Book V. Lovely

  • user warning: UPDATE command denied to user 'piv1691_db'@'91.206.201.251' for table 'cache_filter' query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>BOOK V.787<br />\nCanto I. Hanumán\'s Leap.<br />\nThus Rávaṇ\'s foe resolved to trace<br />\nThe captive to her hiding-place<br />\nThrough airy pathways overhead<br />\nWhich heavenly minstrels visited.<br />\nWith straining nerve and eager brows,<br />\nLike some strong husband of the cows,<br />\nIn ready might he stood prepared<br />\nFor the bold task his soul has dared.<br />\nO\'er gem-like grass that flashed and glowed<br />\nThe Vánar like a lion strode.<br />\nRoused by the thunder of his tread,<br />\nThe beasts to shady coverts fled.<br />\nTall trees he crushed or hurled aside,<br />\nAnd every bird was terrified.<br />\nAround him loveliest lilies grew,<br />\nPale pink, and red, and white, and blue,<br />\nAnd tints of many a metal lent<br />\n787ThisBookiscalledSundarortheBeatiful. ToaEuropeantasteitisthemost<br />\nintolerably tedious of the whole poem, abounding in repetition, overloaded<br />\ndescription, and long and useless speeches which impede the action of the<br />\npoem. Manifest interpolations of whole Cantos also occur. I have omitted<br />\nnone of the action of the Book, but have occasionally omitted long passages<br />\nof common-place description, lamentation, and long stories which have been<br />\nagain and again repeated.<br />\nCanto I. Hanumán\'s Leap.<br />\n1393<br />\nThe light of varied ornament.<br />\nGandharvas, changing forms at will,<br />\nAnd Yakshas roamed the lovely hill,<br />\nAnd countless Serpent-Gods were seen<br />\nWhere flowers and grass were fresh and green.<br />\nAs some resplendent serpent takes<br />\nHis pastime in the best of lakes,<br />\nSo on the mountain\'s woody height<br />\nThe Vánar wandered with delight.<br />\nThen, standing on the flowery sod,<br />\nHe paid his vows to saint and God.<br />\nSvayambhu788and the Sun he prayed,<br />\nAnd the swift Wind to lend him aid,<br />\nAnd Indra, sovereign of the skies,<br />\nTo bless his hardy enterprise.<br />\nThen once again the chief addressed<br />\nThe Vánars from the mountain crest:<br />\n“Swift as a shaft from Ráma\'s bow<br />\nTo Rávaṇ\'s city will I go,<br />\nAnd if she be not there will fly<br />\nAnd seek the lady in the sky;<br />\nOr, if in heaven she be not found,<br />\nWill hither bring the giant bound.”<br />\nHe ceased; and mustering his might<br />\nSprang downward from the mountain height,<br />\nWhile, shattered by each mighty limb,<br />\nThe trees unrooted followed him.<br />\nThe shadow on the ocean cast<br />\nBy his vast form, as on he passed,<br />\nFlew like a ship before the gale<br />\nWhen the strong breeze has filled the sail,<br />\nAnd where his course the Vánar held<br />\n788Brahmá the Self-Existent.<br />\n1394<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe sea beneath him raged and swelled.<br />\nThen Gods and all the heavenly train<br />\nPoured flowerets down in gentle rain;<br />\nTheir voices glad Gandharvas raised,<br />\nAnd saints in heaven the Vánar praised.<br />\nFain would the Sea his succour lend<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s noble son befriend.<br />\nHe, moved by zeal for Ráma\'s sake,<br />\nThe hill Maináka789thus bespake:<br />\n“O strong Maináka, heaven\'s decree<br />\nIn days of old appointed thee<br />\nTo be the Asurs bar, and keep<br />\nThe rebels in the lowest deep.<br />\nThou guardest those whom heaven has cursed<br />\nLest from their prison-house they burst,<br />\nAnd standest by the gates of hell<br />\nTheir limitary sentinel.<br />\nTo thee is given the power to spread<br />\nOr spring above thy watery bed.<br />\nNow, best of noble mountains, rise<br />\nAnd do the thing that I advise.<br />\nE\'en now above thy buried crest<br />\nFlies mighty Hanumán, the best<br />\nOf Vánars, moved for Ráma\'s sake<br />\nA wonderous deed to undertake.<br />\nLift up thy head that he may stay<br />\nAnd rest him on his weary way.”<br />\nHe heard, and from his watery shroud,<br />\nAs bursts the sun from autumn cloud,<br />\nRose swifty, crowned with plant and tree,<br />\nAnd stood above the foamy sea.790<br />\n789Maináka was the son of Himálaya and Mená or Menaká.<br />\n790Thus Milton makes the hills of heaven self-moving at command:<br />\nCanto I. Hanumán\'s Leap.<br />\n1395<br />\nThere with his lofty peaks upraised<br />\nBright as a hundred suns he blazed,<br />\nAnd crest and crag of burnished gold<br />\nFlashed on the flood that round him rolled.<br />\n[395]<br />\nThe Vánar thought the mountain rose<br />\nA hostile bar to interpose,<br />\nAnd, like a wind-swept cloud, o\'erthrew<br />\nThe glittering mountain as he flew.<br />\nThen from the falling hill rang out<br />\nA warning voice and joyful shout.<br />\nAgain he raised him high in air<br />\nTo meet the flying Vánar there,<br />\nAnd standing on his topmost peak<br />\nIn human form began to speak:791<br />\n“Best of the Vánars\' noblest line,<br />\nA mighty task, O chief, is thine.<br />\nHere for a while, I pray thee, light<br />\nAnd rest upon the breezy height.<br />\nA prince of Raghu\'s line was he<br />\nWho gave his glory to the Sea,792<br />\nWho now to Ráma\'s envoy shows<br />\nHigh honour for the debt he owes.<br />\nHe bade me lift my buried head<br />\nUprising from my watery bed,<br />\nAnd woo the Vánar chief to rest<br />\nA moment on my glittering crest.<br />\nRefresh thy weary limbs, and eat<br />\n“At his command the uprooted hills retired<br />\nEach to his place, they heard his voice and went<br />\nObsequious”<br />\n791The spirit of the mountain is separable from the mountain. Himalaya has<br />\nalso been represented as standing in human form on one of his own peaks.<br />\n792Ságar or the Sea is said to have derived its name from Sagar. The story is<br />\nfully told in Book I, Cantos XLII, XLIII, and XLIV.<br />\n1396<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMy mountain fruits for they are sweet.<br />\nI too, O chieftain, know thee well;<br />\nThree worlds thy famous virtues tell;<br />\nAnd none, I ween, with thee may vie<br />\nWho spring impetuous through the sky.<br />\nTo every guest, though mean and low.<br />\nThe wise respect and honour show;<br />\nAnd how shall I neglect thee, how<br />\nSlight the great guest so near me now?<br />\nSon of the Wind, \'tis thine to share<br />\nThe might of him who shakes the air;<br />\nAnd,—for he loves his offspring,—he<br />\nIs honoured when I honour thee.<br />\nOf yore, when Krita\'s age793was new,<br />\nThe little hills and mountains flew<br />\nWhere\'er they listed, borne on wings<br />\nMore rapid than the feathered king\'s.794<br />\nBut mighty terror came on all<br />\nThe Gods and saints who feared their fall.<br />\nAnd Indra in his anger rent<br />\nTheir pinions with the bolts he sent.<br />\nWhen in his ruthless fury he<br />\nLevelled his flashing bolt at me,<br />\nThe great-souled Wind inclined to save,<br />\nAnd laid me neath the ocean\'s wave.<br />\nThus by the favour of the sire<br />\nI kept my cherished wings entire;<br />\nAnd for this deed of kindness done<br />\nI honour thee his noble son.<br />\n793Kritu is the first of the four ages of the world, the golden age, also called<br />\nSatya.<br />\n794Parvata means a mountain and in the Vedas a cloud. Hence in later<br />\nmythology the mountains have taken the place of the clouds as the objects of<br />\nthe attacks of Indra the Sun-God. The feathered king is Garuḍa.<br />\nCanto I. Hanumán\'s Leap.<br />\n1397<br />\nO come, thy weary limbs relieve,<br />\nAnd honour due from me receive.”<br />\n“I may not rest,” the Vánar cried;<br />\n“I must not stay or turn aside.<br />\nYet pleased am I, thou noblest hill,<br />\nAnd as the deed accept thy will.”<br />\nThus as he spoke he lightly pressed<br />\nWith his broad hand the mountain\'s crest,<br />\nThen bounded upward to the height<br />\nOf heaven, rejoicing in his might,<br />\nAnd through the fields of boundless blue,<br />\nThe pathway of his father, flew.<br />\nGods, saints, and heavenly bards beheld<br />\nThat flight that none had paralleled,<br />\nThen to the Nágas\' mother795came<br />\nAnd thus addressed the sun-bright dame:<br />\n“See, Hanumán with venturous leap<br />\nWould spring across the mighty deep,—<br />\nA Vánar prince, the Wind-God\'s seed:<br />\nCome, Surasá, his course impede.<br />\nIn Rákshas form thy shape disguise,<br />\nTerrific, like a hill in size:<br />\nLet thy red eyes with fury glow,<br />\nAnd high as heaven thy body grow.<br />\nWith fearful tusks the chief defy,<br />\nThat we his power and strength may try.<br />\nHe will with guile thy hold elude,<br />\nOr own thy might, by thee subdued.”<br />\n795“The children of Surasá were a thousand mighty many-headed serpents,<br />\ntraversing the sky.” WILSON\'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa, Vol. II. p. 73.<br />\n1398<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nPleased with the grateful honours paid,<br />\nThe godlike dame their words obeyed,<br />\nClad in a shape of terror she<br />\nSprang from the middle of the sea,<br />\nAnd, with fierce accents that appalled<br />\nAll creatures, to the Vánar called:<br />\n“Come, prince of Vánars, doomed to be<br />\nMy food this day by heaven\'s decree.<br />\nSuch boon from ages long ago<br />\nTo Brahmá\'s favouring will I owe.”<br />\nShe ceased, and Hanumán replied,<br />\nBy shape and threat unterrified:<br />\n“Brave Ráma with his Maithil spouse<br />\nLodged in the shade of Daṇḍak\'s boughs,<br />\nThence Rávan king of giants stole<br />\nSítá the joy of Ráma\'s soul.<br />\n[396]<br />\nBy Ráma\'s high behest to her<br />\nI go a willing messenger;<br />\nAnd never shouldst them hinder one<br />\nWho toils for Daśaratha\'s son.<br />\nFirst captive Sítá will I see,<br />\nAnd him who sent and waits for me,<br />\nThen come and to thy will submit,<br />\nYea, by my truth I promise it.”<br />\n“Nay, hope not thus thy life to save;<br />\nNot such the boon that Brahmá gave.<br />\nEnter my mouth,” was her reply,<br />\n“Then forward on thy journey hie!”796<br />\n796She means, says the Commentator, pursue thy journey if thou can.<br />\nCanto I. Hanumán\'s Leap.<br />\n1399<br />\n“Stretch, wider stretch thy jaws,” exclaimed<br />\nThe Vánar chief, to ire inflamed;<br />\nAnd, as the Rákshas near him drew,<br />\nTen leagues in height his stature grew.<br />\nThen straight, her threatening jaws between,<br />\nA gulf of twenty leagues was seen.<br />\nTo fifty leagues he waxed, and still<br />\nHer mouth grew wider at her will.<br />\nThen smaller than a thumb became,<br />\nShrunk by his power, the Vánar\'s frame.797<br />\nHe leaped within, and turning round<br />\nSprang through the portal at a bound.<br />\nThen hung in air a moment, while<br />\nHe thus addressed her with a smile:<br />\n“O Daksha\'s child,798farewell at last!<br />\nFor I within thy mouth have passed.<br />\nThou hast the gift of Brahmá\'s grace:<br />\nI go, the Maithil queen to trace.”<br />\nThen, to her former shape restored,<br />\nShe thus addressed the Vánar lord:<br />\n“Then forward to the task, and may<br />\nSuccess and joy attend thy way!<br />\nGo, and the rescued lady bring<br />\nIn triumph to her lord and king.”<br />\n797If Milton\'s spirits are allowed the power of infinite self-extension and com-<br />\npression the same must be conceded to Válmíki\'s supernatural beings. Given<br />\nthe power as in Milton the result in Válmíki is perfectly consistent.<br />\n798“Daksha is the son of Brahmá and one of the Prajápatis or divine pro-<br />\ngenitors. He had sixty daughters, twenty-seven of whom married to Kaśyapa<br />\nproduced, according to one of the Indian cosmogonies, all mundane beings.<br />\nDoes the epithet, Descendant of Daksha, given to Surasá, mean that she is one<br />\nof those daughters? I think not. This epithet is perhaps an appellation common<br />\nto all created beings as having sprung from Daksha.” GORRESSIO{FNS.<br />\n1400<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen hosts of spirits as they gazed<br />\nThe daring of the Vánar praised.<br />\nThrough the broad fields of ether, fast<br />\nGaruḍ\'s royal self, he passed,<br />\nThe region of the cloud and rain,<br />\nLoved by the gay Gandharva train,<br />\nWhere mid the birds that came and went<br />\nShone Indra\'s glorious bow unbent,<br />\nAnd like a host of wandering stars<br />\nFlashed the high Gods\' celestial cars.<br />\nFierce Sinhiká799who joyed in ill<br />\nAnd changed her form to work her will,<br />\nDescried him on his airy way<br />\nAnd marked the Vánar for her prey.<br />\n“This day at length,” the demon cried,<br />\n“My hunger shall be satisfied,”<br />\nAnd at his passing shadow caught<br />\nDelighted with the cheering thought.<br />\nThe Vánar felt the power that stayed<br />\nAnd held him as she grasped his shade,<br />\nLike some tall ship upon the main<br />\nThat struggles with the wind in vain.<br />\nBelow, above, his eye he bent<br />\nAnd scanned the sea and firmament.<br />\nHigh from the briny deep upreared<br />\nThe monster\'s hideous form appeared,<br />\n“Sugríva\'s tale,” he cried, “is true:<br />\nThis is the demon dire to view<br />\nOf whom the Vánar monarch told,<br />\nWhose grasp a passing shade can hold.”<br />\nThen, as a cloud in rain-time grows<br />\nHis form, dilating, swelled and rose.<br />\n799Sinhiká is the mother of Ráhu the dragon\'s head or ascending node, the<br />\nchief agent in eclipses.<br />\nCanto I. Hanumán\'s Leap.<br />\n1401<br />\nWide as the space from heaven to hell<br />\nHer jaws she opened with a yell,<br />\nAnd rushed upon her fancied prey<br />\nWith cloud-like roar to seize and slay.<br />\nThe Vánar swift as thought compressed<br />\nHis borrowed bulk of limb and chest,<br />\nAnd stood with one quick bound inside<br />\nThe monstrous mouth she opened wide.<br />\nHid like the moon when Ráhu draws<br />\nThe orb within his ravening jaws.<br />\nWithin that ample cavern pent<br />\nThe demon\'s form he tore and rent,<br />\nAnd, from the mangled carcass freed,<br />\nCame forth again with thought-like speed.800<br />\n[397]<br />\nThus with his skill the fiend he slew,<br />\nThen to his wonted stature grew.<br />\nThe spirits saw the demon die<br />\nAnd hailed the Vánar from the sky:<br />\n“Well hast thou fought a wondrous fight<br />\nNor spared the fiend\'s terrific might,<br />\nOn, on! perform the blameless deed,<br />\nAnd in thine every wish succeed.<br />\nNe\'er can they fail in whom combine<br />\nSuch valour, thought, and skill as thine.”<br />\n800According to De Gubernatis, the author of the very learned, ingenious,<br />\nand interesting though too fanciful Zoological Mythology. Hanumán here<br />\nrepresents the sun entering into and escaping from a cloud. The biblical Jonah,<br />\naccording to him, typifies the same phenomenon. Sá\'dí, speaking of sunset,<br />\nsays Yùnas andar-i-dihán-imáhi shud: Jonas was within the fish\'s mouth. See<br />\nADDITIONAL NOTES{FNS.<br />\n1402<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nPleased with their praises as they sang,<br />\nAgain through fields of air he sprang,<br />\nAnd now, his travail wellnigh done,<br />\nThe distant shore was almost won.<br />\nBefore him on the margent stood<br />\nIn long dark line a waving wood,<br />\nAnd the fair island, bright and green<br />\nWith flowers and trees, was clearly seen,<br />\nAnd every babbling brook that gave<br />\nHer lord the sea a tribute wave.<br />\nHe lighted down on Lamba\'s peak<br />\nWhich tinted metals stain and streak,<br />\nAnd looked where Lanká\'s splendid town<br />\nShone on the mountain like a crown.<br />\nCanto II. Lanká.<br />\nThe glorious sight a while he viewed,<br />\nThen to the town his way pursued.<br />\nAround the Vánar as he went<br />\nBreathed from the wood delicious scent,<br />\nAnd the soft grass beneath his feet<br />\nWith gem-like flowers was bright and sweet.<br />\nStill as the Vánar nearer drew<br />\nMore clearly rose the town to view.<br />\nThe palm her fan-like leaves displayed,<br />\nPriyálas801lent their pleasant shade,<br />\nAnd mid the lower greenery far<br />\nConspicuous rose the Kovidár.802<br />\n801The Buchanania Latifolia.<br />\n802The Bauhinia Variegata.<br />\nCanto II. Lanká.<br />\n1403<br />\nA thousand trees mid flowers that glowed<br />\nHung down their fruit\'s delicious load,803<br />\nAnd in their crests that rocked and swayed<br />\nSweet birds delightful music made.<br />\nAnd there were pleasant pools whereon<br />\nThe glories of the lotus shone;<br />\nAnd gleams of sparkling fountains, stirred<br />\nBy many a joyous water-bird.<br />\nAround, in lovely gardens grew<br />\nBlooms sweet of scent and bright of hue,<br />\nAnd Lanká, seat of Rávaṇ\'s sway,<br />\nBefore the wondering Vánar lay:<br />\nWith stately domes and turrets tall,<br />\nEncircled by a golden wall,<br />\nAnd moats whose waters were aglow<br />\nWith lily blossoms bright below:<br />\nFor Sítá\'s sake defended well<br />\nWith bolt and bar and sentinel,<br />\nAnd Rákshases who roamed in bands<br />\nWith ready bows in eager hands.<br />\nHe saw the stately mansions rise<br />\nLike pale-hued clouds in autumn skies;<br />\nWhere noble streets were broad and bright,<br />\nAnd banners waved on every height.<br />\nHer gates were glorious to behold<br />\nRich with the shine of burnished gold:<br />\nA lovely city planned and decked<br />\nBy heaven\'s creative architect,804<br />\nFairest of earthly cities meet<br />\nTo be the Gods\' celestial seat.<br />\nThe Vánar by the northern gate<br />\n803Through the power that Rávaṇ\'s stern mortifications had won for him his<br />\ntrees bore flowers and fruit simultaneously.<br />\n804Viśvakarmá is the architect of the Gods.<br />\n1404<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThus in his heart began debate<br />\n“Our mightiest host would strive in vain<br />\nTo take this city on the main:<br />\nA city that may well defy<br />\nThe chosen warriors of the sky;<br />\nA city never to be won<br />\nE\'en by the arm of Raghu\'s son.<br />\nHere is no hope by guile to win<br />\nThe hostile hearts of those within.<br />\n\'Twere vain to war, or bribe, or sow<br />\nDissension mid the Vánar foe.<br />\nBut now my search must I pursue<br />\nUntil the Maithil queen I view:<br />\nAnd, when I find the captive dame,<br />\nMake victory mine only aim.<br />\nBut, if I wear my present shape,<br />\nHow shall I enter and escape<br />\nThe Rákshas troops, their guards and spies,<br />\nAnd sleepless watch of cruel eyes?<br />\nThe fiends of giant race who hold<br />\nThis mighty town are strong and bold;<br />\nAnd I must labour to elude<br />\nThe fiercely watchful multitude.<br />\nI in a shape to mock their sight<br />\nMust steal within the town by night,<br />\nBlind with my art the demons\' eyes,<br />\nAnd thus achieve my enterprise.<br />\nHow may I see, myself unseen<br />\nOf the fierce king, the captive queen,<br />\nAnd meet her in some lonely place,<br />\nWith none beside her, face to face?”<br />\nWhen the bright sun had left the skies<br />\nThe Vánar dwarfed his mighty size,<br />\n[398]<br />\nCanto III. The Guardian Goddess.<br />\n1405<br />\nAnd, in the straitest bounds restrained,<br />\nThe bigness of a cat retained.805<br />\nThen, when the moon\'s soft light was spread,<br />\nWithin the city\'s walls he sped.<br />\nCanto III. The Guardian Goddess.<br />\nThere from the circling rampart\'s height<br />\nHe gazed upon the wondrous sight;<br />\nBroad gates with burnished gold displayed,<br />\nAnd courts with turkises inlaid;<br />\nWith gleaming silver, gems, and rows<br />\nOf crystal stairs and porticoes.<br />\nIn semblance of a Rákshas dame<br />\nThe city\'s guardian Goddess came,—<br />\nFor she with glances sure and keen<br />\nThe entrance of a foe had seen,—<br />\nAnd thus with fury in her eye<br />\nAddressed him with an angry cry:<br />\n“Who art thou? what has led thee, say,<br />\nWithin these walls to find thy way?<br />\nThou mayst not enter here in spite<br />\nOf Rávaṇ and his warriors\' might.”<br />\n“And who art thou?” the Vánar cried,<br />\nBy form and frown unterrified,<br />\n“Why hast thou met me by the gate,<br />\nAnd chid me thus infuriate?”<br />\n805So in Paradise Lost Satan when he has stealthily entered the garden of Eden<br />\nassumes the form of a cormorant.<br />\n1406<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: and Lanká made reply:<br />\n“The guardian of the town am I,<br />\nWho watch for ever to fulfil<br />\nMy lord the Rákshas monarch\'s will.<br />\nBut thou shalt fall this hour, and deep<br />\nShall be thy never-ending sleep.”<br />\nAgain he spake: “In spite of thee<br />\nThis golden city will I see.<br />\nHer gates and towers, and all the pride<br />\nOf street and square from side to side,<br />\nAnd freely wander where I please<br />\nAmid her groves of flowering trees;<br />\nOn all her beauties sate mine eye.<br />\nThen, as I came, will homeward hie.”<br />\nSwift with an angry roar she smote<br />\nWith her huge hand the Vánar\'s throat.<br />\nThe smitten Vánar, rage-impelled,<br />\nWith fist upraised the monster felled:<br />\nBut quick repented, stirred with shame<br />\nAnd pity for a vanquished dame,<br />\nWhen with her senses troubled, weak<br />\nWith terror, thus she strove to speak:<br />\n“O spare me thou whose arm is strong:<br />\nO spare me, and forgive the wrong.<br />\nThe brave that law will ne\'er transgress<br />\nThat spares a woman\'s helplessness.<br />\nHear, best of Vánars, brave and bold,<br />\nWhat Brahmá\'s self of yore foretold;<br />\n“Beware,” he said, “the fatal hour<br />\nWhen thou shalt own a Vánar\'s power.<br />\nThen is the giants\' day of fear,<br />\nFor terror and defeat are near.”<br />\nCanto IV. Within The City.<br />\n1407<br />\nNow, Vánar chief, o\'ercome by thee,<br />\nI own the truth of heaven\'s decree.<br />\nFor Sítá\'s sake will ruin fall<br />\nOn Rávaṇ, and his town, and all.”<br />\nCanto IV. Within The City.<br />\nThe guardian goddess thus subdued,<br />\nThe Vánar chief his way pursued,<br />\nAnd reached the broad imperial street<br />\nWhere fresh-blown flowers were bright and sweet.<br />\nThe city seemed a fairer sky<br />\nWhere cloud-like houses rose on high,<br />\nWhence the soft sound of tabors came<br />\nThrough many a latticed window frame,<br />\nAnd ever and anon rang out<br />\nThe merry laugh and joyous shout.<br />\nFrom house to house the Vánar went<br />\nAnd marked each varied ornament,<br />\nWhere leaves and blossoms deftly strung<br />\nAbout the crystal columns hung.<br />\nThen soft and full and sweet and clear<br />\nThe song of women charmed his ear,<br />\nAnd, blending with their dulcet tones,<br />\nTheir anklets\' chime and tinkling zones.<br />\nHe heard the Rákshas minstrel sing<br />\nThe praises of their matchless king;<br />\nAnd softly through the evening air<br />\nCame murmurings of text and prayer.<br />\nHere moved a priest with tonsured head,<br />\nAnd there an eager envoy sped,<br />\n1408<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMid crowds with hair in matted twine<br />\nClothed in the skins of deer and kine,—<br />\nWhose only arms, which none might blame,<br />\nWere blades of grass and holy flame806<br />\nThere savage warriors roamed in bands<br />\nWith clubs and maces in their hands,<br />\nSome dwarfish forms, some huge of size,<br />\nWith single ears and single eyes.<br />\nSome shone in glittering mail arrayed<br />\nWith bow and mace and flashing blade;<br />\nFiends of all shapes and every hue,<br />\nSome fierce and foul, some fair to view.<br />\n[399]<br />\nHe saw the grisly legions wait<br />\nIn strictest watch at Rávaṇ\'s gate,<br />\nWhose palace on the mountain crest<br />\nRose proudly towering o\'er the rest,<br />\nFenced with high ramparts from the foe,<br />\nAnd lotus-covered moats below.<br />\nBut Hanumán, unhindered, found<br />\nQuick passage through the guarded bound,<br />\nMid elephants of noblest breed,<br />\nAnd gilded car and neighing steed.<br />\n[I omit Canto V. which corresponds to chapter XI. in Gorresio\'s<br />\nedition. That scholar justly observes: “The eleventh chapter,<br />\nDescription of Evening, is certainly the work of the Rhapsodists<br />\nand an interpolation of later date. The chapter might be omitted<br />\nwithout any injury to the action of the poem, and besides the me-<br />\ntre, style, conceits and images differ from the general tenour of<br />\nthe poem; and that continual repetition of the same sounds at the<br />\nend of each hemistich which is not exactly rime, but assonance,<br />\n806Priests who fought only with the weapons of religion, the sacred grass<br />\nused like the verbena of the Romans at sacred rites and the consecrated fire to<br />\nconsume the offering of ghee.<br />\nCanto VI. The Court.<br />\n1409<br />\nreveals the artificial labour of a more recent age.” The following<br />\nsample will probably be enough.<br />\nFair shone the moon, as if to lend<br />\nHis cheering light to guide a friend,<br />\nAnd, circled by the starry host,<br />\nLooked down upon the wild sea-coast.<br />\nThe Vánar cheiftain raised his eyes,<br />\nAnd saw him sailing through the skies<br />\nLike a bright swan who joys to take<br />\nHis pastime on a silver lake;<br />\nFair moon that calms the mourner\'s pain.<br />\nHeaves up the waters of the main,<br />\nAnd o\'er the life beneath him throws<br />\nA tender light of soft repose,<br />\nThe charm that clings to Mandar\'s hill,<br />\nGleams in the sea when winds are still,<br />\nAnd decks the lilly\'s opening flower,<br />\nShowed in that moon her sweetest power.<br />\nI am unable to show the difference of style in a translation.]<br />\nCanto VI. The Court.<br />\nThe palace gates were guarded well<br />\nBy many a Rákshas sentinel,<br />\nAnd far within, concealed from view,<br />\nWere dames and female retinue<br />\nFor charm of form and face renowned;<br />\nWhose tinkling armlets made a sound,<br />\nClashed by the wearers in their glee,<br />\nLike music of a distant sea.<br />\n1410<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe hall beyond the palace gate,<br />\nRich with each badge of royal state,<br />\nWhere lines of noble courtiers stood,<br />\nShowed like a lion-guarded wood.<br />\nThere the wild music rose and fell<br />\nOf drum and tabor and of shell,<br />\nThrough chambers at each holy tide<br />\nBy solemn worship sanctified.<br />\nThrough grove and garden, undismayed,<br />\nFrom house to house the Vánar strayed,<br />\nAnd still his wondering glances bent<br />\nOn terrace, dome, and battlement:<br />\nThen with a light and rapid tread<br />\nPrahasta\'s807home he visited,<br />\nAnd Kumbhakarṇa\'s808courtyard where<br />\nA cloudy pile rose high in air;<br />\nAnd, wandering o\'er the hill, explored<br />\nThe garden of each Rákshas lord.<br />\nEach court and grove he wandered through,<br />\nThen nigh to Rávaṇ\'s palace drew.<br />\nShe-demons watched it foul of face,<br />\nEach armed with sword and spear and mace,<br />\nAnd warrior fiends of every hue,<br />\nA strange and fearful retinue.<br />\nThere elephants in many a row,<br />\nThe terror of the stricken foe.<br />\nHuge Airávat,809deftly trained<br />\nIn battle-fields, stood ready chained.