The Meeting of Tariel and Nestan
406
"A SLAVE entered; a wondrous thing befell me. He gave
to me in my exceeding grief a letter from Asmat'h; she
wrote: 'Thy sun for whom thou longest calls thee. Come!
This better than to weep there and moan at the deed of
Fate.'
407
"SO much did I rejoice as was fitting. It was twilight,
I went forth, I entered the garden gate; where Asmat'h had
first met me, there she appeared standing; she said with a
smile: 'Enter; the moon awaits thee, the lion.'
408
"I ENTERED the house reared beautiful with terrace
upon terrace, the moon shone forth surrounded with rays
of light at the full; within the curtain she sat clad in green
raiment, majestic and rare, wondrous of face and form.
409
"I WENT in and stood on the edge of the carpet; the fire
in me began to be quenched, the darkness of my heart was
lightened, joy rose up like a column. She rested upon a
cushion—she was far fairer than the sun's rays-she hid her
face from me, she looked up a moment to see me.
410
"SHE commanded: 'Asmat'h, beg the Amirbar to be
seated!' She placed a cushion opposite her to be praised
as the sun; I sat down, I gave up to joy my heart abused
by Fate. I marvel that my life stays in me while I speak the
words she said.
411
"SHE said to me: 'Last time thou wert ill-pleased that
thou wert sent away without being spoken to. I, at parting,
as the sun, withered thee up like a flower of the field. Thou
wert doomed to shed tears from the narcissus-pool; but
for me, bashfulness and reserve are necessary towards the
Amirbar.
412
"THOUGH great modesty befits a woman towards a man,
yet is it much worse not to speak and to hide woes; if
I smile outwardly I felt inwardly secret grief; last time
I sent the maid I gave her a true message.
413
'"WHAT we two have hitherto known of each other, even
now know me thine by these firm promises; I assure thee of
this by great vows and oaths; if I deceive thee may God
make me earth, may I not sit in the nine heavens!
414
"'GO, attack the Khatavians, fight and make raids; may
God grant that thou be victorious, come back to me of
good cheer. But what shall I do until it falls to my lot to
look upon thee again! Give me thy heart undivided forever;
take mine for thyself.'
415
"'NOW that of which thou hast deemed me worthy no
human being deserves; this grace is unexpected, from God
this does not surprise me; thy rays have flooded my dark
heart and made it translucent; thine shall I be till the earth
cover my face.'
416
"UPON the book of oaths I swore and she swore to me;
thus she confirmed her love to me: 'If any save thee giv
pleasure to my heart may God slay me, henceforth thus
will I speak to myself, thus will I train myself.'
417
"I STAYED some time before her, we spoke sweet words,
we ate some pleasant fruit, talking one to the other; then
weeping and shedding tears I rose to depart, the beauties of
her rays were spread like light in my heart.
418
"IT irked me to go far from her crystal and ruby and
enamel. The world was renewed to me, I had an abundance
of joy; that light appearing in ether as sun seemed to be
mine; now I am surprised that being separated from her
I have still a heart like a steep rock."