Account of the Decease of Mansur-’bn-Núh.*

In the course of the year 365 the Amír Sadíd-Mansúr-Ibn-Núh had deceased, and his throne and seat became vacant. The nobles and chiefs of the state assembled and inaugurated his son, the Amír Ridha-Núh-Ibn-Mansúr into that dignity. He was in the waywardness of early youth, when he was thus adorned with the splendour of government the majesty of royalty, and the grandeur of power. As soon as he was firmly seated upon the throne he opened his treasury, and expended that wealth and those precious jewels and ornaments which his bygone ancestors and the grand viziers had accu­mulated, upon the chiefs of his army and his troops, and the various ranks of his servants, gratifying every one of his dependents and companions, who was well-affected towards him, with valuable presents and royal gifts, so that their hearts became firm in obedience and devotion to him, and the directors of the world placed their heads upon the signature of his commands, holding fealty to him, and seeking his will and direction. Abul-Hasan-Símjúr, General of the Army,* was at Nishapúr. Unto him Nuh-Ibn-Mansúr sent a commission, as Commander-in-Chief of the troops, and intimated to him the late events, his accession to his hereditary kingdom, and his inauguration by the whole army. He gratified him with various proofs of kindness, generous favours, and aug­mented rank, and promised an increase in his share of benefits, so that Simjur expressed the greatest friendship for him and fully assented to his accession. The Vizárat was confirmed to Abul-Hasan-Utbi, who, by his excellent under­standing, knowledge, and intellect, arranged all the affairs of the State in due order, exhibiting himself as a mirror of justice and equity. This Vizír rendered the chiefs of the State firm and constant guardians of its interests, and held the restive by the bridle of obedience, so that the fame of the good order and magnificence of that kingdom was diffused throughout the world, and the chiefs of the provinces regularly discharged the due tributes and the accustomed services, and the Amír-Adhad-ad-doulat,* on account of the eminent rank, noble renown, strict conduct, strong kingdom, and noble bearing of His Highness, considered his good-will worth seeking, and deter­mined upon measures of fidelity and obedience, and scrupulously fulfilled the requests offered from that quarter. Sometimes, indeed, he evaded certain directions of His Highness, and a spirit of opposition and resistance prevailed, and he exhibited a wish to decline some requisitions, but when he carefully considered the effects of rebellion and the consequences of strife he resisted this tempta­tion and adhered to the rules of peace, and kept his mind in repose by the bond of wisdom and the advantage of friendship. “There is always good in the tractable, but never look for service in a fool until the sun shines at night.” Ahmad Khawá­razmy was one of the confidential officers of Núh Mansúr Sámány, and the Amír sent through him every year gifts to the glorious Kaaba and to the honoured Medína (God perpetuate their splendour) in order to spend them duly in honouring the two sacred places and the holy men, thus to obtain rank and merit. This officer relates thus:— “Once, when I came from Khurásán, on the pil­grimage, when I arrived at the abode of Islám, I, as usual, presented my respects at the Court of Adha­ad-doulat.* He received me very kindly and made me describe the state of affairs in Khurásán, the mode in which business was settled and security obtained, and the vizárat of Abul-Hasan-Utbí. He displayed a full acquaintance of the manner in which this Vizír transacted and arranged the government,” and he said “If any service was enjoined by His Highness or any request be made you may present it.” Hereupon I presented a memorandum, given to me by the Shaikh Abul Hasan, containing the requisitions of the gifts assigned to him to pay. These in the whole were one thousand robe-pieces, embroidered with the name Amír, Said, Malik, Mansúr, Wali-Au-naan, Abul-Kasim-Nuh-’bn Mansúr, Wali Amír-Almú­minín, and five hundred embroidered with the name Shaikh Jalíl Said, Abul-Hasan, Abd-Allah-Ibn-Ahmad, and five hundred plain, in the name of the Chamberlain Hisám-ad-doulat, Abul-Abbás-Tash. When he had read this memorandum he became excited, angry, and jealous, and dropped the bridle of self-command from his hand. He turned his face upon me and said, If the son of Utbi would be content with the government of Khurásán and draw his foot into the skirt of peace, and think of moderation it would be happier for him and for his master, than these degrading directions which he proposes to me. However I, with my sharp blood-drawing sword, will let the proud breeze into his brain, and with the fire of my noble horses will scatter fire-ashes from the depths of the Jihún. For, with our lion-warriors and brave soldiers, we will go forth to the chase, until he shall know his place and no longer present to me thus authoritatively such exorbitant demands as these. “Return to them, we will surely bring an army against them, and we will surely compel them to come forth, to receive scorn thereby. They are vile,” Ahmad Khawárazmy says, “My limbs were full of terror at him: I arose and left the durbár, and, in my apprehension and dread, left all to his good faith. When the season for marching forth on the pilgrimage arrived he sent and called me back, and addressed me with great kindness and respect, and said, I have issued an order, in accordance with the memorandum, in order that you may receive the whole. I am un­willing that, on account of such a matter, any ill-will should enter the mind of Abúl Hasan, or any vexation find its way unto him; therefore you must go to the robe-makers and give orders for the robes, in such numbers and in such amount as you desire, so that when you return all may be done and laid up ready for you. So I went and ordered the robes, as directed by the requisition, and, when I returned, conveyed them to Bukhárá, with other gifts and offerings of friendship.” Abul Hasan Utbi carried away the prize (literally staff of precedency) from all his equals in high-mindedness, virtue, and generosity. The most eminent poets of the age were zealous in his praise, and composed sets of encomiastic stanzas upon him, in particular Abú-Tali Mahúny, who arranged many good verses in commendation of him (Verse)