<br />\nFair litters on the ground were set<br />\nAdorned with gems and golden net.<br />\nGay bloomy creepers clothed the walls;<br />\n807One of the Rákshas lords.<br />\n808The brother Rávaṇ.<br />\n809Indra\'s elephant.<br />\nCanto VII. Rávan\'s Palace.<br />\n1411<br />\nGreen bowers were there and picture halls,<br />\nAnd chambers made for soft delight.<br />\nBroad banners waved on every height.<br />\nAnd from the roof like Mandar\'s hill<br />\nThe peacock\'s cry came loud and shrill.810<br />\nCanto VII. Rávan\'s Palace.<br />\nHe passed within the walls and gazed<br />\nOn gems and gold that round him blazed,<br />\nAnd many a latticed window bright<br />\nWith turkis and with lazulite.<br />\n[400]<br />\nThrough porch and ante-rooms he passed<br />\nEach richer, fairer than the last;<br />\nAnd spacious halls where lances lay,<br />\nAnd bows and shells, in fair array:<br />\nA glorious house that matched in show<br />\nAll Paradise displayed below.<br />\nUpon the polished floor were spread<br />\nFresh buds and blossoms white and red,<br />\nAnd women shone, a lovely crowd,<br />\nAs lightning flashes through a cloud:<br />\nA palace splendid as the sky<br />\nWhich moon and planets glorify:<br />\nLike earth whose towering hills unfold<br />\nTheir zones and streaks of glittering gold;<br />\n810Rávaṇ\'s palace appears to have occupied the whole extent of ground, and<br />\nto have contained within its outer walls the mansions of all the great Rákshas<br />\nchiefs. Rávaṇ\'s own dwelling seems to have been situated within the enchanted<br />\nchariot Pushpak: but the description is involved and confused, and it is difficult<br />\nto say whether the chariot was inside the palace or the palace inside the chariot.<br />\n1412<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWhere waving on the mountain brows<br />\nThe tall trees bend their laden boughs,<br />\nAnd every bough and tender spray<br />\nWith a bright load of bloom is gay,<br />\nAnd every flower the breeze has bent<br />\nFills all the region with its scent.<br />\nNear the tall palace pale of hue<br />\nShone lovely lakes where lilies blew,<br />\nAnd lotuses with flower and bud<br />\nGleamed on the bosom of the flood.<br />\nThere shone with gems that flashed afar<br />\nThe marvel of the Flower-named811car,<br />\nMid wondrous dwellings still confessed<br />\nSupreme and nobler than the rest.<br />\nThereon with wondrous art designed<br />\nWere turkis birds of varied kind.<br />\nAnd many a sculptured serpent rolled<br />\nHis twisted coil in burnished gold.<br />\nAnd steeds were there of noblest form<br />\nWith flying feet as fleet as storm:<br />\nAnd elephants with deftest skill<br />\nStood sculptured by a silver rill,<br />\nEach bearing on his trunk a wreath<br />\nOf lilies from the flood beneath.<br />\nThere Lakshmí,812beauty\'s heavenly queen,<br />\nWrought by the artist\'s skill, was seen<br />\nBeside a flower-clad pool to stand<br />\nHolding a lotus in her hand.<br />\n811Pushpak from pushpa a flower. The car has been mentioned before in<br />\nRávaṇ\'s expedition to carry off Sítá, Book III, Canto XXXV.<br />\n812Lakshmí is the wife of Vishṇu and the Goddess of Beauty and Felicity. She<br />\nrose, like Aphrodite, from the foam of the sea. For an account of her birth and<br />\nbeauty, see Book I, Canto XLV.<br />\nCanto VIII. The Enchanted Car.<br />\n1413<br />\nCanto VIII. The Enchanted Car.<br />\nThere gleamed the car with wealth untold<br />\nOf precious gems and burnished gold;<br />\nNor could the Wind-God\'s son withdraw<br />\nHis rapt gaze from the sight he saw,<br />\nBy Viśvakarmá\'s813self proclaimed<br />\nThe noblest work his hand had framed.<br />\nUplifted in the air it glowed<br />\nBright as the sun\'s diurnal road.<br />\nThe eye might scan the wondrous frame<br />\nAnd vainly seek one spot to blame,<br />\nSo fine was every part and fair<br />\nWith gems inlaid with lavish care.<br />\nNo precious stones so rich adorn<br />\nThe cars wherein the Gods are borne,<br />\nPrize of the all-resistless might<br />\nThat sprang from pain and penance rite,814<br />\nObedient to the master\'s will<br />\nIt moved o\'er wood and towering hill,<br />\nA glorious marvel well designed<br />\nBy Viśvakarmá\'s artist mind,<br />\nAdorned with every fair device<br />\nThat decks the cars of Paradise.<br />\nSwift moving as the master chose<br />\nIt flew through air or sank or rose,815<br />\nAnd in its fleetness left behind<br />\nThe fury of the rushing wind:<br />\n813Viśvakarmá is the architect of the Gods, the Hephaestos or Mulciber of the<br />\nIndian heaven.<br />\n814Rávaṇ in the resistless power which his long austerities had endowed him<br />\nwith, had conquered his brother Kuvera the God of Gold and taken from him<br />\nhis greatest treasure this enchanted car.<br />\n815Like Milton\'s heavenly car, “Itself instinct with spirit.”<br />\n1414<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMeet mansion for the good and great,<br />\nThe holy, wise, and fortunate.<br />\nThroughout the chariot\'s vast extent<br />\nWere chambers wide and excellent,<br />\nAll pure and lovely to the eyes<br />\nAs moonlight shed from cloudless skies.<br />\nFierce goblins, rovers of the night<br />\nWho cleft the clouds with swiftest flight<br />\nIn countless hosts that chariot drew,<br />\nWith earrings clashing as they flew.<br />\nCanto IX. The Ladies\' Bower.<br />\nWhere stately mansions rose around,<br />\nA palace fairer still he found,<br />\nWhose royal height and splendour showed<br />\nWhere Rávaṇ\'s self, the king, abode.<br />\nA chosen band with bow and sword<br />\nGuarded the palace of their lord,<br />\nWhere Ráksha\'s dames of noble race<br />\nAnd many a princess fair of face<br />\nWhom Rávaṇ\'s arm had torn away<br />\nFrom vanquished kings in slumber lay.<br />\n[401]<br />\nThere jewelled arches high o\'erhead<br />\nAn ever-changing lustre shed<br />\nFrom ruby, pearl, and every gem<br />\nOn golden pillars under them.<br />\nDelicious came the tempered air<br />\nThat breathed a heavenly summer there,<br />\nStealing through bloomy trees that bore<br />\nEach pleasant fruit in endless store.<br />\nCanto IX. The Ladies\' Bower.<br />\n1415<br />\nNo check was there from jealous guard,<br />\nNo door was fast, no portal barred;<br />\nOnly a sweet air breathed to meet<br />\nThe stranger, as a host should greet<br />\nA wanderer of his kith and kin<br />\nAnd woo his weary steps within.<br />\nHe stood within a spacious hall<br />\nWith fretted roof and painted wall,<br />\nThe giant Rávaṇ\'s boast and pride,<br />\nLoved even as a lovely bride.<br />\n\'Twere long to tell each marvel there,<br />\nThe crystal floor, the jewelled stair,<br />\nThe gold, the silver, and the shine<br />\nOf chrysolite and almandine.<br />\nThere breathed the fairest blooms of spring;<br />\nThere flashed the proud swan\'s silver wing,<br />\nThe splendour of whose feathers broke<br />\nThrough fragrant wreaths of aloe smoke.<br />\n“\'Tis Indra\'s heaven,” the Vánar cried,<br />\nGazing in joy from side to side;<br />\n“The home of all the Gods is this,<br />\nThe mansion of eternal bliss.”<br />\nThere were the softest carpets spread,<br />\nDelightful to the sight and tread,<br />\nWhere many a lovely woman lay<br />\nO\'ercome by sleep, fatigued with play.<br />\nThe wine no longer cheered the feast,<br />\nThe sound of revelry had ceased.<br />\nThe tinkling feet no longer stirred,<br />\nNo chiming of a zone was heard.<br />\nSo when each bird has sought her nest,<br />\nAnd swans are mute and wild bees rest,<br />\nSleep the fair lilies on the lake<br />\nTill the sun\'s kiss shall bid them wake.<br />\n1416<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nLike the calm field of winter\'s sky<br />\nWhich stars unnumbered glorify,<br />\nSo shone and glowed the sumptuous room<br />\nWith living stars that chased the gloom.<br />\n“These are the stars,” the chieftain cried,<br />\n“In autumn nights that earth-ward glide,<br />\nIn brighter forms to reappear<br />\nAnd shine in matchless lustre here.”<br />\nWith wondering eyes a while he viewed<br />\nEach graceful form and attitude.<br />\nOne lady\'s head was backward thrown,<br />\nBare was her arm and loose her zone.<br />\nThe garland that her brow had graced<br />\nHung closely round another\'s waist.<br />\nHere gleamed two little feet all bare<br />\nOf anklets that had sparkled there,<br />\nHere lay a queenly dame at rest<br />\nIn all her glorious garments dressed.<br />\nThere slept another whose small hand<br />\nHad loosened every tie and band,<br />\nIn careless grace another lay<br />\nWith gems and jewels cast away,<br />\nLike a young creeper when the tread<br />\nOf the wild elephant has spread<br />\nConfusion and destruction round,<br />\nAnd cast it flowerless to the ground.<br />\nHere lay a slumberer still as death,<br />\nSave only that her balmy breath<br />\nRaised ever and anon the lace<br />\nThat floated o\'er her sleeping face.<br />\nThere, sunk in sleep, an amorous maid<br />\nHer sweet head on a mirror laid,<br />\nLike a fair lily bending till<br />\nHer petals rest upon the rill.<br />\nCanto X. Rávan Asleep.<br />\n1417<br />\nAnother black-eyed damsel pressed<br />\nHer lute upon her heaving breast,<br />\nAs though her loving arms were twined<br />\nRound him for whom her bosom pined.<br />\nAnother pretty sleeper round<br />\nA silver vase her arms had wound,<br />\nThat seemed, so fresh and fair and young<br />\nA wreath of flowers that o\'er it hung.<br />\nIn sweet disorder lay a throng<br />\nWeary of dance and play and song,<br />\nWhere heedless girls had sunk to rest<br />\nOne pillowed on another\'s breast,<br />\nHer tender cheek half seen beneath<br />\nBed roses of the falling wreath,<br />\nThe while her long soft hair concealed<br />\nThe beauties that her friend revealed.<br />\nWith limbs at random interlaced<br />\nRound arm and leg and throat and waist,<br />\nThat wreath of women lay asleep<br />\nLike blossoms in a careless heap.<br />\nCanto X. Rávan Asleep.<br />\nApart a dais of crystal rose<br />\nWith couches spread for soft repose,<br />\nAdorned with gold and gems of price<br />\nMeet for the halls of Paradise.<br />\nA canopy was o\'er them spread<br />\nPale as the light the moon beams shed,<br />\n1418<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd female figures,816deftly planned,<br />\nThe faces of the sleepers fanned,<br />\nThere on a splendid couch, asleep<br />\nOn softest skins of deer and sheep.<br />\nDark as a cloud that dims the day<br />\nThe monarch of the giants lay,<br />\nPerfumed with sandal\'s precious scent<br />\nAnd gay with golden ornament.<br />\n[402]<br />\nHis fiery eyes in slumber closed,<br />\nIn glittering robes the king reposed<br />\nLike Mandar\'s mighty hill asleep<br />\nWith flowery trees that clothe his steep.<br />\nNear and more near the Vánar<br />\nThe monarch of the fiends to view,<br />\nAnd saw the giant stretched supine<br />\nFatigued with play and drunk with wine.<br />\nWhile, shaking all the monstrous frame,<br />\nHis breath like hissing serpents\' came.<br />\nWith gold and glittering bracelets gay<br />\nHis mighty arms extended lay<br />\nHuge as the towering shafts that bear<br />\nThe flag of Indra high in air.<br />\nScars by Airávat\'s tusk impressed<br />\nShowed red upon his shaggy breast.<br />\nAnd on his shoulders were displayed<br />\nThe dints the thunder-bolt had made.817<br />\nThe spouses of the giant king<br />\nAround their lord were slumbering,<br />\nAnd, gay with sparkling earrings, shone<br />\n816Women, says Válmíki. But the Commentator says that automatic figures<br />\nonly are meant. Women would have seen Hanumán and given the alarm.<br />\n817Rávaṇ had fought against Indra and the Gods, and his body was still scarred<br />\nby the wounds inflicted by the tusks of Indra\'s elephant and by the fiery bolts<br />\nof the Thunderer.<br />\nCanto XI. The Banquet Hall.<br />\n1419<br />\nFair as the moon to look upon.<br />\nThere by her husband\'s side was seen<br />\nMandodarí the favourite queen,<br />\nThe beauty of whose youthful face<br />\nBeamed a soft glory through the place.<br />\nThe Vánar marked the dame more fair<br />\nThan all the royal ladies there,<br />\nAnd thought, “These rarest beauties speak<br />\nThe matchless dame I come to seek.<br />\nPeerless in grace and splendour, she<br />\nThe Maithil queen must surely be.”<br />\nCanto XI. The Banquet Hall.<br />\nBut soon the baseless thought was spurned<br />\nAnd longing hope again returned:<br />\n“No: Ráma\'s wife is none of these,<br />\nNo careless dame that lives at ease.<br />\nHer widowed heart has ceased to care<br />\nFor dress and sleep and dainty fare.<br />\nShe near a lover ne\'er would lie<br />\nThough Indra wooed her from the sky.<br />\nHer own, her only lord, whom none<br />\nCan match in heaven, is Raghu\'s son.”<br />\n1420<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen to the banquet hall intent<br />\nOn strictest search his steps he bent.<br />\nHe passed within the door, and found<br />\nFair women sleeping on the ground,<br />\nWhere wearied with the song, perchance,<br />\nThe merry game, the wanton dance,<br />\nEach girl with wine and sleep oppressed<br />\nHad sunk her drooping head to rest.<br />\nThat spacious hall from side to side<br />\nWith noblest fare was well supplied,<br />\nThere quarters of the boar, and here<br />\nRoast of the buffalo and deer,<br />\nThere on gold plate, untouched as yet<br />\nThe peacock and the hen were set.<br />\nThere deftly mixed with salt and curd<br />\nWas meat of many a beast and bird,<br />\nOf kid and porcupine and hare,<br />\nAnd dainties of the sea and air.<br />\nThere wrought of gold, ablaze with shine<br />\nOf precious stones, were cups of wine.<br />\nThrough court and bower and banquet hall<br />\nThe Vánar passed and viewed them all;<br />\nFrom end to end, in every spot,<br />\nFor Sítá searched, but found her not.<br />\nCanto XII. The Search Renewed.<br />\nAgain the Vánar chief began<br />\nEach chamber, bower, and hall to scan.<br />\nIn vain: he found not her he sought,<br />\nAnd pondered thus in bitter thought:<br />\nCanto XII. The Search Renewed.<br />\n1421<br />\n“Ah me the Maithil queen is slain:<br />\nShe, ever true and free from stain,<br />\nThe fiend\'s entreaty has denied,<br />\nAnd by his cruel hand has died.<br />\nOr has she sunk, by terror killed,<br />\nWhen first she saw the palace filled<br />\nWith female monsters evil miened<br />\nWho wait upon the robber fiend?<br />\nNo battle fought, no might displayed,<br />\nIn vain this anxious search is made;<br />\nNor shall my steps, made slow by shame,<br />\nBecause I failed to find the dame,<br />\nBack to our lord the king be bent,<br />\nFor he is swift to punishment.<br />\nIn every bower my feet have been,<br />\nThe dames of Rávaṇ have I seen;<br />\nBut Ráma\'s spouse I seek in vain,<br />\nAnd all my toil is fruitless pain.<br />\nHow shall I meet the Vánar band<br />\nI left upon the ocean strand?<br />\nHow, when they bid me speak, proclaim<br />\nThese tidings of defeat and shame?<br />\nHow shall I look on Angad\'s eye?<br />\nWhat words will Jámbaván reply?<br />\nYet dauntless hearts will never fail<br />\nTo win success though foes assail,<br />\nAnd I this sorrow will subdue<br />\nAnd search the palace through and through,<br />\nExploring with my cautious tread<br />\nEach spot as yet unvisited.”<br />\nAgain he turned him to explore<br />\nEach chamber, hall, and corridor,<br />\nAnd arbour bright with scented bloom,<br />\n1422<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd lodge and cell and picture-room.<br />\n[403]<br />\nWith eager eye and noiseless feet<br />\nHe passed through many a cool retreat<br />\nWhere women lay in slumber drowned;<br />\nBut Sítá still was nowhere found.<br />\nCanto XIII. Despair And Hope.<br />\nThen rapid as the lightning\'s flame<br />\nFrom Rávaṇ\'s halls the Vánar came.<br />\nEach lingering hope was cold and dead,<br />\nAnd thus within his heart he said:<br />\n“Alas, my fruitless search is done:<br />\nLong have I toiled for Raghu\'s son;<br />\nAnd yet with all my care have seen<br />\nNo traces of the ravished queen.<br />\nIt may be, while the giant through<br />\nThe lone air with his captive flew,<br />\nThe Maithil lady, tender-souled,<br />\nSlipped struggling from the robber\'s hold,<br />\nAnd the wild sea is rolling now<br />\nO\'er Sítá of the beauteous brow.<br />\nOr did she perish of alarm<br />\nWhen circled by the monster\'s arm?<br />\nOr crushed, unable to withstand<br />\nThe pressure of that monstrous hand?<br />\nOr when she spurned his suit with scorn,<br />\nHer tender limbs were rent and torn.<br />\nAnd she, her virtue unsubdued,<br />\nWas slaughtered for the giant\'s food.<br />\nShall I to Raghu\'s son relate<br />\nCanto XIII. Despair And Hope.<br />\n1423<br />\nHis well-beloved consort\'s fate,<br />\nMy crime the same if I reveal<br />\nThe mournful story or conceal?<br />\nIf with no happier tale to tell<br />\nI seek our mountain citadel,<br />\nHow shall I face our lord the king,<br />\nAnd meet his angry questioning?<br />\nHow shall I greet my friends, and brook<br />\nThe muttered taunt, the scornful look?<br />\nHow to the son of Raghu go<br />\nAnd kill him with my tale of woe?<br />\nFor sure the mournful tale I bear<br />\nWill strike him dead with wild despair.<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ ever fond and true,<br />\nWill, undivided, perish too.<br />\nBharat will learn his brother\'s fate,<br />\nAnd die of grief disconsolate,<br />\nAnd sad Śatrughna with a cry<br />\nOf anguish on his corpse will die.<br />\nOur king Sugríva, ever found<br />\nTrue to each bond in honour bound,<br />\nWill mourn the pledge he vainly gave,<br />\nAnd die with him he could not save.<br />\nThen Rumá his devoted wife<br />\nFor her dead lord will leave her life,<br />\nAnd Tárá, widowed and forlorn,<br />\nWill die in anguish, sorrow-worn.<br />\nOn Angad too the blow will fall<br />\nKilling the hope and joy of all.<br />\nThe ruin of their prince and king<br />\nThe Vánars\' souls with woe will wring.<br />\nAnd each, overwhelmed with dark despair,<br />\nWill beat his head and rend his hair.<br />\nEach, graced and honoured long, will miss<br />\n1424<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHis careless life of easy bliss,<br />\nIn happy troops will play no more<br />\nOn breezy rock and shady shore,<br />\nBut with his darling wife and child<br />\nWill seek the mountain top, and wild<br />\nWith hopeless desolation, throw<br />\nHimself, his wife, and babe, below.<br />\nAh no: unless the dame I find<br />\nI ne\'er will meet my Vánar kind.<br />\nHere rather in some distant dell<br />\nA lonely hermit will I dwell,<br />\nWhere roots and berries will supply<br />\nMy humble wants until I die;<br />\nOr on the shore will raise a pyre<br />\nAnd perish in the kindled fire.<br />\nOr I will strictly fast until<br />\nWith slow decay my life I kill,<br />\nAnd ravening dogs and birds of air<br />\nThe limbs of Hanumán shall tear.<br />\nHere will I die, but never bring<br />\nDestruction on my race and king.<br />\nBut still unsearched one grove I see<br />\nWith many a bright Aśoka tree.<br />\nThere will I enter in, and through<br />\nThe tangled shade my search renew.<br />\nBe glory to the host on high,<br />\nThe Sun and Moon who light the sky,<br />\nThe Vasus818and the Maruts\'819train,<br />\n818The Vasus are a class of eight deities, originally personifications of natural<br />\nphenomena.<br />\n819The Maruts are the winds or Storm-Gods.<br />\nCanto XIV. The Asoka Grove.<br />\n1425<br />\nÁdityas820and the Aśvins821twain.<br />\nSo may I win success, and bring<br />\nThe lady back with triumphing.”<br />\nCanto XIV. The Asoka Grove.<br />\nHe cleared the barrier at a bound;<br />\nHe stood within the pleasant ground,<br />\n[404]<br />\nAnd with delighted eyes surveyed<br />\nThe climbing plants and varied shade,<br />\nHe saw unnumbered trees unfold<br />\nThe treasures of their pendent gold,<br />\nAs, searching for the Maithil queen,<br />\nHe strayed through alleys soft and green;<br />\nAnd when a spray he bent or broke<br />\nSome little bird that slept awoke.<br />\nWhene\'er the breeze of morning blew,<br />\nWhere\'er a startled peacock flew,<br />\nThe gaily coloured branches shed<br />\nTheir flowery rain upon his head<br />\nThat clung around the Vánar till<br />\nHe seemed a blossom-covered hill,822<br />\nThe earth, on whose fair bosom lay<br />\nThe flowers that fell from every spray,<br />\nWas glorious as a lovely maid<br />\nIn all her brightest robes arrayed,<br />\n820TheÁdityasoriginallysevendeitiesoftheheavenlysphereofwhomVaruṇa<br />\nis the chief. The name Áditya was afterwards given to any God, specially to<br />\nSúrya the Sun.<br />\n821The Aśvins are the Heavenly Twins, the Castor and Pollux of the Hindus.<br />\n822The poet forgets that Hanumán has reduced himself to the size of a cat.<br />\n1426<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe saw the breath of morning shake<br />\nThe lilies on the rippling lake<br />\nWhose waves a pleasant lapping made<br />\nOn crystal steps with gems inlaid.<br />\nThen roaming through the enchanted ground,<br />\nA pleasant hill the Vánar found,<br />\nAnd grottoes in the living stone<br />\nWith grass and flowery trees o\'ergrown.<br />\nThrough rocks and boughs a brawling rill<br />\nLeapt from the bosom of the hill,<br />\nLike a proud beauty when she flies<br />\nFrom her love\'s arms with angry eyes.<br />\nHe clomb a tree that near him grew<br />\nAnd leafy shade around him threw.<br />\n“Hence,” thought the Vánar, “shall I see<br />\nThe Maithil dame, if here she be,<br />\nThese lovely trees, this cool retreat<br />\nWill surely tempt her wandering feet.<br />\nHere the sad queen will roam apart.<br />\nAnd dream of Ráma in her heart.”<br />\nCanto XV. Sítá.<br />\nFair as Kailása white with snow<br />\nHe saw a palace flash and glow,<br />\nA crystal pavement gem-inlaid,<br />\nAnd coral steps and colonnade,<br />\nAnd glittering towers that kissed the skies,<br />\nWhose dazzling splendour charmed his eyes.<br />\nThere pallid, with neglected dress,<br />\nCanto XVI. Hanumán\'s Lament.<br />\n1427<br />\nWatched close by fiend and giantess,<br />\nHer sweet face thin with constant flow<br />\nOf tears, with fasting and with woe;<br />\nPale as the young moon\'s crescent when<br />\nThe first faint light returns to men:<br />\nDim as the flame when clouds of smoke<br />\nThe latent glory hide and choke;<br />\nLike Rohiṇí the queen of stars<br />\nOppressed by the red planet Mars;<br />\nFrom her dear friends and husband torn,<br />\nAmid the cruel fiends, forlorn,<br />\nWho fierce-eyed watch around her kept,<br />\nA tender woman sat and wept.<br />\nHer sobs, her sighs, her mournful mien,<br />\nHer glorious eyes, proclaimed the queen.<br />\n“This, this is she,” the Vánar cried,<br />\n“Fair as the moon and lotus-eyed,<br />\nI saw the giant Rávan bear<br />\nA captive through the fields of air.<br />\nSuch was the beauty of the dame;<br />\nHer form, her lips, her eyes the same.<br />\nThis peerless queen whom I behold<br />\nIs Ráma\'s wife with limbs of gold.<br />\nBest of the sons of men is he,<br />\nAnd worthy of her lord is she.”<br />\nCanto XVI. Hanumán\'s Lament.<br />\n1428<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen, all his thoughts on Sítá bent,<br />\nThe Vánar chieftain made lament:<br />\n“The queen to Ráma\'s soul endeared,<br />\nBy Lakshmaṇ\'s pious heart revered,<br />\nLies here,—for none may strive with Fate,<br />\nA captive, sad and desolate.<br />\nThe brothers\' might full well she knows,<br />\nAnd bravely bears the storm of woes,<br />\nAs swelling Gangá in the rains<br />\nThe rush of every flood sustains.<br />\nHer lord, for her, fierce Báli slew,<br />\nVirádha\'s monstrous might o\'erthrew,<br />\nFor her the fourteen thousand slain<br />\nIn Janasthán bedewed the plain.<br />\nAnd if for her Ikshváku\'s son<br />\nDestroyed the world \'twere nobly done.<br />\nThis, this is she, so far renowned,<br />\nWho sprang from out the furrowed ground,823<br />\nChild of the high-souled king whose sway<br />\nThe men of Míthilá obey:<br />\nThe glorious lady wooed and won<br />\nBy Daśaratha\'s noblest son;<br />\nAnd now these sad eyes look on her<br />\nMid hostile fiends a prisoner.<br />\nFrom home and every bliss she fled<br />\nBy wifely love and duty led,<br />\nAnd heedless of a wanderer\'s woes,<br />\nA life in lonely forests chose.<br />\nThis, this is she so fair of mould.<br />\nWhose limbs are bright as burnished gold.<br />\n[405]<br />\nWhose voice was ever soft and mild,<br />\nWho sweetly spoke and sweetly smiled.<br />\n823Sítá “not of woman born,” was found by King Janak as he was turning up<br />\nthe ground in preparation for a sacrifice. See Book II, Canto CXVIII.<br />\nCanto XVII. Sítá\'s Guard.<br />\n1429<br />\nO, what is Ráma\'s misery! how<br />\nHe longs to see his darling now!<br />\nPining for one of her fond looks<br />\nAs one athirst for water brooks.<br />\nAbsorbed in woe the lady sees<br />\nNo Rákshas guard, no blooming trees.<br />\nHer eyes are with her thoughts, and they<br />\nAre fixed on Ráma far away.”<br />\nCanto XVII. Sítá\'s Guard.<br />\nHis pitying eyes with tears bedewed,<br />\nThe weeping queen again he viewed,<br />\nAnd saw around the prisoner stand<br />\nHer demon guard, a fearful band.<br />\nSome earless, some with ears that hung<br />\nLow as their feet and loosely swung:<br />\nSome fierce with single ears and eyes,<br />\nSome dwarfish, some of monstrous size:<br />\nSome with their dark necks long and thin<br />\nWith hair upon the knotty skin:<br />\nSome with wild locks, some bald and bare,<br />\nSome covered o\'er with bristly hair:<br />\nSome tall and straight, some bowed and bent<br />\nWith every foul disfigurement:<br />\nAll black and fierce with eyes of fire,<br />\nRuthless and stern and swift to ire:<br />\nSome with the jackal\'s jaw and nose,<br />\nSome faced like boars and buffaloes:<br />\nSome with the heads of goats and kine,<br />\nOf elephants, and dogs, and swine:<br />\n1430<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWith lions\' lips and horses\' brows,<br />\nThey walked with feet of mules and cows:<br />\nSwords, maces, clubs, and spears they bore<br />\nIn hideous hands that reeked with gore,<br />\nAnd, never sated, turned afresh<br />\nTo bowls of wine and piles of flesh.<br />\nSuch were the awful guards who stood<br />\nRound Sítá in that lovely wood,<br />\nWhile in her lonely sorrow she<br />\nWept sadly neath a spreading tree.<br />\nHe watched the spouse of Ráma there<br />\nRegardless of her tangled hair,<br />\nHer jewels stripped from neck and limb,<br />\nDecked only with her love of him.<br />\nCanto XVIII. Rávan.<br />\nWhile from his shelter in the boughs<br />\nThe Vánar looked on Ráma\'s spouse<br />\nHe heard the gathered giants raise<br />\nThe solemn hymn of prayer and praise.—<br />\nPriests skilled in rite and ritual, who<br />\nThe Vedas and their branches824knew.<br />\nThen, as loud strains of music broke<br />\nHis sleep, the giant monarch woke.<br />\nSwift to his heart the thought returned<br />\n824The six Angas or subordinate branches of the Vedas are 1. Sikshá, the<br />\nscience of proper articulation and pronunciation: 2. Chhandas, metre: 3.