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Hakim Abu'l-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi Firdowsi

Alas for Youth

Much have I labored, much read o'er
Of Arabic and Persian lore,
Collecting tales unknown and known;
Now two and sixty years are flown.
Regret, and deeper woe of sin,
'Tis all that youth has ended in,
And I with mournful thoughts rehearse
Bu Táhir Khusrawáni's verse:
'I mind me of my youth and sigh,
Alas for youth, for youth gone by!'

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When The Sword Of Sixty Comes Nigh His Head

When the sword of sixty comes nigh his head
give a man no wine, for he is drunk with years.
Age claps a stick in my bridle-hand:
substance spent, health broken,
forgotten the skill to swerve aside from the joust
with the spearhead grazing my eyelashes.

The sentinel perched on the hill top
cannot see the countless army he used to see there:
the black summit's deep in snow
and its lord himself sinning against the army.
He was proud of his two swift couriers:
lo! sixty ruffians have put them in chains.

The singer is weary of his broken voice,
one drone for the bulbul alike and the lion's grousing.

Alas for flowery, musky sappy thirty
and the sharp Persian sword!
The pheasant strutting about the briar,

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How Púrándukht ascended the Throne and slew Pirúz

'Tis but crude policy when women rule,
But yet there was a lady-Púrándukht-
Surviving of the lineage of Sásán,
And well read in the royal volume: her
They seated on the throne of sovereignty,
The Great strewed jewels over her, and then
She spake upon this wise: 'I will not have
The people scattered, and I will enrich
The poor with treasure that they may not bide
In their distress. God grant that in the world
There may be none aggrieved because his pain
Is my calamity. I will expel
Foes from the realm and walk in royal ways.'

She made search for Pirúz, son of Khusrau,
Who was delated by an alien.
Whereat she chose some warriors from the host
Who brought Pirúz before her. She exclaimed:-
'Foul-purposed miscreant! thou shalt receive,
As infamous, the guerdon for thy deeds.'

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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:-

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How the Chiefs demanded from Shirwi the Death of Khusrau Parwiz

From the Shahnameh
Shirwi, a timid, inexperienced youth,
Found that the throne beneath him was a snare,
While readers of mankind saw that 'twas time
For men of might. those that had done the ill,
And had produced that coil, went from the hall
Of audience to the presence of Kubád
To mind him of their infamous designs:-
'We said before and now we say again
Thy thoughts are not on government alone.
There are two Sháhs now seated in one room,
One on the throne and one on its degree,
And when relations grow 'twixt sire and son
They will behead the servants one and all.
It may not be, so speak of it no more.'

Shirwi was frightened and he played poltroon
Because in their hands he was as a slave.
He answered: 'None will bring him to the toils
Except a man whose name is infamous.

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How Shirwi ascended the Throne

From the Shahnameh
Now when Shirwi sat on the goodly throne,
And donned the royal crown so much desired,
The leaders of the Iranians each drew near
To proffer him the homage due to kings,
Exclaiming: 'Worshipful and honoured Sháh!
Know, God gave thee the crown, and now thou sittest
Securely on the throne of ivory,
And may thy sons and scions have the world.'

Kubád replied: 'Be ever conquering
And happy. Never will we practice ill.
How good is justice with benevolence!
The world will we keep peaceful and cut off
The works of Ahriman by every right,
Ancestral precedent that greateneth
The Glory of our Faith. I will dispatch
A message to my sire and tell him all.
He is in evil odour in the world
Through his ill deeds: let him excuse his faults

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The Death of Yazdagird

From the Shahnameh
There was a paladin, a Turk by race,
A man of influence and named Bizhan;
He dwelt within the coasts of Samarkand
Where he had many kin. Ill-starred Mahwi,
Becoming self-assertive, wrote to him:-
'Thou prosperous scion of the paladins!
A strife hath risen that will bring thee profit:
The Sháh is of all places here at Marv
And with no troops! His head and crown and state,
Wealth, throne, and host, are thine if thou wilt come.
Recall the vengeance owing to thy sires,
And give this unjust race its just reward.'

Bizhan, considering the letter, saw
That insolent Mahwi would win the world,
Then spake thus to his minister: 'Thou chief
Of upright men! what sayest thou to this?
If I lead forth a host to aid Mahwi
'Twill be my ruin here.'

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