air the peg (of firmness) into the earth;
The rear-guard became four pegs (very firm) in the earth.


The sport of night passed, that of day came.


In some copies, ním-laug (signifying—kurban, a bow-case) occurs instead of tír-i-khadang.


The treasure was at hand, so that Dárá could give it to him who excelled.

The world-possessor (Dárá) in the centre place (of the army) took ground,
The standard of the Kayán kings erect above his head.

Sikandar, who held the sword, world-consuming,
Kept such a sword for the sake of this day:

Stirred up strife like the cloud, the rainer,
Its hail of the arrow, its rain of the sword:


Drew the wing of the army to the sphere;
Drew the hoof of the steed to the desire of blood.

The great ones (the chiefs) in that way that he pleased,—
He ordered to go towards the right hand.

The multitude, whom he made arrow-casters,
Them, the king, arrow-caster with the left hand, held on his left.

Verily, the powerful ones of the court (the body-guard),
From whom was the king's safety,

He held with himself, within the centre of the army;
And that robust one (Sikandar) became like a mountain of steel.


From the centre of the two armies, issued the shout;
The (sound of the) Resurrection Day reached the ear of the sky.


“Partábiyán” signifies—tír-andázán, those who cast the arrow from the hand with such certainty that they are called—hukm-andáz.

Some of them are chap-andáz, left-hand throwers; some rást-andáz, right-hand throwers. The former are superior to the latter.

“Chap-andáz” may signify—kifá-andáz.

Those throwing the arrow with the left hand were opposed to those of the enemy casting with the right hand.

If sákht signify—sámán, or the weapon of the arrow-caster, it will mean—the arrow.

The couplet may then be rendered:—

The arrow-casters,—a crowd, that their arrows

Cast with the left hand, them the king (Sikandar) held on his left.

The kettle-drum roared like the angry lion;
The bold dragon (of the standard) began to dance (to flutter in the breeze).

From the screaming of the tube of the (Rúmish) trumpet,
Fever-trembling fell upon the hand and the foot.

From the clamour of the brazen bowl (the great drum), from the back of the elephant,
The scream of crocodiles (the drums) issued from the Nile (the elephant).

From the growling of the (small) drum, empty of brain,
Earthquake fell on mountain and mountain-slope:


Came with fierceness the head of the willow-leaf arrow;
To it, opened the window (joint) of the mail armour.

From much arrow-raining which raged,
The cloud cast down, from its back, its rain-cap and cape (and fled).

If that arrow-raining had now occurred,
Blood (from fear) would, instead of water, have issued from the cloud.

The throbbing of the drum of brazen bowl
Gave fear, as to life, to the hearer.


The second line may be:—

(a) The dragon (sword) of the bold one began to dance (to the drum).

(b) The bold one, like a dragon, began to dance.


Here begins the description of the battle.

“Buhran-i-sar-i-bed-barg” signifies:—ishtidád-i-sar-sám.

In cases of buhrán (fevers) they open the windows of the house so that the breeze may enter and refresh the sufferer's heart.

“Buhrán” also signifies—a hot wind that scorches all it touches.

The first line may be rendered:—

The head of the willow-leaf arrow became phrenzied.


“Barání” signifies—a cap with a great flap of felt, made in Saḳláb, that they put on at the time of rain; or, possibly, the power of raining.

The bell-strikers, according to Zang-melodies,
Brought forth blood from the heart of the hard stone.


Two streams of blood (from the two armies) came into motion;
From the wave of its water, the earth became tulip-coloured (red).

The earth (the battle-field) that was an adorned carpet (ruddy with blood),
Became (from the hoofs of horses) a dust uplifted (gone) from its place.

Curvature (by drawing) came to the eye-brow (curve) of the bow;
The arrow went hastening like the snake of the treasure.

From the sword quicksilver scattering (lustre-shedding),— the warrior
Made continuous flight like quicksilver.

From the steel (the sword) and the arrow body-cleaving,
The mass of the mountain trembled on itself (saying:—Let not injury reach me!)


From the many wounds of the steel (the sword and the mace) hard stone contesting,
Earth's bone became rent.

From (terror of) the spear-point,—the wheel-like sphere
Remained halting from the circle of its revolution.

From much hurling of the battle-axe against the mouth,
For the breath no path of issuing.


The warrirs of Rúm, during their late expedition into Zang, had learned Zang melodies. See cantos xix and xx.