<br />\nVyákarana, linguistic analysis or grammar: 4. Nirukta, explanation of difficult<br />\nVedic words: 5. Jyotishṭom, Astronomy, or rather the Vedic Calendar: 6.<br />\nKalpa, ceremonial.<br />\nCanto XVIII. Rávan.<br />\n1431<br />\nOf the fair queen for whom he burned;<br />\nNor could the amorous fiend control<br />\nThe passion that absorbed his soul.<br />\nIn all his brightest garb arrayed<br />\nHe hastened to that lovely shade,<br />\nWhere glowed each choicest flower and fruit,<br />\nAnd the sweet birds were never mute,<br />\nAnd tall deer bent their heads to drink<br />\nOn the fair streamlet\'s grassy brink.<br />\nNear that Aśoka grove he drew,—<br />\nA hundred dames his retinue.<br />\nLike Indra with the thousand eyes<br />\nGirt with the beauties of the skies.<br />\nSome walked beside their lord to hold<br />\nThe chouries, fans, and lamps of gold.<br />\nAnd others purest water bore<br />\nIn golden urns, and paced before.<br />\nSome carried, piled on golden plates,<br />\nDelicious food of dainty cates;<br />\nSome wine in massive bowls whereon<br />\nThe fairest gems resplendent shone.<br />\nSome by the monarch\'s side displayed,<br />\nWrought like a swan, a silken shade:<br />\nAnother beauty walked behind,<br />\nThe sceptre to her care assigned.<br />\nAround the monarch gleamed the crowd<br />\nAs lightnings flash about a cloud,<br />\nAnd each made music as she went<br />\nWith zone and tinkling ornament.<br />\nAttended thus in royal state<br />\nThe monarch reached the garden gate,<br />\nWhile gold and silver torches, fed<br />\nWith scented oil a soft light shed.825<br />\n[406]<br />\n825There appears to be some confusion of time here. It was already morning<br />\n1432<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe, while the flame of fierce desire<br />\nBurnt in his eyes like kindled fire,<br />\nSeemed Love incarnate in his pride,<br />\nHis bow and arrows laid aside.826<br />\nHis robe, from spot and blemish free<br />\nLike Amrit foamy from the sea,827<br />\nHung down in many a loosened fold<br />\nInwrought with flowers and bright with gold.<br />\nThe Vánar from his station viewed,<br />\nAmazed, the wondrous multitude,<br />\nWhere, in the centre of that ring<br />\nOf noblest women, stood the king,<br />\nAs stands the full moon fair to view,<br />\nGirt by his starry retinue.<br />\nCanto XIX. Sítá\'s Fear.<br />\nThen o\'er the lady\'s soul and frame<br />\nA sudden fear and trembling came,<br />\nWhen, glowing in his youthful pride,<br />\nShe saw the monarch by her side.<br />\nSilent she sat, her eyes depressed,<br />\nHer soft arms folded o\'er her breast,<br />\nAnd,—all she could,—her beauties screened<br />\nFrom the bold gazes of the fiend.<br />\nwhen Hanumán entered the grove, and the torches would be needless.<br />\n826Rávaṇ is one of those beings who can “climb them as they will,” and can of<br />\ncourse assume the loveliest form to please human eyes as well as the terrific<br />\nshape that suits the king of the Rákshases.<br />\n827White and lovely as the Arant or nectar recovered from the depths of the<br />\nMilky Sea when churned by the assembled Gods. See Book I, Canto XLV.<br />\nCanto XX. Rávan\'s Wooing.<br />\n1433<br />\nThere where the wild she-demons kept<br />\nTheir watch around, she sighed and wept.<br />\nThen, like a severed bough, she lay<br />\nProne on the bare earth in dismay.<br />\nThe while her thoughts on love\'s fleet wings<br />\nFlew to her lord the best of kings.<br />\nShe fell upon the ground, and there<br />\nLay struggling with her wild despair,<br />\nSad as a lady born again<br />\nTo misery and woe and pain,<br />\nNow doomed to grief and low estate,<br />\nOnce noble fair and delicate:<br />\nLike faded light of holy lore,<br />\nLike Hope when all her dreams are o\'er;<br />\nLike ruined power and rank debased,<br />\nLike majesty of kings disgraced:<br />\nLike worship foiled by erring slips,<br />\nThe moon that labours in eclipse;<br />\nA pool with all her lilies dead,<br />\nAn army when its king has fled:<br />\nSo sad and helpless wan and worn,<br />\nShe lay among the fiends forlorn.<br />\nCanto XX. Rávan\'s Wooing.<br />\nWith amorous look and soft address<br />\nThe fiend began his suit to press:<br />\n“Why wouldst thou, lady lotus-eyed,<br />\nFrom my fond glance those beauties hide?<br />\nMine eager suit no more repel:<br />\nBut love me, for I love thee well.<br />\n1434<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nDismiss, sweet dame, dismiss thy fear;<br />\nNo giant and no man is near.<br />\nOurs is the right by force to seize<br />\nWhat dames soe\'er our fancy please.828<br />\nBut I with rude hands will not touch<br />\nA lady whom I love so much.<br />\nFear not, dear queen: no fear is nigh:<br />\nCome, on thy lover\'s love rely,<br />\nSome little sign of favor show,<br />\nNor lie enamoured of thy woe.<br />\nThose limbs upon that cold earth laid,<br />\nThose tresses twined in single braid,829<br />\nThe fast and woe that wear thy frame,<br />\nBeseem not thee, O beauteous dame.<br />\nFor thee the fairest wreaths were meant,<br />\nThe sandal and the aloe\'s scent,<br />\nRich ornaments and pearls of price,<br />\nAnd vesture meet for Paradise.<br />\nWith dainty cates shouldst thou be fed,<br />\nAnd rest upon a sumptuous bed.<br />\nAnd festive joys to thee belong,<br />\nThe music, and the dance and song.<br />\nRise, pearl of women, rise and deck<br />\nWith gems and chains thine arms and neck.<br />\nShall not the dame I love be seen<br />\nIn vesture worthy of a queen?<br />\n828Rávaṇ in his magic car carrying off the most beautiful women reminds us<br />\nof the magician in Orlando Furioso, possesor of the flying horse.<br />\n“Volando talor s\'alza ne le stelle,<br />\nE poi quasi talor la terra rade;<br />\nE ne porta con lui tutte le belle<br />\nDonne che trova per quelle contrade.”<br />\n829Indian women twisted their long hair in a single braid as a sign of mourning<br />\nfor their absent husbands.<br />\nCanto XX. Rávan\'s Wooing.<br />\n1435<br />\nMethinks when thy sweet form was made<br />\nHis hand the wise Creator stayed;<br />\nFor never more did he design<br />\nA beauty meet to rival thine.<br />\nCome, let us love while yet we may,<br />\nFor youth will fly and charms decay,<br />\nCome cast thy grief and fear aside,<br />\nAnd be my love, my chosen bride.<br />\nThe gems and jewels that my hand<br />\nHas reft from every plundered land,—<br />\nTo thee I give them all this day,<br />\nAnd at thy feet my kingdom lay.<br />\n[407]<br />\nThe broad rich earth will I o\'errun,<br />\nAnd leave no town unconquered, none;<br />\nThen of the whole an offering make<br />\nTo Janak,830dear, for thy sweet sake.<br />\nIn all the world no power I see<br />\nOf God or man can strive with me.<br />\nOf old the Gods and Asurs set<br />\nIn terrible array I met:<br />\nTheir scattered hosts to earth I beat,<br />\nAnd trod their flags beneath my feet.<br />\nCome, taste of bliss and drink thy fill,<br />\nAnd rule the slave who serves thy will.<br />\nThink not of wretched Ráma: he<br />\nIs less than nothing now to thee.<br />\nStript of his glory, poor, dethroned,<br />\nA wanderer by his friends disowned,<br />\nOn the cold earth he lays his head,<br />\nOr is with toil and misery dead.<br />\nAnd if perchance he lingers yet,<br />\nHis eyes on thee shall ne\'er be set.<br />\n830Janak, king of Míthilá, was Sítá\'s father.<br />\n1436<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCould he, that mighty monarch, who<br />\nWas named Hiraṇyakaśipu,<br />\nCould he who wore the garb of gold<br />\nWin Glory back from Indra\'s hold?831<br />\nO lady of the lovely smile,<br />\nWhose eyes the sternest heart beguile,<br />\nIn all thy radiant beauty dressed<br />\nMy heart and soul thou ravishest.<br />\nWhat though thy robe is soiled and worn,<br />\nAnd no bright gems thy limbs adorn,<br />\nThou unadorned art dearer far<br />\nThan all my loveliest consorts are.<br />\nMy royal home is bright and fair;<br />\nA thousand beauties meet me there,<br />\nBut come, my glorious love, and be<br />\nThe queen of all those dames and me.”<br />\nCanto XXI. Sítá\'s Scorn.<br />\nShe thought upon her lord and sighed,<br />\nAnd thus in gentle tones replied:<br />\n“Beseems thee not, O King, to woo<br />\nA matron, to her husband true.<br />\nThus vainly one might hope by sin<br />\nAnd evil deeds success to win.<br />\nShall I, so highly born, disgrace<br />\nMy husband\'s house, my royal race?<br />\n831Hiraṇyakaśipu was a king of the Daityas celebrated for his blasphemous<br />\nimpieties. When his pious son Prahlada praised Vishṇu the Daitya tried to kill<br />\nhim, when the God appeared in the incarnation of the man-lion and tore the<br />\ntyrant to pieces.<br />\nCanto XXI. Sítá\'s Scorn.<br />\n1437<br />\nShall I, a true and loyal dame,<br />\nDefile my soul with deed of shame?”<br />\nThen on the king her back she turned,<br />\nAnd answered thus the prayer she spurned:<br />\n“Turn, Rávaṇ, turn thee from thy sin;<br />\nSeek virtue\'s paths and walk therein.<br />\nTo others dames be honour shown;<br />\nProtect them as thou wouldst thine own.<br />\nTaught by thyself, from wrong abstain<br />\nWhich, wrought on thee, thy heart would pain.832<br />\nBeware: this lawless love of thine<br />\nWill ruin thee and all thy line;<br />\nAnd for thy sin, thy sin alone,<br />\nWill Lanká perish overthrown.<br />\nDream not that wealth and power can sway<br />\nMy heart from duty\'s path to stray.<br />\nLinked like the Day-God and his shine,<br />\nI am my lord\'s and he is mine.<br />\nRepent thee of thine impious deed;<br />\nTo Ráma\'s side his consort lead.<br />\nBe wise; the hero\'s friendship gain,<br />\nNor perish in his fury slain.<br />\nGo, ask the God of Death to spare,<br />\nOr red bolt flashing through the air,<br />\nBut look in vain for spell or charm<br />\nTo stay my Ráma\'s vengeful arm.<br />\nThou, when the hero bends his bow,<br />\nShalt hear the clang that heralds woe,<br />\nLoud as the clash when clouds are rent<br />\n832Do unto others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee, is a precept<br />\nfrequently occurring in the old Indian poems. This charity is to embrace not<br />\nhuman beings only, but bird and beast as well: “He prayeth best who loveth<br />\nbest all things both great and small.”<br />\n1438<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd Indra\'s bolt to earth is sent.<br />\nThen shall his furious shafts be sped,<br />\nEach like a snake with fiery head,<br />\nAnd in their flight shall hiss and flame<br />\nMarked with the mighty archer\'s name.833<br />\nThen in the fiery deluge all<br />\nThy giants round their king shall fall.”<br />\n[408]<br />\nCanto XXII. Rávan\'s Threat.<br />\nThen anger swelled in Rávaṇ\'s breast,<br />\nWho fiercely thus the dame addressed:<br />\n“\'Tis ever thus: in vain we sue<br />\nTo woman, and her favour woo.<br />\nA lover\'s humble words impel<br />\nHer wayward spirit to rebel.<br />\nThe love of thee that fills my soul<br />\nStill keeps my anger in control,<br />\nAs charioteers with bit and rein<br />\nThe swerving of the steed restrain.<br />\nThe love that rules me bids me spare<br />\nThy forfeit life, O thou most fair.<br />\nFor this, O Sítá, have I borne<br />\n833It was the custom of Indian warriors to mark their arrows with their ciphers<br />\nor names, and it seems to have been regarded as a point of honour to give an<br />\nenemy the satisfaction of knowing who had shot at him. This passage however<br />\ncontains, if my memory serves me well, the first mention in the poem of this<br />\npractice, and as arrows have been so frequently mentioned and described with<br />\nalmost every conceivable epithet, its occurrence here seems suspicious. No<br />\nmention of, or allusion to writing has hitherto occurred in the poem.<br />\nCanto XXII. Rávan\'s Threat.<br />\n1439<br />\nThe keen reproach, the bitter scorn,<br />\nAnd the fond love thou boastest yet<br />\nFor that poor wandering anchoret;<br />\nElse had the words which thou hast said<br />\nBrought death upon thy guilty head.<br />\nTwo months, fair dame, I grant thee still<br />\nTo bend thee to thy lover\'s will.<br />\nIf when that respite time is fled<br />\nThou still refuse to share my bed,<br />\nMy cooks shall mince thy limbs with steel<br />\nAnd serve thee for my morning meal.”834<br />\nThe minstrel daughters of the skies<br />\nLooked on her woe with pitying eyes,<br />\nAnd sun-bright children of the Gods835<br />\nConsoled the queen with smiles and nods.<br />\nShe saw, and with her heart at ease,<br />\nAddressed the fiend in words like these;<br />\n“Hast thou no friend to love thee, none<br />\nIn all this isle to bid thee shun<br />\nThe ruin which thy crime will bring<br />\nOn thee and thine, O impious King?<br />\nWho in all worlds save thee could woo<br />\nMe, Ráma\'s consort pure and true,<br />\nAs though he tempted with his love<br />\nQueen Śachí836on her throne above?<br />\nHow canst thou hope, vile wretch, to fly<br />\nThe vengeance that e\'en now is nigh,<br />\nWhen thou hast dared, untouched by shame,<br />\nTo press thy suit on Ráma\'s dame?<br />\n834This threat in the same words occurs in Book III, Canto LVI.<br />\n835Rávaṇ carried off and kept in his palace not only earthly princesses but the<br />\ndaughters of Gods and Gandharvas.<br />\n836The wife of Indra.<br />\n1440<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWhere woods are thick and grass is high<br />\nA lion and a hare may lie;<br />\nMy Ráma is the lion, thou<br />\nArt the poor hare beneath the bough.<br />\nThou railest at the lord of men,<br />\nBut wilt not stand within his ken.<br />\nWhat! is that eye unstricken yet<br />\nWhose impious glance on me was set?<br />\nStill moves that tongue that would not spare<br />\nThe wife of Daśaratha\'s heir?”<br />\nThen, hissing like a furious snake,<br />\nThe fiend again to Sítá spake:<br />\n“Deaf to all prayers and threats art thou,<br />\nDevoted to thy senseless vow.<br />\nNo longer respite will I give,<br />\nAnd thou this day shalt cease to live;<br />\nFor I, as sunlight kills the morn,<br />\nWill slay thee for thy scathe and scorn.”<br />\nThe Rákshas guard was summoned: all<br />\nThe monstrous crew obeyed the call,<br />\nAnd hastened to the king to take<br />\nThe orders which he fiercely spake:<br />\n“See that ye guard her well, and tame,<br />\nLike some wild thing, the stubborn dame,<br />\nUntil her haughty soul be bent<br />\nBy mingled threat and blandishment.”837<br />\nThe monsters heard: away he strode,<br />\nAnd passed within his queens\' abode.<br />\n837These four lines have occurred before. Book III, Canto LVI.<br />\nCanto XXIII. The Demons\' Threats.<br />\n1441<br />\nCanto XXIII. The Demons\' Threats.<br />\nThen round the helpless Sítá drew<br />\nWith fiery eyes the hideous crew,<br />\nAnd thus assailed her, all and each,<br />\nWith insult, taunt, and threatening speech:<br />\n“What! can it be thou prizest not<br />\nThis happy chance, this glorious lot,<br />\nTo be the chosen wife of one<br />\nSo strong and great, Pulastya\'s son?<br />\nPulastya—thus have sages told—<br />\nIs mid the Lords of Life838enrolled.<br />\nLord Brahmá\'s mind-born son was he,<br />\nFourth of that glorious company.<br />\nViśravas from Pulastya sprang,—<br />\nThrough all the worlds his glory rang.<br />\nAnd of Viśravas, large-eyed dame!<br />\nOur king the mighty Rávaṇ came.<br />\nHis happy consort thou mayst be:<br />\nScorn not the words we say to thee.”<br />\nOne awful demon, fiery-eyed,<br />\nStood by the Maithil queen and cried:<br />\n\'Come and be his, if thou art wise,<br />\nWho smote the sovereign of the skies,<br />\nAnd made the thirty Gods and three,839<br />\nO\'ercome in furious battle, flee.<br />\n[409]<br />\n838Prajápatis are the ten lords of created beings first created by Brahmá;<br />\nsomewhat like the Demiurgi of the Gnostics.<br />\n839“This is the number of the Vedic divinities mentioned in the Rig-veda. In<br />\nAshṭaka I. Súkta XXXIV, the Rishi Hiraṇyastúpa invoking the Aśvins says: Á<br />\nNásatyá tribhirekádaśairiha devebniryátam: ‘O Násatyas (Aśvins) come hither<br />\nwith the thrice eleven Gods.’ And in Súkta XLV, the Rishi Praskanva address-<br />\ning his hymn to Agni (ignis, fire), thus invokes him: ‘Lord of the red steeds,<br />\n1442<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThy lover turns away with scorn<br />\nFrom wives whom grace and youth adorn.<br />\nThou art his chosen consort, thou<br />\nShall be his pride and darling now.”<br />\nAnother, Vikatá by name,<br />\nIn words like these addressed the dame:<br />\n“The king whose blows, in fury dealt,<br />\nThe Nágas840and Gandharvas841felt,<br />\nIn battle\'s fiercest brunt subdued,<br />\nHas stood by thee and humbly wooed.<br />\nAnd wilt thou in thy folly miss<br />\nThe glory of a love like this?<br />\nScared by his eye the sun grows chill,<br />\nThe wanderer wind is hushed and still.<br />\nThe rains at his command descend,<br />\nAnd trees with new-blown blossoms bend.<br />\nHis word the hosts of demons fear,<br />\nAnd wilt thou, dame, refuse to hear?<br />\nBe counselled; with his will comply,<br />\nOr, lady, thou shalt surely die.”<br />\npropitiated by our prayers lead hither the thirty-three Gods.’ This number must<br />\ncertainly have been the actual number in the early days of the Vedic religion:<br />\nalthough it appears probable enough that the thirty-three Vedic divinities could<br />\nnot then be found co-ordinated in so systematic a way as they were arranged<br />\nmore recently by the authors of the Upanishads. In the later ages of Bramanism<br />\nthe number went on increasing without measure by successive mythical and<br />\nreligious creations which peopled the Indian Olympus with abstract beings of<br />\nevery kind. But through lasting veneration of the word of the Veda the custom<br />\nregained of giving the name of ‘the thirty-three Gods’ to the immense phalanx<br />\nof the multiplied deities.” GORRESIO.{FNS<br />\n840Serpent-Gods who dwell in the regions under the earth.<br />\n841In the mythology of the epics the Gandharvas are the heavenly singers or<br />\nmusicians who form the orchestra at the banquets of the Gods, and they belong<br />\nto the heaven of India in whose battles they share.<br />\nCanto XXIV. Sítá\'s Reply.<br />\n1443<br />\nCanto XXIV. Sítá\'s Reply.<br />\nStill with reproaches rough and rude<br />\nThose fiends the gentle queen pursued:<br />\n“What! can so fair a life displease,<br />\nTo dwell with him in joyous ease?<br />\nDwell in his bowers a happy queen<br />\nIn silk and gold and jewels\' sheen?<br />\nStill must thy woman fancy cling<br />\nTo Ráma and reject our king?<br />\nDie in thy folly, or forget<br />\nThat wretched wandering anchoret.<br />\nCome, Sítá, in luxurious bowers<br />\nSpend with our lord thy happy hours;<br />\nThe mighty lord who makes his own<br />\nThe treasures of the worlds o\'erthrown.”<br />\nThen, as a tear bedewed her eye,<br />\nThe hapless lady made reply:<br />\n“I loathe, with heart and soul detest<br />\nThe shameful life your words suggest.<br />\nEat, if you will, this mortal frame:<br />\nMy soul rejects the sin and shame.<br />\nA homeless wanderer though he be,<br />\nIn him my lord, my life I see,<br />\nAnd, till my earthly days be done,<br />\nWill cling to great Ikshváku\'s son.”<br />\n1444<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen with fierce eyes on Sítá set<br />\nThey cried again with taunt and threat:<br />\nEach licking with her fiery tongue<br />\nThe lip that to her bosom hung,<br />\nAnd menacing the lady\'s life<br />\nWith axe, or spear or murderous knife:<br />\n“Hear, Sítá, and our words obey,<br />\nOr perish by our hands to-day.<br />\nThy love for Raghu\'s son forsake,<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ for thy husband take,<br />\nOr we will rend thy limbs apart<br />\nAnd banquet on thy quivering heart.<br />\nNow from her body strike the head,<br />\nAnd tell the king the dame is dead.<br />\nThen by our lord\'s commandment she<br />\nA banquet for our band shall be.<br />\nCome, let the wine be quickly brought<br />\nThat frees each heart from saddening thought.<br />\nThen to the western gate repair,<br />\nAnd we will dance and revel there.”<br />\nCanto XXV. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\nOn the bare earth the lady sank,<br />\nAnd trembling from their presence shrank<br />\nLike a strayed fawn, when night is dark,<br />\nAnd hungry wolves around her bark.<br />\n[410]<br />\nCanto XXV. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n1445<br />\nThen to a shady tree she crept,<br />\nAnd thought upon her lord and wept.<br />\nBy fear and bitter woe oppressed<br />\nShe bathed the beauties of her breast<br />\nWith her hot tears\' incessant flow,<br />\nAnd found no respite from her woe.<br />\nAs shakes a plantain in the breeze<br />\nShe shook, and fell on trembling knees;<br />\nWhile at each demon\'s furious look<br />\nHer cheek its native hue forsook.<br />\nShe lay and wept and made her moan<br />\nIn sorrow\'s saddest undertone,<br />\nAnd, wild with grief, with fear appalled,<br />\nOn Ráma and his brother called:<br />\n“O dear Kauśalyá,842hear me cry!<br />\nSweet Queen Sumitrá,843list my sigh!<br />\nTrue is the saw the wise declare:<br />\nDeath comes not to relieve despair.<br />\n\'Tis vain for dame or man to pray;<br />\nDeath will not hear before his day;<br />\nSince I, from Ráma\'s sight debarred,<br />\nAnd tortured by my cruel guard,<br />\nStill live in hopeless woe to grieve<br />\nAnd loathe the life I may not leave,<br />\nHere, like a poor deserted thing,<br />\nMy limbs upon the ground I fling,<br />\nAnd, like a bark beneath the blast,<br />\nShall sink oppressed with woes at last.<br />\nAh, blest are they, supremely blest,<br />\nWhose eyes upon my lord may rest;<br />\nWho mark his lion port, and hear<br />\nHis gentle speech that charms the ear.<br />\n842The mother of Ráma.<br />\n843The mother of Lakshmaṇ.<br />\n1446<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAlas, what antenatal crime,<br />\nWhat trespass of forgotten time<br />\nWeighs on my soul, and bids me bow<br />\nBeneath this load of misery now?”<br />\nCanto XXVI. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n“I Ráma\'s wife, on that sad day,<br />\nBy Rávaṇ\'s arm was borne away,<br />\nSeized, while I sat and feared no ill,<br />\nBy him who wears each form at will.<br />\nA helpless captive, left forlorn<br />\nTo demons\' threats and taunts and scorn,<br />\nHere for my lord I weep and sigh,<br />\nAnd worn with woe would gladly die.<br />\nFor what is life to me afar<br />\nFrom Ráma of the mighty car?<br />\nThe robber in his fruitless sin<br />\nWould hope his captive\'s love to win.<br />\nMy meaner foot shall never touch<br />\nThe demon whom I loathe so much.<br />\nThe senseless fool! he knows me not,<br />\nNor the proud soul his love would blot.<br />\nYea, limb from limb will I be rent,<br />\nBut never to his prayer consent;<br />\nBe burnt and perish in the fire,<br />\nBut never meet his base desire.<br />\nMy lord was grateful, true and wise,<br />\nAnd looked on woe with pitying eyes;<br />\nBut now, recoiling from the strife<br />\nHe pities not his captive wife.<br />\nCanto XXVII. Trijatá\'s Dream.<br />\n1447<br />\nAlone in Janasthán he slew<br />\nThe thousands of the Rákshas crew.<br />\nHis arm was strong, his heart was brave,<br />\nWhy comes he not to free and save?<br />\nWhy blame my lord in vain surmise?<br />\nHe knows not where his lady lies.<br />\nO, if he knew, o\'er land and sea<br />\nHis feet were swift to set me free;<br />\nThis Lanká, girdled by the deep,<br />\nWould fall consumed, a shapeless heap,<br />\nAnd from each ruined home would rise<br />\nA Rákshas widow\'s groans and cries.”<br />\nCanto XXVII. Trijatá\'s Dream.<br />\nTheir threats unfeared, their counsel spurned,<br />\nThe demons\' breasts with fury burned.<br />\nSome sought the giant king to bear<br />\nThe tale of Sítá\'s fixt despair.<br />\nWith threats and taunts renewed the rest<br />\nAround the weeping lady pressed.<br />\nBut Trijaṭá, of softer mould,<br />\nA Rákshas matron wise and old,<br />\nWith pity for the captive moved,<br />\nIn words like these the fiends reproved:<br />\n“Me, me,” she cried, “eat me, but spare<br />\nThe spouse of Daśaratha\'s heir.<br />\nLast night I dreamt a dream; and still<br />\nThe fear and awe my bosom chill;<br />\nFor in that dream I saw foreshown<br />\nOur race by Ráma\'s hand o\'erthrown.<br />\n1448<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nI saw a chariot high in air,<br />\nOf ivory exceeding fair.<br />\nA hundred steeds that chariot drew<br />\nAs swiftly through the clouds it flew,<br />\nAnd, clothed in white, with wreaths that shone,<br />\nThe sons of Raghu rode thereon.<br />\nI looked and saw this lady here,<br />\nClad in the purest white, appear<br />\nHigh on the snow white hill whose feet<br />\nThe angry waves of ocean beat.<br />\nAnd she and Ráma met at last<br />\nLike light and sun when night is past.<br />\nAgain I saw them side by side.<br />\nOn Rávaṇ\'s car they seemed to ride,<br />\nAnd with the princely Lakshmaṇ flee<br />\nTo northern realms beyond the sea.<br />\n[411]<br />\nThen Rávaṇ, shaved and shorn, besmeared<br />\nWith oil from head to foot, appeared.<br />\nHe quaffed, he raved: his robes were red:<br />\nFierce was his eye, and bare his head.<br />\nI saw him from his chariot thrust;<br />\nI saw him rolling in the dust.<br />\nA woman came and dragged away<br />\nThe stricken giant where he lay,<br />\nAnd on a car which asses drew<br />\nThe monarch of our race she threw.<br />\nHe rose erect, he danced and laughed,<br />\nWith thirsty lips the oil he quaffed,<br />\nThen with wild eyes and streaming mouth<br />\nSped on the chariot to the south.844<br />\nThen, dropping oil from every limb,<br />\nHis sons the princes followed him,<br />\n844In the south is the region of Yáma the God of Death, the place of departed<br />\nspirits.<br />\nCanto XXX. Hanumán\'s Deliberation.<br />\n1449<br />\nAnd Kumbhakarṇa,845shaved and shorn,<br />\nWas southward on a camel borne.<br />\nThen royal Lanká reeled and fell<br />\nWith gate and tower and citadel.<br />\nThis ancient city, far-renowned:<br />\nAll life within her walls was drowned;<br />\nAnd the wild waves of ocean rolled<br />\nO\'er Lanká and her streets of gold.<br />\nWarned by these signs I bid you fly;<br />\nOr by the hand of Ráma die,<br />\nWhose vengeance will not spare the life<br />\nOf one who vexed his faithful wife.<br />\nYour bitter taunts and threats forgo:<br />\nComfort the lady in her woe,<br />\nAnd humbly pray her to forgive;<br />\nFor so you may be spared and live.”<br />\n[I omit the 28th and 29th Cantos as an unmistakeable interpola-<br />\ntion. Instead of advancing the story it goes back to Canto XVII,<br />\ncontaining a lamentation of Sítá after Rávaṇ has left her, and<br />\ndescribes the the auspicious signs sent to cheer her, the throbbing<br />\nof her left eye, arm, and side. The Canto is found in the Bengal<br />\nrecension. Gorresio translates it. and observes: “I think that<br />\nChapter XXVIII.