Nestan Summons Tariel to Her
391
"ONE day, on my return from the king's palace, I came
to my chamber. I sat down and thought of her, slumber
fell not upon mine eyes, I had the letter of hope, therefore
was I merry. The doorkeeper called the slave; he told him
a secret matter
392
"'IT is Asmat'h's slave,' quoth he. I ordered him to be
brought into the chamber. She wrote to me that she whose
knife had pierced my heart commanded me to come. Joy
lightened my darkness; she loosened my chains. I went, I
took the slave, I spoke not at all with him.
393
"I ENTERED the garden; I met none to speak to me. The
maid met me merry, smiling; she said: 'I have bravely
extracted the thorn from thy heart, it is no longer therein;
come and see thy rose unfaded, unwithered.'
394
"THE maid with an effort raised the heavy curtain; there
stood a palankeen adorned with choice rubies where sat she
whose face was like the sun flashing; her eyes, like inky
lakes, looked beautifully at me.
395
"A LONG time I stood, and she spoke no word to me whom
she yearned for; she only looked at me sweetly as at an
intimate. She called Asmat'h, they spoke together; the maid
came and whispered in my ear: 'Now go; she cannot say
anything to thee.' Again the flame reduced me to soot.
396
"ASMATH led me forth, I went out, I passed the curtain.
I said: '0 Fate, who not long ago didst heal my heart, thou
gavest me hope then; why hast thou scattered my joy? My
heart is still more devastated again by the pain of parting."'
397
"ASMAT'H promised me comfort. We walked through the
garden; she said to me: 'Let not the brand be thus seen
upon thy heart because of thy going; shut the terrace of
sorrows, open the door of joy. She is ashamed to speak;
therefore she behaves with dignity.'
398
"I SAID: '0 sister, I think this heart-balm is from thee. I adjure thee, part me not from life, extinguish this flame with tidings, cut me not off from letters, send them ceaselessly; if thou learnest something for me I think thou wilt not keep it hidden from me.'
399
"I MOUNTED my horse, I went thence, a stream flowed
from the channel of tears. I went to bed; maddened, I had
no power to sleep. I, the crystal and ruby, became bluest
indigo. I preferred night; I wished not for the dawn of day
400
"THE men that had been sent returned from Khataet'hi—it
was time for them to come—they brought a proud and
insolent message: 'We are no cowards, neither are our keeps
unfortified. Who is your monarch ? What lord is he over
me?'