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Neither should they desire taxes or tribute from this land and country:
Rather ought we to receive tribute from you,
Since knowledge hath a title beyond all else.”
Khosru gave heart and ear to the speaker,
And impressed on his memory the words which he heard.
They placed the chessboard before the King,
Who gazed attentively at the pieces a considerable time.
Half the pieces on the board were of brilliant ivory,
The other half of finely imaged teak-wood.
The nicely-observant King questioned him much
About the figures of the pieces and the beautiful board.
The Indian said in answer : “O thou great Monarch,
All the modes and customs of war thou wilt see,
When thou shalt have found out the way to the game;
The plans, the marches, the array of the battle-field.”
He replied : “ I shall require the space of seven days ;
On the eighth we will encounter thee with a glad mind.”
They furnished forthwith a pleasant apartment,
And assigned it to the Ambassador as his dwelling.
Then the Mubid and the skilful to point out the way
Repaired with one purpose to the presence of the King.
They placed the chessboard before them,
And observed it attentively, time without measure.
They sought out and tried every method,
And played against one another in all possible ways.
One spoke and questioned, and another listened,
But no one succeeded in making out the game.
They departed, each one with wrinkles on his brow;
And Buzarchamahar went forth with to the king.
He perceived that he was ruffled and stern about this matter,
And in its beginning foresaw an evil ending.
Then he said to Khosru: “O Sovereign,
Master of the world, vigilant, and worthy to command,
I will reduce to practice this noble game ;
All my intelligence will I exert to point out the way.”
Then the king said: “This affair is thine affair ;
Go thou about it with a clear mind and a sound body,
Otherwise the Raja of Kanuj would say,
• He hath not one man who can search out the road,'
And this would bring foul disgrace on my Mubids,
On my court, on my throne, and on all my wise men."
Then Buzarchmahar made them place the chessboard before him,
And seated himself, full of thought, and expanded his countenance.
He sought out various ways, and moved the pieces to the right hand and
to the left, In order that he might discover the position of every piece. When after a whole day and a whole night, he had found out the game,
He hurried from his own pavilion to that of the King,
And exclaimed : “O King, whom Fortune crowneth with victory,
At last I have made out these figures and this chessboard,
By a happy chance, and by the favor of the Ruler of the world,
The mystery of this game hath found its solution.
Call before thee the Ambassador and all who care about it;
But the King of kings ought to be the first to behold it.
You would say at once without hesitation,
It is the exact image of a battle-field.”
The King was right glad to hear the news ;
He pronounced him the Fortunate, and the bearer of good tidings.
He commanded that the Mubids, and other counsellors,
And all who were renowned for their wisdom should be assembled ;
And ordered that the Ambassador should be summoned to the Presence,
And that he should be placed on a splendid throne.
Then Buzarchamahar, addressing him, said :
"O Mubid, bright in council as the sun,
Tell us, what said the King about these pieces,
So may intelligence be coupled with thee forever !"
And this was his answer : My Master, prosperous in his undertakings,
When I was summoned and appeared before him,
Said to me: "These pieces of teak and ivory
Place before the throne of him who weareth the crown,
And say to him : Assemble thy Mubids and counsellors,
And seat them, and place the pieces before them.
If they succeed in making out the noble game,
They will win applause and augment enjoyment:
Then slaves and money and tribute and taxes,
I will send to him as far as I have the means;
For a monarch is to be esteemed for his wisdom,
Not for his treasure, or his men, or his lofty throne.
But if the King and his counsellors are not able to do all this
And their minds are not bright enough to comprehend it,
He ought not to desire from us tribute or treasure,
And his wise soul, alas! must come to grief;
And when he seeth our minds and genius to be subtler than theirs,
Rather will he send them to us in greater abundance.'”
Then Buzarchamahar brought the chess-men and board,
And placed them before the throne of the watchful King,
And said to the Mubids and counsellors :
“ () ye illustrious and pure-hearted sages,
Give ear all of you to the words he hath uttered,
And to the observations of his prudent chief.”
Then the knowing-man arranged a battle-field,
Giving to the King the place in the centre;
Right and left he drew up the army,
Placing the foot-soldiers in front of the battle.
A prudent vizier he stationed beside the King,
To give him advice on the plan of the engagement;
On each side he set the elephants of war (our bishops),
To support one another in the midst of the combat.
Further on he assigned their position to the war-steeds [our knights),
Placing upon each a horseman eager for battle.
Lastly, right and left, at the extremities of the field,
He stationed the heroes (the rooks] as rivals to each other.