—The Auspicious Signs—is an addition, a later<br />\ninterpolation by the Rhapsodists. It has no bond of connexion<br />\neither with what precedes or follows it, and may be struck out<br />\nnot only without injury to, but positively to the advantage of the<br />\npoem. The metre in which this chapter is written differs from<br />\nthat which is generally adopted in the course of the poem.”]<br />\nCanto XXX. Hanumán\'s Deliberation.<br />\n845Kumbhakarṇa was one of Rávaṇ\'s brothers.<br />\n1450<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe Vánar watched concealed: each word<br />\nOf Sítá and the fiends he heard,<br />\nAnd in a maze of anxious thought<br />\nHis quick-conceiving bosom wrought.<br />\n“At length my watchful eyes have seen,<br />\nPursued so long, the Maithil queen,<br />\nSought by our Vánar hosts in vain<br />\nFrom east to west, from main to main.<br />\nA cautious spy have I explored<br />\nThe palace of the Rákhshas lord,<br />\nAnd thoroughly learned, concealed from sight,<br />\nThe giant monarch\'s power and might.<br />\nAnd now my task must be to cheer<br />\nThe royal dame who sorrows here.<br />\nFor if I go, and soothe her not,<br />\nA captive in this distant spot,<br />\nShe, when she finds no comfort nigh,<br />\nWill sink beneath her woes and die.<br />\nHow shall my tale, if unconsoled<br />\nI leave her, be to Ráma told?<br />\nHow shall I answer Raghu\'s son,<br />\n“No message from my darling, none?”<br />\nThe husband\'s wrath, to fury fanned,<br />\nWill scorch me lifeless where I stand,<br />\nOr if I urge my lord the king<br />\nTo Lanká\'s isle his hosts to bring,<br />\nIn vain will be his zeal, in vain<br />\nThe toil, the danger, and the pain.<br />\nYea, this occasion must I seize<br />\nThat from her guard the lady frees,846<br />\nTo win her ear with soft address<br />\nAnd whisper hope in dire distress.<br />\n846The guards are still in the grove, but they are asleep; and Sítá has crept to a<br />\ntree at some distance from them.<br />\nCanto XXX. Hanumán\'s Deliberation.<br />\n1451<br />\nShall I, a puny Vánar, choose<br />\nThe Sanskrit men delight to use?<br />\nIf, as a man of Bráhman kind,<br />\nI speak the tongue by rules refined,<br />\nThe lady, yielding to her fears,<br />\nWill think \'tis Rávaṇ\'s voice she hears.<br />\nI must assume my only plan—<br />\nThe language of a common847man.<br />\nYet, if the lady sees me nigh,<br />\n[412]<br />\nIn terror she will start and cry;<br />\nAnd all the demon band, alarmed,<br />\nWill come with various weapons armed,<br />\nWith their wild shouts the grove will fill,<br />\nAnd strive to take me, or to kill.<br />\nAnd, at my death or capture, dies<br />\nThe hope of Ráma`s enterprise.<br />\nFor none can leap, save only me,<br />\nA hundred leagues across the sea.<br />\nIt is a sin in me, I own,<br />\nTo talk with Janak\'s child alone.<br />\nYet greater is the sin if I<br />\nBe silent, and the lady die.<br />\nFirst I will utter Ráma\'s name,<br />\nAnd laud the hero\'s gifts and fame.<br />\nPerchance the name she holds so dear<br />\n847“As the reason assigned in these passages for not addressing Sítá in Sanskrit<br />\nsuch as a Bráhman would use is not that she would not understand it, but that<br />\nit would alarm her and be unsuitable to the speaker, we must take them as<br />\nindicating that Sanskrit, if not spoken by women of the upper classes at the<br />\ntime when the Rámáyaṇa was written (whenever that may have been), was at<br />\nleast understood by them, and was commonly spoken by men of the priestly<br />\nclass, and other educated persons. By the Sanskrit proper to an [ordinary] man,<br />\nalluded to in the second passage, may perhaps be understood not a language in<br />\nwhich words different from Sanskrit were used, but the employment of formal<br />\nand elaborate diction.” MUIR\'S{FNS Sanskrit Texts, Part II. p. 166.<br />\n1452<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWill soothe the faithful lady\'s fear.”<br />\nCanto XXXI. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\nThen in sweet accents low and mild<br />\nThe Vánar spoke to Janak\'s child:<br />\n“A noble king, by sin unstained,<br />\nThe mighty Daśaratha reigned.<br />\nLord of the warrior\'s car and steed,<br />\nThe pride of old Ikshváku\'s seed.<br />\nA faithful friend, a blameless king,<br />\nProtector of each living thing.<br />\nA glorious monarch, strong to save,<br />\nBlest with the bliss he freely gave.<br />\nHis son, the best of all who know<br />\nThe science of the bended bow,<br />\nWas moon-bright Ráma, brave and strong,<br />\nWho loved the right and loathed the wrong,<br />\nWho ne\'er from kingly duty swerved,<br />\nLoved by the lands his might preserved.<br />\nHis feet the path of law pursued;<br />\nHis arm rebellious foes subdued.<br />\nHis sire\'s command the prince obeyed<br />\nAnd, banished, sought the forest shade,<br />\nWhere with his wife and brother he<br />\nWandered a saintly devotee.<br />\nThere as he roamed the wilds he slew<br />\nThe bravest of the Rákshas crew.<br />\nThe giant king the prince beguiled,<br />\nAnd stole his consort, Janak\'s child.<br />\nThen Ráma roamed the country round,<br />\nCanto XXXII. Sítá\'s Doubt.<br />\n1453<br />\nAnd a firm friend, Sugríva, found,<br />\nLord of the Vánar race, expelled<br />\nFrom his own realm which Báli held,<br />\nHe conquered Báli and restored<br />\nThe kingdom to the rightful lord.<br />\nThen by Sugríva\'s high decree<br />\nThe Vánar legions searched for thee,<br />\nSampáti\'s counsel bade me leap<br />\nA hundred leagues across the deep.<br />\nAnd now my happy eyes have seen<br />\nAt last the long-sought Maithil queen.<br />\nSuch was the form, the eye, the grace<br />\nOf her whom Ráma bade me trace.”<br />\nHe ceased: her flowing locks she drew<br />\nTo shield her from a stranger\'s view;<br />\nThen, trembling in her wild surprise,<br />\nRaised to the tree her anxious eyes.<br />\nCanto XXXII. Sítá\'s Doubt.<br />\nHer eyes the Maithil lady raised<br />\nAnd on the monkey speaker gazed.<br />\nShe looked, and trembling at the sight<br />\nWept bitter tears in wild affright.<br />\nShe shrank a while with fear distraught,<br />\nThen, nerved again, the lady thought:<br />\n“Is this a dream mine eyes have seen,<br />\nThis creature, by our laws unclean?<br />\nO, may the Gods keep Ráma, still,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ, and my sire, from ill!<br />\n1454<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIt is no dream: I have not slept,<br />\nBut, trouble-worn, have watched and wept<br />\nAfar from that dear lord of mine<br />\nFor whom in ceaseless woe I pine,<br />\nNo art may soothe my wild distress<br />\nOr lull me to forgetfulness.<br />\nI see but him: my lips can frame<br />\nNo syllable but Ráma\'s name.<br />\nEach sight I see, each sound I hear,<br />\nBrings Ráma to mine eye or ear,<br />\nThe wish was in my heart, and hence<br />\nThe sweet illusion mocked my sense.<br />\n\'Twas but a phantom of the mind,<br />\nAnd yet the voice was soft and kind.<br />\nBe glory to the Eternal Sire,848<br />\nBe glory to the Lord of Fire,<br />\nThe mighty Teacher in the skies,849<br />\nAnd Indra with his thousand eyes,<br />\nAnd may they grant the truth to be<br />\nE\'en as the words that startled me.”<br />\n[413]<br />\nCanto XXXIII. The Colloquy.<br />\n848Svayambhu, the Self-existent, Brahmá.<br />\n849Vṛihaspati or Váchaspati, the Lord of Speech and preceptor of the Gods.<br />\nCanto XXXIII. The Colloquy.<br />\n1455<br />\nDown from the tree Hanumán came<br />\nAnd humbly stood before the dame.<br />\nThen joining reverent palm to palm<br />\nAddressed her thus with words of balm:<br />\n“Why should the tears of sorrow rise,<br />\nSweet lady, to those lovely eyes,<br />\nAs when the wind-swept river floods<br />\nTwo half expanded lotus buds?<br />\nWho art thou, O most fair of face?<br />\nOf Asur,850or celestial race?<br />\nDid Nága mother give thee birth?<br />\nFor sure thou art no child of earth.<br />\nDo Rudras851claim that heavenly form?<br />\nOr the swift Gods852who ride the storm?<br />\nOr art thou Rohiṇí853the blest,<br />\nThat star more lovely than the rest,—<br />\nReft from the Moon thou lovest well<br />\nAnd doomed a while on earth to dwell?<br />\nOr canst thou, fairest wonder, be<br />\nThe starry queen Arundhatí,854<br />\nFled in thy wrath or jealous pride<br />\nFrom her dear lord Vaśishṭha\'s side?<br />\nWho is the husband, father, son<br />\nOr brother, O thou loveliest one,<br />\nGone from this world in heaven to dwell,<br />\nFor whom those eyes with weeping swell?<br />\nYet, by the tears those sweet eyes shed,<br />\n850The Asurs were the fierce enemies of the Gods.<br />\n851The Rudras are manifestations of Śiva.<br />\n852The Maruts or Storm Gods.<br />\n853RohiṇíisanasterismpersonifiedasthedaughterofDakshaandthefavourite<br />\nwife of the Moon. The chief star in the constellation is Aldebaran.<br />\n854Arundhatí was the wife of the great sage Vaśishṭha, and regarded as the<br />\npattern of conjugal excellence. She was raised to the heavens as one of the<br />\nPleiades.<br />\n1456<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nYet, by the earth that bears thy tread,855<br />\nBy calling on a monarch\'s name,<br />\nNo Goddess but a royal dame.<br />\nArt thou the queen, fair lady, say,<br />\nWhom Rávaṇ stole and bore away?<br />\nYea, by that agony of woe,<br />\nThat form unrivalled here below,<br />\nThat votive garb, thou art, I ween,<br />\nKing Janak\'s child and Ráma\'s queen.”<br />\nHope at the name of Ráma woke,<br />\nAnd thus the gentle lady spoke:<br />\n“I am that Sítá wooed and won<br />\nBy Daśaratha\'s royal son,<br />\nThe noblest of Ikshváku\'s line;<br />\nAnd every earthly joy was mine.<br />\nBut Ráma left his royal home<br />\nIn Daṇḍak\'s tangled wilds to roam.<br />\nWhere with Sumitrá\'s son and me,<br />\nHe lived a saintly devotee.<br />\nThe giant Rávaṇ came with guile<br />\nAnd bore me thence to Lanká\'s isle.<br />\nSome respite yet the fiend allows,<br />\nTwo months of life, to Ráma\'s spouse.<br />\nTwo moons of hopeless woe remain,<br />\nAnd then the captive will be slain.”<br />\n855The Gods do not shed tears; nor do they touch the ground when they walk<br />\nor stand. Similarly Milton\'s angels marched above the ground and “the passive<br />\nair upbore their nimble tread.” Virgil\'s “vera incessu patuit dea” may refer to<br />\nthe same belief.<br />\nCanto XXXIV. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\n1457<br />\nCanto XXXIV. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\nThus spoke the dame in mournful mood,<br />\nAnd Hanumán his speech renewed:<br />\n“O lady, by thy lord\'s decree<br />\nI come a messenger to thee.<br />\nThy lord is safe with steadfast friends,<br />\nAnd greeting to his queen he sends,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ, ever faithful bows<br />\nHis reverent head to Ráma\'s spouse.”<br />\nThrough all her frame the rapture ran,<br />\nAs thus again the dame began:<br />\n“Now verily the truth I know<br />\nOf the wise saw of long ago:<br />\n“Once only in a hundred years<br />\nTrue joy to living man appears.”<br />\nHe marked her rapture-beaming hue,<br />\nAnd nearer to the lady drew,<br />\nBut at each onward step he took<br />\nSuspicious fear her spirit shook.<br />\n“Alas, Alas,” she cried in fear.<br />\n“False is the tale I joyed to hear.<br />\n\'Tis Rávaṇ, \'tis the fiend, who tries<br />\nTo mock me with a new disguise.<br />\nIf thou, to wring my woman\'s heart,<br />\nHast changed thy shape by magic art,<br />\nAnd wouldst a helpless dame beguile,<br />\nThe wicked deed is doubly vile.<br />\nBut no: that fiend thou canst not be:<br />\nSuch joy I had from seeing thee.<br />\nBut if my fancy does not err,<br />\nAnd thou art Ráma\'s messenger,<br />\n1458<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe glories of my lord repeat:<br />\nFor to these ears such words are sweet.”<br />\nThe Vánar knew the lady\'s thought,856<br />\nAnd gave the answer fondly sought:<br />\n[414]<br />\n“Bright as the sun that lights the sky<br />\nDear as the Moon to every eye.<br />\nHe scatters blessings o\'er the land<br />\nLike bounties from Vaiśravaṇ\'s857hand.<br />\nLike Vishṇu strong and unsubdued,<br />\nUnmatched in might and fortitude.<br />\nWise, truthful as the Lord of Speech,<br />\nWith gentle words he welcomes each.<br />\nOf noblest mould and form is he,<br />\nLike love\'s incarnate deity.<br />\nHe quells the fury of the foe,<br />\nAnd strikes when justice prompts the blow.<br />\nSafe in the shadow of his arm<br />\nThe world is kept from scathe and harm.<br />\nNow soon shall Rávaṇ rue his theft,<br />\nAnd fall, of realm and life bereft.<br />\nFor Ráma\'s wrathful hand shall wing<br />\nHis shafts against the giant king.<br />\nThe day, O Maithil Queen, is near<br />\nWhen he and Lakshmaṇ will be here,<br />\nAnd by their side Sugríva lead<br />\nHis countless hosts of Vánar breed.<br />\nSugríva\'s servant, I, by name<br />\nHanumán, by his order came.<br />\nWith desperate leap I crossed the sea<br />\nTo Lanká\'s isle in search of thee,<br />\n856That a friend of Ráma would praise him as he should be praised, and that if<br />\nthe stranger were Rávaṇ in disguise he would avoid the subject.<br />\n857Kuvera the God of Gold.<br />\nCanto XXXV. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\n1459<br />\nNo traitor, gentle dame, am I:<br />\nUpon my word and faith rely.”<br />\nCanto XXXV. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\nWith joyous heart she heard him tell<br />\nOf the great lord she loved so well,<br />\nAnd in sweet accents, soft and low,<br />\nSpoke, half forgetful of her woe:<br />\n“How didst thou stand by Ráma\'s side?<br />\nHow came my lord and thou allied?<br />\nHow met the people of the wood<br />\nWith men on terms of brotherhood?<br />\nDeclare each grace and regal sign<br />\nThat decks the lords of Raghu\'s line.<br />\nEach circumstance and look relate:<br />\nTell Ráma\'s form and speech, and gait.”<br />\n“Thy fear and doubt,” he cried, “dispelled,<br />\nHear, lady, what mine eyes beheld.<br />\nHear the imperial signs that grace<br />\nThe glory of Ikshváku\'s race.<br />\nWith moon-bright face and lotus eyes,<br />\nMost beautiful and good and wise,<br />\nWith sun-like glory round his head,<br />\nLong-suffering as the earth we tread,<br />\nHe from all foes his realm defends.<br />\nYea, o\'er the world his care extends.<br />\nHe follows right in all his ways,<br />\nAnd ne\'er from royal duty strays.<br />\nHe knows the lore that strengthens kings;<br />\n1460<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHis heart to truth and honour clings.<br />\nEach grace and gift of form and mind<br />\nAdorns that prince of human kind;<br />\nAnd virtues like his own endue<br />\nHis brother ever firm and true.<br />\nO\'er all the land they roamed distraught,<br />\nAnd thee with vain endeavour sought,<br />\nUntil at length their wandering feet<br />\nTrod wearily our wild retreat.<br />\nOur banished king Sugríva spied<br />\nThe princes from the mountain side.<br />\nBy his command I sought the pair<br />\nAnd led them to our monarch there.<br />\nThus Ráma and Sugríva met,<br />\nAnd joined the bonds that knit them yet,<br />\nWhen each besought the other\'s aid,<br />\nAnd friendship and alliance made.<br />\nAn arrow launched from Ráma\'s bow<br />\nLaid Báli dead, Sugríva\'s foe.<br />\nThen by commandment of our lord<br />\nThe Vánar hosts each land explored.<br />\nWe reached the coast: I crossed the sea<br />\nAnd found my way at length to thee.”858<br />\nCanto XXXVI. Ráma\'s Ring.<br />\n858Sítá of course knows nothing of what has happened to Ráma since the time<br />\nwhen she was carried away by Rávaṇ. The poet therefore thinks it necessary to<br />\nrepeat the whole story of the meeting between Ráma and Sugríva, the defeat of<br />\nBálí, and subsequent events. I give the briefest possible outline of the story.<br />\nCanto XXXVI. Ráma\'s Ring.<br />\n1461<br />\n“Receive,” he cried, “this precious ring,859<br />\nSure token from thy lord the king:<br />\nThe golden ring he wont to wear:<br />\nSee, Ráma\'s name engraven there.”<br />\nThen, as she took the ring he showed,<br />\nThe tears that spring of rapture flowed.<br />\nShe seemed to touch the hand that sent<br />\nThe dearly valued ornament,<br />\nAnd with her heart again at ease,<br />\nReplied in gentle words like these:<br />\n“O thou, whose soul no fears deter,<br />\nWise, brave, and faithful messenger!<br />\nAnd hast thou dared, o\'er wave and foam,<br />\nTo seek me in the giants\' home?<br />\nIn thee, true messenger, I find<br />\nThe noblest of thy woodland kind.<br />\nWho couldst, unmoved by terror, brook<br />\nOn Rávaṇ, king of fiends, to look.<br />\n[415]<br />\nNow may we commune here as friends,<br />\nFor he whom royal Ráma sends<br />\nMust needs be one in danger tried,<br />\nA valiant, wise, and faithful guide.<br />\nSay, is it well with Ráma still?<br />\nLives Lakshmaṇ yet untouched by ill?<br />\nThen why should Ráma\'s hand be slow<br />\nTo free his consort from her woe?<br />\nWhy spare to burn, in search of me,<br />\nThe land encircled by the sea?<br />\nCan Bharat send no army out<br />\nWith banners, cars and battle shout?<br />\nCannot thy king Sugríva lend<br />\nHis legions to assist his friend?”<br />\n859DE GUBERNATIS{FNS thinks that this ring which the Sun Ráma sends to<br />\nthe Dawn Sítá is a symbol of the sun\'s disc.<br />\n1462<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHis hands upon his head he laid<br />\nAnd thus again his answer made:<br />\n“Not yet has Ráma learnt where lies<br />\nHis lady of the lotus eyes,<br />\nOr he like Indra from the sky<br />\nTo Śachí\'s860aid, to thee would fly.<br />\nSoon will he hear the tale, and then,<br />\nRoused to revenge, the lord of men<br />\nWill to the giants\' island lead<br />\nFierce myriads of the woodland breed,<br />\nBridging his conquering way, and make<br />\nThe town a ruin for thy sake.<br />\nBelieve my words, sweet dame; I swear<br />\nBy roots and fruit, my woodland fare,<br />\nBy Meru\'s peak and Vindhva\'s chain,<br />\nAnd Mandar of the Milky Main,<br />\nSoon shalt thou see thy lord, though now<br />\nHe waits upon Praśravaṇ\'s861brow,<br />\nCome glorious as the breaking morn,<br />\nLike Indra on Airávat862borne.<br />\nFor thee he looks with longing eyes;<br />\nThe wood his scanty food supplies.<br />\nFor thee his brow is pale and worn,<br />\nFor thee are meat and wine forsworn.<br />\nThine image in his heart he keeps,<br />\nFor thee by night he wakes and weeps.<br />\nOr if perchance his eyes he close<br />\nAnd win brief respite from his woes,<br />\nE\'en then the name of Sítá slips<br />\nIn anguish from his murmuring lips.<br />\n860Śachí is the loved and lovely wife of Indra, and she is taken as the type of a<br />\nwoman protected by a jealous and all-powerful husband.<br />\n861The mountain near Kishkindhá.<br />\n862Airávat is the mighty elephant on which Indra delights to ride.<br />\nCanto XXXVII. Sítá\'s Speech.<br />\n1463<br />\nIf lovely flowers or fruit he sees,<br />\nWhich women love, upon the trees,<br />\nTo thee, to thee his fancy flies.<br />\nAnd ‘Sítá! O my love!’ he cries.”<br />\nCanto XXXVII. Sítá\'s Speech.<br />\n“Thou bringest me,” she cried again,<br />\n“A mingled draught of bliss and pain:<br />\nBliss, that he wears me in his heart,<br />\nPain, that he wakes and weeps apart,<br />\nO, see how Fate is king of all,<br />\nNow lifts us high, now bids us fall,<br />\nAnd leads a captive bound with cord<br />\nThe meanest slave, the proudest lord,<br />\nThus even now Fate\'s stern decree<br />\nHas struck with grief my lord and me.<br />\nSay, how shall Ráma reach the shore<br />\nOf sorrow\'s waves that rise and roar,<br />\nA shipwrecked sailor, well nigh drowned<br />\nIn the wild sea that foams around?<br />\nWhen will he smite the demon down,<br />\nLay low in dust the giants\' town,<br />\nAnd, glorious from his foes\' defeat,<br />\nHis wife, his long-lost Sítá, meet?<br />\nGo, bid him speed to smite his foes<br />\nBefore the year shall reach its close.<br />\nTen months are fled but two remain,<br />\nThen Rávaṇ\'s captive must be slain.<br />\nOft has Vibhishaṇ,863just and wise,<br />\n863Vibhishaṇ is the wicked Rávaṇ\'s good brother.<br />\n1464<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBesought him to restore his prize.<br />\nBut deaf is Rávaṇ\'s senseless ear:<br />\nHis brother\'s rede he will not hear.<br />\nVibhishaṇ\'s daughter864loves me well:<br />\nFrom her I learnt the tale I tell.<br />\nAvindhva865prudent, just, and old,<br />\nThe giant\'s fall has oft foretold;<br />\nBut Fate impels him to despise<br />\nHis word on whom he most relies.<br />\nIn Ráma\'s love I rest secure,<br />\nFor my fond heart is true and pure,<br />\nAnd him, my noblest lord, I deem<br />\nIn valour, power, and might supreme.”<br />\nAs from her eyes the waters ran,<br />\nThe Vánar chief again began:<br />\n“Yea, Ráma, when he hears my tale,<br />\nWill with our hosts these walls assail.<br />\nOr I myself, O Queen, this day<br />\nWill bear thee from the fiend away,<br />\nWill lift thee up, and take thee hence<br />\nTo him thy refuge and defence;<br />\nWill take thee in my arms, and flee<br />\nTo Ráma far beyond the sea;<br />\nWill place thee on Praśravaṇ hill<br />\nWhere Raghu\'s son is waiting still.”<br />\n[416]<br />\n“How canst thou bear me hence?” she cried,<br />\n“The way is long, the sea is wide.<br />\nTo bear my very weight would be<br />\nA task too hard for one like thee.”866<br />\n864Her name is Kalá, or in the Bengal recension Nandá.<br />\n865One of Rávaṇ\'s chief councillors.<br />\n866Hanumán when he entered the city had in order to escape observation<br />\ncondensed himself to the size of a cat.<br />\nCanto XXXVII. Sítá\'s Speech.<br />\n1465<br />\nSwift rose before her startled eyes<br />\nThe Vánar in his native size,<br />\nLike Mandar\'s hill or Meru\'s height,<br />\nEncircled with a blaze of light.<br />\n“O come,” he cried, “thy fears dispel,<br />\nNor doubt that I will bear thee well.<br />\nCome, in my strength and care confide,<br />\nAnd sit in joy by Ráma\'s side.”<br />\nAgain she spake: “I know thee now,<br />\nBrave, resolute, and strong art thou;<br />\nIn glory like the Lord of Fire<br />\nWith storm-swift feet which naught may tire<br />\nBut yet with thee I may not fly:<br />\nFor, borne so swiftly through the sky,<br />\nMine eyes would soon grow faint and dim,<br />\nMy dizzy brain would reel and swim,<br />\nMy yielding arms relax their hold,<br />\nAnd I in terror uncontrolled<br />\nShould fall into the raging sea<br />\nWhere hungry sharks would feed on me.<br />\nNor can I touch, of free accord,<br />\nThe limbs of any save my lord.<br />\nIf, by the giant forced away,<br />\nIn his enfolding arms I lay,<br />\nNot mine, O Vánar, was the blame;<br />\nWhat could I do, a helpless dame?<br />\nGo, to my lord my message bear,<br />\nAnd bid him end my long despair.”<br />\n1466<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XXXVIII. Sítá\'s Gem.<br />\nAgain the Vánar chief replied,<br />\nWith her wise answer satisfied:<br />\n“Well hast thou said: thou canst not brave<br />\nThe rushing wind, the roaring wave.<br />\nThy woman\'s heart would sink with fear<br />\nBefore the ocean shore were near.<br />\nAnd for thy dread lest limb of thine<br />\nShould for a while be touched by mine,<br />\nThe modest fear is worthy one<br />\nWhose cherished lord is Raghu\'s son.<br />\nYet when I sought to bear thee hence<br />\nI spoke the words of innocence,<br />\nImpelled to set the captive free<br />\nBy friendship for thy lord and thee.<br />\nBut if with me thou wilt not try<br />\nThe passage of the windy sky,<br />\nGive me a gem that I may show,<br />\nSome token which thy lord may know.”<br />\nAgain the Maithil lady spoke,<br />\nWhile tears and sobs her utterance broke:<br />\n“The surest of all signs is this,<br />\nTo tell the tale of vanished bliss.<br />\nThus in my name to Ráma speak:<br />\n“Remember Chitrakúṭa\'s peak<br />\nAnd the green margin of the rill867<br />\nThat flows beside that pleasant hill,<br />\nWhere thou and I together strayed<br />\nDelighting in the tangled shade.<br />\n867The brook Mandákiní, not far from Chitrakúṭa where Ráma sojourned for<br />\na time.<br />\nCanto XXXVIII. Sítá\'s Gem.<br />\n1467<br />\nThere on the grass I sat with thee<br />\nAnd laid my head upon thy knee.<br />\nThere came a greedy crow and pecked<br />\nThe meat I waited to protect<br />\nAnd, heedless of the clods I threw,<br />\nAbout my head in circles flew,<br />\nUntil by darling hunger pressed<br />\nHe boldly pecked me on the breast.<br />\nI ran to thee in rage and grief<br />\nAnd prayed for vengeance on the thief.<br />\nThen Ráma868from his slumber rose<br />\nAnd smiled with pity at my woes.<br />\nUpon my bleeding breast he saw<br />\nThe scratches made by beak and claw.<br />\nHe laid an arrow on his bow,<br />\nAnd launched it at the shameless crow.<br />\nThat shaft, with magic power endued,<br />\nThe bird, where\'er he flew, pursued,<br />\nTill back to Raghu\'s son he fled<br />\nAnd bent at Ráma\'s feet his head.869<br />\nCouldst thou for me with anger stirred<br />\nLaunch that dire shaft upon a bird,<br />\nAnd yet canst pardon him who stole<br />\nThe darling of thy heart and soul?<br />\nRise up, O bravest of the brave,<br />\nAnd come in all thy might to save.<br />\nCome with the thunders of thy bow,<br />\nAnd smite to earth the Rákshas foe.”<br />\nShe ceased; and from her glorious hair<br />\nShe took a gem that sparkled there<br />\n868The poet here changes from the second person to the third.<br />\n869The whole long story is repeated with some slight variations and additions<br />\nfrom Book II, Canto XCVI. I give here only the outline.<br />\n1468<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nA token which her husband\'s eyes<br />\nWith eager love would recognize.<br />\nHis head the Vánar envoy bent<br />\nIn low obeisance reverent.<br />\nAnd on his finger bound the gem<br />\nShe loosened from her diadem.<br />\n[I omit two Cantos of dialogue. Sítá tells Hanumán again to<br />\nconvey her message to Ráma and bid him hasten to rescue her.<br />\nHanumán replies as before that there is no one on earth equal to<br />\nRáma, who will soon come and destroy Rávaṇ. There is not a<br />\nnew idea in the two Cantos: all is reiteration.]<br />\n[417]<br />\nCanto XLI. The Ruin Of The Grove.<br />\nDismissed with every honour due<br />\nThe Vánar from the spot withdrew.<br />\nThen joyous thought the Wind-God\'s son:<br />\n“The mighty task is wellnigh done.<br />\nThe three expedients I must leave;<br />\nThe fourth alone can I achieve.870<br />\nThese dwellers in the giants\' isle<br />\nNo arts of mine can reconcile.<br />\nI cannot bribe: I cannot sow<br />\nDissension mid the Rákshas foe.<br />\nArts, gifts, address, these fiends despise;<br />\n870The expedients to vanquish an enemy or to make him come to terms are said<br />\nto be four: conciliation, gifts, disunion, and force or punishment. Hanumán<br />\nconsiders it useless to employ the first three and resolves to punish Rávaṇ by<br />\ndestroying his pleasure-grounds.<br />\nCanto XLI. The Ruin Of The Grove.<br />\n1469<br />\nBut force shall yet their king chastise.<br />\nPerchance he may relent when all<br />\nThe bravest of his chieftains fall.