A more heroic subject, and the only one in which he made a certain attempt to rival Firdousi, was selected by our poet for his third epopee, the Iskandarnama, or "Book of Alexander," also called Sharaf iama or Igbalnama-i-Iskandari (" The Fortunes of Alexander"), which is split into two divisions.
Where some slight historical records of the heroic age were still obtainable poetical imagination seized upon them at once; where no traditions at all were forthcoming fiction pure and simple asserted its right; and thus the national epopee gave way to the epic story, andsubstituting prose for verseto the novel and the fairy tale.
But the most characteristic passage of the epopee is the mysterious disappearance of Shah Kaikhosrau, who suddenly, when at the height of earthly fame and splendour, renounces the world in utter disgust, and, carried away by his fervent longing for an abode of everlasting tranquillity, vanishes for ever from the midst of his companions.
He felt, no doubt, that the object of epic poetry was not to teach moral lessons or doctrines of faith, but to depict the good and bad tendencies of the human mind, the struggles and passions of men; and indeed in the whole range of Persian literature only Firdusi and Fakhr-uddin As`ad Jorjani, the author of the older epopee Wis u.
Et c'est le malheur de cette theorie: faute de preuves directes, elle cherche des analogies au dehors; en Espagne, elle trouve des ` cantilenes,' mais pas d'epopee; en Allemagne, une epopee, mais pas de cantilenes !
But Dal~Il~is great enterprise was not abandoned; a stronger hand, a higher genius, was to continue and to complete it, and this genius was found Flrdous in Firdousi (9401020; 328411 A.H.), with whom we enter the golden age of the national epopee in Persia (see Frsoous!).
heroic epopee by celebrating in rhythm and rhyme4a er P CS.
But the national epopee was not the only bequest the great FirdousI left to his nation.
AnwarI (died between ii89 and 1191; 585 and 587 A.H.), who in early life had pursued scientific studies in the madrasa of Ttt~, and who ranked among the foremost astronomers of his time, owes his renown as much to the inexhaustible store of poetical similes and epitheta ornantia which he showered upon Sinjar and other royal and princely personages, as to his cutting sarcasms, which he was careful to direct, not against individuals but against whole classes of society and the cruel wrong worked by an inexorable fatethus disregarding the example 01 Firdousi, whose attack upon Sultan Mahmd for having cheated him out of the reward for his epopee is the oldest and most finished specimen of personal satire.
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