The second line means—The field was so sodden with blood that no dust remained.


“Sím-áb” signifies—lam'án, lama'.

Spear within spear sprang up, like the thorn points,
Shield within shield, like the tulip-bed.

In that day of resurrection, for those who fled,
Neither the way of escape nor the path of flight.


All the horsemen, arrow-expended,
Sometimes the arrow hurled, sometimes the (empty) quiver.

In that slaughter-place of man-born ones,
The earth became the mountain from the many fallen.

Everyone became happy in saving his own life;
None remembered the slaying of any (of any being slain).

—In the battle-field no one possesses mourning (garments);
A person wears only the black quilted garment (of battle).—

The orator uttered very choice words,
When he called—the dying with the multitude the feast.


When death brings forth destruction from a single body,
A city, from lamentation, becomes sorrowful.

By the death of the whole city,—From this city (Ganja), be it far!
No one—say he be impatient,—weeps.


On account of its redness (with blood) and rounded swelling form,— the shield is likened to the tulip.


Kings used to carry a bejewelled quiver. If they had to flee they cast in the enemy's path the quiver, the taking up of which, causing delay, sometimes allowed them to escape.


To none was recollection of friends not slain.


This couplet is uttered by Niámí.


Muhammad Kullí Salím says:—

From fear of my dying none died;

The seasons of my life,—all were like the day of battle.

From very many bold men slain,
The road became closed to the traveller.

On that Tigris of blood (of the slaughtered, reaching to the fourth heaven), the sun,
Like the water-lily (sun-worshipping), cast his bark on the water.

In that contest, Sikandar's spear
Surpassed (in lustrousness, or in loftiness) the sun's foun­tain.


That spark, that Dárá's sword cast,
Cast swooning (from heat) into the heart of the hard stone.

When army commingled with army,
They stirred up the (tumult of the) resurrection from the world.

Confusion fell upon the army (of Dárá and of Sikandar);
The seeking out (desire) for the protection of the king (Dárá) fell (sank and departed).

When the army became scattered towards the battle-field,
A space (void of guards) in the narrow plain (the centre place occupied by Dárá) appeared.

Of the special attendants, none was near Dárá;
For in the heart of none was love for him.


Perhaps the sun's reflection appeared in the river of blood.


Perhaps Sikandar arose and came to the ranks before the rising of the sun.


As the couplet is rendered, ázarm signifies—nigáh-dásht. If it mean jang, the second line will be:—

The seeking out (chance) of slaying Dárá fell (chanced).

If pareshání be read for pazhohish, the second line will be:—

Dispersion fell upon the fighting of the king (Dárá and Sikandar).

That is—In the assault both kings sought their own safety and desisted from battle.

The two officers, traitors, like the raging elephant,
Opened the hand (of oppression) against that powerful one.

They struck him a wound, side-cleaving,
By which the ground became with blood like the tulip-bed.

By that severe (fatal) wound, Dárá fell (from his horse),
A day of resurrection issued from the world.

The Kayán-tree came to the dust:
The wounded body rolled (weltered) in blood.

The tender body was distressed with pain and wound.
To the wind,—what affinity with the lamp?

The two officers of distraught judgment, slayers,
Took up a position near to Sikandar,

Saying:—“We kindled the fire of destruction of the enemy;
“Spilled his blood by the king's fortune:

“Made, with a single wound, his work ruined;
“Consigned his life to the king's saddle-strap.

“Come,—so that thou mayst see and believe;
“Mayst moisten, with his blood, the hoof of thy steed.

“Since, whatever we resolved has issued from us (is accomplished),
“Do thou also, whatever thou didst say,—perform.

Arrian says:—

The satraps Bessus of Bactria, Barsaentes of the Drangœ, Brazas of the Arachosians, and Satibarzanes of Areia seized Dárá; and Barsaentes and Satibarzanes, wounding him fatally, left him on the road, where he expired (July, B.C. 330), before Sikandar, who was in hot pursuit, arrived.

The army uttered cries and fled.

This couplet is uttered by Niámí. The tender body of kings, ten­derly nurtured, has no power of enduring pain.


“Give to us that treasure that thou hast agreed to;
“Exercise faith (loyalty) as to that matter which thou thyself hast said.”