<br />\nThis lovely grove will I destroy,<br />\nThe cruel Rávaṇ\'s pride and joy.<br />\nThe garden where he takes his ease<br />\nMid climbing plants and flowery trees<br />\nThat lift their proud tops to the skies,<br />\nDear to the tyrant as his eyes.<br />\nThen will he rouse in wrath, and lead<br />\nHis legions with the car and steed<br />\nAnd elephants in long array,<br />\nAnd seek me thirsty for the fray.<br />\nThe Rákshas legions will I meet,<br />\nAnd all his bravest host defeat;<br />\nThen, glorious from the bloody plain,<br />\nTurn to my lord the king again.”<br />\nThen every lovely tree that bore<br />\nFair blossoms, from the soil he tore,<br />\nTill each green bough that lent its shade<br />\nTo singing birds on earth was laid.<br />\nThe wilderness he left a waste,<br />\nThe fountains shattered and defaced:<br />\nO\'erthrew and levelled with the ground<br />\nEach shady seat and pleasure-mound.<br />\nEach arbour clad with climbing bloom,<br />\nEach grotto, cell, and picture room,<br />\nEach lawn by beast and bird enjoyed,<br />\nEach walk and terrace was destroyed.<br />\nAnd all the place that was so fair<br />\nWas left a ruin wild and bare,<br />\nAs if the fury of the blast<br />\nOr raging fire had o\'er it passed.<br />\n1470<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XLII. The Giants Roused.<br />\nThe cries of startled birds, the sound<br />\nOf tall trees crashing to the ground,<br />\nStruck with amaze each giant\'s ear,<br />\nAnd filled the isle with sudden fear.<br />\nThen, wakened by the crash and cries,<br />\nThe fierce shefiends unclosed their eyes,<br />\nAnd saw the Vánar where he stood<br />\nAmid the devastated wood.<br />\nThe more to scare them with the view<br />\nTo size immense the Vánar grew;<br />\nAnd straight the Rákshas warders cried<br />\nJanak\'s daughter terrified<br />\n“Whose envoy, whence, and who is he,<br />\nWhy has he come to talk with thee?<br />\nSpeak, lady of the lovely eyes,<br />\nAnd let not fear thy joy disguise.”<br />\nThen thus replied the Maithil dame<br />\nOf noble soul and perfect frame.<br />\n“Can I discern, with scanty skill,<br />\nThese fiends who change their forms at will?<br />\n\'Tis yours to say: your kin you meet;<br />\nA serpent knows a serpent\'s feet.<br />\nCanto XLII. The Giants Roused.<br />\n1471<br />\nI weet not who he is: the sight<br />\nHas filled my spirit with affright.”<br />\nSome pressed round Sítá in a ring;<br />\nSome bore the story to their king:<br />\n“A mighty creature of our race,<br />\nIn monkey form, has reached the place.<br />\nHe came within the grove,” they cried,<br />\n“He stood and talked by Sítá\'s side,<br />\nHe comes from Indra\'s court to her,<br />\nOr is Kuvera\'s messenger;<br />\nOr Ráma sent the spy to seek<br />\nHis consort, and her wrongs to wreak.<br />\nHis crushing arm, his trampling feet<br />\nHave marred and spoiled that dear retreat,<br />\nAnd all the pleasant place which thou<br />\nSo lovest is a ruin now.<br />\nThe tree where Sítá sat alone<br />\nIs spared where all are overthrown.<br />\nPerchance he saved the dame from harm:<br />\nPerchance the toil had numbed his arm.”<br />\nThen flashed the giant\'s eye with fire<br />\nLike that which lights the funeral pyre.<br />\nHe bade his bravest Kinkars871speed<br />\n[418]<br />\nAnd to his feet the spoiler lead.<br />\nForth from the palace, at his hest,<br />\nTwice forty thousand warriors pressed.<br />\nBurning for battle, strong and fierce,<br />\nWith clubs to crush and swords to pierce,<br />\nThey saw Hanúmán near a porch,<br />\nAnd, thick as moths around a torch,<br />\n871Kinkar means the special servant of a sovereign, who receives his orders<br />\nimmediately from his master. The Bengal recension gives these Rákshases an<br />\nepithetwhichtheCommentatorexplains“asgeneratedinthemindofBrahmá.”<br />\n1472<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nRushed on the foe with wild attacks<br />\nOf mace and club and battle-axe.<br />\nAs round him pressed the Rákshas crowd,<br />\nThe wondrous monkey roared aloud,<br />\nThat birds fell headlong from the sky:<br />\nThen spake he with a mighty cry:<br />\n“Long life to Daśaratha\'s heir,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ, ever-glorious pair!<br />\nLong life to him who rules our race,<br />\nPreserved by noblest Ráma\'s grace!<br />\nI am the slave of Kośal\'s king,872<br />\nWhose wondrous deeds the minstrels sing.<br />\nHanúmán I, the Wind-God\'s seed:<br />\nBeneath this arm the foemen bleed.<br />\nI fear not, unapproached in might,<br />\nA thousand Rávaṇ\'s ranged for fight,<br />\nAlthough in furious hands they rear<br />\nThe hill and tree for sword and spear,<br />\nI will, before the giants\' eyes,<br />\nTheir city and their king chastise;<br />\nAnd, having communed with the dame,<br />\nDepart in triumph as I came.”<br />\nAt that terrific roar and yell<br />\nThe heart of every giant fell.<br />\nBut still their king\'s command they feared<br />\nAnd pressed around with arms upreared.<br />\nBeside the porch a club was laid:<br />\nThe Vánar caught it up, and swayed<br />\nThe weapon round his head, and slew<br />\nThe foremost of the Rákshas crew.<br />\nThus Indra vanquished, thousand-eyed,<br />\nThe Daityas who the Gods defied.<br />\n872Ráma de jure King of Kośal of which Ayodhyá was the capital.<br />\nCanto XLIII. The Ruin Of The Temple.<br />\n1473<br />\nThen on the porch Hanúmán sprang,<br />\nAnd loud his shout of triumph rang.<br />\nThe giants looked upon the dead,<br />\nAnd turning to their monarch fled.<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ with his spirit wrought<br />\nTo frenzy by the tale they brought,<br />\nUrged to the fight Prahasta\'s son,<br />\nOf all his chiefs the mightiest one.<br />\nCanto XLIII. The Ruin Of The Temple.<br />\nThe Wind-God\'s son a temple873scaled<br />\nWhich, by his fury unassailed,<br />\nHigh as the hill of Meru, stood<br />\nAmid the ruins of the wood;<br />\nAnd in his fury thundered out<br />\nAgain his haughty battle-shout:<br />\n“I am the slave of Kośal\'s King<br />\nWhose wondrous deeds the minstrels sing.”<br />\nForth hurried, by that shout alarmed,<br />\nThe warders of the temple armed<br />\nWith every weapon haste supplied,<br />\nAnd closed him in on every side,<br />\nWith bands that strove to pierce and strike<br />\nWith shaft and axe and club and pike.<br />\nThen from its base the Vánar tore<br />\nA pillar with the weight it bore.<br />\nAgainst the wall the mass he dashed,<br />\n873Chaityaprásáda is explained by the Commentator as the place where the<br />\nGodsoftheRákshaseswerekept. Gorresiotranslatesitby“ungrandeedificio.”<br />\n1474<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd forth the flames in answer flashed,<br />\nThat wildly ran o\'er roofs and wall<br />\nIn hungry rage consuming all.<br />\nHe whirled the pillar round his head<br />\nAnd struck a hundred giants dead.<br />\nThen high upheld on air he rose<br />\nAnd called in thunder to his foes:<br />\n“A thousand Vánar chiefs like me<br />\nRoam at their will o\'er land and sea,<br />\nTerrific might we all possess:<br />\nOur stormy speed is limitless.<br />\nAnd all, unconquered in the fray,<br />\nOur king Sugríva\'s word obey.<br />\nBacked by his bravest myriads, he<br />\nOur warrior lord will cross the sea.<br />\nThen Lanká\'s lofty towers, and all<br />\nYour hosts and Rávaṇ\'s self shall fall.<br />\nNone shall be left unslaughtered; none<br />\nWho braves the wrath of Raghu\'s son.”<br />\nCanto XLIV. Jambumáli\'s Death.<br />\nThen Jambumáli, pride and boast<br />\nFor valour of the Rákshas host,<br />\nPrahasta\'s son supremely brave,<br />\nObeyed the hest that Rávaṇ gave:<br />\nFierce warrior with terrific teeth,<br />\nWith saguine robes and brilliant wreath.<br />\nA bow like Indra\'s own874, and store<br />\n[419]<br />\n874The bow of Indra is the rainbow.<br />\nCanto XLIV. Jambumáli\'s Death.<br />\n1475<br />\nOf glittering shafts the chieftain bore.<br />\nAnd ever as the string he tried<br />\nThe weapon with a roar replied,<br />\nLoud as the crashing thunder sent<br />\nBy him who rules the firmament.<br />\nSoon as the foeman came in view<br />\nBorne on a car which asses drew,<br />\nThe Vánar chieftain mighty-voiced<br />\nShouted in triumph and rejoiced.<br />\nPrahasta\'s son his bow-string drew,<br />\nAnd swift the winged arrows flew,<br />\nOne in the face the Vánar smote,<br />\nAnother quivered in his throat.<br />\nTen from the deadly weapon sent<br />\nHis brawny arms and shoulders rent.<br />\nThen as he felt each galling shot<br />\nThe Vánar\'s rage waxed fiercely hot.<br />\nHe looked, and saw a mass of stone<br />\nThat lay before his feet o\'erthrown.<br />\nThe mighty block he raised and threw,<br />\nAnd crashing through the air it flew.<br />\nBut Jambumáli shunned the blow,<br />\nAnd rained fresh arrows from his bow.<br />\nThe Vánar\'s limbs were red with gore:<br />\nA Sál tree from the earth he tore,<br />\nAnd, ere he hurled it undismayed,<br />\nAbove his head the missile swayed.<br />\nBut shafts from Jambumáli\'s bow<br />\nCut through it ere his hand could throw.<br />\nAnd thigh and arm and chest and side<br />\nWith streams of rushing blood were dyed.<br />\nStill unsubdued though wounded oft<br />\nThe shattered trunk he raised aloft,<br />\nAnd down with well-directed aim<br />\n1476<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nOn Jambumáli\'s chest it came.<br />\nThere crushed upon the trampled grass<br />\nHe lay an undistinguished mass,<br />\nThe foeman\'s eye no more could see<br />\nHis head or chest or arm or knee.<br />\nAnd bow and car and steeds875and store<br />\nOf glittering shafts were seen no more.<br />\nWhen Jambumáli\'s death he heard,<br />\nKing Rávaṇ\'s heart with rage was stirred<br />\nAnd forth his general\'s sons he sent,<br />\nFor power and might preeminent.<br />\nCanto XLV. The Seven Defeated.<br />\nForth went the seven in brave attire,<br />\nIn glory brilliant as the fire,<br />\nImpetuous chiefs with massive bows,<br />\nThe quellers of a host of foes:<br />\nTrained from their youth in martial lore,<br />\nAnd masters of the arms they bore:<br />\nEach emulous and fiercely bold,<br />\nAnd banners wrought with glittering gold<br />\nWaved o\'er their chariots, drawn at speed<br />\nBy coursers of the noblest breed.<br />\nOn through the ruins of the grove<br />\nAt Hanumán they fiercely drove,<br />\nAnd from the ponderous bows they strained<br />\n875We were told a few lines before that the chariot of Jambumáli was drawn<br />\nby asses. Here horses are spoken of. The Commentator notices the discrepancy<br />\nand says that by horses asses are meant.<br />\nCanto XLV. The Seven Defeated.<br />\n1477<br />\nA shower of deadly arrows rained.<br />\nThen scarce was seen the Vánar\'s form<br />\nEnveloped in the arrowy storm.<br />\nSo stands half veiled the Mountains\' King<br />\nWhen rainy clouds about him cling.<br />\nBy nimble turn, by rapid bound<br />\nHe shunned the shafts that rained around,<br />\nEluding, as in air he rose,<br />\nThe rushing chariots of his foes.<br />\nThe mighty Vánar undismayed<br />\nAmid his archer foemen played,<br />\nAs plays the frolic wind on high<br />\nMid bow-armed876clouds that fill the sky.<br />\nHe raised a mighty roar and yell<br />\nThat fear on all the army fell,<br />\nAnd then, his warrior soul aglow<br />\nWith fury, rushed upon the foe,<br />\nSome with his open hand he beat<br />\nTo death and trampled with his feet;<br />\nSome with fierce nails he rent and slew,<br />\nAnd others with his fists o\'erthrew;<br />\nSome with his legs, as on he rushed,<br />\nSome with his bulky chest he crushed;<br />\nWhile some struck senseless by his roar<br />\nDropped on the ground and breathed no more,<br />\nThe remnant, seized with sudden dread,<br />\nTurned from the grove and wildly fled.<br />\nThe trampled earth was thickly strown<br />\nWith steed and car and flag o\'erthrown,<br />\nAnd the red blood in rivers flowed<br />\nFrom slaughtered fiends o\'er path and road.<br />\n876Armed with the bow of Indra, the rainbow.<br />\n1478<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XLVI. The Captains.<br />\nMad with the rage of injured pride<br />\nKing Rávaṇ summoned to his side<br />\nThe valiant five who led his host,<br />\nSupreme in war and honoured most.<br />\n“Go forth,” he cried, “with car and steed,<br />\nAnd to my feet this monkey lead,<br />\nBut watch each chance of time and place<br />\nTo seize this thing of silvan race.<br />\nFor from his wondrous exploits he<br />\nNo monkey of the woods can be,<br />\n[420]<br />\nBut some new kind of creature meant<br />\nTo work us woe, by Indra sent.<br />\nGandharvas, Nágas, and the best<br />\nOf Yakshas have our might confessed.<br />\nHave we not challenged and subdued<br />\nThe whole celestial multitude?<br />\nYet will you not, if you are wise,<br />\nA chief of monkey race despise.<br />\nFor I myself have Báli known,<br />\nAnd King Sugríva\'s power I own.<br />\nBut none of all their woodland throng<br />\nWas half so terrible and strong.”<br />\nObedient to the words he spake<br />\nThey hastened forth the foe to take.<br />\nSwift were the cars whereon they rode,<br />\nAnd bright their weapons flashed and glowed.<br />\nThey saw: they charged in wild career<br />\nWith sword and mace and axe and spear.<br />\nFrom Durdhar\'s bow five arrows sped<br />\nAnd quivered in the Vánar\'s head.<br />\nHe rose and roared: the fearful sound<br />\nCanto XLVII. The Death Of Aksha.<br />\n1479<br />\nMade all the region echo round.<br />\nThen from above his weight he threw<br />\nOn Durdhar\'s car that near him drew.<br />\nThe weight that came with lightning speed<br />\nCrushed pole and axle, car and steed.<br />\nIt shattered Durdhar\'s head and neck,<br />\nAnd left him lifeless mid the wreck.<br />\nYúpáksha saw the warrior die,<br />\nAnd Virúpáksha heard his cry,<br />\nAnd, mad for vengeance for the slain,<br />\nThey charged their Vánar foe again.<br />\nHe rose in air: they onward pressed<br />\nAnd fiercely smote him on the breast.<br />\nIn vain they struck his iron frame:<br />\nWith eagle swoop to earth he came,<br />\nTore from the ground a tree that grew<br />\nBeside him, and the demons slew.<br />\nThen Bhásakama raised his spear,<br />\nAnd Praghas with a laugh drew near,<br />\nAnd, maddened at the sight, the two<br />\nAgainst the undaunted Vánar flew.<br />\nAs from his wounds the torrents flowed,<br />\nLike a red sun the Vánar showed.<br />\nHe turned, a mountain peak to seize<br />\nWith all its beasts and snakes and trees.<br />\nHe hurled it on the pair: and they<br />\nCrushed, overwhelmed, beneath it lay.<br />\nCanto XLVII. The Death Of Aksha.<br />\n1480<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBut Rávaṇ, as his fury burned,<br />\nHis eyes on youthful Aksha877turned,<br />\nWho rose impetuous at his glance<br />\nAnd shouted for his bow and lance.<br />\nHe rode upon a glorious car<br />\nThat shot the light of gems afar.<br />\nHis pennon waved mid glittering gold<br />\nAnd bright the wheels with jewels rolled,<br />\nBy long and fierce devotion won<br />\nThat car was splendid as the sun.<br />\nWith rows of various weapons stored;<br />\nAnd thought-swift horses whirled their lord<br />\nRacing along the earth, or rose<br />\nHigh through the clouds whene\'er he chose.<br />\nThen fierce and fearful war between<br />\nThe Vánar and the fiend was seen.<br />\nThe Gods and Asurs stood amazed,<br />\nAnd on the wondrous combat gazed.<br />\nA cry from earth rose long and shrill,<br />\nThe wind was hushed, the sun grew chill.<br />\nThe thunder bellowed from the sky,<br />\nAnd troubled ocean roared reply.<br />\nThrice Aksha strained his dreadful bow,<br />\nThrice smote his arrow on the foe,<br />\nAnd with full streams of crimson bled<br />\nThree gashes in the Vánar\'s head.<br />\nThen rose Hanúmán in the air<br />\nTo shun the shafts no life could bear.<br />\nBut Aksha in his car pursued,<br />\nAnd from on high the fight renewed<br />\nWith storm of arrows, thick as hail<br />\nWhen angry clouds some hill assail.<br />\n877Rávaṇ\'s son.<br />\nCanto XLVIII. Hanumán Captured.<br />\n1481<br />\nImpatient of that arrowy shower<br />\nThe Vánar chief put forth his power,<br />\nAgain above his chariot rose<br />\nAnd smote him with repeated blows.<br />\nTerrific came each deadly stroke:<br />\nBreast neck and arm and back he broke;<br />\nAnd Aksha fell to earth, and lay<br />\nWith all his life-blood drained away.<br />\nCanto XLVIII. Hanumán Captured.<br />\nTo Indrajít878the bold and brave<br />\nThe giant king his mandate gave:<br />\n“O trained in warlike science, best<br />\nIn arms of all our mightiest,<br />\nWhose valour in the conflict shown<br />\nTo Asurs and to Gods is known,<br />\nThe Kinkars whom I sent are slain,<br />\nAnd Jambumálí and his train;<br />\nThe lords who led our giant bands<br />\nHave fallen by the monkey\'s hands;<br />\nWith shattered cars the ground is spread,<br />\nAnd Aksha lies amid the dead.<br />\nThou art my best and bravest: go,<br />\nUnmatched in power, and slay the foe.”<br />\n[421]<br />\nHe heard the hest: he bent his head;<br />\nAthirst for battle forth he sped.<br />\nFour tigers fierce, of tawny hue,<br />\nWith fearful teeth, his chariot drew.<br />\n878Conqueror of Indra, another of Rávaṇ\'s sons.<br />\n1482<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHanúmán heard his strong bow clang,<br />\nAnd swiftly from the earth he sprang,<br />\nWhile weak and ineffective fell<br />\nThe archer\'s shafts though pointed well.<br />\nThe Rákshas saw that naught might kill<br />\nThe wondrous foe who mocked his skill,<br />\nAnd launched a magic shaft to throw<br />\nA binding spell about his foe.<br />\nForth flew the shaft: the mystic charm<br />\nStayed his swift feet and numbed his arm,<br />\nThrough all his frame he felt the spell,<br />\nAnd motionless to earth he fell.<br />\nNor would the reverent Vánar loose<br />\nThe bonds that bound him as a noose.<br />\nHe knew that Brahmá\'s self had charmed<br />\nThe weapon that his might disarmed.<br />\nThey saw him helpless on the ground,<br />\nAnd all the giants pressed around,<br />\nAnd bonds of hemp and bark were cast<br />\nAbout his limbs to hold him fast.<br />\nThey drew the ropes round feet and wrists;<br />\nThey beat him with their hands and fists,<br />\nAnd dragged him as they strained the cord<br />\nWith shouts of triumph to their lord.879<br />\n879The śloka which follows is probably an interpolation, as it is inconsistent<br />\nwith the questioning in Canto L.:<br />\nHe looked on Rávaṇ in his pride,<br />\nAnd boldly to the monarch cried:<br />\n“I came an envoy to this place<br />\nFrom him who rules the Vánar race.”<br />\nCanto XLIX. Rávan.<br />\n1483<br />\nCanto XLIX. Rávan.<br />\nOn the fierce king Hanúmán turned<br />\nHis angry eyes that glowed and burned.<br />\nHe saw him decked with wealth untold<br />\nOf diamond and pearl and gold,<br />\nAnd priceless was each wondrous gem<br />\nThat sparkled in his diadem.<br />\nAbout his neck rich chains were twined,<br />\nThe best that fancy e\'er designed,<br />\nAnd a fair robe with pearls bestrung<br />\nDown from his mighty shoulders hung.<br />\nTen heads he reared,880as Mandar\'s hill<br />\nLifts woody peaks which tigers fill,<br />\nBright were his eyes, and bright, beneath,<br />\nThe flashes of his awful teeth.<br />\nHis brawny arms of wondrous size<br />\nWere decked with rings and scented dyes.<br />\nHis hands like snakes with five long heads<br />\nDescending from their mountain beds.<br />\nHe sat upon a crystal throne<br />\nInlaid with wealth of precious stone,<br />\nWhereon, of noblest work, was set<br />\nA gold-embroidered coverlet.<br />\nBehind the monarch stood the best<br />\nOf beauteous women gaily dressed,<br />\nAnd each her giant master fanned,<br />\nOr waved a chourie in her hand.<br />\n880ThetenheadsofRávaṇhaveprovokedmuchridiculefromEuropeancritics.<br />\nIt should be remembered that Spenser tells us of “two brethren giants, the one<br />\nof which had two heads, the other three;” and Milton speaks of the “four-fold<br />\nvisaged Four,” the four Cherubic shapes each of whom had four faces.<br />\n1484<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nFour noble courtiers881wise and good<br />\nIn counsel, near the monarch stood,<br />\nAs the four oceans ever stand<br />\nAbout the sea-encompassed land.<br />\nStill, though his heart with rage was fired,<br />\nThe Vánar marvelled and admired:<br />\n“O what a rare and wondrous sight!<br />\nWhat beauty, majesty, and might!<br />\nAll regal pomp combines to grace<br />\nThis ruler of the Rákshas race.<br />\nHe, if he scorned not right and law,<br />\nMight guide the world with tempered awe:<br />\nYea, Indra and the Gods on high<br />\nMight on his saving power rely.”<br />\nCanto L. Prahasta\'s Questions.<br />\nThen fierce the giant\'s fury blazed<br />\nAs on Hanúmán\'s form he gazed,<br />\nAnd shaken by each wild surmise<br />\nHe spake aloud with flashing eyes:<br />\n“Can this be Nandi882standing here,<br />\nThe mighty one whom all revere?<br />\nWho once on high Kailása\'s hill<br />\nPronounced the curse that haunts me still?<br />\nOr is the woodland creature one<br />\n881Durdhar,orastheBengalrecensionreadsMahodara,Prahasta,Mahápárśva,<br />\nand Nikumbha.<br />\n882The chief attendant of Śiva.<br />\nCanto L. Prahasta\'s Questions.<br />\n1485<br />\nOf Asur race, or Bali\'s883son?<br />\nThe wretch with searching question try:<br />\nLearn who he is, and whence; and why<br />\nHe marred the glory of the grove,<br />\nAnd with my captains fiercely strove.”<br />\n[422]<br />\nPrahasta heard his lord\'s behest,<br />\nAnd thus the Vánar chief addressed:<br />\n“O monkey stranger be consoled:<br />\nFear not, and let thy heart be bold.<br />\nIf thou by Indra\'s mandate sent<br />\nThy steps to Lanká\'s isle hast bent,<br />\nWith fearless words the cause explain,<br />\nAnd freedom thou shalt soon regain.<br />\nOr if thou comest as a spy<br />\nDespatched by Vishṇu in the sky,<br />\nOr sent by Yáma, or the Lord<br />\nOf Riches, hast our town explored;<br />\nProved by the prowess thou hast shown<br />\nNo monkey save in form alone;<br />\nSpeak boldly all the truth, and be<br />\nReleased from bonds, unharmed and free.<br />\nBut falsehood spoken to our king<br />\nSwift punishment of death will bring.”<br />\nHe ceased: the Vánar made reply;<br />\n“Not Indra\'s messenger am I,<br />\nNor came I hither to fulfil<br />\nKuvera\'s hest or Vishṇu\'s will.<br />\nI stand before the giants here<br />\nA Vánar e\'en as I appear.<br />\nI longed to see the king: \'twas hard<br />\n883Bali, not to be confounded with Báli the Vánar, was a celebrated Daitya or<br />\ndemon who had usurped the empire of the three worlds, and who was deprived<br />\nof two thirds of his dominions by Vishṇu in the Dwarf-incarnation.<br />\n1486<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nTo win my way through gate and guard.<br />\nAnd so to gain my wish I laid<br />\nIn ruin that delightful shade.<br />\nNo fiend, no God of heavenly kind<br />\nWith bond or chain these limbs may bind.<br />\nThe Eternal Sire himself of old<br />\nVouchsafed the boon that makes me bold,<br />\nFrom Brahmá\'s magic shaft released884<br />\nI knew the captor\'s power had ceased,<br />\nThe fancied bonds I freely brooked,<br />\nAnd thus upon the king have looked.<br />\nMy way to Lanká have I won,<br />\nA messenger from Raghu\'s son.”<br />\nCanto LI. Hanumán\'s Reply.<br />\n“My king Sugríva greets thee fair,<br />\nAnd bids me thus his rede declare.<br />\nSon of the God of Wind, by name<br />\nHanumán, to this isle I came.<br />\nTo set the Maithil lady free<br />\nI crossed the barrier of the sea.<br />\nI roamed in search of her and found<br />\nHer weeping in that lovely ground.<br />\nThou in the lore of duty trained,<br />\nWho hast by stern devotion gained<br />\nThis wondrous wealth and power and fame<br />\nShouldst fear to wrong another\'s dame.<br />\n884When Hanumán was bound with cords, Indrajít released his captive from<br />\nthe spell laid upon him by the magic weapon.<br />\nCanto LI. Hanumán\'s Reply.<br />\n1487<br />\nHear thou my counsel, and be wise:<br />\nNo fiend, no dweller in the skies<br />\nCan bear the shafts by Lakshmaṇ shot,<br />\nOr Ráma when his wrath is hot.<br />\nO Giant King, repent the crime<br />\nAnd soothe him while there yet is time.<br />\nNow be the Maithil queen restored<br />\nUninjured to her sorrowing lord.<br />\nSoon wilt thou rue thy dire mistake:<br />\nShe is no woman but a snake,<br />\nWhose very deadly bite will be<br />\nThe ruin of thy house and thee.<br />\nThy pride has led thy thoughts astray,<br />\nThat fancy not a hand may slay<br />\nThe monarch of the giants, screened<br />\nFrom mortal blow of God and fiend.<br />\nSugríva still thy death may be:<br />\nNo Yaksha, fiend, or God is he,<br />\nAnd Ráma from a woman springs,<br />\nThe mortal seed of mortal kings.<br />\nO think how Báli fell subdued;<br />\nThink on thy slaughtered multitude.<br />\nRespect those brave and strong allies;<br />\nConsult thy safety, and be wise.<br />\nI, even I, no helper need<br />\nTo overthrow, with car and steed,<br />\nThy city Lanká half divine:<br />\nThe power but not the will is mine.<br />\nFor Raghu\'s son, before his friend<br />\nThe Vánar monarch, swore to end<br />\nWith his own conquering arm the life<br />\nOf him who stole his darling wife.<br />\nTurn, and be wise, O Rávaṇ turn;<br />\nOr thou wilt see thy Lanká burn,<br />\n1488<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd with thy wives, friends, kith and kin<br />\nBe ruined for thy senseless sin.”<br />\nCanto LII. Vibhishan\'s Speech.<br />\nThen Rávaṇ spake with flashing eye:<br />\n“Hence with the Vánar: let him die.”<br />\nVibhishaṇ heard the stern behest,<br />\nAnd pondered in his troubled breast;<br />\nThen, trained in arts that soothe and please<br />\nAddressed the king in words like these:<br />\n“Revoke, my lord, thy fierce decree,<br />\nAnd hear the words I speak to thee.<br />\nKings wise and noble ne\'er condemn<br />\nTo death the envoys sent to them.<br />\nSuch deed the world\'s contempt would draw<br />\nOn him who breaks the ancient law.885<br />\nObserve the mean where justice lies,<br />\nAnd spare his life but still chastise.”<br />\n[423]<br />\nThen forth the tyrant\'s fury broke,<br />\nAnd thus in angry words he spoke:<br />\n“O hero, when the wicked bleed<br />\nNo sin or shame attends the deed.<br />\nThe Vánar\'s blood must needs be spilt,<br />\nThe penalty of heinous guilt.”<br />\n885“One who murders an ambassador (rája bhata) goes to Taptakumbha, the<br />\nhell of heated caldrons.” WILSON\'S{FNS Vishṇu Puraṇa, Vol. II. p. 217.<br />\nCanto LIII. The Punishment.<br />\n1489<br />\nAgain Vibhishaṇ made reply:<br />\n“Nay, hear me, for he must not die.<br />\nHear the great law the wise declare:<br />\n“Thy foeman\'s envoy thou shalt spare.”<br />\n\'Tis true he comes an open foe:<br />\n\'Tis true his hands have wrought us woe,<br />\nBut law allows thee, if thou wilt,<br />\nA punishment to suit the guilt.<br />\nThe mark of shame, the scourge, the brand,<br />\nThe shaven head, the wounded hand.<br />\nYea, were the Vánar envoy slain,<br />\nWhere, King of giants, were the gain?