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my soul?

the spear.

And whether it will heave us up to land, Dizzy, and on his knees, and choked with Or whether it will roll us out to sea,

sand; Back out to sea, to the deep waves of But he looked on, and smiled, nor bared death,

395
his sword,

425 We know not, and no search will make But courteously drew back, and spoke, us know;

and said: Only the event will teach us in its hour." “Thou strikest too hard! that club of He spoke, and Rustum answered not, thine will float but hurled

Upon the summer-floods, and not my His spear; down from the shoulder, down bones. it came

But rise, and be not wroth! not wroth am As on some partridge in the corn a hawk 400 I; That long has towered in the airy clouds No, when I see thee, wrath forsakes my Drops like a plummet; Sohrab saw it come, soul.

430 And sprang aside, quick as a flash: the Thou sayst thou art not Rustum: be it so. spear

Who art thou then, that canst so touch Hissed, and went quivering down into the sand,

Boy as I am, I have seen battles tooWhich it sent flying wide;—then Sohrab Have waded foremost in their bloody threw

405

waves, In turn, and full struck Rustum's shield; And heard their hollow roar of dying sharp rang,

men;

435 The iron plates rang sharp, but turned But never was my heart thus touched

before. And Rustum seized his club, which none Are they from Heaven, these softenings but he

of the heart? Could wield: an unlopped trunk it was, O thou old warrior, let us yield to Heaven! and huge,

Come, plant we here in earth our angry Still rough-like those which men in tree- spears, less plains

410 And make a truce, and sit upon this sand, To build them boats fish from the flooded And pledge each other in red wine, like rivers,

friends,

441 Hyphasis or Hydaspes, when, high up And thou shalt talk to me of Rustum's By their dark springs, the wind in winter- deeds. time

There are enough foes in the Persian Has made in Himalayan forests wrack,

host, And strewn the channels with torn boughs Whom I may meet, and strike, and feel so huge

415

no pang; The club which Rustum lifted now, and Champions enough Afrasiab has, whom struck

thou

445 One stroke; but again Sohrab sprang Mayst fight; fight them, when they conaside,

front thy spear! Lithe as the glancing snake, and the club But oh, let there be peace 'twixt thee and came

me! Thundering to earth, and leaped from Rus- He ceased: but while he spake, Rustum tum's hand.

had risen, And Rustum followed his own blow, and And stood erect, trembling with rage: his fell

420

club To his knees, and with his fingers clutched He left to lie, but had regained his spear, the sand.

Whose fiery point now in his mailed rightAnd now might Sohrab have unsheathed hand

451 his sword,

Blazed bright and baleful, like that And pierced the mighty Rustum while he autumn-star, lay

The baleful sign of fevers: dust had soiled

broke way:

shot eyes

His stately crest, and dimmed his glitter- For both the on-looking hosts on either ing arms.

hand His breast heaved, his lips foamed, and Stood in broad daylight, and the sky was twice his voice

455 pure, Was choked with rage: at last these words And the sun sparkled on the Oxus stream.

But in the gloom they fought, with blood“Girl! nimble with thy feet, not with

490 thy hands!

And laboring breath; first Rustum struck Curled minion, dancer, coiner of sweet the shield words!

Which Sohrab held stiff out; the steelFight, let me hear thy hateful voice no

spiked spear more!

Rent the tough plates, but failed to Thou art not in Afrasiab's gardens now 460 reach the skin, With Tartar girls, with whom thou art And Rustum plucked it back with angry wont to dance;

groan. But on the Oxus-sands, and in the dance Then Sohrab with his sword smote RusOf battle, and with me, who make no tum's helm,

495 play

Nor clove its steel quite through; but all Of war; I fight it out, and hand to hand. the crest Speak not to me of truce, and pledge, He shore away, and that proud horseand wine!

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hair plume, Remember all thy valor: try thy feints Never till now defiled, sank to the dust; And cunning! all the pity I had is gone; And Rustum bowed his head; but then Because thou hast shamed me before both the gloom the hosts

Grew blacker, thunder rumbled in the With thy light skipping tricks, and thy air,

500 girl's wiles.”

