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
To God and turn to custom and the way.
If he shall heed me he will not resent
My conduct. Then will I devote myself
To state affairs and strive to compass justice
Both publicly and privily, do good
Where good is due, and break no poor man's heart.
I need two honest men of goodly speech,
Whose memories are charged with ancient lore.'
 
He asked the assembly: 'Whom shall I employ?
Who is most shrewd and honest in Iran?'
 
The warriors suggested by their looks
Two men of lore if they should give consent.
Kubád perceived whom the Iránians
Agreed to choose: one of them was Ashtád,
The other was Kharrád, son of Barzin,
The old-two sages eloquent and heedful.
Kubád addressed them thus: 'O ye wise men,
Ye chiefs experienced and veteran!
Deem not the conduct of the world too toilsome,
Because the Great by travail compass treasure.
It is for you now to approach the Sháh;
Perchance through you he may conform himself.
Appeal to him by instance new or old
As there is need.'
 
With tears unwilling
Those sages made them ready. When Kharrád,
Son of Barzin, and when Ashtád, who had
Gashasp for sire, had mounted on their steeds,
As bidden, Kubád said: 'Now with right good will
'Tis yours to take the road to Taisafún,
To carry to my glorious sire a message,
And bear it all in mind from first to last.
Say: ''Twas no fault of ours nor did the Iránians
Cause this, but having left the way of Faith
Thou hast thyself incurred God's chastisement,
for, first, no son legitimate will shed
His sire's blood though impure or give assent
Thereto and fill the hearts of upright folk
With pain. Again, thy treasures fill the world,
And thine exactions reach all provinces,
While, thirdly, many horsemen brave and famed
Within Irán who gladdened there have left
Son, country, and their own pure kith and kin,
Have parted, this to Chin, and that to Rúm,
And now are scattered o'er each march and land.
Again, when Caesar, who had done and borne
So much for thee, had given thee a host
And daughter too with treasure and much else.
Desired of thee the Cross of Christ for Rúm,
So that his land might be revived thereby,
How did the Cross of Jesus profit so
Thy treasures when complaisance on thy part
Would have made Caesar glad? But thou didst not
Restore it, hadst not wit enough for that,
Or one to guide thee to humanity.
Again, thy greed was such that wisdom's eye
Was all obscured in thee, and thou didst seize
The chattels of the poor whose curses brought
Ill on thy head. Thou slewest thy mother's brothers.
Two loyal men who gave thy throne a lustre.
Moreover thou hadst sixteen sons whose days
And nights were passed in prison while no chief
Could sleep secure from thee but hid in fear.
Know, that which hath befall'n thee is from God:
Reflect on thy foul deeds. As for myself,
I am but as the instrument in all
This wrong, am but the heading of the tale.
By God, 'twas not my fault, no aim of mine
To wreck the Sháh's throne! Now for all seek grace,
And say so to these chieftains of Irán:
Turn from ill deeds to God-the Guide to good-
Who may abate the woes that thou hast brought
Upon thyself.''
 
On hearing this the twain
Departed with their hearts all seared and sore
Till, sorrowful and weeping, they arrived
At Taisafùn and in that city sought
The palace of Marúsipand for there
The exalted king resided. Galinúsh
Sat at the palace-gate: thou wouldst have said:-
'Earth is convulsed before him!' He was armed
In helm and breastplate, all the Arab steeds
Wore bards, and all his soldiers were drawn up,
Equipped, and sword in hand. He grasped a mace
Of steel, his heart all fire and storm. Now when
Kharrád, son of Barzin, and when Ashtád,
Son of Gashasp, those ages twain, dismounted,
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"How Shirwi ascended the Throne" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 Jan. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/16294/how-shirwi-ascended-the-throne>.

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