O (gold of) speech! say—what is thy alchemy (compo­sition)?
Of thy proof, who is the alchemist?


Ișakhr may be spelled—,, , .

Firdausí, in his Sháh-Náma, A.D. 1009, shows the name twenty-eight times as Ișakhr, rhyming with fakhr; Niámí, in his Sikandar-Náma, A.D. 1195, as Ișarakh; and Sa'dí, in his Gulistán, A.D. 1258, as Ușurukh.

The “Burhán-i-Ḳái'” says that the word means—a pond or lake; the name of a castle in Fárs with an immense cistern; the castle that was Dárá's royal residence.

Richardson, in his Dictionary (dissertation, p. 35), says that the word may be derived from ista (place or temple) and khar (the sun).

See Chardin's “Voyage en Perse,” 1674; Le Brun's “Voyage au Levant,” 1704; the elder Niebuhr's “Reise nach Arabien,” 1765; Ouseley's “Travels,” 1814-23; Ker Porter's “Travels in Georgia and Persia,” 1821; John Malcolm's “History of Persia,” 1829; Baron Texier's “Description de l'Arménie, de la Perse, et de la Mesopotamie,” 1842-52; Flandin and Coste, “Voyage en Perse,” 1845-50; Fergusson's “History of Architecture”; and G. Rawlinson's “Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World,” 1871, vol. iii. pp. 268-327.

Istakhr, or Persepolis, or Elymais (Ailama, corrupted from Airyama. See “Book of Maccabees,” vol. i. chap. 6; ii. 9), founded by Jamshíd, B.C. 800, lies thirty-two miles north-east of Shíráz, on the left bank of the Medus and Araxes.

The Nakhsh-i-Rustam, three-and a half miles north-east of Persepolis, is supposed to be either the tomb of Rustam or that of Darius Hystaspis (B.C. 521).

Rustam is believed to be Artabanus, who lived in the reigns of Kay Khusrau (Cyrus, B.C. 558) and Cambyses (B.C. 529).

On a rock to the eastward is a sculptured figure on horseback, face mutilated, hair long and flowing, with a projection on the left side of the forehead.

This is said to be Sikandar Zu-l-ḳarnain-i-așghar.

The author of the Fárs-Náma states that the figure of the beast Buráḳ is sculptured on one of the two square pillars at the gateway of Jamshíd's palace.

Professor Rawlinson says:—

The great pillared halls constitute the glory of Aryan architecture, and even in their ruins provoke the wonder and admiration of modern Europeans familiar with all the temples of Western art, with Grecian temples, Roman baths and amphitheatres, Moorish palaces, Turkish mosques, and Christian cathedrals.

That from thee they (the poets of the world) evoked so many pictures (versified books),
Yet rendered thee not void (deficient) of a (single) word (particle).

If thou be sprung of the house (of the body), where is thy resting-place (outside of the body)?
If thou enter by the door (of the body), where is thy country?

From us (poets), thou raisest thy head; but thou art not (lasting) with us;
To us (poets), thou displayest the picture; but thou art not visible.


The workshop of the heart is at thy command;
The tongue itself is the official of thy palace.

I know not what bird thou art with this beauty (of voice)—
Of us (poets) thou art a token which remains.

(O hearer!) behold speech! how lofty is its stature,
Let not its silk-cloth goods (of goodness) experience dulness (in value)!

Let not valuable goods (pure speech) be dull (in the (market)!
And if (I say) be (dull),—only the defect of (discovered by) the envious!

O speech-utterer! (Nizámí) skilful singer! exercise
Gladness of speech forthwith.


Of the speech of those renowned sleeping ones (deceased kings),
Breathe an enchantment for those distraught (the hearers of this versified tale).

From the first, the representer of past events,
With sound reflection and true judgment,

Gave glad tidings like this—that, when the monarch
Brought forth profit to the country of Sipáhán,

From the victory (giving) of the sphere of azure colour,
In Sipáhán, much delay was not his.

