Account of the Passage of the Jíhún by Ilek-Khán.

The state of a sincere alliance between the Sultán and Ilek-Khán remained firm, until the creeping scorpions of ill-will, and the disturbing manœuvrers of hatred, cut off the progress of affection, so that the flames of dispute blazed up. And Ilek watched an opportunity of with­drawal and flight, and when the standards of the Sultán were far distant he made an expedition into the frontiers of Multán, and the extent of Khura­sán was destitute of the protection of the State, and the guardianship of government, and he sent Sabáshítagín, who was general of his army, with an abundant force to Khurasán, and entrusted the capital, Balkh, to Jaafartagín, with a band of warriors. And Arslán-Jazib, Prince of Tús, was established at Herát, having received orders before from the Sultan, that if any new attack should occur on his weak part, and if loss should be pro­duced on both sides, he should take up his posi­tion at Ghazná, march from Herát, and come to Ghazná. And Sabáshítagín came to Herát, and sent Hasan-’bn-Nasr to Nishapúr, to enquire into the property, and to value the sources of wealth. And the majority of the nobles of Khurasán encouraged them with friendship and aid, on ac­count of the prolongation of the days of the Sultán’s absence, and the interception of intelli­gence, and the concealment of his footsteps, and on account of the trembling of earthquakes (confused rumours), and contracted feelings, and daily re­ports, and vain words. And Abúl-Abás-Fazl-’bn-Ahmad, in order to guard the paths and govern the provinces of the kingdom, arrived from Ghazná, as far as the frontiers of Bamian, with the preparation for a complete intercepting cordon. And he committed the passes of ingress and egress of that country to men of action, and a cautious corps of observation. And quick messengers ran through the whole extent of the kingdom to the Sultán with tidings of the conduct of Ilek. And the Sultán laid aside all care for other regions, and like striking lightning and a furious wind travelled that expanse over the plains and through the war­riors, over the deserts, and through the tribes of people, and in a short time arrived at Ghúzni, and afforded aid to the sons of the Empire, and the nobles of His Majesty, by his horses, mules and riders, and assembled from the great spearmen a body of glorious soldiers (Verse)

“Angels upon angels, or, if they were human, such as embroidered by the needle.”

And came like a raging sea to Balkh, and Jaafartagín went out from this contingency, flying like a devil from exposure to the storm of ashes. But the Sultán sent Arslan-Jazib with ten thou­sand cavalry on his road. And Sabáshítagín when he arrived at the bank of the Jihún, and beheld that foaming sea and roaring torrent, turned aside and came to Merú, in order to march through the desert. But the summer was hot, so that the wells were filled up, and the roads obliterated, and the path difficult to determine; therefore he began to move towards Sarkhas. But Muhsin-’bn-Tabák, who was one of the Gozz chieftans, seized the road, and bestirred himself to resist him. Sabáshítagín, therefore, finding no possibility of making a stand against the army of Arslan, and not even an oppor­tunity of bathing (i. e., from the hot pursuit), was deprived of the power of proceeding (literally, <Greek>), and went therefrom to Nisá. And as he was about to collect his baggage and march, upon occasion of one of his marches, Arslán-Jazib came down, and on account of his baggage, and the enor­mous weight of treasure and of goods which he had derived from the provinces of Herát, he was unable to retain those appendages, or to cope with those heroes. In order to preserve (this property) he wandered right and left until the conclusion of the affair was that he made it all the means of preserv­ing his existence and a matter of life. Therefore he cast all this transported burden and heavy load from his back, and struck in towards Nishapúr. The other army kept close after him until he halted at the frontiers of Jurján. He threw himself amongst the cliffs and thickets of that land, and the surrounding people of Gilán struck him with the hand of slaughter and plunder, and brought to bear their killing strength upon his comrades and his troops. Several of his army fled to the safety of the protecting shadow of Shams-al-Muáli. He, by the route of Damistan, came as far as Nísá, and sent the remainder of his baggage to Alí-’bn-Mamún-Khwárism-Shah. And on the part of Ilek-Khán he entrusted him with the charge thereof, and enjoined him to preserve it, and earnestly recommended him to guard it from the impurities of treachery. And with respect to all the camp-fol­lowers and the relics of the force, he dismissed them to the service of that Prince, and started for Merú, by way of the desert. The Sultán halted at Tús, for the inspection of the booty of Arslán-Jazib, and upon the arrival of intelligence that Sabáshítagín came out by way of the desert, he turned on the road by which he might meet him, in order that he might perchance overtake him, and draw him into the snare of vengeance. But when the Sultán arrived he had passed to the desert. Upon this the Sultán despatched after him Abdullah-Táín, with an army of Arabs which was in his care; and his condition was such as Said-’bn-Hassán describes (Verse)

“I fled from a flowing rivulet and its scantiness
“Unto a superabundant water and its confused streams;
“And I was like one who eagerly rushes into a canal,
“When desiring to escape the thunder-rain.” (i. e., the gentle summer rain?)

And, in the midst of a desert wherein there was no water, except Satan’s saliva, and nothing brightly green (sheen) except the flat of swords, they laid the sword upon his company and they took prisoners his brother, with seven hundred of his distinguished chiefs and captains. And the Sultán commanded that they should tie each one’s sword below him, and place it upon his heel, and carry all to Ghazna, that all the world might take example from their misfortune and distress, and the fallaciousness of their confidence (Persian Verse)

“I have often contemplated and still no thought arrived, but this good one,
“Happy he who directs himself (to serve) this Lord.
“Let him who would be at ease implore God to make his burden light.
“The head of every one will be cheerful whose foot is on that threshold.”

