The Knight in the Panther Skin


The Story of Rostevan, King of Arabia

32 1/1
Once there ruled in Arabia, Rostevan, a king by God’s grace
Thriving, majestic, generous- modest though in the highest place.
So just and merciful, many vassals did his service embrace.
Himself a fearless warrior, a peerless speaker, never base.

33 1/2
Rostevan had one child, a daughter, to the world a shining light,
Like unto the stars she was, or a moon that makes the heavens bright.
Whoever looked on her was bereft of his heart and soul and sight.
It needs a wise man to praise her with words both masterful and right.

34 1/3
The name of this daughter was Tinatin, let it be known to all!
When she’d grown to be a woman, her beauty held the sun in thrall.
One day the king, in highest spirits, to his viziers sent a call,
And he spoke graciously to them when they’d assembled in his hall.

35 1/4
He said: “I need your wisest counsel on a matter I’ll declare:
Every rose will fade and wither, no matter though it once was fair.
The dry rose falls within the garden, a new rose arises there.
The sun has set for us, the night is dark. Why should we not despair?

36 1/5
“I grow cold. Old age is like a sickness, a raging plague in me.
It’s the sorrow of the world. Only a few tomorrows we’ll see.
Of what worth is a light when it’s becoming darkness by degree?
So let us crown my daughter now. No sun is worthier than she.”

37 1/6
The viziers said, “King, why do you insist that you are old so soon?
For though it’s true our rose has faded, we all know it as a boon.
It still excels in scent and color though its day is far past noon.
What kind of star dares offer challenge even to a waning moon?

38 1/7
“Oh, king, please don’t speak thus to us: your rose is not faded today.
Bad counsel from you is better than the good another might say.
It is right to do whatever will make your heartache go away.
It is best to give the kingdom to her who holds the sun in sway.

39 1/8
Although a woman, she is a sovereign, ordained by God’s decree.
We are not flattering you; but even in your absence agree.
Like her radiance, her deeds are as bright as the sunshine to see.
Lion’s whelps are equally lions, though female or male they be.

40 1/9
Avtandil was a general, the commander-in-chief’s own son.
Tall and slim as a cypress he was– his presence, the moon and sun
His visage was as pure as the clearest crystal; beard he had none.
By Tinatin’s luxurious lashes he found himself undone.

41 1/10
He kept his love-madness hidden, lodged deep within him like a dart.
Whenever he couldn’t see her, though, his rose’s fading would start;
Whenever he saw her, fire leapt up, his wound more sharply would smart.
Love alone should be blamed– Love with the power to break a man’s heart. (

5 thoughts on “The Knight in the Panther Skin

  1. Dear Lyn, you truly deserve Nobel prize in literature without exaggeration for this great job!
    But alas, in translation, as I know, there isn’t such a prize!
    Georgia people will be always grateful to you for this great work,
    Thank you very much again and again!

    With best regards and great respect,

    Otar Tsiskadze,
    Poet, translator

    • Dear Otar, Thank you very much for your comment. I would really appreciate it if you would go to, put in The Knight in the Panther Skin, and see at the bottom a place to “Write your Own Review.” There are already two reviews there, one Donald Rayfield’s. Could you post a line or two there, perhaps? I am actively seeking reviews at this time. If you are able to write a longer review, Poezia Press would be glad to post it on their website and/or Facebook page. But just a line or two on Amazon would help the book find a wider audience.
      I hope to come to Georgia in September. All best wishes and hope to see you in the fall- Lyn

    • Dear Otar, Thank you very much. I hope to see you, now that I am in Tbilisi until November. All the best to you, Lyn

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