He went to Istakhr, he placed the crown on his head,
In the place of Kayúmars he became Kay Kubád!


By the criticizing of the envious, pure speech becomes not dull; for the judges know its value.

If bar dast be read for juz-i-'aib, the second line will be:—

And if they be (dull), let them not fall to the hand of the envious one (who will rejoice).


By him,—the country of Persia became adorned;
By him,—the back of the warriors became strong.

The great ones congratulated him;
They exalted their own heads by that exaltation (of his).

The offering, which was throne-worthy,
They shed on the monarch of victorious fortune.

From the fountain-head of the Nile to the river Ganges,
From the salt-water of Chín to the bitter water of Zang,

Ambassadors arrived with revenue and tribute,
The king's throne and crown auspicious-making (may they be blessed)!


When the king placed his foot on the golden throne (of Usturukh),
He opened the brazen fortification (his taciturn mouth) as regards the treasure of speech.

Saying:—“Thanks be to a Creator,
“Who made (me) the praise-utterer, a recogniser of the right (due to His bounty):

“(Who) from beneath the dust, a head like mine
“Raised to the stars like pure light:

“Brought me from the confines of Rúm to Irán,
“Made the stone wax (impressionable) to my order:

“Caused my work to reach such a place
“That the sphere bears the litter of my load.


“Sáv” sígnifies—property taken from merchants and great ones; the revenue that a governor of a province gives to the king.

“Báj” signifies—property such as horses; gold that petty kings present to monarchs.


The second line may be:—

The litter of the sphere bears my load.


“(In return for this), with the sky-ruler (God) I agreed,
“That I would not rest a moment from justice-adminis­tering:

“Would exercise justice—to the oppressed:
“Would show light (liberality) to the night of the sorrowful.

“Wisdom is my guide to fidelity (practising in every promise);
“The world's peace is (dependent) on my fidelity (to promises).

“I pursue, to-day, the path of truthfulness;
“For I have knowledge of my to-morrow (the Judgment Day).

“I avoid (fear) the day of forgiveness-asking (the Judg­ment Day);
“I exercise sovereignty with carefulness.


“From the elephant's forehead (the strong) to the ant's foot (the weak),—
“From me, comes not the hand of violence against any.

“I have no greed for anyone's gold or silver;
“Although over it I obtain power (of acquisition).

“Though I endure much trouble from the people (on account of their petitions),
“I wish not that any should be injured by me.

“I took off (abolished) the tribute in respect to village and city;
“I take neither tax nor tribute from the country.

“If I gather treasure from the world,
“I prepare the share for whoever there is:


With the forehead the elephant pushes; with the foot the ant vexes.


Sikandar took only the revenue of the sown fields and alms.


“Give the key of fortune (livelihood) to everyone;
“Make conspicuous the basis of everyone's work:

“Make lofty the head of the skilful one;
“Draw the foot of the foolish one into the bonds (of instruction):

“Turn my head from those enjoying without toil,—
“Save those tongueless and helpless.

“When one powerful (expert in trade) has knowledge of affairs,
“I desire not that he should be unoccupied with work.

“When I behold one who has endured trouble,
“So that his income (from trade) is less than his expendi­ture,


“I give him hopefulness in regard to that expenditure,
“Give aid from my own treasury:

“Have in business no fear of anyone
“Save that one who fears (me):

“Perform my duties, by (the aid of) religion and by knowledge;
“Give the day (of splendour) of markets to justice:

“Cast into the mill (of torture) whoever is fit to be crushed;
“Pardon whoever is fit to be pardoned;

“Keep the world adorned by liberality;
“Give aid to the liberal with (my) wealth:


“Keep tyranny far from myself by sense;
“Cherish the tyranny-sufferer and the tyrant-slayer:


Nay, I will order him work, and will not regard his wealth.


In the Bustán, Sa'dí says:—

Fear him who fears thee (lest from fear of injury he design thy destruction).

