Account of that which past between the Amír Saif-Addoulat and his Brother Ismaïl, after the Death of their Father.

When Nasír-Addín died, and the government was settled upon Ismaïl, the army extended the neck of covetousness, and began to seek the largesse of investiture. And he divided amongst them the treasures of the earth, but his belt became too nar­row to embrace that office, and the enervation of his strength and the debility of his disposition be­came apparent, and he was not able to abide firmly by the rules of the government, and of the mastery of others. There were two causes of this, one, that he was in the vigour of youth, and possessed no experience, and saw not what was right or wrong, and knew nothing of the management of affairs; and the second was, that he had no confidence in his brother, and was acquainted with his perfect haughtiness and severe manners, and was aware of his powerful intellect, his great virtues, his un­bounded vigour, strength, and majesty. And when the army perceived his inefficiency and weakness they began to stretch out the skirt of intemperance and importunity, and to ask for allowances and payments beyond their due, and became eager for increased pay and allowances, until the whole of the accumulated treasures left behind by Nasír-Addín were swallowed up in the supply of their cravings, and the treasury became empty. And the Amír Ismaïl extended his hand to seize upon the trea­sures of the citadel, and the trust-money of Ghazna, and if the period of his government had been extended, he would have broken up the whole system of administration and of revenue, for most of the Court attached themselves to divide and tear up. And when Saif-Addoulat received intelligence of that which had happened to his father, he (first) adhered to the usual rules of mourning, and sent a letter of condolence to his brother, and dispatched Abul-Hasán-Hamúlí* on a mission to convey it, (and in this letter he said), “Our father who was the Paradise of affairs and the pillar of events hath departed, and now there is not for me upon the face of the earth any one more honoured than thee, and nothing dearer to me than thy sweet life, and thy bright eyes; and whatever thy wish, or the desire of thy inclination might seek to obtain, as regards authority, and command, and treasure, and slaves, and goods, and troops, I feel no regret that you should possess them. Notwithstanding this, my power and my experience in the events of fortune, and my knowledge of the minutest points relating to military command, and my acquaintance with the management of troops, and my practical experience in the manners of the world, may prove a well-compacted foundation, and a strong means of support for the establishment of thy kingdom, and for the perpetuity of thy authority, and if thy supreme power and authority should perform what is expected of thee in the transaction of these affairs, and should display firmness in that which appertains unto the throne, and should exhibit liberality in the settlement of these matters, I will be the most obedient and the most satisfied of all men, although our father made a will which was affronting to me, on account of the distance between us, and on account of the dread of calamity, and on account of his being separated from a composed mind and a state of volition. It would seem there­fore fit that thou shouldst entertain thoughts of foresight, and shouldst recognize the way of equity, and that thou shouldst relinquish to me Ghazna, which is the rising star of fortune, and the starting point of government, and the strength of the chiefs of the State; whilst we, on our part, will relinquish for thee the territory of Balkh, or we will settle upon thee the government and generalship of the armies of Khurasán.”