And lightnings rent the cloud; and Ruksh, He spoke, and Sohrab kindled at his the horse, taunts,

470 Who stood at hand, uttered a dreadful And he too drew his sword: at once they cry;-rushed

No horse's cry was that, most like the Together, as two eagles on one prey

roar Come rushing down together from the Of some pained desert lion, who all day clouds,

Hath trailed the hunter's javelin in his One from the east, one from the west; side,

505 their shields

474 And comes at night to die upon the sand. Dashed with a clang together, and a din The two hosts heard that cry, and quaked Rose, such as that the sinewy woodcutters for fear, Make often in the forest's heart at morn, And Oxus curdled as it crossed his stream. Of hewing axes, crashing trees-such But Sohrab heard, and quailed not, but

blows Rustum and Sohrab on each other hailed. And struck again; and again Rustum And you would say that sun and stars bowed

510 took part

480

His head; but this time all the blade, like In that unnatural conflict; for a cloud

glass, Grew suddenly in Heaven, and darked the Sprang in a thousand shivers on the sun

helm, Over the fighters' heads; and a wind rose And in his hand the hilt remained alone. Under their feet, and moaning swept the Then Rustum raised his head; his dreadful plain,

eyes And in a sandy whirlwind wrapped the Glared, and he shook on high his menacing pair. 485 spear,

515 In gloom they twain were wrapped, and And shouted, Rustum!-Sohrab heard that they alone;

shout,

rushed on,

arm

my fate.

And shrank amazed: back he recoiled one But that beloved name unnerved my

step, And scanned with blinking eyes the ad- That name, and something, I confess, in vancing form;

thee, And then he stood bewildered; and he which troubles all my heart, and made my dropped

shield His covering shield, and the spear pierced Fall; and thy spear transfixed an unhis side. 520 armed foe.

550 He reeled, and staggering back, sank to And now thou boastest, and insultest

the ground; And then the gloom dispersed, and the But hear thou this, fierce man, tremble wind fell,

to hear! And the bright sun broke forth, and melted The mighty Rustum shall avenge my all

death! The cloud; and the two armies saw the My father, whom I seek through all the pair

world, Saw Rustum standing, safe upon his He shall avenge my death, and punish feet,

525
thee!”

555 And Sohrab, wounded, on the bloody As when some hunter in the spring sand.

hath found Then with a bitter smile, Rustum A breeding eagle sitting on her nest, began

Upon the craggy isle of a hill-lake, “Sohrab, thou thoughtest in thy mind And pierced her with an arrow as she to kill

rose, A Persian lord this day, and strip his And followed her to find her where she corpse,

fell

560 And bear thy trophies to Afrasiab's tent. Far off;-anon her mate comes winging Or else that the great Rustum would come back down

531 From hunting, and a great way off deHimself to fight, and that thy wiles scries would move

His huddling young left sole; at that, he His heart to take a gift, and let thee go. checks And then that all the Tartar host would His pinion, and with short uneasy sweeps praise

Circles above his eyry, with loud screams Thy courage or thy craft, and spread thy . Chiding his mate back to her nest; but fame,

535

she To glad thy father in his weak old age. Lies dying, with the arrow in her side, Fool, thou art slain, and by an unknown In some far stony gorge out of his ken, man!

A heap of fluttering feathers-never more Dearer to the red jackals shalt thou be Shall the lake glass her, flying over it; 570 Than to thy friends, and to thy father Never the black and dripping precipices old.”

Echo her stormy scream as she sails by: And, with a fearless mien, Sohrab As that poor bird flies home, nor knows replied:

540

his loss, “Unknown thou art; yet thy fierce vaunt So Rustum knew not his own loss, but is vain.

stood Thou dost not slay me, proud and boastful Over his dying son, and knew him not. 575 man!

But, with a cold incredulous voice, he No! Rustum slays me, and this filial said: heart.

“What prate is this of fathers and reFor were I matched with ten such men venge? as thee,

The mighty Rustum never had a son.” And I were that which till to-day I was, 545 And, with a failing voice, Sohrab reThey should be lying here, I standing there. plied:

579

566

saw

585

Fierce man,

vengeance be?

“Ah! yes, he had! and that lost son am I. Of the bright rocking Ocean sets to shore Surely the news will one day reach his At the full moon: tears gathered in his ear,

eyes; Reach Rustum, where he sits, and tarries For he remembered his own early youth, long,

And all its bounding rapture; as, at dawn, Somewhere, I know not where, but far The shepherd from his mountain-lodge from here,

descries

621 And pierce him like a stab, and make him A far, bright city, smitten by the sun, leap

Through many rolling clouds-so Rustum To arms, and cry for vengeance upon thee.

His youth; saw Sohrab's mother, in her bethink thee, for an only son! bloom; What will that grief, what will that And that old king, her father, who loved

well

625 Oh, could I live, till I that grief had seen! His wandering guest, and gave him his Yet him I pity not so much, but her,

fair child My mother, who in Ader-baijan dwells 590 With joy; and all the pleasant life they With that old king, her father, who grows led, gray

They three, in that long-distant summerWith age,

and rules over the valiant timeKoords.

