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Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfixed

thy powers, And thy clear aims be cross and shift

ing made; And then thy glad perennial youth

would fade, Fade, and grow old at last, and die like ours.

230 Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and

smiles! -As some grave Tyrian trader, from the

sea, Descried at sunrise an emerging prow Lifting the cool-haired creepers stealth

The fringes of a southward-facing

Among the Ægean isles;
And saw the merry Grecian coaster come,
Freighted with amber grapes, and

Chian wine,
Green, bursting figs, and tunnies!

steeped in brine;
And knew the intruders on his an-
cient home,

240 The young light-hearted masters of the

wavesAnd snatched his rudder, and shook out

more sail, And day and night held on indig.

nantly O'er the blue Midland waters with the

gale, Betwixt the Syrtes and soft Sicily, 245

To where the Atlantic raves Outside the western straits; and un

bent sails There, where down cloudy cliffs,

through sheets of foam, Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians

come; And on the beach undid his corded bales.


Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
Still clutching the inviolable shade,
With a free, onward impulse brushing

through By night, the silvered branches of the

gladeFar on the forest-skirts, where none pursue,

215 On some mild pastoral slope Emerge, and resting on the moonlit

pales, Freshen thy flowers as informer

years With dew, or listen with enchanted

ears, From the dark dingles, to the night




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But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly! For strong the infection of our mental

strife, Which, though it gives no bliss, yet

spoils for rest; And we should win thee from thy own

fair life, Like us distracted, and like us unblest.

225 Soon, soon thy cheer would die,


AN EPISODE And the first gray of morning filled the

east, And the fog rose out of the Oxus stream. But all the Tartar camp along the stream

1 a kind of fish.


Was hushed, and still the men were plunged Tossing and wakeful, and I come to thee. in sleep;

For so did King Afrasiab bid me seek Sohrab alone, he slept not: all night long 5 | Thy counsel, and to heed thee as thy son, He had lain wakeful, tossing on his bed; In Samarcand, before the army marched; But when the gray dawn stole into his And I will tell thee what my heart detent,

sires. He rose, and clad himself, and girt his Thou knowest if, since from Ader-baijan sword,

first And took his horseman's cloak, and left I came among the Tartars and bore arms, his tent,

I have still served Afrasiab well, and And went abroad into the cold wet fog, 10 shown, Through the dim camp to Peran-Wisa's At my boy's years, the courage of a man. tent.

This too thou know'st, that, while I still Through the black Tartar tents he

bear on

46 passed, which stood

The conquering Tartar ensigns through the Clustering like bee-hives on the low flat world, strand

And beat the Persians back on every field, Of Oxus, where the summer-floods o'erflow I seek one man, one man, and one alone When the sun melts the snows in high Rustum, my father; who I hoped should Pamere:


50 Through the black tents he passed, o'er Should one day greet, upon some wellthat low strand,

fought field And to a hillock came, a little back His not unworthy, not inglorious son. From the stream's brink—the spot where So I long hoped, but him I never find. first a boat,

Come then, hear now, and grant me what Crossing the stream in summer, scrapes

I ask. the land.

Let the two armies rest to-day: but I 55 The men of former times had crowned Will challenge forth the bravest Persian

lords With a clay fort; but that was fallen, and To meet me, man to man: if I prevail, now

Rustum will surely hear it; if I fallThe Tartars built there Peran-Wisa's tent, Old man, the dead need no one, claim no A dome of laths, and o'er it felts were kin. spread.

Dim is the rumor of a common fight, 60 And Sohrab came there, and went in, Where host meets host, and many names and stood

are sunk; Upon the thick piled carpets in the tent, 25 But of a single combat fame speaks clear." And found the old man sleeping on his He spoke; and Peran-Wisa took the bed

hand Of rugs and felts, and near him lay his Of the young man in his, and sighed, and

arms. And Peran-Wisa heard him, though the “O Sohrab, an unquiet heart is thine! step

Canst thou not rest among the Tartar Was dulled; for he slept light, an old man's


66 sleep;

And share the battle's common chance And he rose quickly on one arm, and said: Who art thou? for it is not yet clear Who love thee, but must press forever dawn.