The Amír Ismaïl did not receive these words favourably, and that which was unfortunate and afflicting in his road seized hold of the border of his prosperity, and he remained interdicted from the enjoyment of fortune. The Governor of Jurján stood up to mediate between them, and chided them much, giving them many good counsels and pieces of advice, if by any means he might have held them to the observance of the rules of frater­nity and friendship, and might expel from the minds of each of them the serpent of malignity, by means of kindness and benevolence. And said thus to them: “Kindred when so near should display mutual affection. It is right that you two brothers should be inclined to each other, and should regard each other, and by personal conversation and hear­ing each other should bring forth that affection, and regard, and attention to entreaty, which re­mains concealed within your secret souls, and that you should keep entirely apart from all that might conduce to the injury of your houses, and the diminution of your dignity, and to blind anger, and to the gratification of your enemies.” This advice was favourably received by the Amír Saif-Addoulat, and he yielded to it a gracious ear, and he was satisfied with and concurred with it. But with respect to the Amír Ismaïl, on account of his apprehension, and his distrust and suspicion, he would not surrender himself, and turned aside from these good counsels, and he saw the waste of his most precious treasures, and the overbearing force of a corrupted army preponderate over the preser­vation of his family, and the friendship of his brother, and of his subjects, and over all sound conduct. On account of the depravity which had obtained the mastery over his better soul, and of the fancy which was newly conceived in the border of his mind, because he had removed the reins of quietness and repose from his hand. And Utbi* relates as follows— I conveyed to the hearing of the Amír Ismaïl certain verses which Saif-Addou­lat-Hamadáni had spoken upon the subject of his brother Nasir-Addoulat, in order that he might if possible smooth the way to the establishment of the foundations of friendship, and might establish those brotherly relations becoming their condition, whereby all motive for unkindness and aversion might be abolished. But these verses did not stand before him on the wheels of fortune, and did not attach themselves unto the resting point (ful­crum) of gracious acceptance. And the verses were these that follow (Verse)

“I was well pleased with thy elevation, even although I myself was worthy thereof, and I said to them, ‘Between me and between my brother there is a difference, yet I by no means evaded taking an oath of fidelity to him, although it infringed upon my rights. Thus all duty was fulfilled. But, since thou art not content that I should be a successful peti­tioner, I am content that he may be the pre-eminent.’”

And the Amír Saif-Addoulat remained unequal to apply a remedy to these matters, or to discover a way of deliverance and escape from these difficul­ties, since his quiet disposition and kind nature, and gravity, and gentleness was averse from taking the first step into the gate of extremities, or from taking the lead in opposition and determination; particularly in reference to a brother who was the apple of his eye and a part of the liver of his body and soul, and the fruit of his heart, and the flower of the garden of his enjoyment, and the mainte­nance of the days of his life; but he could not succeed in his endeavours to seek the means of mending this torn garment, nor could he find any way to reconcile this quarrel. And in him was exemplified the text which says, “The last remedy is the actual cautery,” and he began to be convinced that when the hand, which is the pillar of the body, and the most precious limb for seizing, wounding, or attacking, is bitten by a serpent, and the rest of the body, on account of its dependence upon it, begins to perish, there are no means of cure except by cutting it off; and also the teeth which compose the mill of the body, and by the strength of which the meals which support life are broken up, when they become eaten through by decay, and when through the pain which they cause, the delights of life become impracticable, there is no other remedy with respect to them except to extract them, and to destroy them.

Hereupon he sent a letter to the Amír Abul-Harith, and intimated to him the state of affairs, and informed him that to proceed to Ghazna was a matter of necessity, and that to march down to that quarter was an act which was indispensable. He therefore set off, and turned his face towards Ghazna, and when he arrived at Herát he betook himself to write, and he brought forward words and fair promises, and both in kind and harsh (expres­sions) brought prominently forward the most minute points in apology for his measures. But nothing profitable resulted, and nothing useful ensued, so that the mediation between these powers, and the cutting off of this strife, fell to the sword, and the sword produced perils, and slaugh­ter, and battles (Verse)

“Increased opposition was intense between us. I related to him the affection of Safad and Haivam, and when I saw that there was nothing definite in him I managed what was suffi­cient for him with the victorious contention of resistance.”

And Saif-Addoulat mentioned his grief to Bagrajak, and offered proposals of mutual friend­ship and support, and he undertook to do him ser­vice without stipulating for any fixed reward, and he sought to aid him with the ensigns of war, and came to Bost to help him. And the Amír Nasr-’bn-Nasír-Addín* was at that place. He also, with the most sincere friendship and the most pure feeling of brotherhood proceeded without delay to the service of his fortunate standard, and girded up the loins of obedience and readiness in the support of his design, and with the utmost candour, and without the least hypocrisy, became one of his followers.

