Treasure Island

Hakīm Abu'l-Qāsim Ferdowsī Tūsī Firdowsi


How Bárbad lamented Khusrau Parwiz


Now list the lamentation of Bárbod,
And grow forgetful of the world at large.
On hearing that the Sháh, not by advice
And 'gainst his will, no longer filled the throne,
That 'men are seeking how to murder him;
The soldiers are renouncing fealty,'
Bárbad came from Chahram to Taisafún
With tearful eyes and heart o'ercharged; he came
To that abode and saw the Sháh whereat
His tulip-cheeks became like fenugreek.
He bode awhile in presence of the Sháh,
Then went with wailing to the audience-hall.
His love flamed in his heart, his heart and soul
Burned in his anguish for Khusrau Parwiz;
His eyes rained like a cloud in Spring and made
His bosom as the margent of the sea.
He fashioned him a dirge upon the harp,
And to that dirge he sang a mournful plaint.
With visage wan and heart fulfilled with grief
He thus lamented in the olden tongue:-

'O Sháh! O noble chieftan! O Khusrau!
O great! O strong! O hero ne'er cast down!
Where are thy mastery and greatness now,
Where all thy Grace, thy fortune, and thy crown?

'Where that imperial circlet, towering height?
Where are thine armlets and thine ivory throne?
Where all thy manliness, thy Grace, and might,
Who 'neath thy wings hadst this world for thine own?

'Oh! whither are thy dames and minstrels gone,
Gate, audience-hall, and leaders of thy day,
The diadem and Káwa's gonfalon,
And all the blue-steel falchions, where are they?

'Where are the head, the crown that loved it well-
Mate of the earrings and the throne of gold?
Where are Shabdiz, his stirrups and his sell-
The steed that 'neath thee ever caracol'd?

'Where are thy helmet, head, and habergeon
All golden and compacted gem to gem,
Thy cavaliers in gold caparison,
Whose swords made enemies the sheaths for them?

'Where all the camels for thy progresses,
The golden litters and attendance rife.
Led steeds, white elephants, and dromedaries?
Have one and all grown hopeless of life?

'Where are thy fluent tongue and courteous,
Thy heart, thy purpose, and thine ardent soul?
Why reft of all art thou abandoned thus?
Hast read of such a day in any roll?

'Oh! trust not to this world whose remedy
Is weaker than its bane. 'Twas thy desire
To have a son to aid and succour thee:
Now through the son the gyves are on the sire!

'It is by sons that kings obtain their might,
And are unblemished by time's travailings;
Yet ever as his sons increased in height
Both Grace and vigour failed the king of kings.

'None that shall lend an ear while men recall
The story of Khusrau Parwiz must dare
to trust the world. Account as ruined all
Irán and as the pards' and lions' lair.

'of the Sásánian race the Sháh was head-
One peerless in the sight of crown and state:
The foeman's wishes are accomplishéd,
And, like Irán, the race is desolate.

'No man possessed a larger host than he,
Yet who had cause for justice to beseech?
The great protector brought the misery,
And now the wolves are making for the breach!

''O Sháh devoid of shame!' thus tell Shirwi,
'Such conduct is not worthy of this court.
Count not upon thy troops' fidelity
When war is rife on all sides.' God support

'Thy soul, my master! and it is my prayer
That He thy foemen's heads may headlong fling.
By God and by thy life, my king! I swear
By New Year's Day, by sun, and jocund Spring.

'If e'er this hand of mine again shall turn
To harping may no blessing light on me;
Mine instruments of music will I burn
That I may ne'er behold thine enemy.'

He cut four fingers off and grasped the stumps
Within his other palm. Returning home
He kindled fire and burned his instruments,
While those about Kubád both day and night
At all that might befall them quaked with fright.

Submitted: Friday, April 20, 2012

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