“Perform an ill-deed in return for an ill-deed;
“Perform a hundred (deeds of kindness) in requital for a single good deed:

“Punish the people for sin;
“Cherish them when they come pardon-seeking:

“Strike his neck, when the enemy extends his neck (in arrogance);
“Am silent, when he expresses smooth words in friend­ship.

“On my part, it is to lay the foundation (the beginning) of goodness:
“On the enemy's, it is (to lay) the beginning of evilness.


“With the sieve of judgment, that dust-siever am I,
“Who take up wealth (from the unworthy), and scatter it again in a place (for the worthy.)

“Like the water-wheel that continually gives a fresh draught,
“(That) takes it from this one, and gives it to that one,

“Whatever by the sword's point (in war) comes to me,
“My whip's lash makes proceed (to the people).

“I am a form of the cloud (the rainer), and of the sun (the shiner);
“In one hand of mine,—fire (wrathfulness); in the other, water (kindness).


The first tan zadan signifies—nawákhtan; the second, khámosh búdan va shudan.

In the second line, if dushmaní be read for dostí, we have:—

Am silent when he is silent (quiet) as to enmity.


The dust-siever is the one who, in search of valuables, sifts the dust of the market. In the Persian idiom it means—one who proceeds boldly and industriously in the pursuit of his aims.

“I come to a hard stone,—I melt it;
“I come to a thirsty field,—I cherish it.


“My sword's point brings the world into my grasp;
“My whip's lash gives it without delay.

“I have come to the summit of this throne (of Istarakh) on that account;
“That I might become hand-seizer of the fallen.

“I came not of myself to Irán from Rúm;
“From that land and clime God sent me,

“For the reason that—I may display truth from falsehood;
“(That) the fastening of every lock (of difficulty) may find the key (of solution) from me:

“That I may bring forth from the dust (exalt) the head of the truth-recognizers (Muslims);
“May bring destruction upon the false worshippers (infidels):


“May take from the world the rust of shamelessness;
“May (through my perfect justice) give concord to the wind with the lamp (put down rebellion):

“May make the demon (the crabbed one) of every house the angel (the good-natured one);
“(And) may adorn the waste place with treasure.

“Where my justice raises its head, cypress-like,
“The partridge fears not the tyranny of the hawk:

“The wolf exercises pastoral charge over the sheep;
“Verily, the lion brings not injury to the deer.

“By goodness I make the bad impatient (of badness):
“I also put evil far from good.


“One whose head I exalt,—
“Him I cast not down at anyone's foot.

“If I have rent the liver of (subdued) one equal to myself,
“Him, I have not given to the (malice of) other renders.

“None, have I slain secretly by poison (as is the custom of weak folk),
“But openly with the sword of anger.

“Neither have I taught world-consuming (tyranny) to any;
“Nor have I burned, without a reason, a harvest (of existence).

“I wish not to bring disaster to any;
“And if I shatter,—the preserving substance (of kindness) is mine.


“If from me eye-pain reaches an eye,
“Into it, I can also put collyrium.

“God gives me aid in this matter;
“Gives escape from the eye of the evil ones.”

When one by one these sayings were uttered,
The hearers went (in prayer) to the sky.

In that assembly, were many persons
Open of breath (loquacious) in king-proving.

Of those fathers of loquacity of uncouth speech,—
And of those fathers of wisdom of distraught tempera­ment,


Was an inquirer, argument displayer;
He became in that assembly king-prover,

Saying:—“O king! for me a diram is necessary;
“If thou give it,—it will be better than a kingdom.”

The world-possessor said:—“Of the lord of the throne,
“Ask for treasure conformable to his dignity.”

The inquirer said:—“Since of one diram
“The king suffers shame, because it is a little matter,

“Best—if the king give the world to me;
“(If) he cause my head to reach (in exaltation) from this assembly to the stars.”