And when the Amír Ismaïl received the news of the march of Saif-Addoulat, and of his intention to proceed towards Ghazna, he used great expedi­tion, and proceeded from Balkh to Ghazna. And the nobles of the kingdom, and the chiefs of his Highness, dispatched messages of kindness to the Amír Saif-Addoulat, and represented the sincerity of their obedience, and began to enter into proposals of reconciliation and friendship, and the rejec­tion of variance. And the envoys and intercessors used their utmost endeavours for the settlement of friendship; but the dispensation of heaven proved victorious, and the sparks of iniquity blazed into a flame, and the Amír Saif-Addoulat advanced his forces, and put his regiments in array.

And he arranged rightly his left and right wing, and the warriors of the troops and the chiefs of the armies came into the field of battle like fierce lions, who strike the talons of war into the neck of fate at the time of battle when the wheel of fortune is suspended in the air (Verse)

“Sword skilfully took off the edge of sword; souls and bodies resided in them. They are messengers seeking death; for doubtless between death and them there is a near relation­ship” (or sympathy).

And the Amír Ismaïl came to meet him with his own guards and slaves, and with the comrades and followers of his father, and he supported the centre and the wing with elephants of an enormous size, like dark-coloured mountains. And when the two armies came together, the sword becoming capable of speech, mounting upon the lofty pulpit to utter forth the decrees of destiny, summoned the wielders of the spear, and said, “The spear, al­though he is a strong serpent, when he comes upon the eye of a ring of a coat of mail, quivers and trembles, and I am a Hindú of good family,* and I so bore into the eye of the body-clothing-armour that I enter into the object which I seek, namely, the red face (of warriors). By every flash of mine which pierces from the depth of my vigour I see into the treasury of the breast, and with every edge which is attached to my belt I have drawn blood (as) from the mouth of the gad-fly.” All threw the darts and drew out the swords, and so great a battle ensued that the iron-hearted weapon wept blood at the noise of the exploits of the youth­ful combatants of the war, and the scorpion in the sky burnt his heart, and battles succeeded battles, and Arcturus shot forth javelins, and the two dog-stars began to weep, and the sky drew over her head the blue garment of mourning, and from the fire of battle the moon singed her cheek, and the expanse of the heavens became bent in the back from anxiety, and the stars spread their pillows upon the carpet of the milky way, and the morning tore her garment (Verse)

“By the slaughter which caused the leaves of life to fall and by the voice of the cock proclaiming death, the state of affairs converted the spring into autumn, the sword pouring water like blood upon the garden of the field of battle, filled it with roses and flowers stained with gore.”

And the Amír Saif-Addoulat made a charge, and from the mist of his sword superinduced a dark-coloured mantle of blood over the hills and on the plains, and from the blood of throats converted the surface of the green turf into a rose-coloured parterre of the Argwan (Verse)

“Wheresoever thou hast thrust thy spear it reached the heroes of the field; wheresoever thou hast dashed thy battle-axe thou didst cause the enemy to remember it, thou hast broken the ball of pardon* over the head of the lions of war, thou hast cut through the coats of mail which were upon the bodies of warriors. Unto Khusru and to Mansur arose the shout of battle from the sky, and from the earth came the cry of the enemy, saying, ‘Oh, King of Kings, quarter!’ every moment from smiling victory arose the clamour of ‘Wonderful, wonderful is the sword in the royal hand.’”

And the leavings of the sword sought the road of safety and the way of security upon the cliffs of the mountains, and the Amír Ismaïl fled into the castle of Ghazna, and in one of the towers of that stronghold was guarded against the misfortunes of his chiefs and the mischances of his officers, and the Amír Saif Addoulat, when his anger was appeased and the battle at an end, and the flame of war had gone down, forgave him, and received him under the guardianship of his protection and support, and forgot what was past; and the fidelity of brotherhood and the sincerity of affection was again placed upon a secure foundation. Truly God is most wise in equity.*