Farrukhi’s Elegy on Mahmud of Ghazna

The town of Ghaznin is not the same as I saw it previously; what has happened that affairs have this year assumed a different complexion?

I see the houses full of lamentation and clamour and crying: lamentation and clamour and crying which render the soul distressed.

I see the streets full of agitation and all the streets, from end to end, are full of upheaval, seething with troops of cavalry.

I see the rows of shops emptied of their people and the doors of the booths all closed, with every door nailed up.

I see palaces, deserted by the throngs of courtiers, all in a body gone off to the inner town from the suburbs.

I see the great men of state, beating their faces just like women, having rendered their eyes full of tears of blood, of the colour of pomegranate flowers

I see the great commanders, sick at heart and clothed in black, one with his hat cast down from the head and the other with his head-band removed.

I see the great ladies, who have streamed out of the houses into the street, weeping copiously at the gateway of the square and continually lamenting volubly.

I see the secretaries of the administration, with their inkstands put aside, with their hands on their brows and having beaten their heads against the wall

I see the financial officials, returned downcast from their work, with no labour accomplished and not having gone to the accounting office.

I see the musicians and entertainers weeping and biting all ten fingers of their hands, with their stringed musical instruments on their heads and having beaten their faces in a distraught manner.

I see an army, mortified and reduced to a state of confusion, with their eyes full of tears and (their bodies) made emaciated by sorrow and grief.

Are these the same warriors whom I saw formerly? And is this the same town and land which I saw last year?

Has the king not returned this year from the war against the infidels (ghaza)? Has the enemy set his face towards this town and these lands?

Why has every household lost a dear one this year, so that the day of all the people has become like a dark night from sorrow and

Is it perhaps the case that the king lamented in the year before last? Nay, I did not see at that time the like of this affliction!

Are you not going to reveal what has happened? Speak, if you are able! I am not a stranger; do not keep this event back from me!

What is all this hustle, clamour, tumult and uproar about? What does all this agitation, this burden of grief and this excess of talk, signify?

Would that that night and day which I feared had never happened, and that happiness had never become sorrow!

Would that the eye of evil fortune had never fastened upon the Amir! Alas, I fear that it has indeed come, and the moon has disappeared behind the mist!

He has passed away and left us all in a state of misery and distress; I myself do not know what cure I can employ for this nor what remedy.

Alas and alack and well-a-day, that a king like Mahmud should be placed as a wretched one beneath the ground just like any mean object!

Alas and alack, that the ruby should revert to its mine; for, being placed within the earth, he can derive no sustenance from it.

Alas and alack, that without him I can never see the Garden of Victory full of tulips or roses coming into bloom!

Alas and alack, that all of a sudden I should see the palace of Mahmud and that mansion full of decorative paintings and images empty of him!

Alas and alack, that the Carmathian heretics should now be rejoicing, for they will now find security from being showered with stones and the gallows!

Alas and alack, that the Byzantine Emperor should now be free of the burdensome necessity of having to erect towers and walls!

Alas and alack, that the Brahmans of the whole of India should now be able to construct a place for their idols afresh in the spring!

Our Amir lies asleep within the earth, whilst we remain on its surface! What sort of a day is this, with such darkness as this? O Lord we seek refuge!

How can I possibly derive an omen for this situation? Things might well be different! Then I will derive that omen from which my heart obtains ease.

The Amir must have drunk wine yesterday, and that is why he is sleeping today. Perhaps he overslept, because he came to harm from excessive drinking?

The reason why they are not beating the tabor and kettledrum is so that he may sleep well and that the burden on his heart may be lessened.

O Amir of all princes and emperor of the world, arise and come forth from your chamber, for you have slept very long!

Rise, O Shah, for the world has become full of tumult and disturbance! Put down this disturbance, and spend the night and day in joyfulness!

Rise, O Shah, for the army has become massed before Qannawj! Set your face in that direction, and launch fire on the crowns of their heads!

Rise, O Shah, for the envoys of the rulers have arrived; they hold abundant gifts which they have brought and largesse for scattering!

Rise, O Shah, for the commanders have come with their greetings! Permit them to enter in audience, for at this very moment the time for the court session has come round!

Rise, O Shah, for the rose has blossomed forth in victory! Drain several goblets of ruby-coloured wine over the fresh earth!

Rise, O Shah, for they have all assembled for a game of polo, those with whom you have played at polo on many occasions!

Rise, O Shah, for just as in every year, some 2,000 elephants have come for the army review past your palace and your garden!

Rise, O Shah, for the splendid uniforms of the army have been sewn and got ready, and have been gathered altogether in a single place!

Rise, O Shah, for your cherished son has hurried along in order to see you; vouchsafe to him your attention!

Who could possibly arouse you from this sleep? You have slept that sleep such as you will not be awakened by any amount of clamour.

If you have slept so deeply, O Shah, that you will never rise again, O lord of the world, arise and entrust (your power) to your son!

Excessive sleeping, O Emperor, was never your custom; no-one has ever seen you over-indulging in sleep in this manner!

Your custom was continuous raiding and the business of journeying; you never took any repose even when you were ill.

You were engaged in journeyings as long as you were alive, and your body, which was like a mountain, in this activity of travelling became emaciated from the fatigue of journeying.

A journey from which one hopes to return involves little trouble, even though it may be difficult.

You have a journey ahead of you this year, O Shah, for which no limit or bourn is visible.

You should tarry for a while in your palace so that cherished ones and relatives might see your face

Your departure used to be in the autumn of each year, O Shah; what is this haste, that this year you have departed in the spring?

How can you remain patient, and how long can you remain separated from that brother whom you cherished at your side?

His body has become like a hair from affliction and grief for you, with his ruddy countenance turned pale like the colour of a dinar.

From the abundance of his weeping at the head of your grave, O Shah, the water of his eye has rendered furrowed his countenance.

He has a fire in his heart, from which each day he sends up sparks to the dome of the heavens.

It is no wonder that your brother suffers grief over you, O Shah; even your enemy is not free from sorrow over you by night and by day.

The bird and the fish are perpetually lamenting you, just like women; all have become companions of ours in regretfulness and grief over you.

Day and night, over your coffin, the Palace of Victory weeps bitterly, like a raincloud, out of sorrow over you.

The rulers withdrew into their fortresses out of fear and terror of you; O Shah, what fear and terror drove you to the fortress (i.e. of death)?

You used to grow sick at heart even in a garden as extensive as a desert; how could you take up an abode in a narrow dwelling place?

Indeed, the world did not appreciate your worth; it therefore has no value in the opinion of the wise.

For the world, splendour and standing and value were all inherent in you; since you departed from the world, these three (qualities) suddenly disappeared

For the poets, the bazaar became kindled with light through you; you
departed, and at once, with your departure, that bazaar became lifeless.

O Amir, through whose presence the homeland derived pride! O Amir, at whose court no source of shame has ever arisen!

All your endeavours were focussed on that which God commanded; you always endured great hardship in obeying God!

May He pass over (your sins), and may He never bring forward a misdeed for which you have not sought pardon!

O Shah, may your name live for ever through your heir, you kind-hearted, well-disposed one, exponent of magnanimous deeds!

May the God gladden the grief-stricken heart of this brother, who had a fire kindled in his heart through your loss, through the agency of your heir!

May God make your heart happy in that world by (granting you) Paradise and a heavenly reward, and because of (your) abundant activity!

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