Again the king spoke, saying:—“O malevolent one!
“Thou hast not put the question in accordance with my own worth.

“Within limit it is proper to scatter (utter) words,
“It is unnecessary to listen to foolish speech.

“Thou displayedst two wants not according to thy own place.
“One less than my rank; the other, more than thine.

“Speech which gathers a knot (frown) on the eyebrow,
“Although it be prayer, best unuttered.”

Again the bold man made inquiry,
Saying:—“Why art thou high (sitting) and people low-sitting?


“When thou sayest that we are sincere friends,
“Why bringest thou into practice low and high (-sitting)?”

The monarch said:—“I am chief of this multitude;
“When the head is low there is no respect.

“The head (the root) of the vegetable low is fit;
“The head of man when elevated, best.

“Best, if the king's palace be lofty,
“So that the eyes (of men) may be happy by (viewing) him.”


The tree laden with fruit lowers its head, and this lowering is the essence of beauty. Man, whose fruit consists of truths and of the knowledge of God, appears best with head uplifted.

Again that ingenious one said:—“O monarch!
“What business has the wise man with (personal) decoration?


“In thy heart is the divine adornment (wisdom);
“With jewels, wherefore coverest thou the body that is of clay?”

The king replied, saying:—“The adornment of a Khusrau
“Gives freshness to the eyes of beholders.

“If I make my own (dusty) person like the rose-bed,
“I make your eye luminous by myself.

“Seest thou not that when the new spring blossoms,
“By it, Time's eye becomes more resplendent?”

Of those subtle points,—men of quick understanding
Made their ears full with the ruby and turquoise.


They renewed their prayers for his life;
With soul, they again established the covenant (of allegiance) with him.

On account of that patience which they experienced from him,
They all hastened in conformity with his order.

According to the custom of Jamshíd, victorious monarch,
He used to go every morning to the throne (of Istarakh):

Showed favour to the attendants;
Preserved the custom of the prosperous:

Sent a letter (of peace) to every country;
To every lord of the marches (of Turán) and to every chief:


Inclined their hearts (to him) by his magic (gracious words);
Gave them peace from his own assault:

Made the world (of Irán and Túrán) obedient to his own command;
Took little rest in that (work of) subduing:

Made prosperous the whole wretched world;
Made free the heart-broken from grief.

Come, cup-bearer! that wine of amber (red) colour (the wine of senselessness),
Give me; for my foot has come against a stone.

I may, perhaps, devise a remedy in respect to this stone-raining (of Time);
May like (the brittle) amber fly from the (hard) stone (the vicissitudes of Time).


“Árya” (arya, excellent) is connected with the root of arare, to plough. The (cultivator) Aryan is opposed to the (nomad) Túránian (from Tura, the swiftness of the horseman). The country (Airyá) occupied by the Aryans was comprehended within a line running along the Paromisus and Caucasus Indicus, the Oxus and Jaxartes, the Caspian (including Hyrcania and Rágha), the borders of Nisœa, Aria, and the countries washed by the Etymandrus and Arachotus.

The Greek geographers called Ariana—all the country comprehended by the Indian Ocean, the Indus, the Hindú Kúsh, Paropamisus, the Caspian Gates, Karmania, and the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

As the Zoroastrian religion spread, Persia, Elymais (Ailama, corrupted from Airyama), Media, Bactria, and Sughd—all claimed the Aryan title.

Darius, in the cuneiform inscriptions, calls himself Ariya. Irán keeps up the memory of the ancient title, Aryan. Erin (old name Eriu, more recently Eire) is derived from Er or Eri, the ancient name of the Irish Celts, preserved in the Anglo-Saxon name of their country, Iraland.—“The Science of Languages,” Max Müller, pp. 238-250, 290-296.

See canto xxiv. couplet 51.


The second line means:—

From danger (doubts) of the heart I have fallen.


The first line may be:—

I may perhaps devise a remedy as to this stone-strewn place (the world full of dangers).