Sikandar—when he knew that those (two), road-lost,
Were audacious in regard to the blood of the king of kings (Dárá),—

Repented of the agreement made by himself;
For protection, in regard to his own life, arose and left him.

Hopefulness (of life) dies out in a man,
When the head of one equal (in years or rank) comes to the dust (of the grave).

He sought the spot, saying:—“The Kay, territory-ruler,
“Where has he his sleeping-place of blood and sweat?”


On the road,—the two, injustice-practising,
(Were) the king's road-guide to their own crime.

When he reached Dárá's special guard,
He saw none of the moving body-guard:

He beheld the body of the lord of the marches (Dárá) in dust and blood:
The royal head reversed (low laid instead of proudly lifted).

A Sulaimán (possessed of pomp) — fell at the ant's foot;
Verily, the gnat displayed force against the elephant.


Sikandar says:—God forbid that my own attendants should act similarly towards me!


According to Arrian,—Dárá was slain in July, B.C. 330, at the age of fifty years, when Sikandar was only twenty-six years of age.

The snake (having devoured him) reposed by Bahmán's arm (in his castle);
Isfandiyár fell (by Rustam's arrow) from (the fort of) Ruyindizh.


The spring of Firídún and the rose-bed of Jamshíd
Became, by the autumn wind, the prey of grief:

The recorded lineage (the Ikbál Náma) of the empire of Kaykubád
Carried, leaf by leaf, by every wind.

Sikandar alighted from the back of his bay horse;
He came to the head-place of that powerful one.

He ordered that,—those two officers,
Two bad players out of harmony,

They (his own officers) should keep firm on their ground;
He himself, like one distraught, moved from his place:


Came opposite to the pillow-place of the wounded,
Unloosed the link of the Kayán armour:

Placed the wounded head on his thigh:
The luminous day (Sikandar) established the dark night (Dárá).—

That sleeping (powerless) body (Dárá's), eye-closed,
To it he (Sikandar) said:—“From this blood and dust arise!”


Dizh Ruyín was a fortress (said to be near Ardabíl) in Túrán, beyond the Oxus, the capital of Arjásp, Afrasiyab's grandson.


“Káj zakhma” signifies—one whose plectrum comes not truly to the note of the song.

Khárij-áhang” signifies—one who plays a tone out of tune.


Sikandar, brilliant with gold, is likened to day or to the faith of glorious Islám; Dárá, face-obscured with sweat and dust, to night or to the darkness of infidelity.


When the sick-inquirer comes to the head of the sick man, he looks not at his sickness and feebleness; but for making him joyous, says:—

“Release me (move me not); for release (from death) remains not in me;
“Splendour remains not for my lamp (of life, body-illuminating).

“The heavens rent my loins (bones) in such a way
“That my loins (bones) became concealed in the liver.


“Notwithstanding that I am loin-rent,—like the cloud (lightning casting),
“The smell (effects) of the sword keeps issuing from my loins.

“O warrior who comest towards me, do thou
“Keep thy loins from my loins (withdraw).

“Release the head of chiefs from thy hand;
“Shatter (shake) not;—for the world indeed has shattered me.

“What hand (power) art thou, that thou exercisest violence to me;
“That thou displayest aggressiveness towards the Kayán crown?

“Keep off thy hand; for this is Dárá!
“Like the conspicuous day, this (aggressiveness) is not hidden.

O certain one! arise and move proudly forth and view the world.

The first line may be rendered:—

The eye closed (averted) as to the sleeping body (Dárá).


A couplet has been omitted in the Persian text:—

To the Khusrau (Sikandar), thus Dárá gave answer:—

“Permit that I put my head to sleep.”


“Bú,e” signifies—asar.

“Pahlú darídam” signifies—pahlu-darída,am.

The couplet means—Notwithstanding this woundedness, I can injure thee; go far from me.


Dárá supposes that Sikandar has raised his head to sever it from his body.


Since acts are chiefly done by the hand, Dárá addresses Sikandar's hand.


“When my sun became yellow of face,
“Draw upon me the veil of azure (black) colour.

“Gaze not—at the cypress in prostratedness;
“At such a monarch, in such abjectness!

“Free me from pain in this imprisoned state,
“Mention me for the pardon of God.

“I am earth's crown, summit-sitting,
“Cause me not to tremble, that the earth may not tremble.

“Release me (move me not), that the sweet sleep (of death) may take me;
“(That) the earth may take my water (body); and the sphere, my fire (soul).