31 Speak! is there news, or any night alarm?” In single fight incurring single risk, But Sohrab came to the bedside, and To find a father thou hast never seen? said:

That were far best, my son, to stay with “Thou knowest me, Peran-Wisa: it is I. The sun is not yet risen, and the foe

35 Unmurmuring; in our tents, while it is Sleep; but I sleep not; all night long I lie

the top



with us








And when 'tis truce, then in Afrasiab's From their black tents, long files of horse, towns.

they streamed: But, if this one desire indeed rules all, As when, some gray November morn, the To seek out Rustum-seek him not files, through fight:

75 In marching order spread, of long-necked Seek him in peace, and carry to his arms, cranes, O Sohrab, carry an unwounded son! Stream over Casbin, and the southern But far hence seek him, for he is not here. slopes For now it is not as when I was young, Of Elburz, from the Aralian estuaries, When Rustum was in front of every fray; Or some frore ? Caspian reed-bed, southBut now he keeps apart, and sits at home, ward bound In Seïstan, with Zal, his father old. 82 For the warm Persian sea-board-so they Whether that his own mighty strength streamed. at last

The Tartars of the Oxus, the King's guard, Feels the abhorred approaches of old age; First, with black sheep-skin caps and with Or in some quarrel with the Persian King. long spears; There go!—Thou wilt not? Yet my Large men, large steeds; who from Bokheart forebodes


hara come Danger or death awaits thee on this field. And Khiva, and ferment the milk of Fain would I know thee safe and well, mares. though lost

Next the more temperate Toorkmuns of To us; fain therefore send thee hence, in south, peace

The Tukas, and the lances of Salore, To seek thy father, not seek single fights 90 And those from Attruck and the Caspian In vain:—but who can keep the lion's sands; cub

Light men, and on light steeds, who only From ravening, and who govern Rustum's drink son?

The acrid milk of camels, and their Go, I will grant thee what thy heart wells.

125 desires.'

And then a swarm of wandering horse, So said he, and dropped Sohrab's hand,

who came and left

From far, and a more doubtful service His bed, and the warm rugs whereon he owned; lay;

95 The Tartars of Ferghana, from the banks And o'er his chilly limbs his woollen coat Of the Jaxartes, men with scanty beards He passed, and tied his sandals on his feet, And close-set skull-caps; and those wilder And threw a white cloak round him, and hordes

130 he took

Who roam o'er Kipchak and the northern In his right hand a ruler's staff, no sword; waste, And on his head he set his sheep-skin cap, Kalmuks and unkempt Kuzzaks, tribes Black, glossy, curled, the fleece of Kara

Nearest the Pole, and wandering KirgAnd raised the curtain of his tent, and hizzes, called

Who come on shaggy ponies from Pamere; His herald to his side, and went abroad. These all filed out from camp into the The sun by this had risen, and cleared plain.


And on the other side the Persians From the broad Oxus and the glittering formed: sands.


First a light cloud of horse, Tartars they And from their tents the Tartar horsemen seemed, filed

The Ilyats of Khorassan: and behind, Into the open plain; so Haman bade- The royal troops of Persia, horse and Haman, who next to Peran-Wisa ruled The host, and still was in his lusty prime.

who stray



the fog

1 frozen.



Marshalled battalions bright in burnished And to Ferood his brother chiefs came steel.


170 But Peran-Wisa with his herald came, To counsel: Gudurz and Zoarrah came, Threading the Tartar squadrons to the And Feraburz, who ruled the Persian host front,

Second, and was the uncle of the King; And with his staff kept back the foremost These came and counselled, and then ranks.

Gudurz said:And when Ferood, who led the Persians, "Ferood, shame bids us take their

challenge up.

175 That Peran-Wisa kept the Tartars back, Yet champion have we none to match He took his spear, and to the front he this youth. came,

146 He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's And checked his ranks, and fixed them heart. where they stood.

But Rustum came last night; aloof he sits And the old Tartar came upon the sand And sullen, and has pitched his tents Betwixt the silent hosts, and spake, and apart. said:

Him will I seek, and carry to his ear 180 “Ferood, and ye, Persians and Tartars, The Tartar challenge, and this young hear!


man's name. Let there be truce between the hosts to- Haply he will forget his wrath, and fight. day.

