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477"She gave me a letter, I gazed on it; it was from the light of the face of the lands. She wrote: 'I have seen the loveliness of thy gemlike brilliancy; fair wert thou returned from battle, after urging on thy horse; not ill seems to me the cause of the flow of my tears.

478"If God hath given me my tongue it befits me to use it for thy praise; dead for thy sake I can by no means speak, for lacking thee I die. The sun (i.e., Nestan) made a little garden of rose and jet, as a garden for the lion; by thy sun, my self pertains to none save thee.

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479"'Though thou hast shed a stream of tears yet have they not flowed in vain; henceforth weep no more, put away grief from thee. Those who look upon thee curse unrestrained those who look upon thee. Veil me with that which but now was bound round thee.

480"'Give me the veils that sometime adorned thee; when thou seest me, thou also shalt be pleased that that which is thine adorns me. Bind on thine arm this bracelet if thou honourest what is mine, and such another night thou shalt not pass as long as thou livest.'"

481Here Tariel, become like a wild beast, weeps, his grief increases a thousandfold; he said: "I have the armlet which she formerly bound on her arm!" He undid it, took it off, man cannot estimate its worth, he pressed it to his lips, he fainted and fell like a corpse.

482He lay more lifeless than a corpse at the door of the tomb. On both sides are seen bruises from his fist which he had struck on his breast. A stream of blood flows from Asmat’h's scratched cheeks; she poured water on him again, she succoured him, the sound of gurgling water is heard there.

483Avt’handil, too, sighed bitterly; he gazed on the unconscious form. Asmat’h multiplied her groans; her tears hollowed out the stones. Then she restored him to consciousness, his fires she quenched with water; he said: "I live; Fate even now is drinking my blood."

484Pale he sat up, he stared with his eyes like one dazed; the rose was become quite saffron and wan; a long time he neither spoke nor looked at them; he was mightily oppressed that he remained (alive) and died not.

485He said to Avt’handil: "Hearken! Though I have the mind of a madman, I will tell thee my tale and that of her who has buried me. It seems to me a joy to meet the friend thou hast not met. It surprises me that I am alive, that I survive hale.

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486"The sight of Asmat’h, in whom I trusted as in a sister, pleased me. When I had seen the letter, she gave me this armlet, I bound it on mine arm at once, I doffed from my head that strange and rare thing of some strong, black (stuff), the veil.

Next: VIII. Tariel's Letter in Answer to His Beloved