“Turn not the wounded head from the throne (of the sleeping-place),
“Lest the revolving sphere (my heir) bring forth the clamour (of grief).

“Behold! my time (of death) doubtless arrives;
“Leave me one moment in the sweet sleep (of death).

“If thou wilt snatch the crown from my head,
“Desist one moment while I pass away (in death).

“When I have loosed my girdle (of sovereignty) from this country (of the world),
“Take thou from me either diadem, or head.”


“Niḳáb-i-lájaward” signifies—a black sheet that they cast over the dying one, bitterness-suffering, so that he may surrender his life with ease.


This couplet means—move me not; remove not my head nor my crown.


When they take the crown from the king's head, his head comes into motion and tumult falls upon the world.

The earth is as Dárá's head; Dárá himself, as earth's crown.


Base things, to the base; lofty, to the lofty.

Sikandar lamented saying:—O crown-possessor!
“I am Sikandar, the server (not the plunderer) of the monarch (Dárá).


“I wished—neither that thy head should be in the dust;
“Nor (that) thy form should be stained with blood.

“But (this wishing),—what profit is it, since this deed was (by destiny) to be?
“In this matter, remorse avails not.

“If the crown-worthy one (Dárá, recovered from wounds) had raised his head,
“His loin-girt one (Sikandar) would have done him service.

“Alas! I have now come to the river (of calamity),
“For up to the chest I have come into the wave of blood (of thy body).

“Why fell not (lame) the hoof of my steed?
“Why lost I not the trace (of my foot) in this path (of war with Dárá)?


“Perhaps I should neither have heard the king's lament,
“Nor have beheld the face of such a day (of death).

“By the Lord of the World (God) and the Knower of Secrets,
“(I swear) that I have need of Dárá's welfare.

“But, when the stone falls upon the glass (of welfare),
“The key of the door of remedy comes not to the hand.

“Alas! that of the lineage of Isfandiyár
“This was the only token to the country.


Khwaham” is for—khwástam.


“Daryá” may signify—Dárá, or the blood of his body.

“Mauj-i-khún” may signify—the wave of the blood of Sikandar's grief.

If, on thy being wounded, I had quickly come,—I would have bound up thy wounds and not allowed thy blood to pour out of thy body.


“Sang ba shísha uftádan” signifies—wukú'-i-amr-i-ná-guzir; ráz bar mala,a uftádan; shikastan-i-chíze.

“How well it would have been if death had become apparent;
“If Sikandar had (this day) become locked in Dárá's arms (in death).


“(The seeking of death)—what use is it? It is not right to die by force;
“For before death one cannot go to the grave.

“A tip of the king's hair to me,
“More precious than a hundred thousand crowns.

“If I had known a remedy for this wound,
“I would have searched as long as I could.

“God forbid—that the throne of the king of kings (Dárá)
“Should remain void of the Dárá of empire!

“Why. weep I not blood over that crown and throne (the sovereignty of Dárá),
“Which casts the chattels of the possessor out at the door?


“Be not that rose-garden (the world),—whose chief
“Is in this broken state by its thorn (of injury).

“Clamour from a world, saying:—Dárá has departed!
“Not secretly, but like the open day,—he passed away.

“Since I have not the power of remedy (of restoring life),
“I lament in memory of the young cypress (Dárá).

“(O Dárá!) what plan hast thou? what is thy desire?
“Of whom hast thou hope? of whom is fear?


This is said lest it should occur to Dárá that Sikandar had come to take his crown.


Men, in avarice of property and country, slay the holder; then it may be said that the world casts the holder's chattels out at the door.

“Whatever thou wishest, say—that I may execute the order;
“May make a promise with thee for remedying.”


When Dárá heard this breath, heart-soothing,
He opened his eye in wishfulness.

He spoke to him, saying:—“O one of better fortune than myself!
“Thou art worthy of the adornment of my throne.

“What askest thou—of the soul, ready to die;
“Of a rose come into the simúm (hot wind) of autumn?

“The world mixed the draught of each one with ice (cool and pleasant),
“Save our draught, which it inscribed on ice (made evanescent).

“From being without water, the interior of my chest burns;
“(Yet) head to foot, I am immersed in a sea of blood.


“Like the lightning, that possesses haste within the cloud,
“The lip (border) void of water; but the body immersed in water.