<br />\nOn them alone, on them who sent<br />\nThe message, be the punishment.<br />\nFor spake he well or spake he ill,<br />\nHe spake obedient to their will,<br />\nAnd, if he perish, who can bear<br />\nThy challenge to the royal pair?<br />\nWho, cross the ocean and incite<br />\nThy death-doomed enemies to fight?”<br />\nCanto LIII. The Punishment.<br />\nKing Rávaṇ, by his pleading moved,<br />\nThe counsel of the chief approved:<br />\n“Thy words are wise and true: to kill<br />\nAn envoy would beseem us ill.<br />\nYet must we for his crime invent<br />\nSome fitting mode of punishment.<br />\nThe tail, I fancy, is the part<br />\nMost cherished by a monkey\'s heart.<br />\n1490<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMake ready: set his tail aflame,<br />\nAnd let him leave us as he came,<br />\nAnd thus disfigured and disgraced<br />\nBack to his king and people haste.”<br />\nThe giants heard their monarch\'s speech;<br />\nAnd, filled with burning fury, each<br />\nBrought strips of cotton cloth, and round<br />\nThe monkey\'s tail the bandage wound.<br />\nAs round his tail the bands they drew<br />\nHis mighty form dilating grew<br />\nVast as the flame that bursts on high<br />\nWhere trees are old and grass is dry.<br />\nEach band and strip they soaked in oil,<br />\nAnd set on fire the twisted coil.<br />\nDelighted as they viewed the blaze,<br />\nThe cruel demons stood at gaze:<br />\nAnd mid loud drums and shells rang out<br />\nThe triumph of their joyful shout.<br />\nThey pressed about him thick and fast<br />\nAs through the crowded streets he passed,<br />\nObserving with attentive care<br />\nEach rich and wondrous structure there,<br />\nStill heedless of the eager cry<br />\nThat rent the air, The spy! the spy!<br />\nSome to the captive lady ran,<br />\nAnd thus in joyous words began:<br />\n“That copper-visaged monkey, he<br />\nWho in the garden talked with thee,<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s town is led a show,<br />\nAnd round his tail the red flames glow.”<br />\nThe mournful news the lady heard<br />\nThat with fresh grief her bosom stirred.<br />\nCanto LIV. The Burning Of Lanká.<br />\n1491<br />\nSwift to the kindled fire she went<br />\nAnd prayed before it reverent:<br />\n“If I my husband have obeyed,<br />\nAnd kept the ascetic vows I made,<br />\nFree, ever free, from stain and blot,<br />\nO spare the Vánar; harm him not.”<br />\nThen leapt on high the flickering flame<br />\nAnd shone in answer to the dame.<br />\nThe pitying fire its rage forbore:<br />\nThe Vánar felt the heat no more.<br />\nThen, to minutest size reduced,<br />\nThe bonds that bound his limbs he loosed,<br />\nAnd, freed from every band and chain,<br />\nRose to his native size again.<br />\nHe seized a club of ponderous weight<br />\nThat lay before him by the gate,<br />\nRushed at the fiends that hemmed him round,<br />\nAnd laid them lifeless on the ground.<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s town again he strode,<br />\nAnd viewed each street and square and road,—<br />\nStill wreathed about with harmless blaze,<br />\nA sun engarlanded with rays.<br />\n[424]<br />\nCanto LIV. The Burning Of Lanká.<br />\n1492<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“What further deed remains to do<br />\nTo vex the Rákshas king anew?<br />\nThe beauty of his grove is marred,<br />\nKilled are the bravest of his guard.<br />\nThe captains of his host are slain;<br />\nBut forts and palaces remain,<br />\nSwift is the work and light the toil<br />\nEach fortress of the foe to spoil.”<br />\nReflecting thus, his tail ablaze<br />\nAs through the cloud red lightning plays,<br />\nHe scaled the palaces and spread<br />\nThe conflagration where he sped.<br />\nFrom house to house he hurried on,<br />\nAnd the wild flames behind him shone.<br />\nEach mansion of the foe he scaled,<br />\nAnd furious fire its roof assailed<br />\nTill all the common ruin shared:<br />\nVibhishaṇ\'s house alone was spared.<br />\nFrom blazing pile to pile he sprang,<br />\nAnd loud his shout of triumph rang,<br />\nAs roars the doomsday cloud when all<br />\nThe worlds in dissolution fall.<br />\nThe friendly wind conspired to fan<br />\nThe hungry flames that leapt and ran,<br />\nAnd spreading in their fury caught<br />\nThe gilded walls with pearls inwrought,<br />\nTill each proud palace reeled and fell<br />\nAs falls a heavenly citadel.<br />\nCanto LV. Fear For Sítá.<br />\n1493<br />\nLoud was the roar the demons raised<br />\nMid walls that split and beams that blazed,<br />\nAs each with vain endeavour strove<br />\nTo stay the flames in house or grove.<br />\nThe women, with dishevelled hair,<br />\nFlocked to the roofs in wild despair,<br />\nShrieked out for succour, wept aloud,<br />\nAnd fell, like lightning from a cloud.<br />\nHe saw the flames ascend and curl<br />\nRound turkis, diamond, and pearl,<br />\nWhile silver floods and molten gold<br />\nFrom ruined wall and latice rolled.<br />\nAs fire grows fiercer as he feeds<br />\nOn wood and grass and crackling reeds,<br />\nSo Hanúmán the ruin eyed<br />\nWith fury still unsatisfied.<br />\nCanto LV. Fear For Sítá.<br />\nBut other thoughts resumed their sway<br />\nWhen Lanká\'s town in ruin lay;<br />\nAnd, as his bosom felt their weight<br />\nHe stood a while to meditate.<br />\n“What have I done?”, he thought with shame,<br />\n“Destroyed the town with hostile flame.<br />\nO happy they whose firm control<br />\nChecks the wild passion of the soul;<br />\nWho on the fires of anger throw<br />\nThe cooling drops that check their glow.<br />\nBut woe is me, whom wrath could lead<br />\nTo do this senseless shameless deed.<br />\n1494<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe town to fire and death I gave,<br />\nNor thought of her I came to save,—<br />\nDoomed by my own rash folly, doomed<br />\nTo perish in the flames consumed.<br />\nIf I, when anger drove me wild,<br />\nHave caused the death of Janak\'s child,<br />\nThe kindled flame shall end my woe,<br />\nOr the deep fires that burn below,886<br />\nOr my forsaken corse shall be<br />\nFood for the monsters of the sea.<br />\nHow can I meet Sugríva? how<br />\nBefore the royal brothers bow,—<br />\nI whose rash deed has madly foiled,<br />\nThe noble work in which we toiled?<br />\nOr has her own bright virtue shed<br />\nIts guardian influence round her head?<br />\nShe lives untouched,—the peerless dame;<br />\nFlame has no fury for the flame.887<br />\nThe very fire would ne\'er consent<br />\nTo harm a queen so excellent,—<br />\nThe high-souled Ráma\'s faithful wife,<br />\nProtected by her holy life.<br />\nShe lives, she lives. Why should I fear<br />\nFor one whom Raghu\'s sons hold dear?<br />\nHas not the pitying fire that spared<br />\nThe Vánar for the lady cared?”<br />\nSuch were his thoughts: he pondered long,<br />\nAnd fear grew faint and hope grew strong.<br />\nThen round him heavenly voices rang,<br />\nAnd, sweetly tuned, his praises sang:<br />\n“O glorious is the exploit done<br />\n886The fire which is supposed to burn beneath the sea.<br />\n887Sítá is likened to the fire which is an emblem of purity.<br />\nCanto LVI. Mount Arishta.<br />\n1495<br />\nBy Hanumán the Wind-God\'s son.<br />\nThe flames o\'er Lanká\'s city rise:<br />\nThe giants\' home in ruin lies.<br />\nO\'er roof and wall the fires have spread,<br />\nNor harmed a hair of Sítá\'s head.”<br />\nCanto LVI. Mount Arishta.<br />\nHe looked upon the burning waste,<br />\nThen sought the queen in joyous haste,<br />\nWith words of hope consoled her heart,<br />\nAnd made him ready to depart.<br />\n[425]<br />\nHe scaled Arishṭa\'s glorious steep<br />\nWhose summits beetled o\'er the deep.<br />\nThe woods in varied beauty dressed<br />\nHung like a garland round his crest,<br />\nAnd clouds of ever changing hue<br />\nA robe about his shoulders threw.<br />\nOn him the rays of morning fell<br />\nTo wake the hill they loved so well,<br />\nAnd bid unclose those splendid eyes<br />\nThat glittered in his mineral dyes.<br />\nHe woke to hear the music made<br />\nBy thunders of the white cascade,<br />\nWhile every laughing rill that sprang<br />\nFrom crag to crag its carol sang.<br />\nFor arms, he lifted to the stars<br />\nHis towering stems of Deodárs,<br />\nAnd morning heard his pealing call<br />\nIn tumbling brook and waterfall.<br />\nHe trembled when his woods were pale<br />\n1496<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd bowed beneath the autumn gale,<br />\nAnd when his vocal reeds were stirred<br />\nHis melancholy moan was heard.<br />\nFar down against the mountain\'s feet<br />\nThe Vánar heard the wild waves beat;<br />\nThen turned his glances to the north.<br />\nSprang from the peak and bounded forth,<br />\nThe mountain felt the fearful shock<br />\nAnd trembled through his mass of rock.<br />\nThe tallest trees were crushed and rent<br />\nAnd headlong to the valley sent,<br />\nAnd as the rocking shook each cave<br />\nLoud was the roar the lions gave.<br />\nForth from the shaken cavern came<br />\nFierce serpents with their tongues aflame;<br />\nAnd every Yaksha, wild with dread,<br />\nAnd Kinnar and Gandharva, fled.<br />\nCanto LVII. Hanumán\'s Return.<br />\nStill, like a winged mountain, he<br />\nSprang forward through the airy sea,888<br />\n888Iomittwostanzaswhichcontinuethemetaphoroftheseaorlakeofair. The<br />\nmoon is its lotus, the sun its wild-duck, the clouds are its water-weeds, Mars<br />\nis its shark and so on. Gorresio remarks: “This comparison of a great lake to<br />\nthe sky and of celestial to aquatic objects is one of those ideas which the view<br />\nand qualities of natural scenery awake in lively fancies. Imagine one of those<br />\ngrand and splendid lakes of India covered with lotus blossoms, furrowed by<br />\nwild-ducks of the most vivid colours, mantled over here and there with flowers<br />\nand water weeds &amp;c. and it will be understood how the fancy of the poet could<br />\nreadily compare to the sky radiant with celestial azure the blue expanse of the<br />\nCanto LVII. Hanumán\'s Return.<br />\n1497<br />\nAnd rushing through the ether drew<br />\nThe clouds to follow as he flew,<br />\nThrough the great host around him spread,<br />\nGrey, golden, dark, and white, and red.<br />\nNow in a sable cloud immersed,<br />\nNow from its gloomy pall he burst,<br />\nLike the bright Lord of Stars concealed<br />\nA moment, and again revealed.<br />\nSunábha889passed, he neared the coast<br />\nWhere waited still the Vánar host.<br />\nThey heard a rushing in the skies,<br />\nAnd lifted up their wondering eyes.<br />\nHis wild triumphant shout they knew<br />\nThat louder still and louder grew,<br />\nAnd Jámbaván with eager voice<br />\nCalled on the Vánars to rejoice:<br />\n“Look he returns, the Wind-God\'s son,<br />\nAnd full success his toils have won;<br />\nTriumphant is the shout that comes<br />\nLike music of a thousand drums.”<br />\nUp sprang the Vánars from the ground<br />\nAnd listened to the wondrous sound<br />\nOf hurtling arm and thigh as through<br />\nThe region of the air he flew,<br />\nLoud as the wind, when tempests rave,<br />\nRoars in the prison of the cave.<br />\nFrom crag to crag, from height to height;<br />\nThey bounded in their mad delight,<br />\nAnd when he touched the mountain\'s crest,<br />\nwater, to the soft light of the moon the inner hue of the lotus, to the splendour<br />\nof the sun the brilliant colours of the wild-fowl, to the stars the flowers, to the<br />\ncloud the weeds that float upon the water &amp;c.”<br />\n889Sunábha is the mountain that rose from the sea when Hanumán passed over<br />\nto Lanká.<br />\n1498<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWith reverent welcome round him pressed.<br />\nThey brought him of their woodland fruits,<br />\nThey brought him of the choicest roots,<br />\nAnd laughed and shouted in their glee<br />\nThe noblest of their chiefs to see.<br />\nNor Hanumán delayed to greet<br />\nSage Jámbaván with reverence meet;<br />\nTo Angad and the chiefs he bent<br />\nFor age and rank preëminent,<br />\nAnd briefly spoke: “These eyes have seen,<br />\nThese lips addressed, the Maithil queen.”<br />\nThey sat beneath the waving trees,<br />\nAnd Angad spoke in words like these:<br />\n“O noblest of the Vánar kind<br />\nFor valour power and might combined,<br />\nTo thee triumphant o\'er the foe<br />\nOur hopes, our lives and all we owe.<br />\nO faithful heart in perils tried,<br />\n[426]<br />\nWhich toil nor fear could turn aside,<br />\nThy deed the lady will restore,<br />\nAnd Ráma\'s heart will ache no more.”890<br />\nCanto LVIII. The Feast Of Honey.<br />\nThey rose in air: the region grew<br />\nDark with their shadow as they flew.<br />\nSwift to a lovely grove891they came<br />\nThat rivalled heavenly Nandan\'s892fame;<br />\n890Three Cantos of repetition are omitted.<br />\n891Madhuvan the “honey-wood.”<br />\n892Indra\'s pleasure-ground or elysium.<br />\nCanto LVIII. The Feast Of Honey.<br />\n1499<br />\nWhere countless bees their honey stored,—<br />\nThe pleasance of the Vánars\' lord,<br />\nTo every creature fenced and barred,<br />\nWhich Dadhimukh was set to guard,<br />\nA noble Vánar, brave and bold,<br />\nSugríva\'s uncle lofty-souled.<br />\nTo Angad came with one accord<br />\nThe Vánars, and besought their lord<br />\nThat they those honeyed stores might eat<br />\nThat made the grove so passing sweet.<br />\nHe gave consent: they sought the trees<br />\nThronged with innumerable bees.<br />\nThey rifled all the treasured store,<br />\nAnd ate the fruit the branches bore,<br />\nAnd still as they prolonged the feast<br />\nTheir merriment and joy increased.<br />\nDrunk with the sweets, they danced and bowed,<br />\nThey wildly sang, they laughed aloud,<br />\nSome climbed and sprang from tree to tree,<br />\nSome sat and chattered in their glee.<br />\nSome scaled the trees which creepers crowned,<br />\nAnd rained the branches to the ground.<br />\nThere with loud laugh a Vánar sprang<br />\nClose to his friend who madly sang,<br />\nIn doleful mood another crept<br />\nTo mix his tears with one who wept.<br />\nThen Dadhimukh with fury viewed<br />\nThe intoxicated multitude.<br />\nHe looked upon the rifled shade,<br />\nAnd all the ruin they had made;<br />\nThen called with angry voice, and strove<br />\nTo save the remnant of the grove.<br />\n1500<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBut warning cries and words were spurned,<br />\nAnd angry taunt and threat returned.<br />\nThen fierce and wild contention rose:<br />\nWith furious words he mingled blows.<br />\nThey by no shame or fear withheld,<br />\nBy drunken mood and ire impelled,<br />\nUsed claws, and teeth, and hands, and beat<br />\nThe keeper under trampling feet.<br />\n[Three Cantos consisting of little but repetitions are omitted.<br />\nDadhimukh escapes from the infuriated monkeys and hastens to<br />\nSugríva to report their misconduct. Sugríva infers that Hanumán<br />\nand his band have been successful in their search, and that the<br />\nexuberance of spirits and the mischief complained of, are but the<br />\nnatural expression of their joy. Dadhimukh obtains little sympa-<br />\nthy from Sugríva, and is told to return and send the monkeys on<br />\nwith all possible speed.]<br />\nCanto LXV. The Tidings.<br />\nOn to Praśravaṇ\'s hill they sped<br />\nWhere blooming trees their branches spread.<br />\nTo Raghu\'s sons their heads they bent<br />\nAnd did obeisance reverent.<br />\nThen to their king, by Angad led,<br />\nEach Vánar chieftain bowed his head;<br />\nAnd Hanumán the brave and bold<br />\nHis tidings to the monarch told;<br />\nBut first in Ráma\'s hand he placed<br />\nThe gem that Sítá\'s brow had graced:<br />\n“I crossed the sea: I searched a while<br />\nFor Sítá in the giants\' isle.<br />\nCanto LXVI. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\n1501<br />\nI found her vext with taunt and threat<br />\nBy demon guards about her set.<br />\nHer tresses twined in single braid,<br />\nOn the bare earth her limbs were laid.<br />\nSad were her eyes: her cheeks were pale<br />\nAs shuddering flowers in winter\'s gale.<br />\nI stood beside the weeping dame,<br />\nAnd gently whispered Ráma\'s name:<br />\nWith cheering words her grief consoled,<br />\nAnd then the whole adventure told.<br />\nShe weeps afar beyond the sea,<br />\nAnd her true heart is still with thee.<br />\nShe gave a sign that thou wouldst know,<br />\nShe bids thee think upon the crow,<br />\nAnd bright mark pressed upon her brow<br />\nWhen none was nigh but she and thou.<br />\nShe bids thee take this precious stone,<br />\nThe sea-born gem thou long hast known.<br />\n“And I,” she said, “will dull the sting<br />\nOf woe by gazing on the ring.<br />\nOne little month shall I sustain<br />\nThis life oppressed with woe and pain:<br />\nAnd when the month is ended, I<br />\nThe giants\' prey must surely die.’”<br />\n[427]<br />\nCanto LXVI. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\n1502<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThere ceased the Vánar: Ráma pressed<br />\nThe treasured jewel to his breast,<br />\nAnd from his eyes the waters broke<br />\nAs to the Vánar king he spoke:<br />\n“As o\'er her babe the mother weeps,<br />\nThis flood of tears the jewel steeps.<br />\nThis gem that shone on Sítá\'s head<br />\nWas Janak\'s gift when we were wed,<br />\nAnd the pure brow that wore it lent<br />\nNew splendour to the ornament.<br />\nThis gem, bright offspring of the wave,<br />\nThe King of Heaven to Janak gave,<br />\nWhose noble sacrificial rite<br />\nHad filled the God with new delight.<br />\nNow, as I gaze upon the prize,<br />\nMethinks I see my father\'s eyes.<br />\nMethinks I see before me stand<br />\nThe ruler of Videha\'s land.893<br />\nMethinks mine arms are folded now<br />\nRound her who wore it on her brow.<br />\nSpeak, Hanumán, O say, dear friend,<br />\nWhat message did my darling send?<br />\nO speak, and let thy words impart<br />\nTheir gentle dew to cool my heart.<br />\nAh, \'tis the crown of woe to see<br />\nThis gem and ask “Where, where is she?”<br />\nIf for one month her heart be strong,<br />\nHer days of life will yet be long.<br />\nBut I, with naught to lend relief,<br />\nThis very day must die of grief.<br />\nCome, Hanumán, and quickly guide<br />\nThe mourner to his darling\'s side.<br />\n893Janak was king of Videha or Mithilá in Behar.<br />\nCanto LXVI. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\n1503<br />\nO lead me—thou hast learnt the way—<br />\nI cannot and I will not stay.<br />\nHow can my gentle love endure,<br />\nSo timid, delicate, and pure,<br />\nThe dreadful demons fierce and vile<br />\nWho watch her in the guarded isle?<br />\nNo more the light of beauty shines<br />\nFrom Sítá as she weeps and pines.<br />\nBut pain and sorrow, cloud on cloud<br />\nHer moonlight glory dim and shroud.<br />\nO speak, dear Hanumán, and tell<br />\nEach word that from her sweet lips fell,<br />\nHer words, her words alone can give<br />\nThe healing balm to make me live.”894<br />\n894The original contains two more Cantos which end the Book. Canto LXVII<br />\nbeginsthus: “Hanumánthusaddressedbythegreat-souledsonofRaghurelated<br />\nto the son of Raghu all that Sítá had said.” And the two Cantos contain nothing<br />\nbut Hanumán\'s account of his interview with Sítá, and the report of his own<br />\nspeeches as well as of hers.</p>\n', created = 1594065322, expire = 1594151722, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:1e09d278c9a6cf363fef620d7121021d' in /home/piv1691/theosophy-mm.net/www/includes/cache.inc on line 108.
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BOOK V.787
Canto I. Hanumán's Leap.
Thus Rávaṇ's foe resolved to trace
The captive to her hiding-place
Through airy pathways overhead
Which heavenly minstrels visited.
With straining nerve and eager brows,
Like some strong husband of the cows,
In ready might he stood prepared
For the bold task his soul has dared.
O'er gem-like grass that flashed and glowed
The Vánar like a lion strode.
Roused by the thunder of his tread,
The beasts to shady coverts fled.
Tall trees he crushed or hurled aside,
And every bird was terrified.
Around him loveliest lilies grew,
Pale pink, and red, and white, and blue,
And tints of many a metal lent
787ThisBookiscalledSundarortheBeatiful. ToaEuropeantasteitisthemost
intolerably tedious of the whole poem, abounding in repetition, overloaded
description, and long and useless speeches which impede the action of the
poem. Manifest interpolations of whole Cantos also occur. I have omitted
none of the action of the Book, but have occasionally omitted long passages
of common-place description, lamentation, and long stories which have been
again and again repeated.
Canto I. Hanumán's Leap.
1393
The light of varied ornament.
Gandharvas, changing forms at will,
And Yakshas roamed the lovely hill,
And countless Serpent-Gods were seen
Where flowers and grass were fresh and green.
As some resplendent serpent takes
His pastime in the best of lakes,
So on the mountain's woody height
The Vánar wandered with delight.
Then, standing on the flowery sod,
He paid his vows to saint and God.
Svayambhu788and the Sun he prayed,
And the swift Wind to lend him aid,
And Indra, sovereign of the skies,
To bless his hardy enterprise.
Then once again the chief addressed
The Vánars from the mountain crest:
“Swift as a shaft from Ráma's bow
To Rávaṇ's city will I go,
And if she be not there will fly
And seek the lady in the sky;
Or, if in heaven she be not found,
Will hither bring the giant bound.”
He ceased; and mustering his might
Sprang downward from the mountain height,
While, shattered by each mighty limb,
The trees unrooted followed him.
The shadow on the ocean cast
By his vast form, as on he passed,
Flew like a ship before the gale
When the strong breeze has filled the sail,
And where his course the Vánar held
788Brahmá the Self-Existent.
1394
The Ramayana
The sea beneath him raged and swelled.
Then Gods and all the heavenly train
Poured flowerets down in gentle rain;
Their voices glad Gandharvas raised,
And saints in heaven the Vánar praised.
Fain would the Sea his succour lend
And Raghu's noble son befriend.
He, moved by zeal for Ráma's sake,
The hill Maináka789thus bespake:
“O strong Maináka, heaven's decree
In days of old appointed thee
To be the Asurs bar, and keep
The rebels in the lowest deep.
Thou guardest those whom heaven has cursed
Lest from their prison-house they burst,
And standest by the gates of hell
Their limitary sentinel.
To thee is given the power to spread
Or spring above thy watery bed.
Now, best of noble mountains, rise
And do the thing that I advise.
E'en now above thy buried crest
Flies mighty Hanumán, the best
Of Vánars, moved for Ráma's sake
A wonderous deed to undertake.
Lift up thy head that he may stay
And rest him on his weary way.”
He heard, and from his watery shroud,
As bursts the sun from autumn cloud,
Rose swifty, crowned with plant and tree,
And stood above the foamy sea.790
789Maináka was the son of Himálaya and Mená or Menaká.
790Thus Milton makes the hills of heaven self-moving at command:
Canto I. Hanumán's Leap.
1395
There with his lofty peaks upraised
Bright as a hundred suns he blazed,
And crest and crag of burnished gold
Flashed on the flood that round him rolled.
[395]
The Vánar thought the mountain rose
A hostile bar to interpose,
And, like a wind-swept cloud, o'erthrew
The glittering mountain as he flew.
Then from the falling hill rang out
A warning voice and joyful shout.
Again he raised him high in air
To meet the flying Vánar there,
And standing on his topmost peak
In human form began to speak:791
“Best of the Vánars' noblest line,
A mighty task, O chief, is thine.
Here for a while, I pray thee, light
And rest upon the breezy height.
A prince of Raghu's line was he
Who gave his glory to the Sea,792
Who now to Ráma's envoy shows
High honour for the debt he owes.
He bade me lift my buried head
Uprising from my watery bed,
And woo the Vánar chief to rest
A moment on my glittering crest.
Refresh thy weary limbs, and eat
“At his command the uprooted hills retired
Each to his place, they heard his voice and went
Obsequious”
791The spirit of the mountain is separable from the mountain. Himalaya has
also been represented as standing in human form on one of his own peaks.
792Ságar or the Sea is said to have derived its name from Sagar. The story is
fully told in Book I, Cantos XLII, XLIII, and XLIV.
1396
The Ramayana
My mountain fruits for they are sweet.
I too, O chieftain, know thee well;
Three worlds thy famous virtues tell;
And none, I ween, with thee may vie
Who spring impetuous through the sky.
To every guest, though mean and low.
The wise respect and honour show;
And how shall I neglect thee, how
Slight the great guest so near me now?
Son of the Wind, 'tis thine to share
The might of him who shakes the air;
And,—for he loves his offspring,—he
Is honoured when I honour thee.
Of yore, when Krita's age793was new,
The little hills and mountains flew
Where'er they listed, borne on wings
More rapid than the feathered king's.794
But mighty terror came on all
The Gods and saints who feared their fall.
And Indra in his anger rent
Their pinions with the bolts he sent.
When in his ruthless fury he
Levelled his flashing bolt at me,
The great-souled Wind inclined to save,
And laid me neath the ocean's wave.
Thus by the favour of the sire
I kept my cherished wings entire;
And for this deed of kindness done
I honour thee his noble son.
793Kritu is the first of the four ages of the world, the golden age, also called
Satya.
794Parvata means a mountain and in the Vedas a cloud. Hence in later
mythology the mountains have taken the place of the clouds as the objects of
the attacks of Indra the Sun-God. The feathered king is Garuḍa.
Canto I. Hanumán's Leap.
1397
O come, thy weary limbs relieve,
And honour due from me receive.”
“I may not rest,” the Vánar cried;
“I must not stay or turn aside.
Yet pleased am I, thou noblest hill,
And as the deed accept thy will.”
Thus as he spoke he lightly pressed
With his broad hand the mountain's crest,
Then bounded upward to the height
Of heaven, rejoicing in his might,
And through the fields of boundless blue,
The pathway of his father, flew.
Gods, saints, and heavenly bards beheld
That flight that none had paralleled,
Then to the Nágas' mother795came
And thus addressed the sun-bright dame:
“See, Hanumán with venturous leap
Would spring across the mighty deep,—
A Vánar prince, the Wind-God's seed:
Come, Surasá, his course impede.
In Rákshas form thy shape disguise,
Terrific, like a hill in size:
Let thy red eyes with fury glow,
And high as heaven thy body grow.
With fearful tusks the chief defy,
That we his power and strength may try.
He will with guile thy hold elude,
Or own thy might, by thee subdued.”
795“The children of Surasá were a thousand mighty many-headed serpents,
traversing the sky.” WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa, Vol. II. p. 73.
1398
The Ramayana
Pleased with the grateful honours paid,
The godlike dame their words obeyed,
Clad in a shape of terror she
Sprang from the middle of the sea,
And, with fierce accents that appalled
All creatures, to the Vánar called:
“Come, prince of Vánars, doomed to be
My food this day by heaven's decree.
Such boon from ages long ago
To Brahmá's favouring will I owe.”
