Almansor and Ibn Ameen
King Almansor, the greatest caliph mortal eyes have seen,|
Sent soldiers on a day of days to capture Ibn Ameen,
A robber known to all Levant, head of a deadly gang.…
Three days they fought; the rogue was caught, and he was doomed to hang:
They built a gallows strong and tall, they cooked a sumptuous dinner,
‘The greenwood and the highway know how perilous thou art.
‘But here’s a thought for thee to think.… I lead a gang of ten,
And thou hast more than fifteen thousand armed, mounted men.
My trade is just the same as thine — ’tis battles and campaigns,
But mine are gory, thine are glory: thou’rt the one who reigns.
‘We both are sultans, thou and I; we’re of a like estate,
‘Had I thy myriads of men awaiting but my beckoning,
—Stoyan Mihaylovski, Novissima Verba
(Here are my English translations of two songs by Bulat Okudzhava.)