“A cup that from the first is pierced
“Becomes not sound with wax and paste.

“The world takes plunder from every door,
“It brings this one (to wealth); it takes that one (to death).

“From it (the world's plundering), neither safe are those who are alive;
“Nor have even those escaped who have departed (in death).


“Ba” in bakhwáhish garí, is said to be redundant.


The examination on the Resurrection Day is still before them.

“Behold my day (of slaughter); pursue justice;
“Reflect thou also upon such a day.


“Since thou art the pupil (accepter) of my counsel (of justice),
“Time may not cause thee to sit for this day.

“I am greater—neither than Bahman, whom the dragon,
“For (even) the scratching of his head, allowed not time;

“Nor than Isfandiyár, the world-seizing hero,
“Who saved not his life from the eye-wound of time.

“Since from the first, the being slain occurred in our family,
“On me,—the slayer has established the lineage.

“Mayst thou be fresh of head in sovereignty!
“Since I have made void (in death) the pillow-place of verdure.


“Since thou askest, saying:—What is thy wish?
“At a time when it is proper to weep over me (in per­forming the funeral rites).

“(I say) I desire secretly three things:
“By the fortune of the world-king my wish may be accomplished.

“One that,—in regard to the slaying of me innocent,
“Thou be justice-seeking in this sovereignty (of Irán).

“The second that,—on the throne and crown of the Kayán kings,
“Thou bring not injury when thou art ruler.


The second line means—Time may not bring thee to the same sorrow.


Rustam slew Isfandiyár (Xerxes, B.C. 486) by a crooked arrow that passed through both his eyes.

“That thou make void thy own heart of the seed of malice,
“And render not the earth void of our (Kayán) seed.


“The third that,—in regard to my women-folk,
“Thou violate not the inviolable in my bed-chamber.


Sikandar, at the age of twenty-three years, fought and won the battle of the Issus, B.C. 333, notwithstanding that all his communications were cut off and the rear of his right wing was threatened.

On the side of the Persians, led by Dárá, there fell 10,000 horsemen and 100,000 footmen.

Plutarch says:—

After the battle, as he was sitting down to table, he was informed that among the prisoners were the mother (Sysigambis) and the wife of Darius and two unmarried daughters, and that, upon seeing the chariot and bow of Dárá, they broke into great lamentation, concluding that he was dead.

While he was commiserating their misfortunes rather than rejoicing in his own success, Sikandar sent Leonatus to assure them that Dárá was not dead; that they had nothing to fear from him; and that they would find themselves provided for in the same manner as when Dárá was in his greatest prosperity.

He allowed them to do the funeral honours to what Persians they pleased, and for that purpose furnished them out of the spoils with robes and all other decorations.

They had as many domestics and were served in all respects in as honourable a manner as before.

Though they were now captives, he considered that they were ladies, not only of high rank, but of great modesty and virtue, and took care that they should not hear an indecent word nor have the least cause to suspect any danger to their honour. Nay, as if they had been in a holy temple or in an asylum of virgins rather than in an enemy's camp, they lived unseen and unapproached, in the most sacred privacy.

It is said that the wife of Dárá was one of the most beautiful women, as Dárá was one of the tallest and handsomest men in the world, and that their daughters much resembled them.

But Sikandar no doubt thought it more glorious and worthy of a king to conquer himself than to subdue his enemies.

Indeed, his continence was such that he knew not any woman before his marriage, except Barsine, a widow by the death of her husband Memnon (in the service of Dárá), taken captive near Damascus, who was well versed in the Greek literature, of agreeable temper, and of royal extraction. Parmenio counselled him to this connection.

As for the other captives, tall and beautiful, he took no further notice of them than to say:—“What eye-sores these Persian women are!” In self-government and sobriety he passed by them as so many statues.

“Roshanak, indeed, who is my daughter,
“—With that delicacy (which is hers) is one matured with perfect love by my hand,—

“Thou mayst exalt as thy own bed-fellow;
“Because the precious jewel is beautiful.

“Turn not thy resplendent heart from Roshanak;
“For possessed of splendour the sun is best.”

Sikandar accepted from him whatever he said;
The accepter (Sikandar) arose; the speaker (Dárá) slept (in death).

Plutarch, quoting a letter, makes Sikandar say:—

“I have neither seen nor desired to see the wife of Dárá; so far from that, I have not suffered any man to speak of her beauty before me.”

