Quatrain 24

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahrám, that great Hunter – the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

FitzGerald, stanza XVIII, 4th ed.

Decker says that here 'Jamshyd' and 'Bahrám' are both stressed on the first syllable, which of course strictly suits the iambic formula.  However, my opinion is that the stress falls equally on both syllables.   The 'y' in Jamshyd is likely FitzGerald's fancy.  FitzGerald writes "Bahrám"  to account for a "long" final a. See Decker's appendix on pronunciation of Persian words in his Rubáiyát, 238-249. 

Heron-Allen, 33, offers this source-text from the Calcutta MS, C 99:

آن قصر که بهرام در و جام  گرفت

روبه بچه کرد و شیر آرام  گرفت

بهرام که گور می‌گرفتی دایم

 امروز نگر که گور بهرام گرفت


aan qasr ke bahraam dar u jaam gereft
rubah bache kard o shir aaraam gereft
bahraam ke gur migerefti daayem
emruz negar ke gur bahraam gereft

Arberry, Romance... 203, asserts that FitzGerald's text-source was C 102 and that FitzGerald's reference to Jamshyd was taken from C 98 (Forughi, quatrain 7, also has Jamshid in the first line as well as Ali Dashti, quatrain 7, p.262, in his list of khayyaam-like quatrains, and so does Ahmad Saidi, quatrain 83).  Arberry translates:

That palace in which Bahram took the cup,
(there) the fox has whelped, and the lion taken its rest;
Bahram who used always to take the wild ass (gur)--
today see how the grave (gur) has taken Bahram. 

For the palace, FitzGerald had Persepolis in mind (his notes to all the editions tell us that), which Jamshid is said to have built.  Persepolis, the Throne of Jamshid, Takht-e Jamshid as it is known in Iran, if built by Jamshid would have existed from pre-historic times.  Persepolis was torched by Alexander and his drunken "conga-line" 750 years before Bahram V ruled.  Bahram had seven palaces built for each of his seven wives, so the reference to Bahram's "palace" would also be valid.  And Bahram was an avid hunter of the onager or wild ass (gur) and was called Bahram Gur probably because of his strength and prowess (onager from the Greek onos agrios, literally "wild ass").  If we don't want to call him Bahram Gur, we can refer to him as Bahram Onager and avoid calling him  'Wild Ass Bahram".

The pun, gur, wild ass and gur, grave is difficult, if not impossible, to convey in English.  FitzGerald avoids trying to pun and creates a forceful image in his rendition, which captures the spirit and meaning of the quatrain attributed to Khayyaam.   There is apparently no "lizard" in the sources -- in Forughi 7, we have gazelle (آهو, aahu) and fox and so Hedaayat, 54.  Whinfield, quatrain 72, has gazelle and lion, and the same for Tirtha, IV.25, and Ahmad Saidi,  quatrain 83 (Ali Dashti doesn't have this quatrain in his select 75, but it appears as already noted as khayyaamic, p. 262)  

This quatrain delivers the 4th line punch, with a change of pace in the 3rd line, and by this it is a "model" quatrain but this model or style is not always achieved as we have already seen in some of the quatrains attributed to Khayyaam.   I like the last bayt recorded by Hedaayat and Forughi (also Saidi, 83).  The fourth line asks the reader, who knows the story of Bahram's demise, to recall it:

بهرام که گور ‌می‌گرفتی همه عمر

دیدی چگونه گور بهرام گرفت


bahraam ke gur migerefti hame omr
didi chegune gur bahraam gereft 

 Bahram who spent his whole life in the hunt,
You saw how the hunt outhunted Bahram

Bahram died in a hunting accident -- some say that he and his horse were swallowed by quicksand.   This story is irrelevant for Khayyaam-FitzGerald: all those glories are in the past -- the palace is in ruins and is inhabited by lions, lizards, gazelles and foxes and other creatures no doubt. Bahram and Jamshid no longer hold sway.

Before closing with a translation of this quatrain by Edward Cowell, I feel compelled to discuss for my benefit and for learners a little grammar.   In the first line of the Persian,  we "expect"  در او and this is in fact what we have in dar u.  Some texts print در او. Metrically it makes no difference.  migerefti: the 'i' suffix implies continuation, a classical convention.  migereft  by itself could show repeated or habitual past action and does so in modern usage.  I would say that the suffix with this particular verb-form imparts intensive habitual action: "Bahram used to go about hunting" and that's close to what Arberry has.  A note about line 2: usually in Persian بچّه, bachche has a doubling of che as I have just written it.  But by poetic license, that is, for the sake here of the meter, two "shorts" are required, and bachche drops one che to become bache

Arberry, 91 remarks: 'There is a famous verse which Cowell rendered, as it happens, not entirely correctly-- thus':

That castle, in whose hall King Bahrám drained the cup,
There the fox hath brought forth her young and the lion made his lair.
Bahram who his life long seized the deer (
See how the tomb (
gor) has seized him to-day! 