She ceased, and Hanumán replied,
By shape and threat unterrified:
“Brave Ráma with his Maithil spouse
Lodged in the shade of Daṇḍak's boughs,
Thence Rávan king of giants stole
Sítá the joy of Ráma's soul.
[396]
By Ráma's high behest to her
I go a willing messenger;
And never shouldst them hinder one
Who toils for Daśaratha's son.
First captive Sítá will I see,
And him who sent and waits for me,
Then come and to thy will submit,
Yea, by my truth I promise it.”
“Nay, hope not thus thy life to save;
Not such the boon that Brahmá gave.
Enter my mouth,” was her reply,
“Then forward on thy journey hie!”796
796She means, says the Commentator, pursue thy journey if thou can.
Canto I. Hanumán's Leap.
1399
“Stretch, wider stretch thy jaws,” exclaimed
The Vánar chief, to ire inflamed;
And, as the Rákshas near him drew,
Ten leagues in height his stature grew.
Then straight, her threatening jaws between,
A gulf of twenty leagues was seen.
To fifty leagues he waxed, and still
Her mouth grew wider at her will.
Then smaller than a thumb became,
Shrunk by his power, the Vánar's frame.797
He leaped within, and turning round
Sprang through the portal at a bound.
Then hung in air a moment, while
He thus addressed her with a smile:
“O Daksha's child,798farewell at last!
For I within thy mouth have passed.
Thou hast the gift of Brahmá's grace:
I go, the Maithil queen to trace.”
Then, to her former shape restored,
She thus addressed the Vánar lord:
“Then forward to the task, and may
Success and joy attend thy way!
Go, and the rescued lady bring
In triumph to her lord and king.”
797If Milton's spirits are allowed the power of infinite self-extension and com-
pression the same must be conceded to Válmíki's supernatural beings. Given
the power as in Milton the result in Válmíki is perfectly consistent.
798“Daksha is the son of Brahmá and one of the Prajápatis or divine pro-
genitors. He had sixty daughters, twenty-seven of whom married to Kaśyapa
produced, according to one of the Indian cosmogonies, all mundane beings.
Does the epithet, Descendant of Daksha, given to Surasá, mean that she is one
of those daughters? I think not. This epithet is perhaps an appellation common
to all created beings as having sprung from Daksha.” GORRESSIO{FNS.
1400
The Ramayana
Then hosts of spirits as they gazed
The daring of the Vánar praised.
Through the broad fields of ether, fast
Garuḍ's royal self, he passed,
The region of the cloud and rain,
Loved by the gay Gandharva train,
Where mid the birds that came and went
Shone Indra's glorious bow unbent,
And like a host of wandering stars
Flashed the high Gods' celestial cars.
Fierce Sinhiká799who joyed in ill
And changed her form to work her will,
Descried him on his airy way
And marked the Vánar for her prey.
“This day at length,” the demon cried,
“My hunger shall be satisfied,”
And at his passing shadow caught
Delighted with the cheering thought.
The Vánar felt the power that stayed
And held him as she grasped his shade,
Like some tall ship upon the main
That struggles with the wind in vain.
Below, above, his eye he bent
And scanned the sea and firmament.
High from the briny deep upreared
The monster's hideous form appeared,
“Sugríva's tale,” he cried, “is true:
This is the demon dire to view
Of whom the Vánar monarch told,
Whose grasp a passing shade can hold.”
Then, as a cloud in rain-time grows
His form, dilating, swelled and rose.
799Sinhiká is the mother of Ráhu the dragon's head or ascending node, the
chief agent in eclipses.
Canto I. Hanumán's Leap.
1401
Wide as the space from heaven to hell
Her jaws she opened with a yell,
And rushed upon her fancied prey
With cloud-like roar to seize and slay.
The Vánar swift as thought compressed
His borrowed bulk of limb and chest,
And stood with one quick bound inside
The monstrous mouth she opened wide.
Hid like the moon when Ráhu draws
The orb within his ravening jaws.
Within that ample cavern pent
The demon's form he tore and rent,
And, from the mangled carcass freed,
Came forth again with thought-like speed.800
[397]
Thus with his skill the fiend he slew,
Then to his wonted stature grew.
The spirits saw the demon die
And hailed the Vánar from the sky:
“Well hast thou fought a wondrous fight
Nor spared the fiend's terrific might,
On, on! perform the blameless deed,
And in thine every wish succeed.
Ne'er can they fail in whom combine
Such valour, thought, and skill as thine.”
800According to De Gubernatis, the author of the very learned, ingenious,
and interesting though too fanciful Zoological Mythology. Hanumán here
represents the sun entering into and escaping from a cloud. The biblical Jonah,
according to him, typifies the same phenomenon. Sá'dí, speaking of sunset,
says Yùnas andar-i-dihán-imáhi shud: Jonas was within the fish's mouth. See
ADDITIONAL NOTES{FNS.
1402
The Ramayana
Pleased with their praises as they sang,
Again through fields of air he sprang,
And now, his travail wellnigh done,
The distant shore was almost won.
Before him on the margent stood
In long dark line a waving wood,
And the fair island, bright and green
With flowers and trees, was clearly seen,
And every babbling brook that gave
Her lord the sea a tribute wave.
He lighted down on Lamba's peak
Which tinted metals stain and streak,
And looked where Lanká's splendid town
Shone on the mountain like a crown.
Canto II. Lanká.
The glorious sight a while he viewed,
Then to the town his way pursued.
Around the Vánar as he went
Breathed from the wood delicious scent,
And the soft grass beneath his feet
With gem-like flowers was bright and sweet.
Still as the Vánar nearer drew
More clearly rose the town to view.
The palm her fan-like leaves displayed,
Priyálas801lent their pleasant shade,
And mid the lower greenery far
Conspicuous rose the Kovidár.802
801The Buchanania Latifolia.
802The Bauhinia Variegata.
Canto II. Lanká.
1403
A thousand trees mid flowers that glowed
Hung down their fruit's delicious load,803
And in their crests that rocked and swayed
Sweet birds delightful music made.
And there were pleasant pools whereon
The glories of the lotus shone;
And gleams of sparkling fountains, stirred
By many a joyous water-bird.
Around, in lovely gardens grew
Blooms sweet of scent and bright of hue,
And Lanká, seat of Rávaṇ's sway,
Before the wondering Vánar lay:
With stately domes and turrets tall,
Encircled by a golden wall,
And moats whose waters were aglow
With lily blossoms bright below:
For Sítá's sake defended well
With bolt and bar and sentinel,
And Rákshases who roamed in bands
With ready bows in eager hands.
He saw the stately mansions rise
Like pale-hued clouds in autumn skies;
Where noble streets were broad and bright,
And banners waved on every height.
Her gates were glorious to behold
Rich with the shine of burnished gold:
A lovely city planned and decked
By heaven's creative architect,804
Fairest of earthly cities meet
To be the Gods' celestial seat.
The Vánar by the northern gate
803Through the power that Rávaṇ's stern mortifications had won for him his
trees bore flowers and fruit simultaneously.
804Viśvakarmá is the architect of the Gods.
1404
The Ramayana
Thus in his heart began debate
“Our mightiest host would strive in vain
To take this city on the main:
A city that may well defy
The chosen warriors of the sky;
A city never to be won
E'en by the arm of Raghu's son.
Here is no hope by guile to win
The hostile hearts of those within.
'Twere vain to war, or bribe, or sow
Dissension mid the Vánar foe.
But now my search must I pursue
Until the Maithil queen I view:
And, when I find the captive dame,
Make victory mine only aim.
But, if I wear my present shape,
How shall I enter and escape
The Rákshas troops, their guards and spies,
And sleepless watch of cruel eyes?
The fiends of giant race who hold
This mighty town are strong and bold;
And I must labour to elude
The fiercely watchful multitude.
I in a shape to mock their sight
Must steal within the town by night,
Blind with my art the demons' eyes,
And thus achieve my enterprise.
How may I see, myself unseen
Of the fierce king, the captive queen,
And meet her in some lonely place,
With none beside her, face to face?”
When the bright sun had left the skies
The Vánar dwarfed his mighty size,
[398]
Canto III. The Guardian Goddess.
1405
And, in the straitest bounds restrained,
The bigness of a cat retained.805
Then, when the moon's soft light was spread,
Within the city's walls he sped.
Canto III. The Guardian Goddess.
There from the circling rampart's height
He gazed upon the wondrous sight;
Broad gates with burnished gold displayed,
And courts with turkises inlaid;
With gleaming silver, gems, and rows
Of crystal stairs and porticoes.
In semblance of a Rákshas dame
The city's guardian Goddess came,—
For she with glances sure and keen
The entrance of a foe had seen,—
And thus with fury in her eye
Addressed him with an angry cry:
“Who art thou? what has led thee, say,
Within these walls to find thy way?
Thou mayst not enter here in spite
Of Rávaṇ and his warriors' might.”
“And who art thou?” the Vánar cried,
By form and frown unterrified,
“Why hast thou met me by the gate,
And chid me thus infuriate?”
805So in Paradise Lost Satan when he has stealthily entered the garden of Eden
assumes the form of a cormorant.
1406
The Ramayana
He ceased: and Lanká made reply:
“The guardian of the town am I,
Who watch for ever to fulfil
My lord the Rákshas monarch's will.
But thou shalt fall this hour, and deep
Shall be thy never-ending sleep.”
Again he spake: “In spite of thee
This golden city will I see.
Her gates and towers, and all the pride
Of street and square from side to side,
And freely wander where I please
Amid her groves of flowering trees;
On all her beauties sate mine eye.
Then, as I came, will homeward hie.”
Swift with an angry roar she smote
With her huge hand the Vánar's throat.
The smitten Vánar, rage-impelled,
With fist upraised the monster felled:
But quick repented, stirred with shame
And pity for a vanquished dame,
When with her senses troubled, weak
With terror, thus she strove to speak:
“O spare me thou whose arm is strong:
O spare me, and forgive the wrong.
The brave that law will ne'er transgress
That spares a woman's helplessness.
Hear, best of Vánars, brave and bold,
What Brahmá's self of yore foretold;
“Beware,” he said, “the fatal hour
When thou shalt own a Vánar's power.
Then is the giants' day of fear,
For terror and defeat are near.”
Canto IV. Within The City.
1407
Now, Vánar chief, o'ercome by thee,
I own the truth of heaven's decree.
For Sítá's sake will ruin fall
On Rávaṇ, and his town, and all.”
Canto IV. Within The City.
The guardian goddess thus subdued,
The Vánar chief his way pursued,
And reached the broad imperial street
Where fresh-blown flowers were bright and sweet.
The city seemed a fairer sky
Where cloud-like houses rose on high,
Whence the soft sound of tabors came
Through many a latticed window frame,
And ever and anon rang out
The merry laugh and joyous shout.
From house to house the Vánar went
And marked each varied ornament,
Where leaves and blossoms deftly strung
About the crystal columns hung.
Then soft and full and sweet and clear
The song of women charmed his ear,
And, blending with their dulcet tones,
Their anklets' chime and tinkling zones.
He heard the Rákshas minstrel sing
The praises of their matchless king;
And softly through the evening air
Came murmurings of text and prayer.
Here moved a priest with tonsured head,
And there an eager envoy sped,
1408
The Ramayana
Mid crowds with hair in matted twine
Clothed in the skins of deer and kine,—
Whose only arms, which none might blame,
Were blades of grass and holy flame806
There savage warriors roamed in bands
With clubs and maces in their hands,
Some dwarfish forms, some huge of size,
With single ears and single eyes.
Some shone in glittering mail arrayed
With bow and mace and flashing blade;
Fiends of all shapes and every hue,
Some fierce and foul, some fair to view.
[399]
He saw the grisly legions wait
In strictest watch at Rávaṇ's gate,
Whose palace on the mountain crest
Rose proudly towering o'er the rest,
Fenced with high ramparts from the foe,
And lotus-covered moats below.
But Hanumán, unhindered, found
Quick passage through the guarded bound,
Mid elephants of noblest breed,
And gilded car and neighing steed.
[I omit Canto V. which corresponds to chapter XI. in Gorresio's
edition. That scholar justly observes: “The eleventh chapter,
Description of Evening, is certainly the work of the Rhapsodists
and an interpolation of later date. The chapter might be omitted
without any injury to the action of the poem, and besides the me-
tre, style, conceits and images differ from the general tenour of
the poem; and that continual repetition of the same sounds at the
end of each hemistich which is not exactly rime, but assonance,
806Priests who fought only with the weapons of religion, the sacred grass
used like the verbena of the Romans at sacred rites and the consecrated fire to
consume the offering of ghee.
Canto VI. The Court.
1409
reveals the artificial labour of a more recent age.” The following
sample will probably be enough.
Fair shone the moon, as if to lend
His cheering light to guide a friend,
And, circled by the starry host,
Looked down upon the wild sea-coast.
The Vánar cheiftain raised his eyes,
And saw him sailing through the skies
Like a bright swan who joys to take
His pastime on a silver lake;
Fair moon that calms the mourner's pain.
Heaves up the waters of the main,
And o'er the life beneath him throws
A tender light of soft repose,
The charm that clings to Mandar's hill,
Gleams in the sea when winds are still,
And decks the lilly's opening flower,
Showed in that moon her sweetest power.
I am unable to show the difference of style in a translation.]
Canto VI. The Court.
The palace gates were guarded well
By many a Rákshas sentinel,
And far within, concealed from view,
Were dames and female retinue
For charm of form and face renowned;
Whose tinkling armlets made a sound,
Clashed by the wearers in their glee,
Like music of a distant sea.
1410
The Ramayana
The hall beyond the palace gate,
Rich with each badge of royal state,
Where lines of noble courtiers stood,
Showed like a lion-guarded wood.
There the wild music rose and fell
Of drum and tabor and of shell,
Through chambers at each holy tide
By solemn worship sanctified.
Through grove and garden, undismayed,
From house to house the Vánar strayed,
And still his wondering glances bent
On terrace, dome, and battlement:
Then with a light and rapid tread
Prahasta's807home he visited,
And Kumbhakarṇa's808courtyard where
A cloudy pile rose high in air;
And, wandering o'er the hill, explored
The garden of each Rákshas lord.
Each court and grove he wandered through,
Then nigh to Rávaṇ's palace drew.
She-demons watched it foul of face,
Each armed with sword and spear and mace,
And warrior fiends of every hue,
A strange and fearful retinue.
There elephants in many a row,
The terror of the stricken foe.
Huge Airávat,809deftly trained
In battle-fields, stood ready chained.
Fair litters on the ground were set
Adorned with gems and golden net.
Gay bloomy creepers clothed the walls;
807One of the Rákshas lords.
808The brother Rávaṇ.
809Indra's elephant.
Canto VII. Rávan's Palace.
1411
Green bowers were there and picture halls,
And chambers made for soft delight.
Broad banners waved on every height.
And from the roof like Mandar's hill
The peacock's cry came loud and shrill.810
Canto VII. Rávan's Palace.
He passed within the walls and gazed
On gems and gold that round him blazed,
And many a latticed window bright
With turkis and with lazulite.
[400]
Through porch and ante-rooms he passed
Each richer, fairer than the last;
And spacious halls where lances lay,
And bows and shells, in fair array:
A glorious house that matched in show
All Paradise displayed below.
Upon the polished floor were spread
Fresh buds and blossoms white and red,
And women shone, a lovely crowd,
As lightning flashes through a cloud:
A palace splendid as the sky
Which moon and planets glorify:
Like earth whose towering hills unfold
Their zones and streaks of glittering gold;
810Rávaṇ's palace appears to have occupied the whole extent of ground, and
to have contained within its outer walls the mansions of all the great Rákshas
chiefs. Rávaṇ's own dwelling seems to have been situated within the enchanted
chariot Pushpak: but the description is involved and confused, and it is difficult
to say whether the chariot was inside the palace or the palace inside the chariot.
1412
The Ramayana
Where waving on the mountain brows
The tall trees bend their laden boughs,
And every bough and tender spray
With a bright load of bloom is gay,
And every flower the breeze has bent
Fills all the region with its scent.
Near the tall palace pale of hue
Shone lovely lakes where lilies blew,
And lotuses with flower and bud
Gleamed on the bosom of the flood.
There shone with gems that flashed afar
The marvel of the Flower-named811car,
Mid wondrous dwellings still confessed
Supreme and nobler than the rest.
Thereon with wondrous art designed
Were turkis birds of varied kind.
And many a sculptured serpent rolled
His twisted coil in burnished gold.
And steeds were there of noblest form
With flying feet as fleet as storm:
And elephants with deftest skill
Stood sculptured by a silver rill,
Each bearing on his trunk a wreath
Of lilies from the flood beneath.
There Lakshmí,812beauty's heavenly queen,
Wrought by the artist's skill, was seen
Beside a flower-clad pool to stand
Holding a lotus in her hand.
811Pushpak from pushpa a flower. The car has been mentioned before in
Rávaṇ's expedition to carry off Sítá, Book III, Canto XXXV.
812Lakshmí is the wife of Vishṇu and the Goddess of Beauty and Felicity. She
rose, like Aphrodite, from the foam of the sea. For an account of her birth and
beauty, see Book I, Canto XLV.
Canto VIII. The Enchanted Car.
1413
Canto VIII. The Enchanted Car.
There gleamed the car with wealth untold
Of precious gems and burnished gold;
Nor could the Wind-God's son withdraw
His rapt gaze from the sight he saw,
By Viśvakarmá's813self proclaimed
The noblest work his hand had framed.
Uplifted in the air it glowed
Bright as the sun's diurnal road.
The eye might scan the wondrous frame
And vainly seek one spot to blame,
So fine was every part and fair
With gems inlaid with lavish care.
No precious stones so rich adorn
The cars wherein the Gods are borne,
Prize of the all-resistless might
That sprang from pain and penance rite,814
Obedient to the master's will
It moved o'er wood and towering hill,
A glorious marvel well designed
By Viśvakarmá's artist mind,
Adorned with every fair device
That decks the cars of Paradise.
Swift moving as the master chose
It flew through air or sank or rose,815
And in its fleetness left behind
The fury of the rushing wind:
813Viśvakarmá is the architect of the Gods, the Hephaestos or Mulciber of the
Indian heaven.
814Rávaṇ in the resistless power which his long austerities had endowed him
with, had conquered his brother Kuvera the God of Gold and taken from him
his greatest treasure this enchanted car.
815Like Milton's heavenly car, “Itself instinct with spirit.”
1414
The Ramayana
Meet mansion for the good and great,
The holy, wise, and fortunate.
Throughout the chariot's vast extent
Were chambers wide and excellent,
All pure and lovely to the eyes
As moonlight shed from cloudless skies.
Fierce goblins, rovers of the night
Who cleft the clouds with swiftest flight
In countless hosts that chariot drew,
With earrings clashing as they flew.
Canto IX. The Ladies' Bower.
Where stately mansions rose around,
A palace fairer still he found,
Whose royal height and splendour showed
Where Rávaṇ's self, the king, abode.
A chosen band with bow and sword
Guarded the palace of their lord,
Where Ráksha's dames of noble race
And many a princess fair of face
Whom Rávaṇ's arm had torn away
From vanquished kings in slumber lay.
[401]
There jewelled arches high o'erhead
An ever-changing lustre shed
From ruby, pearl, and every gem
On golden pillars under them.
Delicious came the tempered air
That breathed a heavenly summer there,
Stealing through bloomy trees that bore
Each pleasant fruit in endless store.
Canto IX. The Ladies' Bower.
1415
No check was there from jealous guard,
No door was fast, no portal barred;
Only a sweet air breathed to meet
The stranger, as a host should greet
A wanderer of his kith and kin
And woo his weary steps within.
He stood within a spacious hall
With fretted roof and painted wall,
The giant Rávaṇ's boast and pride,
Loved even as a lovely bride.
'Twere long to tell each marvel there,
The crystal floor, the jewelled stair,
The gold, the silver, and the shine
Of chrysolite and almandine.
There breathed the fairest blooms of spring;
There flashed the proud swan's silver wing,
The splendour of whose feathers broke
Through fragrant wreaths of aloe smoke.
“'Tis Indra's heaven,” the Vánar cried,
Gazing in joy from side to side;
“The home of all the Gods is this,
The mansion of eternal bliss.”
There were the softest carpets spread,
Delightful to the sight and tread,
Where many a lovely woman lay
O'ercome by sleep, fatigued with play.
The wine no longer cheered the feast,
The sound of revelry had ceased.
The tinkling feet no longer stirred,
No chiming of a zone was heard.
So when each bird has sought her nest,
And swans are mute and wild bees rest,
Sleep the fair lilies on the lake
Till the sun's kiss shall bid them wake.
1416
The Ramayana
Like the calm field of winter's sky
Which stars unnumbered glorify,
So shone and glowed the sumptuous room
With living stars that chased the gloom.
“These are the stars,” the chieftain cried,
“In autumn nights that earth-ward glide,
In brighter forms to reappear
And shine in matchless lustre here.”
With wondering eyes a while he viewed
Each graceful form and attitude.
One lady's head was backward thrown,
Bare was her arm and loose her zone.
The garland that her brow had graced
Hung closely round another's waist.
Here gleamed two little feet all bare
Of anklets that had sparkled there,
Here lay a queenly dame at rest
In all her glorious garments dressed.
There slept another whose small hand
Had loosened every tie and band,
In careless grace another lay
With gems and jewels cast away,
Like a young creeper when the tread
Of the wild elephant has spread
Confusion and destruction round,
And cast it flowerless to the ground.
Here lay a slumberer still as death,
Save only that her balmy breath
Raised ever and anon the lace
That floated o'er her sleeping face.
There, sunk in sleep, an amorous maid
Her sweet head on a mirror laid,
Like a fair lily bending till
Her petals rest upon the rill.
Canto X. Rávan Asleep.
1417
Another black-eyed damsel pressed
Her lute upon her heaving breast,
As though her loving arms were twined
Round him for whom her bosom pined.
Another pretty sleeper round
A silver vase her arms had wound,
That seemed, so fresh and fair and young
A wreath of flowers that o'er it hung.
In sweet disorder lay a throng
Weary of dance and play and song,
Where heedless girls had sunk to rest
One pillowed on another's breast,
Her tender cheek half seen beneath
Bed roses of the falling wreath,
The while her long soft hair concealed
The beauties that her friend revealed.
With limbs at random interlaced
Round arm and leg and throat and waist,
That wreath of women lay asleep
Like blossoms in a careless heap.
Canto X. Rávan Asleep.
Apart a dais of crystal rose
With couches spread for soft repose,
Adorned with gold and gems of price
Meet for the halls of Paradise.
A canopy was o'er them spread
Pale as the light the moon beams shed,
1418
The Ramayana
And female figures,816deftly planned,
The faces of the sleepers fanned,
There on a splendid couch, asleep
On softest skins of deer and sheep.
Dark as a cloud that dims the day
The monarch of the giants lay,
Perfumed with sandal's precious scent
And gay with golden ornament.
[402]
His fiery eyes in slumber closed,
In glittering robes the king reposed
Like Mandar's mighty hill asleep
With flowery trees that clothe his steep.
Near and more near the Vánar
The monarch of the fiends to view,
And saw the giant stretched supine
Fatigued with play and drunk with wine.
While, shaking all the monstrous frame,
His breath like hissing serpents' came.
With gold and glittering bracelets gay
His mighty arms extended lay
Huge as the towering shafts that bear
The flag of Indra high in air.
Scars by Airávat's tusk impressed
Showed red upon his shaggy breast.
And on his shoulders were displayed
The dints the thunder-bolt had made.817
The spouses of the giant king
Around their lord were slumbering,
And, gay with sparkling earrings, shone
816Women, says Válmíki. But the Commentator says that automatic figures
only are meant. Women would have seen Hanumán and given the alarm.
817Rávaṇ had fought against Indra and the Gods, and his body was still scarred
by the wounds inflicted by the tusks of Indra's elephant and by the fiery bolts
of the Thunderer.
Canto XI. The Banquet Hall.
1419
Fair as the moon to look upon.
There by her husband's side was seen
Mandodarí the favourite queen,
The beauty of whose youthful face
Beamed a soft glory through the place.
The Vánar marked the dame more fair
Than all the royal ladies there,
And thought, “These rarest beauties speak
The matchless dame I come to seek.
Peerless in grace and splendour, she
The Maithil queen must surely be.”
Canto XI. The Banquet Hall.
But soon the baseless thought was spurned
And longing hope again returned:
“No: Ráma's wife is none of these,
No careless dame that lives at ease.
Her widowed heart has ceased to care
For dress and sleep and dainty fare.
She near a lover ne'er would lie
Though Indra wooed her from the sky.
Her own, her only lord, whom none
Can match in heaven, is Raghu's son.”
1420
The Ramayana
Then to the banquet hall intent
On strictest search his steps he bent.
He passed within the door, and found
Fair women sleeping on the ground,
Where wearied with the song, perchance,
The merry game, the wanton dance,
Each girl with wine and sleep oppressed
Had sunk her drooping head to rest.
That spacious hall from side to side
With noblest fare was well supplied,
There quarters of the boar, and here
Roast of the buffalo and deer,
There on gold plate, untouched as yet
The peacock and the hen were set.
There deftly mixed with salt and curd
Was meat of many a beast and bird,
Of kid and porcupine and hare,
And dainties of the sea and air.
There wrought of gold, ablaze with shine
Of precious stones, were cups of wine.
Through court and bower and banquet hall
The Vánar passed and viewed them all;
From end to end, in every spot,
For Sítá searched, but found her not.
Canto XII. The Search Renewed.
Again the Vánar chief began
Each chamber, bower, and hall to scan.
In vain: he found not her he sought,
And pondered thus in bitter thought:
Canto XII. The Search Renewed.
1421
“Ah me the Maithil queen is slain:
She, ever true and free from stain,
The fiend's entreaty has denied,
And by his cruel hand has died.
Or has she sunk, by terror killed,
When first she saw the palace filled
With female monsters evil miened
Who wait upon the robber fiend?
No battle fought, no might displayed,
In vain this anxious search is made;
Nor shall my steps, made slow by shame,
Because I failed to find the dame,
Back to our lord the king be bent,
For he is swift to punishment.
In every bower my feet have been,
The dames of Rávaṇ have I seen;
But Ráma's spouse I seek in vain,
And all my toil is fruitless pain.
How shall I meet the Vánar band
I left upon the ocean strand?
How, when they bid me speak, proclaim
These tidings of defeat and shame?
How shall I look on Angad's eye?
What words will Jámbaván reply?
Yet dauntless hearts will never fail
To win success though foes assail,
And I this sorrow will subdue
And search the palace through and through,
Exploring with my cautious tread
Each spot as yet unvisited.”
Again he turned him to explore
Each chamber, hall, and corridor,
And arbour bright with scented bloom,
1422
The Ramayana
And lodge and cell and picture-room.
[403]
With eager eye and noiseless feet
He passed through many a cool retreat
Where women lay in slumber drowned;
But Sítá still was nowhere found.
Canto XIII. Despair And Hope.
Then rapid as the lightning's flame
From Rávaṇ's halls the Vánar came.
Each lingering hope was cold and dead,
And thus within his heart he said:
“Alas, my fruitless search is done:
Long have I toiled for Raghu's son;
And yet with all my care have seen
No traces of the ravished queen.
It may be, while the giant through
The lone air with his captive flew,
The Maithil lady, tender-souled,
Slipped struggling from the robber's hold,
And the wild sea is rolling now
O'er Sítá of the beauteous brow.
Or did she perish of alarm
When circled by the monster's arm?
Or crushed, unable to withstand
The pressure of that monstrous hand?
Or when she spurned his suit with scorn,
Her tender limbs were rent and torn.
And she, her virtue unsubdued,
Was slaughtered for the giant's food.
Shall I to Raghu's son relate
Canto XIII. Despair And Hope.
1423
His well-beloved consort's fate,
My crime the same if I reveal
The mournful story or conceal?
If with no happier tale to tell
I seek our mountain citadel,
How shall I face our lord the king,
And meet his angry questioning?
How shall I greet my friends, and brook
The muttered taunt, the scornful look?
How to the son of Raghu go
And kill him with my tale of woe?
For sure the mournful tale I bear
Will strike him dead with wild despair.
And Lakshmaṇ ever fond and true,
Will, undivided, perish too.
Bharat will learn his brother's fate,
And die of grief disconsolate,
And sad Śatrughna with a cry
Of anguish on his corpse will die.
Our king Sugríva, ever found
True to each bond in honour bound,
Will mourn the pledge he vainly gave,
And die with him he could not save.
Then Rumá his devoted wife
For her dead lord will leave her life,
And Tárá, widowed and forlorn,
Will die in anguish, sorrow-worn.
On Angad too the blow will fall
Killing the hope and joy of all.
The ruin of their prince and king
The Vánars' souls with woe will wring.
And each, overwhelmed with dark despair,
Will beat his head and rend his hair.
Each, graced and honoured long, will miss
1424
The Ramayana
His careless life of easy bliss,
In happy troops will play no more
On breezy rock and shady shore,
But with his darling wife and child
Will seek the mountain top, and wild
With hopeless desolation, throw
Himself, his wife, and babe, below.
Ah no: unless the dame I find
I ne'er will meet my Vánar kind.