According to Plutarch, after Sikandar's return from Egypt (B.C. 331), and some time before the battle of Arbela (B.C. 329), the wife of Dárá died in child-bed. Sikandar buried her with the utmost magnificence.

Quintus Curtius relates that Sikandar would not sit in the presence of Sysigambis till told to do so by her, as it was not the custom in Persia for sons to sit in the presence of their mothers.


“Dast pukht” signifies—food prepared according to one's taste by one's own hands; or a person reared and cherished with perfect love.

See canto vii. 39; viii. 2; xxii. 116.

It may mean that Dárá had kept his daughter for himself; for among fire-worshippers marriage with a daughter was permitted. Thus, King Bahman (Artaxerxes Longimanus, B.C. 465) married his own daughter Humá, of whom was born Dáráb, the father of Dárá.


Association with women, lovely and delicately reared, is the source of increase of life.


Arrian says:—

Dárá, as a warrior, was singularly remiss and injudicious. In other respects his character is blameless, either because he was just by nature, or because he had no opportunity of displaying the contrary, as his accession and the Makedonian invasion were simultaneous. It was not in his power, therefore, to oppress his subjects, as his danger was greater than theirs. His reign was one unbroken series of disasters.

First occurred the defeat of his satrap in the cavalry engagement on the Granicus (B.C. 334); then the loss of Æolia, Ionia, both Phrygias, Lydia, Karia, and the whole maritime coast as far as Cilicia; then his own defeat at Issus (B.C. 333), followed by the capture of his mother, wife, and children, and by the loss of Phœnicia and all Egypt. At Arbela (October, B.C. 331), where he lost an innumerable army of bar­barians of almost every race, he was the first to begin a disgraceful flight.


To the sphere ascended blackness and blindness,
That made Baghdád (the world) void of mansions, and of its (quarter) Khirkh!

It (the sky) shed the fruit (Dárá) of the Kayán tree.
It stitched the shroud equal to Isfandiyár's armour (with which Dárá was clad).

When the sun (Dárá) severed love from the world,
The black stone (Dárá's corpse) remained; but the gem (the soul) became invisible.

Over that king of auspicious lineage,—Sikandar
Wept in the night-time, till the morning.

At him, he gazed; over himself, bewailed;
Because it was necessary for him to drink the same poison (of death).

Thenceforth, he wandered from place to place as a fugitive in his own empire, until betrayed by his own retinue, and loaded, king of kings as he was, with ignominy and chains. Finally, when fifty years of age, (July B.C. 330), he was treacherously assassinated by his most intimate connections. Such was Dárá's fortune.

He was buried with royal honours, and his children were brought up and educated in the same manner as if he had been still king.

After his death the conqueror (twenty-six years of age) married his daughter.


Kirkh is the quarter, inhabited by perfumers and by people of heart (the pious), that gives glory to Baghdád.

Even so the glory of the world is in the king of great majesty. By Dárá's death the world was bereft of majesty and glory.


By way of grief Isfandiyár's name is mentioned; for in mourning over the dead they utter the names of the ancestors of the deceased.

“Bar dokht” signifies—barábar buríd.

Thus they say:—I'n jáma bar ḳadar-i-fulání dokht (burída shud).

The second line may be—

It stitched the shroud on Isfandiyár's armour (Dárá's hard body).


When the sun shut off love (its rays) from the world,

The black stone (of night) remained, but the ruby (of the sun) became invisible.


The next day, when the morning, the piebald horseman
Appeared over this meadow (of the sky),

Sikandar ordered—that they should bring the means (of burial);
Should take Dárá's body back to the first place (the grave-place).

Of the chest of gold, and (over it) the vault, stone-built,—
They prepared his place of repose.

When they had made ready for him such a place of retirement (the tomb),
They concluded their labour regarding him.

The value of the one possessed of body is as long as
Life is in the house of the body.


When the jewel of life issues from the body (of thy bed­fellow),
Thou fleest from thy own bed-fellow.

A lamp into which thou blowest a breath,
Whether on the palace-arch, or beneath the dust—what matter?

If thou be on the sphere (of exaltation), or in the pit (of degradation),
When thou art dusty, thy end,—beneath the dust (in the grave).


“awíla berún zadan” signifies—bar ámadan.

The early morning, on account of its lightness and darkness, is called the piebald horseman.