Arberry concludes: "Who would guess that such a dry and frigid rendering represented the same original as this?"  Arberry then quotes FitzGerald, stanza XVIII.  Arberry is too hard on Cowell, who tried to supply FitzGerald with literal translations and by doing so, saved FitzGerald from errors in translating Persian.  As Arberry notes on good evidence, FitzGerald felt an affinity with Khayyaam and made the quatrains he chose his own (Terhune, Letters 2.305; Martin, With Friends Possessed, 203-207).

Here are two stanzas in FitzGerald's Rubáiyát similar to our preceding quatrain 24 . The first was only published in the 2nd (1868) edition, but FitzGerald has quoted it in his notes to all the editions. The source of the quatrain, the Persian (below), may have been an inscription discovered near Baghdad in the palace ruins of Ctesiphon. FitzGerald tells us that it was found, "among the ruins of Persepolis" -- yet as Saidi points out in a note, 249, note 74, the quatrain indicates that the poet saw this site. There is no evidence that Khayyaam traveled that far south. But he would likely have gone by Ctesiphon on his pilgrimmage to Mecca. Whatever the source of this quatrain, here is FitzGerald's rendition:

The Palace to Heav'n his pillars threw,
And kings the forehead on his threshold drew--
I saw the solitary Ringdove there,
And "Coo, coo, coo," she cried; and "Coo, coo, coo."

FitzGerald, Stanza XX, 2nd edition only but quoted in the notes of subsequent editions

Heron-Allen, 153 cites C 419 as Khayyaam's source.  Ali Dashti includes this quatrain in his '75"select quatrains of Khayyaam (it also appears -- all texts are the same -- in Forughi, 149 and Hedaayat, 56):

آن قصر که بر چرخ  همی‌زد پهلو 

بر درگه او شهان نهادندی رو 

دیدیم که بر کنگره‌اش فاختهای

بنشسته همی‌گفت که کو کو کوکو

Dashti, quatrain 31, p. 249

aan qasr ke bar charkh hamizad pahlu
bar dargah-e u shahaan nehaadandi ru
didim ke bar kongoreash faakhtei
benshaste hamigoft ke ku ku ku ku*

From that royal palace which once rose to the sky
monarchs in splendor faced the world.
But on its turrets I have seen a ring-dove seated,
cooing, cooing over and over: where, where? 

Michael Hillmann, Iranian Culture, 51

That palace vied with heaven to heaven surpass
with kings on display in court and pomp.

Perched high on a turret, we saw a dove ,
 coo-coo her refrain, gone where, gone where ?

*ku, which is the sound of cooing, also means "where" in Persian!

The second quatrain (which is included in all editions) is Stanza XVII in the 4th:

Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
Abode his destin'd Hour, and went his way.

این کهنه رباط را که عالم نام است

آرامگه ابلق صبح و شام است

بزمی است که واماندهٔ صد جمشید است

       قصری است که تکیه‌گاه صد بهرام است 

Dashti 28 (and Heron-Allen 31, 
who claims FitzGerald's source is C 95)

in kohne rebaat raa ke aalam naam ast
aaraamgah-e ablaq-e sobh o shaam ast
bazmi ast ke vaamaande-ye sad jamshid ast
qasri ast ke takyegaah-e sad bahraam ast

Our world is a caravanserai
haunt of
black night and blazing day:
here a scattered feast of a hundred Jamshids,
 palace and resthome of a hundred Bahrams. 

"As Khayyām sees it, if the all-powerful Iranian emperors Jamshid and Bahrām were unable to remain in the world for longer than their appointed time, then more ordinary mortals should be that much more certain of their own mortality and insignificance."
Michael Hillmann, Iranian Culture, 56.

Along these lines, let's end with a couplet of  Hafez (ghazal 351. 4, Qazvini):

کی بود در زمانه وفا جام می بیار
تا من حکایت جم و کاووس ‌کی کنم  

key bud dar zamaane vafaa jaam-e mey biyaar
taa man hekaayat-e jam o kaavus-e key konam

When was life faithful?  Bring a cup of wine,
and let me tell you the story of Jamshid and KeyKaavus.