Actor Helen Morse reads from Firdausi's
This reading is part of a series of excerpts from the romantic stories and lyrical verse written or inspired by some of the great Persian poets of the past, as showcased in the
Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond exhibition.
Read the transcript From the
Shahnama of Firdausi, translated by James Atkinson
With pity hear, Tahmineh is my name!
The pangs of love my anxious heart employ,
And flattering promise long-expected joy;
No curious eye has yet these features seen,
My voice unheard, beyond the sacred screen.
How often have I listened with amaze
To thy great deeds, enamoured of thy praise;
How oft from every tongue I’ve heard the strain,
And thought of thee – and sighed, and sighed again.
The ravenous eagle, hovering o'er his prey,
Starts at thy gleaming sword and flies away:
Thou art the slayer of the Demon brood,
And the fierce monsters of the echoing wood.
Where’er thy mace is seen, shrink back the bold,
Thy javelin’s flash all tremble to behold.
Enchanted with the stories of thy fame,
My fluttering heart responded to thy name;
And whilst their magic influence I felt,
In prayer for thee devotedly I knelt;
And fervent vowed, thus powerful glory charms,
No other spouse should bless my longing arms.
Indulgent heaven propitious to my prayer
Now brings thee hither to reward my care.
Turan’s dominions thou hast sought, alone,
By night, in darkness – thou, the mighty one!
Oh claim my hand, and grant my soul’s desire;
Ask me in marriage of my royal sire;
Perhaps a boy our wedded love may crown,
Whose strength like thine may gain the world’s renown.
Nay more – for Samengan will keep my word –
Rakush to thee again shall be restored. Close