“Tanú mand” here signifies—one possessed of body, tan-dár.


From here to the end of this canto the poet speaks of departing from this world.


The virtue of a man lies in his soul; of a lamp, in its luminosity. When either virtue departs,—what matter what becomes of either?

Many the fishes that are the food of the ant,
When, from the salt sea, they fall on the salt dust (of the shore).

Of this thoroughfare (the world) the custom is in this way,
That it keeps the road for coming and going.


Time swiftly brings this one to the place (of honour);
Says to that one:—From the place of honour arise (and descend)!

Beneath this azure carpet (of the sky) display not
Joy with this amber-like stone (the yellow earth, man's heart attracting):

For with fear it will make thy face yellow, like the amber;
Will make thy garment blue (of mourning colour) like lapis lazuli.

A deer (a man) that is in the abode of lions (the world),—
By his death, the house (of his life) is desolate.

Stretch forth the wing, like the bird, for departure (from worldly affections),
Be not intoxicated with (its) wine in this resting-place (the world).


Set fire, like the lightning, to the (goods of the) world;
Let go! let go! the world from thyself.


For man escape from death is impossible.

In the end thou wilt mourn over thyself and be deserted by the world.


“Mustaráh” may signify—kanífa, a place in which one stays not long.

The meaning is plain.


Thou hast seized the world in thy grasp and chosen it. It is necessary that thou shouldst let it go.

The Samundar, like the moth, is the fire-traveller;
But this (the Samundar) is an old lame one (a slow mover); and that (the moth), a pleasant (quick) mover.

An ass ate nuts instead of barley;
The ass fell and gave up his life. The ass-owner (said to him:—) Go!

If he be the king of the country; or if the country, (peasantry) of the king,
All (the king and his peasantry) is the path of sorrow; or the sorrow of the path.

Or—Be free from the entanglement of self, and make the world free.

Or—Thou art in the entanglement of thyself; the world is by thee distressed. When thou shalt obtain freedom from thyself the world will acquire joyousness.


The Samundar (Salamander) is a creature created in fire, which consumes it not; nay, immediately on coming forth from the fire it dies.

They make kerchiefs of its skin, which, when mouldy, they cast into the fire which restores to it the original colour.

Thou art not the Samundar that thou canst remain long in this fire; thou art the moth, the quick-mover.


If “rau” signify ravanda, the second line will be:—

An ass fell and gave up his life; the ass-owner a mover (from him).

If “rau” signify raft, the couplet will be:—

An ass (a fool) ate nuts (suffered hardship) in place of barley (ease);

The ass (the fool) fell and gave up his life (ungratified); the ass-owner went (about his work).

As nuts are unfit for the ass, so is the affluence of the world for men.

Kharbanda” (the ass-owner) may signify—man's body, in service of which is the soul (the ass).

Although a man keep himself at ease, he has at length to leave the world.


“Ranj-i-ráh” signifies—straitness of resource.

Whether king or peasant,—both are weak and in straits; none has perpetual ease in the world.

If he be king, he is the thoroughfare of grief; and if peasant, the the sorrow of the path, or the cause of trouble. Both are distressed, whether thou callest their state the path of sorrow, or the sorrow of the path.

In respect to this ancient revolving dust (the earth),— who knows
What number (of men) from (the beginning of) the grave it has in every cave (grave).


The dust is an old purse of concealed fold,
That never brings forth the sound of treasure (buried men).

The gold from the new (leathern) purse brings forth the clink (of gold);
The new pitcher with moisture (water) comes into crepitation.

This tomb (the earth) of non-rapacious and rapacious animals,—who knows
What chronicles of good and bad (on tomb-stones) it has?

What sorcery it has prepared for those endowed with wisdom?
The heads of how many arrogant ones it has cast down?

The sky is not always thy bosom-fellow;
Its painting of two colours (joy and grief) is on thy back.


Sometimes, it gives thee loftiness like the angel;
Sometimes, it gives thee captivity with the beasts of prey;

At night, it remembers thee not for a single small loaf of bread,
When in the morning it gives the great cake (the sun's orb) of the sphere.


The second line may be:—

At bottom what (calamity) it has in every cave.


When a leathern purse is new, its stiffness allows the money within to rattle; when old, its softness keeps any noise from issuing.

A new earthen pitcher, on being filled with water, emits a crepitating sound.