When Buzarchamahar had thus drawn up the army,
The whole assembly was lost in astonishment;
But the Indian Ambassador was exceedingly grieved,
And stood motionless at the sagacity of that Fortune-favored man ;
Stupefied with amazement, he looked upon him as a magician,
And his whole soul was absorbed in his reflections.
“ For never hath he seen,” he said, "a chessboard before,
Nor ever hath he heard about it from the experienced men of India.
I have told him nothing of the action of these pieces,
Not a word have I said about this arrangement and purpose.
How then hath the revelation come down upon him?
No one in the world will ever take his place ! "
And Khosru was so proud of Buzarchamahar,
Thou mightest say that he was looking Fortune in the face.
He was gladdened at his heart, and loaded him with caresses,
And ordered him a more than ordinary dress of honor,
And commanded him to be given a royal cup
Filled to the brim with princely jewels,
And a quantity of money, and a charger and a saddle,
And dismissed him from the Presence overwhelmed with praises.
“Zal, recovered from the care of the Simurgh and arrived at manhood, is sent to govern the frontier province of Zabul ; the adjoining province of Kabul, though tributary to the Persian emperor, being governed by its own king, called Mihrab. This episode commences with a visit which Mihrab pays to Zal, who receives him with distinguished honor, entertains him at a sumptuous banquet, and they separate with mutual respect.”
Then a chief of the great ones around him
Said: “O thou, the hero of the world,
This Mihrab hath a daughter behind the veil,
Whose face is more resplendent than the sun;
From head to foot pure as ivory,
With a cheek like the spring, and in stature like the teak-tree.
“ Upon her silver shoulders descend two musky tresses,
Which, like nooses, fetter the captive;
Her lip is like the pomegranate, and her cheek like its flower ;
Her eyes resemble the narcissus in the garden ;
Her eyelashes have borrowed the blackness of the raven;
Her eyebrows are arched like a fringed bow.
Wouldst thou behold the mild radiance of the moon? Look upon her
Wouldst thou inhale delightful odors ? She is all fragrance !
She is altogether a paradise of sweets,
Decked with all grace, all music, all thou canst desire !
She would be fitting for thee, O warrior of the world;
She is as the heavens above to such as we are."
When Zal heard this description,
His love leaped to the lovely maiden:
His heart boiled over with the heat of passion,
So that understanding and rest departed from him.
Night came, but he sat groaning, and buried in thought,
And a prey to sorrow for the not-yet-seen.
On returning from a second visit, Mihrab describes Zal to his wife and
After a time Rudabeh resolves to reveal her passion to her attendants.
Then she said to her prudent slaves :
“ I will discover what I have hitherto concealed;
Ye are each of you the depositaries of my secrets,
My attendants, and the partners of my griefs.
I am agitated with love like the raging ocean,
Whose billows are heaved to the sky.
My once bright heart is filled with the love of Zal;
My sleep is broken with thoughts of him.
My soul is perpetually filled with my passion;
Night and day my thoughts dwell upon his countenance.
“ Not one except yourselves knoweth my secret;
Ye, my affectionate and faithful servants,
What remedy can ye now devise for my ease?
What will ye do for me? What promise will ye give me?
Some remedy ye must devise,
To free my heart and soul from this unhappiness."
Astonishment seized the slaves,
That dishonor should come nigh the daughter of kings.
In the anxiety of their hearts they started from their seats,
And all gave answer with one voice :
“ O crown of the ladies of the earth!
Maiden pre-eminent amongst the pre-eminent!
Whose praise is spread abroad from Hindustan to China;
The resplendent ring in the circle of the harem ;
Whose stature surpasseth every cypress in the garden;
Whose cheek rivalleth the lustre of the Pleiades;
Whose picture is sent by the ruler of Kanuj
Even to the distant monarchs of the West -
Have you ceased to be modest in your own eyes?
Have you lost all reverence for your father,
That whom his own parent cast from his bosom,
Him will you receive into yours?
A man who was nurtured by a bird in the mountains !
A man who was a by-word amongst the people !
You — with your roseate countenance and musky tresses
Seek a man whose hair is already white with age !
You — who have filled the world with admiration,
Whose portrait hangeth in every palace,
And whose beauty, and ringlets, and stature are such
That you might draw down a husband from the skies ! ”
To this remonstrance she makes the following indignant answer :
When Rudabeh heard their reply,
Her heart blazed up like fire before the wind.
She raised her voice in anger against them,
Her face flushed, but she cast down her eyes.