What have we to do?

Oh, Let them take them! What have we to do
With Kaikobad the Great or Kaikhosru?
While Zal and Rustum bluster, as they will,
Call Hatim to Supper – and heed not you

French translation

Ô, laissez-les les prendre! Que faut-il faire
Avec Kaikobad the Grande ou Kaikhosru?
Tandis que Zal et Rostam tempêtent, comme ils le feront,
Appelez Hatim à la dîner – n’ignore pas vous

German translation

Oh, lass sie sie nehmen! Was haben wir zu tun
Mit Kaikobad der Große oder Kaikhosru?
Während Zal und Rustum tosen, wie sie wollen,
Rufen Sie Hatim zum Abendmahl an – beachten Sie nicht Sie

Spanish translation

Oh, ¡Que se los lleven! ¿Qué tenemos que hacer?
¿Con Kaikobad el Grande o Kaikhosru?
Mientras que Zal y Rustum fanfarronean, como ellos,
Llama a Hatim a la cena – no te hagas caso

Notes on translation and explanation of Quatrain 10.

A few minor changes to Fitzgerald’s wording and the spelling of Rostam.

The gods of war cares not for human life and life is short. Oh, what have we to do?

Kaikobad the Great and his grandson (possibly great grandson) Kaikhosru were mighty kings who battled enemies far and wide. They are named in the epic poem Shahnameh, “The Book of Kings”, written by Persian poet Hakim Abol Qasem Ferdowsi Tousi and completed in the year 1010. Redowsi also names Zal and his son Rostam, legendary figures in Persian mythology. Rostam is the mightiest of Persian paladins, famous for courage and fighting.

One story from the Shahmanan, is that at the age of two, Rostam while in his bed heard a mighty elephant let loose and storming about the palace. While others stood by in fear of the raging beast, Rostam beat the elephant with his fists, killing him, and then went back to bed.

Generous Hatim of the Tribe of Tai, represents hospitality. The last line “heed not” is a kind of “worry not” or “que sera, sera”.

While the poet asks, what can be done and has no answer, others (the attribution is unclear) say, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – Hamlet’s dilemma?

Rostam_kills_esfandyar
Paladin Rostam
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