“Dast-bandí” signifies—giriftárí; (meta.) 'ajz va farotaní.

Dogs, wolves, and other renders, thus sit—their fore paws, one on the other, stretched forth supporting their head.

In this mill of seven fountains (the seven skies), why is it necessary
To offer so much gratitude for every little barley-grain (from the people of the world)?

Like (the prophet) Khizr, keep fasting from (avoid) such scanty food (gathered with much obligation);
When there is the water of immortality,—whether date or milk, what matter?

From these demon-men (seekers of the world) who are beasts,
Be concealed (sit retired); for they are bad companions for thee.


The trace of the wild ass (one's object) that is lost to the desert-dwellers
Happens through the mercilessness of these men.

The deer, the proud mover in the meadow,
Flees from man towards the mountain and cave.

Verily, the lion that makes his lair in the forest
Meditates on the treachery of man.

Perhaps the jewel of humanity became shattered,
That humanity died in man.

If thou consider deeply the form of “mardum”(man),
Thou wilt say that the word “murdam” (I died) is even so.


“Sipás burdan” signifies—madh va saná kardan; mamnún shudan; minnat dár búdan.


As Khizr (yet alive) fasts from the world's delights, do thou also fast; for fasting is the cause of spiritual life. When the water of immortality is attainable, such meagre food is of no use. The essence of the water of life is—that whosoever drinketh of it needeth not again either food or drink.

Compare the Bible, St. John iv. 14.

When devotion to God is thine, the date and milk are alike.


Even so the holy traveller of the path of God has chosen the corner of retirement from men.


In the eye, the cap of the pupil of the eye
Became also black (in mourning) for the dying of generosity (in man).

O Nizámí, prepare for silence;
Involve not in speech that unfit to be uttered (the com­plaint of man's treachery).

When thou art on the same thread as the sleeping ones (void of humanity) be silent;
Sleep (like them, careless of humanity); or put cotton in the ear (be deaf).

Learn from this azure stone (the sky),
That is red (like the lustrous mirror) with the red (of the crepuscule), and yellow with the yellow (of sunset).

When the morning obtains the key (of the night-door), the fountain of the sun
Appears, displaying one eye.


At night, when a hundred colours are fixed for use,
It (the azure stone of the sky) issues like the fresh spring with a hundred hands (stars).


From this sky of varied hue, yet concordant,—learn to be contented with time.

The sky is like the lustrous mirror, displaying another colour for every colour falling on it.

Cease from advice contrary to the disposition of the men of the time, and be silent even as the dead.



When the morning obtains the key having one eye (the sun),

It (the azure stone of the sky) appears displaying one eye.

The eye of the morning (the sun shining equally on the rich and the poor, as it were with one eye) is, verily, the eye of the sky. Then the sky is true with (not different from) the morning in having one eye.

Even so look not at the goodness or the badness of men.

It is said that a key has two eyes, and that a key of one eye is a particular kind of key.

Come, cup-bearer! that coloured blood of the vine (wine),
Cast on my brain, like fire on silk.

The wine, which of itself gives me foot-stumbling,
Gives me a two kernelled brain like the (two) mornings.


Fill all my brain with that coloured blood and consume it with its heat—that is, make me completely senseless with the sight of God's majesty.

For the sensibleness of man is by the freshness of the brain; when the brain is consumed man becomes senseless.

By fire, silk is completely and quickly consumed, unlike other things that, when burned, leave ashes.


“Do maghz búdan” signifies—șubh-i-do dam bar áwardan, the dawn­ing of the two dawns; or șubh-i-șádiḳ (the true dawn) and șubh-i-kázib (the false dawn).

The phrase “do maghzí” contradicts not couplet 221. For the meaning of the single brain is apparent human sense; of the double brain, the power and perfection that senselessness gives to holy men.

The couplet means—Give me such wine as will make me senseless, and from that senselessness make two brains of my (single) brain. That is, make my brain and sense powerful.

Regarding Dárá's death, consult “Plutarch's Lives,” translated by John and William Langhorne, 1879, p. 459, et seq.; and the “Life of Alexander the Great,” by the Ven. John Williams, 1860 (furnished with an index).

The forces engaged at the battle of Arbela were:—Sikandar's army— footmen, 40,000; horsemen, 7,000; total, 47,000. Dárá's army—foot­men, 1,000,000; horsemen, 40,000; total, 1,040,000.