“These compositions of Utbi! they divide the skull from the neck, when they reproach! He has such intellect! like the iron-end of a spear, when it starts forth from his breast, the earth is not large enough for its scope. When he draws forth his pen to reply or to announce clouds and heroes are tumul­tuously drawn along. He resembles the pilgrim ascending the sacred mountain, or the sacred proclaimer, joyfully sounding forth the accomplishment of the pilgrimage and the arrival at the goal.”

The office of Great Chamberlain was given to Abúl-Abbás Tásh, who, upon his investment with the office, exhibited good points of conduct, and in conciliating hearts, rendering dispositions friendly and directing the various ranks of the army, dis­played an unsullied hand, exhibiting becoming zeal in supplying the wants and fulfilling the wishes of every one, being ready to aid and intercede for all. The Shaikh Abúl-Hasan-Utbi earnestly endeavoured also to promote his welfare and dignity, opening to him various opportunities of advantage and profit, until he became remarkable for wealth and jewels. The cause of the authority which he possessed in the State and the army was this, viz., because Abúl Abbás Tásh was one of the slaves of Abú Jabar Utbi. He was eminently adorned with intellect, possessing traces of a noble and generous disposition, whence he profited by the instructions of his master, and became an excellent and accom­plished man. Abu Jafar Utbi perceived him, therefore, to be well fitted for the service of the Amír Sadíd Mansúr Núh, and sent him as a present to that Prince. And when the Shaikh Abúl-Hasan-Utbi, who knew him intimately and possessed perfect confidence in his fortunate supe­riority, good judgment, wisdom, and influence, acceded to office he admitted him to a full share of the administration of affairs, and raised him so high in office that the great men of the world found it necessary to inscribe themselves as attached to his service and to wear the badge of obedience to him. The Amír then gave the office of Chamberlain* to Fáík, who had also been a slave of Mansúr-ibn-Núh, and had obtained great influence and power with that Prince, becoming his arm and breastplate, through his strict probity and merit. The command of the army of Khurásán was confirmed to Abúl Hasan Simjúr, and these two officers exerted themselves to the utmost in consolidating the splendour of the kingdom and protecting the garden of the State. The affairs of His Highness, by means of their union and concord, arose in dignity up to the star Capella, until the sidelong crooked eye of fate marked him, and with wounding glance caused fortune to change, so that a foundation so well supported and a throne so solidly founded in dignity, began to be challenged and disturbed by the hand of novelty. “When the command is fulfilled decay draws near; we may look for ruin when it is said ‘It is done.’” The origin of the disgrace and injury of this kingdom is to be found in the affairs of Sistán.