" 1 1 swear to you by your beard, by the soft down on your face, that my mare who runs down the wild ass is pining away ; she cannot drink the water of the river or eat the coarse grass of the Indus plains ; she longs for her own mountain pastures, for the herds of wild asses which roam the upland slopes, for the female wild asses of the Phitokh Pass, for the pools filled with sparkling water. The mosquitos and sand-flies irritate her, the vermin allow her no sleep, the hard barley of the grain-sellers hurts her tender mouth.
" A man came down from Khorasan, his clothes were stained with travelling. Bales of madder he brought with him, saddle-bags full of the finest bhang, loads of sweet scents from Kandahar ; and with him he brought a message from the Rinds, a true love's greeting from Shiren.
" The storm-clouds - have rained upon Konar, on the plains and slopes of Mungachar, on the pleasant uplands of Sani ; all the pools are full to overflowing, the surface of the water trembles like the leaves of the wild pistachio, the wavelets bend like the jointed sugar-cane.
" The graziers are preparing for the march, the owners of sheep and goats, Sahak and Yaran. The women have tied up their baggage, the camel-men have laden their beasts ; they go by Nigahu, and over the pass of Bhawanar ; the yellow camels hurt their knees on the rocks, the males in long strings, the tender- footed females.
" Shiren has pitched her little hut in the wild land of Narmukh. She calls her beloved handmaiden and takes an earthen cup ; she goes to a pool of freshly fallen water and washes and combs her locks ; then she comes back to her hut, and shuts it down on every side, and spreads out a palm-leaf mat and lies down upon it. She puts her hand into her bag and pulls out a silver mirror, rests it on her knee, and looks upon her own beauty. The tears come to her tender eyes and drop upon her bodice. In come her friends and sisters, fair companions forty and four ! They come and sit down by her, and ask after her heart and her con- dition. 'Why,' they say, 'are your jewels neglected, your red and blue clothes thrown aside, your hair unkempt and dusty, your
' The first part of this poem is spoken by Dostcn in his own person. ' Shiren's message begins here.