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The Tula Tea Room

Selections from Shota Rustaveli's The Knight in the Panther's Skin

3 I sing of the lion whom the use of lance, shield and sword adorns,
Of Tamar, the Queen of Queens, the ruby-cheeked and jet-haired.
How shall I dare pay tribute to her in praiseworthy verses,
Whom to look upon is to feast upon the choicest of honey?

4 Tears of blood flow profusely as I exult our Queen Tamar
Whose praises I have uttered forth in well-chosen words.
For ink I have used a lake of jet and for pen, a pliant reed.
My words, like jagged spears, will pierce the heart of the hearer.

6 Fire my mind and tongue with skill and power for utterance
Which I need, 0 Lord, for the making of majestic and praiseworthy verses;
Thus will the deeds of Tariel be remembered in eloquent language,
And of the three star-like heroes who faithfully served one another.

7 Come, let us sit together and weep with undrying tears for Tariel.
There never breathed a man born under the same star as his.
I, Rustaveli, whose heart is pierced through by his sorrows have threaded
Like a necklace of pearls a tale told until now as a tale.

8 I, who am maddened to frenzy by love, have composed these lines.
She, whom vast armies call mistress has deprived me oi life and reason.
Thus sickened am I by love for which there exists no cure.
She alone can cure me, or leave me to death and the grave.

11 Man, do not complain at fate. Be content and accept it.
Let the warrior always be brave, let the worker enjoy his labour;
So let the love-maddened man learn the meaning of love and know it.
Disdain not the love of another nor let him disdain yours.

88 Surely his mind had drifted far from its owner's keeping;
He knew nothing of time, of place or the presence of others.
The attendant iepeated his message, but the stranger still wept, unheeding,
Nor could the flower of speech be plucked from his quivering lips.

110 "l wonder, what has happened? How was it and what have I seen?
The warriors he slew are countless and the blood he spilled flowed in torrents.
Only a fiend or a spirit immortal could vanish as he did.
Alas! all the mercies of God are bitterness now to my soul.