Stand forth the while, and take their But choose a champion from the Persian challenge up." lords

So spake he; and Ferood stood forth To fight our champion Sohrab, man to and cried: man.”

"Old man, be it agreed as thou hast As, in the country, on a morn in June, said!

185 When the dew glistens on the pearlèd Let Sohrab arm, and we will find a man.” ears,

155 He spake; and Peran-Wisa turned, and A shiver runs through the deep corn for strode joy

Back through the opening squadrons to So, when they heard what Peran-Wisa his tent. said,

But through the anxious Persians Gudurz A thrill through all the Tartar squadrons ran,

And crossed the camp which lay behind, Of pride and hope for Sohrab, whom they and reached,

190 loved.

Out on the sands beyond it, Rustum's But as a troop of pedlars, from Cabool, tents. Cross underneath the Indian Caucasus, 161 Of scarlet cloth they were, and glittering That vast sky-neighboring mountain of gay,

Just pitched: the high pavilion in the Crossing so high, that, as they mount, midst

Was Rustum's, and his men lay camped Long flocks of travelling birds dead on around. the snow,

And Gudurz entered Rustum's tent, and Choked by the air, and scarce can they found

195 themselves

165 Rustum; his morning meal was done, but Slake their parched throats with sugared still mulberries

The table stood before him, charged with In single file they move, and stop their food; breath,

A side of roasted sheep, and cakes of For fear they should dislodge the o'er- bread, hanging snows

And dark green melons; and there Rustum So the pale Persians held their breath with sate fear.

Listless, and held a falcon on his wrist, 200


milk snow;

they pass


old man,



should say:

And played with it; but Gudurz came and And I to tarry with the snow-haired Zal, stood

My father, whom the robber Afghans vex, Before him; and he looked, and saw him And clip his borders short, and drive his stand,

herds, And with a cry sprang up, and dropped the And he has none to guard his weak old bird,


235 And greeted Gudurz with both hands, and There would I go, and hang my armor up, said:

And with my great name fence that weak “Welcome! these eyes could see better sight.

205 And spend the goodly treasures I have got, What news? but sit down first, and eat And rest my age, and hear of Sohrab's and drink.”

fame, But Gudurz stood in the tent-door, and And leave to death the hosts of thankless said:

kings, “Not now; a time will come to eat and And with these slaughterous hands draw drink,

sword no more. But not to-day; to-day has other needs.

He spoke, and smiled; and Gudurz The armies are drawn out, and stand at made reply gaze;

"What then, Ó Rustum, will men say to For from the Tartars is a challenge this, brought

When Sohrab dares our bravest forth, and To pick a champion from the Persian lords seeks To fight their champion-and thou Thee most of all, and thou, whom most knowest his name

he seeks,

245 Sohrab men call him, but his birth is hid. Hidest thy face? Take heed, lest men O Rustum, like thy might is this young man's!

215 Like some old miser, Rustum hoards his He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's fame, heart;

And shuns to peril it with younger men.' And he is young, and Iran's chiefs are old, And, greatly moved, then Rustum made Or else too weak; and all eyes turn to thee. reply: Come down and help us, Rustum, or we "O Gudurz, wherefore dost thou say such lose!


250 He spoke: but Rustum answered with Thou knowest better words than this to a smile:

say. “Go to! if Iran's chiefs are old, then I What is one more, one less, obscure or Am older: if the young are weak, the King famed, Errs strangely; for the King, for Kai- Valiant or craven, young or old, to me? Khosroo,

Are not they mortal, am not I myself? Himself is young, and honors younger But who for men of nought would do men,

great deeds?

255 And lets the agèd moulder to their Come, thou shall see how Rustum hoards graves.


his fame! Rustum he loves no more, but loves the But I will fight unknown, and in plain young

arms; The young may rise at Sohrab's vaunts, Let not men say of Rustum, he was not I.

matched For what care I, though all speak Sohrab's In single fight with any mortal man." fame?

He spoke, and frowned; and Gudurz For would that I myself had such a son, turned, and ran

260 And not that one slight helpless girl I Back quickly through the camp in fear have


and joyA son so famed, so brave, to send to war, Fear at his wrath, but joy that Rustum


i Persia's.


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