Persian inscription in left margin, in nasta‘liq script:
25 / Haidar Kashmiri;
Persian title in nasta‘liq script:
The Battle of Isfandiyar with Arjasp and
The killing of Arjasp by the hand of Isfandiyar;
Persian text in nasta‘liq script:
He uttered these words, and hurried away from them
Toward Arjasp’s court, bent on revenge
He went forth, grasping a blade of Indian steel,
Whomever of the notables his eyes fell on, was killed on the way
So that in passing through the royal hall
Hard it was to pick one’s way:
So many wounded, battered, and dead
Had turned the ground into a turbulent sea.
When Arjasp awoke from his sleep
His heart was troubled on hearing the din
That he could not make out in the bedchamber.
He put on his mail shirt and Roman-fashioned helmet
Clutching in hand a burnished dagger,
He shouted loud, blood coursing through his heart.
The warrior Isfandiyar confronted him.
They fought beyond measure and scale,
Exchanging daggers and swords in a furious feud
At times targeting the head, at times the waist,
To him he (Isfandiyar) said, “Now from the tradesman
Will you receive the gift of a blade, one glittering like a silver denarius.
I have it as a gift for you, worthy enough to come from Luhrasp, inlaid with Gushtasp’s seal.
He made Arjasp go limp and lifeless by the delivered cuts
Nowhere on his body did he leave untouched.
His mammoth body toppled over
His head severed from the body by Isfandiyar.
Such is the conduct of the revolving fortune:
At times it offers us a honeyed potion, at others a deadly poison
Why tie your heart to this transient place
Since you know that you will not stay forever, do not grieve and pine.
Having dealt with Arjasp, Isfandiyar
Gutted the palace, its smoke reaching as far as Saturn
He ordered torches lit
Setting fire to the palace from all sides
He entrusted his (Arjasp’s) women’s quarters to a eunuch,
Taking all luster away from the place.
He sealed off the treasury
No one in Turan was now equal to his fight.
He went to the stables and mounted
A blade of Indian steel in his hand
He selected among the Arab horses there
And ordered them saddled
A hundred and sixty men rode away from there
Handpicked riders for the day of battle.;
Verso: Text of Isfandiyar slays Arjasp, the king of Turan:
Persian inscription in bottom margin, in nasta‘liq script:
The army realized
Persian text in nasta‘liq script:
[cont. from recto] He furnished mounts, moreover, for his sisters,
And marched forth from the court-gate of Arjasp,
But left a few Iranians, men of name,
With noble Sawa in the hold. “When we,”
He said, “have gone outside the walls,
I and my noble warriors, to the plain,
Secure the gate against the Turkman troops,
And may my good star aid me. When ye think
That I have joined our noble troops outside,
Then—let the watchmen from the lookout cry:
‘Blessed be the head and crown of Shah Gushtasp.’
And when the Turkman troops come toward the hold,
In flight retreating from the battlefield,
Then you shall throw the head of King Arjasp
Before them from the tower of the watch.”
The valiant hero rushed upon the plain,
And slaughtered all the Turkmans that he found.
As he approached the troops of Bishutan
They saw and praised him in amazement that he,
Who was so young, should show such bravery.
When the moon had left her silver throne,
And when three watches of the night had passed,
The watchman shouted lustily, proclaiming:
“Gushtasp, the Shah, has gained the victory,
And may Isfandiyar be ever young.
May heaven, moon, and fortune be his helpers,
Who has in vengeance for Luhrasp beheaded
Arjasp and, adding luster to our Grace
And customs, cast him down from throne to dust,
And made the name and fortune of Gushtasp
Hearing such a cry the Turkmans
All listened while Kuhram grew dark of heart
By reason of that watchman, was astonished,
And spoke thus to Andariman: “How clear
This cry is in the night! What do you say
Can be the cause? Let us consult, for who
Would dare to bawl thus by the monarch’s couch
And after dark? What tricks might such a one
Play in the day of battle, and thus bring
Our nobles into straits! So send and have
His head cut off, whoever he may be.
If one of our own household is our foe,
And he is backing up our enemies.
“With evil words and evil presages,
Then will we brain him with an evil mace.”
Now when the cry went on persistently
Kuhram was stricken to the heart with anger
Against the watchman whose utterance, spread abroad
In such a fashion, filled the nobles’ ears.
The soldiers said: “The shouts increase, beyond
A watchman’s! Let us drive the foemen forth
And after take this host”
Kuhram, who was straitened
At heart about that watchman, writhed and frowned.
He told the troops: “These men have filled my heart
With dread about the king. We must return
At once, past question. What may happen after
I know not.”
So that night they left the field,
Where Isfandiyar, with ox-head mace
And wearing mail, pursued them. When Kuhram had reached
The portal of the hold, and saw the Iranians
Pursuing, “What is left us,” he exclaimed:
“But to fight with brave Isfandiyar?
Unsheathe and send your message by the sword.”
But fortune frowned and those famed chiefs fared ill.
The two hosts raged and smote each other's heads
Till morning came, and then the chiefs of Chin
Had had their day. Ascending to the ramparts
The warriors of Isfandiyar inside
The hold flung down therefrom the severed head
Of brave Arjasp—the king that had slain Luhrasp.
The Turkmans fought no longer; from their host
Arose a cry, and all the troops unhelmed.
The two sons of Arjasp wept and were consumed
As in a fierce fire, while all the army knew
What they must weep for on that evil day.
(closely adapted from Warner and Warner 1912, 152)