Sabáshítagín, with a few individuals, saved his life, and passed the Jihún, and appeared before Ilek-Khán, who had already sent Jaafartagín, with six thousand horse, towards Balkh, in order to divert the Sultán from the pursuit of Sabáshítagín. But the Sultán regarded them not, until he had concluded his immediate engagement. Then he turned his reins towards them and suddenly assaulted them, and sent the Amír Abúl Muzaffar Nasr, with his hunting forces and reaping troops, who held on to them until they were all expelled from the territory of Khurasán.

As for Ilek Khán he could not rest from this calamity, and despatched a “letter of succour” to Kadir-Khán, King of China, imploring aid. And a sea of Turkish forces came like a torrent, and occupied the utmost parts of his kingdom and cities. And the army of Máwarannahr came, in a body to join them, and five thousand bridles passed the Jihún, madly proud of the resources and strength of Kadir-Khán, of his great numbers, extreme bravery, established ability, and extensive power (Verse)

“Around him is a sea, which dashes with its billows and wears out the margin of the cliff.
“The stone from a small hill comes to them,
“It smooths thereby the shore,
“Until it joins the fragments of misfortune and arranges them in order.”

The news of their arrival reached the Sultán, at Takhristán: he packed up and went to Balkh, that the food of their covetousness might be cut off from those regions, and the road of provisions and pay might be closed; and the Sultán was occupied in arranging the means of war, and he collected a numerous army, of various tribes of Turks, Kha­lajes, and Hindús and Afghans, and the Gozz troops, and they met at a wide place, four farsangs from Balkh (Verse)

“The fifth of the east of the earth and the west responds,
“And their murmur reaches the ear of Gemini.
“Therein are assembled all people,
“Nor can they understand the news without an inter­preter.
“Oh God, at the time of the way of sorrow thou seest it,
“And (when) the warriors and lions survive not.”

Ilek then marched down with his army to battle, and for that day the young men of the army only boasted and swaggered, until the carpet of night was spread, when they separated, with the promise to fight with each other on the morrow. And the Sultán was occupied in arranging the order of battle. He assigned the centre to the Amír-Nasr, brother of the Prince of Jurján, Abú-Nasr-Faríghoní, and Abú-Abdullah-Taíní, with a body of his picked Curds and brave genii. He sent the right to the great Sáhib, the Amír Alton­tash, and charged Arslán Jázib with the left, and strengthened the force of the centre with five hundred elephants. And as to Ilek Khán, he, having stationed himself in the centre, had Kadir-Khán, with the army of Chín, on the right, and Jaafartagín on the left. Thus they engaged, and the earth resounded with thunder-like shouts and blows, and was in a blaze, from the terrible lightning of swords, and they sewed patches of dust upon the blue lining of the heavenly vault, and rendered the field of battle brilliant with the torches of arms and the tapers of spears, and sprinkles of blood began to rain from those lightning scimitars. And Ilek-Khán, with five hundred Turkish ghulams (quasi grenadiers) fought so skilfully that in the front of the army they could split a hair with their arrows, and could take a mountain from its place by the strokes of their swords. Then the sea of war was raised to a storm and the ground of the field was shaken as by an earthquake. And the Sultán, when he witnessed the mighty strength and terrible power of that body, came down to a small hill and implored the Almighty to strengthen his right hand and forgive (his errors?) and he placed his hand upon the end of the skirt of Heaven and trusted in God’s guardianship, and asked victory from Him; and he made vows of offerings and engaged himself to give pious alms, and humbly submitted himself to God (imploring) that He would speed on victory and conquest. Then he mounted his own special elephant, and, with clear mind and sincere assur­ance, made a charge upon Ilek-Khán’s centre; and his elephant seized the standard bearer of Ilek-Khán and tossed him into the air, and, with weighty fury and extreme might humbled the men under his foot, and with his trunk hurled them from the back of horses, and tore them to pieces with his teeth. Upon this the chiefs of the Sultán boiled with the eagerness of opportunity and the gladness of victory, and bestirred their scimitars to strike the mass. Then came the tongue of reproach and cursing, and they compelled the troops of the Turks to leave (original, Tark) their position, and to take the path of flight, and the Sultán’s army with fury and madness cast them back to Mánaránnahr, and not a trace of them re­mained in Khurasán. And again, these verses of Salami contain a description of the event, and a delineation of the impress of the Sultán’s deeds (Verse)

“Oh sword of the religion of God (i. e., the Sultán) thou art not pleasing to the enemy, even although thy sword like thy rectitude, cuts rightly,” &c., &c.— <Greek>.

And when the Sultán had concluded this great victory, and had allayed the heat of his anxiety, and had put an end to the series of these accidents, he determined to carry out his design of attacking Nawastah-Sháh, (or, Zab-Sais). This Prince was one of those sons of some Kings of India, unto whom the Sultán, having displayed to them the profession of Islám, had intrusted several of the provinces which he had won from the infidels, and had given the reins of the government of regions unto the hand of his fidelity, and had confidence in him, and had left him deputy and viceroy in those countries. But he divested himself of the collar of religion and the robe of Islám, and put on the cloak of infidelity, and became an apostate. The Sultán twisted him from his position by one direct attack, and expelled him broken and discomforted from those limits, and a second time adorned Bahjat-Málik with that kingdom, under his own sovereignty. These two great victories, and im­portant affairs, presented a clear demonstration and a cutting proof of the exalted dignity of the Sultán, of his perfect fortunes, of the support of God, and of the aid of heavenly kindness. And thus, beneath the canopy of empire and of victory he turned his face towards Ghazna. “For this grace of God makes to believe whom He will,” for God has great grace.