Response to Mahmud of Ghazni

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Response to Mahmud of Ghazni
by Ferdowsi, translated by P. M. Sykes

Written c. 997-1020 to Mahmud of Ghazni, after the monarch failed to "properly" reward his earlier Verse to Mahmud of Ghazni. Translation appeared in the 1910 Glory of the Shia World.

Long years this Shahnama I toiled to complete,
That the King might award me some recompense meet,
But naught save a heart wrung with grief and despair
Did I get from those promises empty as air!

Had the sire of the King been some Prince of renown,
My forehead had surely been graced by a crown!
Were his mother a lady of high pedigree,
In silver and gold had I stood to the knee!

But, being by birth not a prince but a boor,
The praise of the noble he could not endure!