The castle, and the dewy woods, and hunt Her most I pity, who no more will see And hound, and morn on those delightful Sohrab returning from the Tartar camp, hills

630 With spoils and honor, when the war is In Ader-baijan. And he saw that youth, done.

595 Of age and looks to be his own dear son, But a dark rumor will be bruited up, Piteous and lovely, lying on the sand, From tribe to tribe, until it reach her ear; Like some rich hyacinth which by the And then will that defenceless woman scythe learn

Of an unskilful gardener has been cut, 635 That Sohrab will rejoice her sight no more; Mowing the garden grass-plots near its But that in battle with a nameless foe, 600 bed, By the far-distant Oxus, he is slain.” And lies, a fragrant tower of purple bloom, He spoke; and as he ceased, he wept On the mown, dying grass-s0 Sohrab lay, aloud,

Lovely in death, upon the common sand. Thinking of her he left, and his own death. And Rustum gazed on him with grief, and He spoke; but Rustum listened, plunged

said:

640 in thought.

“O Sohrab, thou indeed art such a son Nor did he yet believe it was his son 605 Whom Rustum, wert thou his, might well Who spoke, although he called back names have loved. he knew;

Yet here thou errest, Sohrab, or else men For he had had sure tidings that the babe, Have told thee false—thou art not RusWhich was in Ader-baijan born to him,

tum's son. Had been a puny girl, no boy at all- For Rustum had no son: one child he So that sad mother sent him word, for had

645 fear

610 But one-a girl; who with her mother now Rustum should take the boy, to train in Plies some light female task, nor dreams of

arms; And so he deemed that either Sohrab took, Of us she dreams not, nor of wounds, nor By a false boast, the style of Rustum's war." son;

But Sohrab answered him in wrath; for Or that men gave it him, to swell his fame. So deemed he; yet he listened, plunged The anguish of the deep-fixed spear grew in thought,

650 And his soul set to grief, as the vast tide | And he desired to draw forth the steel,

615 fierce,

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now

690

seized

And let the blood flow free, and so to die And then he touched it with his hand and But first he would convince his stubborn said: foe;

“How say'st thou? Is that sign the And, rising sternly on one arm, he said:

proper sign “Man, who art thou who dost deny my Of Rustum's son, or of some other man's?” words?

655 He spoke: but Rustum gazed, and Truth sits upon the lips of dying men,

gazed, and stood And falsehood, while I lived, was far from Speechless; and then he uttered one sharp mine.

cry: I tell thee, pricked upon this arm I bear O boythy father!''—and his voice That seal which Rustum to my mother choked there. gave,

And then a dark cloud passed before his That she might prick it on the babe she eyes, bore.”

660 And his head swam, and he sank down to He spoke; and all the blood left Rus- earth. tum's cheeks,

But Sohrab crawled to where he lay, and And his knees tottered, and he smote his cast hand

His arms about his neck, and kissed his Against his breast, his heavy mailèd hand, lips,

695 That the hard iron corslet clanked aloud; And with fond faltering fingers stroked And to his heart he pressed the other his cheeks, hand,

665 Trying to call him back to life; and life And in a hollow voice he spake, and said:- Came back to Rustum, and he oped his "Sohrab, that were a proof which could

eyes, not lie!

And they stood wide with horror; and he If thou show this, then art thou Rustum's

In both his hands the dust which lay Then, with weak hasty fingers, Sohrab around,

700 loosed

And threw it on his head, and smirched His belt, and near the shoulder bared his

his hair, arm,

670 His hair, and face, and beard, and glitterAnd showed a sign in faint vermilion points ing arms; Pricked; as a cunning workman, in Pekin, And strong convulsive groanings shook Pricks with vermilion some clear porcelain

his breast, vase,

And his sobs choked him; and he clutched An emperor's gift-at early morn he paints, his sword, And all day long, and, when night comes, To draw it, and forever let life out. 705 the lamp

675 But Sohrab saw his thought, and held his Lights up his studious forehead and thin hands, hands

And with a soothing voice he spake, and So delicately pricked the sign appeared

said: On Sohrab's arm, the sign of Rustum's "Father, forbear! for I but meet to-day seal.

The doom that at my birth was written It was that griffin, which of old reared Zal, down Rustum's great father, whom they left to In Heaven, and thou art Heaven's uncondie, 680 scious hand.

710 A helpless babe, among the mountain Surely my heart cried out that it was thou, rocks;

When first I saw thee; and thy heart spoke Him that kind creature found, and reared, too, and loved

I know it! but fate trod those promptings Then Rustum took it for his glorious sign. down And Sohrab bared that image on his arm, Under its iron heel; fate, fate engaged And himself scanned it long with mournful The strife, and hurled me on my father's eyes, 685 spear.

715

son."

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