Here rather in some distant dell
A lonely hermit will I dwell,
Where roots and berries will supply
My humble wants until I die;
Or on the shore will raise a pyre
And perish in the kindled fire.
Or I will strictly fast until
With slow decay my life I kill,
And ravening dogs and birds of air
The limbs of Hanumán shall tear.
Here will I die, but never bring
Destruction on my race and king.
But still unsearched one grove I see
With many a bright Aśoka tree.
There will I enter in, and through
The tangled shade my search renew.
Be glory to the host on high,
The Sun and Moon who light the sky,
The Vasus818and the Maruts'819train,
818The Vasus are a class of eight deities, originally personifications of natural
phenomena.
819The Maruts are the winds or Storm-Gods.
Canto XIV. The Asoka Grove.
1425
Ádityas820and the Aśvins821twain.
So may I win success, and bring
The lady back with triumphing.”
Canto XIV. The Asoka Grove.
He cleared the barrier at a bound;
He stood within the pleasant ground,
[404]
And with delighted eyes surveyed
The climbing plants and varied shade,
He saw unnumbered trees unfold
The treasures of their pendent gold,
As, searching for the Maithil queen,
He strayed through alleys soft and green;
And when a spray he bent or broke
Some little bird that slept awoke.
Whene'er the breeze of morning blew,
Where'er a startled peacock flew,
The gaily coloured branches shed
Their flowery rain upon his head
That clung around the Vánar till
He seemed a blossom-covered hill,822
The earth, on whose fair bosom lay
The flowers that fell from every spray,
Was glorious as a lovely maid
In all her brightest robes arrayed,
820TheÁdityasoriginallysevendeitiesoftheheavenlysphereofwhomVaruṇa
is the chief. The name Áditya was afterwards given to any God, specially to
Súrya the Sun.
821The Aśvins are the Heavenly Twins, the Castor and Pollux of the Hindus.
822The poet forgets that Hanumán has reduced himself to the size of a cat.
1426
The Ramayana
He saw the breath of morning shake
The lilies on the rippling lake
Whose waves a pleasant lapping made
On crystal steps with gems inlaid.
Then roaming through the enchanted ground,
A pleasant hill the Vánar found,
And grottoes in the living stone
With grass and flowery trees o'ergrown.
Through rocks and boughs a brawling rill
Leapt from the bosom of the hill,
Like a proud beauty when she flies
From her love's arms with angry eyes.
He clomb a tree that near him grew
And leafy shade around him threw.
“Hence,” thought the Vánar, “shall I see
The Maithil dame, if here she be,
These lovely trees, this cool retreat
Will surely tempt her wandering feet.
Here the sad queen will roam apart.
And dream of Ráma in her heart.”
Canto XV. Sítá.
Fair as Kailása white with snow
He saw a palace flash and glow,
A crystal pavement gem-inlaid,
And coral steps and colonnade,
And glittering towers that kissed the skies,
Whose dazzling splendour charmed his eyes.
There pallid, with neglected dress,
Canto XVI. Hanumán's Lament.
1427
Watched close by fiend and giantess,
Her sweet face thin with constant flow
Of tears, with fasting and with woe;
Pale as the young moon's crescent when
The first faint light returns to men:
Dim as the flame when clouds of smoke
The latent glory hide and choke;
Like Rohiṇí the queen of stars
Oppressed by the red planet Mars;
From her dear friends and husband torn,
Amid the cruel fiends, forlorn,
Who fierce-eyed watch around her kept,
A tender woman sat and wept.
Her sobs, her sighs, her mournful mien,
Her glorious eyes, proclaimed the queen.
“This, this is she,” the Vánar cried,
“Fair as the moon and lotus-eyed,
I saw the giant Rávan bear
A captive through the fields of air.
Such was the beauty of the dame;
Her form, her lips, her eyes the same.
This peerless queen whom I behold
Is Ráma's wife with limbs of gold.
Best of the sons of men is he,
And worthy of her lord is she.”
Canto XVI. Hanumán's Lament.
1428
The Ramayana
Then, all his thoughts on Sítá bent,
The Vánar chieftain made lament:
“The queen to Ráma's soul endeared,
By Lakshmaṇ's pious heart revered,
Lies here,—for none may strive with Fate,
A captive, sad and desolate.
The brothers' might full well she knows,
And bravely bears the storm of woes,
As swelling Gangá in the rains
The rush of every flood sustains.
Her lord, for her, fierce Báli slew,
Virádha's monstrous might o'erthrew,
For her the fourteen thousand slain
In Janasthán bedewed the plain.
And if for her Ikshváku's son
Destroyed the world 'twere nobly done.
This, this is she, so far renowned,
Who sprang from out the furrowed ground,823
Child of the high-souled king whose sway
The men of Míthilá obey:
The glorious lady wooed and won
By Daśaratha's noblest son;
And now these sad eyes look on her
Mid hostile fiends a prisoner.
From home and every bliss she fled
By wifely love and duty led,
And heedless of a wanderer's woes,
A life in lonely forests chose.
This, this is she so fair of mould.
Whose limbs are bright as burnished gold.
[405]
Whose voice was ever soft and mild,
Who sweetly spoke and sweetly smiled.
823Sítá “not of woman born,” was found by King Janak as he was turning up
the ground in preparation for a sacrifice. See Book II, Canto CXVIII.
Canto XVII. Sítá's Guard.
1429
O, what is Ráma's misery! how
He longs to see his darling now!
Pining for one of her fond looks
As one athirst for water brooks.
Absorbed in woe the lady sees
No Rákshas guard, no blooming trees.
Her eyes are with her thoughts, and they
Are fixed on Ráma far away.”
Canto XVII. Sítá's Guard.
His pitying eyes with tears bedewed,
The weeping queen again he viewed,
And saw around the prisoner stand
Her demon guard, a fearful band.
Some earless, some with ears that hung
Low as their feet and loosely swung:
Some fierce with single ears and eyes,
Some dwarfish, some of monstrous size:
Some with their dark necks long and thin
With hair upon the knotty skin:
Some with wild locks, some bald and bare,
Some covered o'er with bristly hair:
Some tall and straight, some bowed and bent
With every foul disfigurement:
All black and fierce with eyes of fire,
Ruthless and stern and swift to ire:
Some with the jackal's jaw and nose,
Some faced like boars and buffaloes:
Some with the heads of goats and kine,
Of elephants, and dogs, and swine:
1430
The Ramayana
With lions' lips and horses' brows,
They walked with feet of mules and cows:
Swords, maces, clubs, and spears they bore
In hideous hands that reeked with gore,
And, never sated, turned afresh
To bowls of wine and piles of flesh.
Such were the awful guards who stood
Round Sítá in that lovely wood,
While in her lonely sorrow she
Wept sadly neath a spreading tree.
He watched the spouse of Ráma there
Regardless of her tangled hair,
Her jewels stripped from neck and limb,
Decked only with her love of him.
Canto XVIII. Rávan.
While from his shelter in the boughs
The Vánar looked on Ráma's spouse
He heard the gathered giants raise
The solemn hymn of prayer and praise.—
Priests skilled in rite and ritual, who
The Vedas and their branches824knew.
Then, as loud strains of music broke
His sleep, the giant monarch woke.
Swift to his heart the thought returned
824The six Angas or subordinate branches of the Vedas are 1. Sikshá, the
science of proper articulation and pronunciation: 2. Chhandas, metre: 3.
Vyákarana, linguistic analysis or grammar: 4. Nirukta, explanation of difficult
Vedic words: 5. Jyotishṭom, Astronomy, or rather the Vedic Calendar: 6.
Kalpa, ceremonial.
Canto XVIII. Rávan.
1431
Of the fair queen for whom he burned;
Nor could the amorous fiend control
The passion that absorbed his soul.
In all his brightest garb arrayed
He hastened to that lovely shade,
Where glowed each choicest flower and fruit,
And the sweet birds were never mute,
And tall deer bent their heads to drink
On the fair streamlet's grassy brink.
Near that Aśoka grove he drew,—
A hundred dames his retinue.
Like Indra with the thousand eyes
Girt with the beauties of the skies.
Some walked beside their lord to hold
The chouries, fans, and lamps of gold.
And others purest water bore
In golden urns, and paced before.
Some carried, piled on golden plates,
Delicious food of dainty cates;
Some wine in massive bowls whereon
The fairest gems resplendent shone.
Some by the monarch's side displayed,
Wrought like a swan, a silken shade:
Another beauty walked behind,
The sceptre to her care assigned.
Around the monarch gleamed the crowd
As lightnings flash about a cloud,
And each made music as she went
With zone and tinkling ornament.
Attended thus in royal state
The monarch reached the garden gate,
While gold and silver torches, fed
With scented oil a soft light shed.825
[406]
825There appears to be some confusion of time here. It was already morning
1432
The Ramayana
He, while the flame of fierce desire
Burnt in his eyes like kindled fire,
Seemed Love incarnate in his pride,
His bow and arrows laid aside.826
His robe, from spot and blemish free
Like Amrit foamy from the sea,827
Hung down in many a loosened fold
Inwrought with flowers and bright with gold.
The Vánar from his station viewed,
Amazed, the wondrous multitude,
Where, in the centre of that ring
Of noblest women, stood the king,
As stands the full moon fair to view,
Girt by his starry retinue.
Canto XIX. Sítá's Fear.
Then o'er the lady's soul and frame
A sudden fear and trembling came,
When, glowing in his youthful pride,
She saw the monarch by her side.
Silent she sat, her eyes depressed,
Her soft arms folded o'er her breast,
And,—all she could,—her beauties screened
From the bold gazes of the fiend.
when Hanumán entered the grove, and the torches would be needless.
826Rávaṇ is one of those beings who can “climb them as they will,” and can of
course assume the loveliest form to please human eyes as well as the terrific
shape that suits the king of the Rákshases.
827White and lovely as the Arant or nectar recovered from the depths of the
Milky Sea when churned by the assembled Gods. See Book I, Canto XLV.
Canto XX. Rávan's Wooing.
1433
There where the wild she-demons kept
Their watch around, she sighed and wept.
Then, like a severed bough, she lay
Prone on the bare earth in dismay.
The while her thoughts on love's fleet wings
Flew to her lord the best of kings.
She fell upon the ground, and there
Lay struggling with her wild despair,
Sad as a lady born again
To misery and woe and pain,
Now doomed to grief and low estate,
Once noble fair and delicate:
Like faded light of holy lore,
Like Hope when all her dreams are o'er;
Like ruined power and rank debased,
Like majesty of kings disgraced:
Like worship foiled by erring slips,
The moon that labours in eclipse;
A pool with all her lilies dead,
An army when its king has fled:
So sad and helpless wan and worn,
She lay among the fiends forlorn.
Canto XX. Rávan's Wooing.
With amorous look and soft address
The fiend began his suit to press:
“Why wouldst thou, lady lotus-eyed,
From my fond glance those beauties hide?
Mine eager suit no more repel:
But love me, for I love thee well.
1434
The Ramayana
Dismiss, sweet dame, dismiss thy fear;
No giant and no man is near.
Ours is the right by force to seize
What dames soe'er our fancy please.828
But I with rude hands will not touch
A lady whom I love so much.
Fear not, dear queen: no fear is nigh:
Come, on thy lover's love rely,
Some little sign of favor show,
Nor lie enamoured of thy woe.
Those limbs upon that cold earth laid,
Those tresses twined in single braid,829
The fast and woe that wear thy frame,
Beseem not thee, O beauteous dame.
For thee the fairest wreaths were meant,
The sandal and the aloe's scent,
Rich ornaments and pearls of price,
And vesture meet for Paradise.
With dainty cates shouldst thou be fed,
And rest upon a sumptuous bed.
And festive joys to thee belong,
The music, and the dance and song.
Rise, pearl of women, rise and deck
With gems and chains thine arms and neck.
Shall not the dame I love be seen
In vesture worthy of a queen?
828Rávaṇ in his magic car carrying off the most beautiful women reminds us
of the magician in Orlando Furioso, possesor of the flying horse.
“Volando talor s'alza ne le stelle,
E poi quasi talor la terra rade;
E ne porta con lui tutte le belle
Donne che trova per quelle contrade.”
829Indian women twisted their long hair in a single braid as a sign of mourning
for their absent husbands.
Canto XX. Rávan's Wooing.
1435
Methinks when thy sweet form was made
His hand the wise Creator stayed;
For never more did he design
A beauty meet to rival thine.
Come, let us love while yet we may,
For youth will fly and charms decay,
Come cast thy grief and fear aside,
And be my love, my chosen bride.
The gems and jewels that my hand
Has reft from every plundered land,—
To thee I give them all this day,
And at thy feet my kingdom lay.
[407]
The broad rich earth will I o'errun,
And leave no town unconquered, none;
Then of the whole an offering make
To Janak,830dear, for thy sweet sake.
In all the world no power I see
Of God or man can strive with me.
Of old the Gods and Asurs set
In terrible array I met:
Their scattered hosts to earth I beat,
And trod their flags beneath my feet.
Come, taste of bliss and drink thy fill,
And rule the slave who serves thy will.
Think not of wretched Ráma: he
Is less than nothing now to thee.
Stript of his glory, poor, dethroned,
A wanderer by his friends disowned,
On the cold earth he lays his head,
Or is with toil and misery dead.
And if perchance he lingers yet,
His eyes on thee shall ne'er be set.
830Janak, king of Míthilá, was Sítá's father.
1436
The Ramayana
Could he, that mighty monarch, who
Was named Hiraṇyakaśipu,
Could he who wore the garb of gold
Win Glory back from Indra's hold?831
O lady of the lovely smile,
Whose eyes the sternest heart beguile,
In all thy radiant beauty dressed
My heart and soul thou ravishest.
What though thy robe is soiled and worn,
And no bright gems thy limbs adorn,
Thou unadorned art dearer far
Than all my loveliest consorts are.
My royal home is bright and fair;
A thousand beauties meet me there,
But come, my glorious love, and be
The queen of all those dames and me.”
Canto XXI. Sítá's Scorn.
She thought upon her lord and sighed,
And thus in gentle tones replied:
“Beseems thee not, O King, to woo
A matron, to her husband true.
Thus vainly one might hope by sin
And evil deeds success to win.
Shall I, so highly born, disgrace
My husband's house, my royal race?
831Hiraṇyakaśipu was a king of the Daityas celebrated for his blasphemous
impieties. When his pious son Prahlada praised Vishṇu the Daitya tried to kill
him, when the God appeared in the incarnation of the man-lion and tore the
tyrant to pieces.
Canto XXI. Sítá's Scorn.
1437
Shall I, a true and loyal dame,
Defile my soul with deed of shame?”
Then on the king her back she turned,
And answered thus the prayer she spurned:
“Turn, Rávaṇ, turn thee from thy sin;
Seek virtue's paths and walk therein.
To others dames be honour shown;
Protect them as thou wouldst thine own.
Taught by thyself, from wrong abstain
Which, wrought on thee, thy heart would pain.832
Beware: this lawless love of thine
Will ruin thee and all thy line;
And for thy sin, thy sin alone,
Will Lanká perish overthrown.
Dream not that wealth and power can sway
My heart from duty's path to stray.
Linked like the Day-God and his shine,
I am my lord's and he is mine.
Repent thee of thine impious deed;
To Ráma's side his consort lead.
Be wise; the hero's friendship gain,
Nor perish in his fury slain.
Go, ask the God of Death to spare,
Or red bolt flashing through the air,
But look in vain for spell or charm
To stay my Ráma's vengeful arm.
Thou, when the hero bends his bow,
Shalt hear the clang that heralds woe,
Loud as the clash when clouds are rent
832Do unto others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee, is a precept
frequently occurring in the old Indian poems. This charity is to embrace not
human beings only, but bird and beast as well: “He prayeth best who loveth
best all things both great and small.”
1438
The Ramayana
And Indra's bolt to earth is sent.
Then shall his furious shafts be sped,
Each like a snake with fiery head,
And in their flight shall hiss and flame
Marked with the mighty archer's name.833
Then in the fiery deluge all
Thy giants round their king shall fall.”
[408]
Canto XXII. Rávan's Threat.
Then anger swelled in Rávaṇ's breast,
Who fiercely thus the dame addressed:
“'Tis ever thus: in vain we sue
To woman, and her favour woo.
A lover's humble words impel
Her wayward spirit to rebel.
The love of thee that fills my soul
Still keeps my anger in control,
As charioteers with bit and rein
The swerving of the steed restrain.
The love that rules me bids me spare
Thy forfeit life, O thou most fair.
For this, O Sítá, have I borne
833It was the custom of Indian warriors to mark their arrows with their ciphers
or names, and it seems to have been regarded as a point of honour to give an
enemy the satisfaction of knowing who had shot at him. This passage however
contains, if my memory serves me well, the first mention in the poem of this
practice, and as arrows have been so frequently mentioned and described with
almost every conceivable epithet, its occurrence here seems suspicious. No
mention of, or allusion to writing has hitherto occurred in the poem.
Canto XXII. Rávan's Threat.
1439
The keen reproach, the bitter scorn,
And the fond love thou boastest yet
For that poor wandering anchoret;
Else had the words which thou hast said
Brought death upon thy guilty head.
Two months, fair dame, I grant thee still
To bend thee to thy lover's will.
If when that respite time is fled
Thou still refuse to share my bed,
My cooks shall mince thy limbs with steel
And serve thee for my morning meal.”834
The minstrel daughters of the skies
Looked on her woe with pitying eyes,
And sun-bright children of the Gods835
Consoled the queen with smiles and nods.
She saw, and with her heart at ease,
Addressed the fiend in words like these;
“Hast thou no friend to love thee, none
In all this isle to bid thee shun
The ruin which thy crime will bring
On thee and thine, O impious King?
Who in all worlds save thee could woo
Me, Ráma's consort pure and true,
As though he tempted with his love
Queen Śachí836on her throne above?
How canst thou hope, vile wretch, to fly
The vengeance that e'en now is nigh,
When thou hast dared, untouched by shame,
To press thy suit on Ráma's dame?
834This threat in the same words occurs in Book III, Canto LVI.
835Rávaṇ carried off and kept in his palace not only earthly princesses but the
daughters of Gods and Gandharvas.
836The wife of Indra.
1440
The Ramayana
Where woods are thick and grass is high
A lion and a hare may lie;
My Ráma is the lion, thou
Art the poor hare beneath the bough.
Thou railest at the lord of men,
But wilt not stand within his ken.
What! is that eye unstricken yet
Whose impious glance on me was set?
Still moves that tongue that would not spare
The wife of Daśaratha's heir?”
Then, hissing like a furious snake,
The fiend again to Sítá spake:
“Deaf to all prayers and threats art thou,
Devoted to thy senseless vow.
No longer respite will I give,
And thou this day shalt cease to live;
For I, as sunlight kills the morn,
Will slay thee for thy scathe and scorn.”
The Rákshas guard was summoned: all
The monstrous crew obeyed the call,
And hastened to the king to take
The orders which he fiercely spake:
“See that ye guard her well, and tame,
Like some wild thing, the stubborn dame,
Until her haughty soul be bent
By mingled threat and blandishment.”837
The monsters heard: away he strode,
And passed within his queens' abode.
837These four lines have occurred before. Book III, Canto LVI.
Canto XXIII. The Demons' Threats.
1441
Canto XXIII. The Demons' Threats.
Then round the helpless Sítá drew
With fiery eyes the hideous crew,
And thus assailed her, all and each,
With insult, taunt, and threatening speech:
“What! can it be thou prizest not
This happy chance, this glorious lot,
To be the chosen wife of one
So strong and great, Pulastya's son?
Pulastya—thus have sages told—
Is mid the Lords of Life838enrolled.
Lord Brahmá's mind-born son was he,
Fourth of that glorious company.
Viśravas from Pulastya sprang,—
Through all the worlds his glory rang.
And of Viśravas, large-eyed dame!
Our king the mighty Rávaṇ came.
His happy consort thou mayst be:
Scorn not the words we say to thee.”
One awful demon, fiery-eyed,
Stood by the Maithil queen and cried:
'Come and be his, if thou art wise,
Who smote the sovereign of the skies,
And made the thirty Gods and three,839
O'ercome in furious battle, flee.
[409]
838Prajápatis are the ten lords of created beings first created by Brahmá;
somewhat like the Demiurgi of the Gnostics.
839“This is the number of the Vedic divinities mentioned in the Rig-veda. In
Ashṭaka I. Súkta XXXIV, the Rishi Hiraṇyastúpa invoking the Aśvins says: Á
Násatyá tribhirekádaśairiha devebniryátam: ‘O Násatyas (Aśvins) come hither
with the thrice eleven Gods.’ And in Súkta XLV, the Rishi Praskanva address-
ing his hymn to Agni (ignis, fire), thus invokes him: ‘Lord of the red steeds,
1442
The Ramayana
Thy lover turns away with scorn
From wives whom grace and youth adorn.
Thou art his chosen consort, thou
Shall be his pride and darling now.”
Another, Vikatá by name,
In words like these addressed the dame:
“The king whose blows, in fury dealt,
The Nágas840and Gandharvas841felt,
In battle's fiercest brunt subdued,
Has stood by thee and humbly wooed.
And wilt thou in thy folly miss
The glory of a love like this?
Scared by his eye the sun grows chill,
The wanderer wind is hushed and still.
The rains at his command descend,
And trees with new-blown blossoms bend.
His word the hosts of demons fear,
And wilt thou, dame, refuse to hear?
Be counselled; with his will comply,
Or, lady, thou shalt surely die.”
propitiated by our prayers lead hither the thirty-three Gods.’ This number must
certainly have been the actual number in the early days of the Vedic religion:
although it appears probable enough that the thirty-three Vedic divinities could
not then be found co-ordinated in so systematic a way as they were arranged
more recently by the authors of the Upanishads. In the later ages of Bramanism
the number went on increasing without measure by successive mythical and
religious creations which peopled the Indian Olympus with abstract beings of
every kind. But through lasting veneration of the word of the Veda the custom
regained of giving the name of ‘the thirty-three Gods’ to the immense phalanx
of the multiplied deities.” GORRESIO.{FNS
840Serpent-Gods who dwell in the regions under the earth.
841In the mythology of the epics the Gandharvas are the heavenly singers or
musicians who form the orchestra at the banquets of the Gods, and they belong
to the heaven of India in whose battles they share.
Canto XXIV. Sítá's Reply.
1443
Canto XXIV. Sítá's Reply.
Still with reproaches rough and rude
Those fiends the gentle queen pursued:
“What! can so fair a life displease,
To dwell with him in joyous ease?
Dwell in his bowers a happy queen
In silk and gold and jewels' sheen?
Still must thy woman fancy cling
To Ráma and reject our king?
Die in thy folly, or forget
That wretched wandering anchoret.
Come, Sítá, in luxurious bowers
Spend with our lord thy happy hours;
The mighty lord who makes his own
The treasures of the worlds o'erthrown.”
Then, as a tear bedewed her eye,
The hapless lady made reply:
“I loathe, with heart and soul detest
The shameful life your words suggest.
Eat, if you will, this mortal frame:
My soul rejects the sin and shame.
A homeless wanderer though he be,
In him my lord, my life I see,
And, till my earthly days be done,
Will cling to great Ikshváku's son.”
1444
The Ramayana
Then with fierce eyes on Sítá set
They cried again with taunt and threat:
Each licking with her fiery tongue
The lip that to her bosom hung,
And menacing the lady's life
With axe, or spear or murderous knife:
“Hear, Sítá, and our words obey,
Or perish by our hands to-day.
Thy love for Raghu's son forsake,
And Rávaṇ for thy husband take,
Or we will rend thy limbs apart
And banquet on thy quivering heart.
Now from her body strike the head,
And tell the king the dame is dead.
Then by our lord's commandment she
A banquet for our band shall be.
Come, let the wine be quickly brought
That frees each heart from saddening thought.
Then to the western gate repair,
And we will dance and revel there.”
Canto XXV. Sítá's Lament.
On the bare earth the lady sank,
And trembling from their presence shrank
Like a strayed fawn, when night is dark,
And hungry wolves around her bark.
[410]
Canto XXV. Sítá's Lament.
1445
Then to a shady tree she crept,
And thought upon her lord and wept.
By fear and bitter woe oppressed
She bathed the beauties of her breast
With her hot tears' incessant flow,
And found no respite from her woe.
As shakes a plantain in the breeze
She shook, and fell on trembling knees;
While at each demon's furious look
Her cheek its native hue forsook.
She lay and wept and made her moan
In sorrow's saddest undertone,
And, wild with grief, with fear appalled,
On Ráma and his brother called:
“O dear Kauśalyá,842hear me cry!
Sweet Queen Sumitrá,843list my sigh!
True is the saw the wise declare:
Death comes not to relieve despair.
'Tis vain for dame or man to pray;
Death will not hear before his day;
Since I, from Ráma's sight debarred,
And tortured by my cruel guard,
Still live in hopeless woe to grieve
And loathe the life I may not leave,
Here, like a poor deserted thing,
My limbs upon the ground I fling,
And, like a bark beneath the blast,
Shall sink oppressed with woes at last.
Ah, blest are they, supremely blest,
Whose eyes upon my lord may rest;
Who mark his lion port, and hear
His gentle speech that charms the ear.
842The mother of Ráma.
843The mother of Lakshmaṇ.
1446
The Ramayana
Alas, what antenatal crime,
What trespass of forgotten time
Weighs on my soul, and bids me bow
Beneath this load of misery now?”
Canto XXVI. Sítá's Lament.
“I Ráma's wife, on that sad day,
By Rávaṇ's arm was borne away,
Seized, while I sat and feared no ill,
By him who wears each form at will.
A helpless captive, left forlorn
To demons' threats and taunts and scorn,
Here for my lord I weep and sigh,
And worn with woe would gladly die.
For what is life to me afar
From Ráma of the mighty car?
The robber in his fruitless sin
Would hope his captive's love to win.
My meaner foot shall never touch
The demon whom I loathe so much.
The senseless fool! he knows me not,
Nor the proud soul his love would blot.
Yea, limb from limb will I be rent,
But never to his prayer consent;
Be burnt and perish in the fire,
But never meet his base desire.
My lord was grateful, true and wise,
And looked on woe with pitying eyes;
But now, recoiling from the strife
He pities not his captive wife.
Canto XXVII. Trijatá's Dream.
1447
Alone in Janasthán he slew
The thousands of the Rákshas crew.
His arm was strong, his heart was brave,
Why comes he not to free and save?
Why blame my lord in vain surmise?
He knows not where his lady lies.
O, if he knew, o'er land and sea
His feet were swift to set me free;
This Lanká, girdled by the deep,
Would fall consumed, a shapeless heap,
And from each ruined home would rise
A Rákshas widow's groans and cries.”
Canto XXVII. Trijatá's Dream.
Their threats unfeared, their counsel spurned,
The demons' breasts with fury burned.
Some sought the giant king to bear
The tale of Sítá's fixt despair.
With threats and taunts renewed the rest
Around the weeping lady pressed.
But Trijaṭá, of softer mould,
A Rákshas matron wise and old,
With pity for the captive moved,
In words like these the fiends reproved:
“Me, me,” she cried, “eat me, but spare
The spouse of Daśaratha's heir.
Last night I dreamt a dream; and still
The fear and awe my bosom chill;
For in that dream I saw foreshown
Our race by Ráma's hand o'erthrown.
1448
The Ramayana
I saw a chariot high in air,
Of ivory exceeding fair.
A hundred steeds that chariot drew
As swiftly through the clouds it flew,
And, clothed in white, with wreaths that shone,
The sons of Raghu rode thereon.
I looked and saw this lady here,
Clad in the purest white, appear
High on the snow white hill whose feet
The angry waves of ocean beat.
And she and Ráma met at last
Like light and sun when night is past.
Again I saw them side by side.
On Rávaṇ's car they seemed to ride,
And with the princely Lakshmaṇ flee
To northern realms beyond the sea.
[411]
Then Rávaṇ, shaved and shorn, besmeared
With oil from head to foot, appeared.
He quaffed, he raved: his robes were red:
Fierce was his eye, and bare his head.
I saw him from his chariot thrust;
I saw him rolling in the dust.
A woman came and dragged away
The stricken giant where he lay,
And on a car which asses drew
The monarch of our race she threw.
He rose erect, he danced and laughed,
With thirsty lips the oil he quaffed,
Then with wild eyes and streaming mouth
Sped on the chariot to the south.844
Then, dropping oil from every limb,
His sons the princes followed him,
844In the south is the region of Yáma the God of Death, the place of departed
spirits.
Canto XXX. Hanumán's Deliberation.
1449
And Kumbhakarṇa,845shaved and shorn,
Was southward on a camel borne.
Then royal Lanká reeled and fell
With gate and tower and citadel.
This ancient city, far-renowned:
All life within her walls was drowned;
And the wild waves of ocean rolled
O'er Lanká and her streets of gold.
Warned by these signs I bid you fly;
Or by the hand of Ráma die,
Whose vengeance will not spare the life
Of one who vexed his faithful wife.
Your bitter taunts and threats forgo:
Comfort the lady in her woe,
And humbly pray her to forgive;
For so you may be spared and live.”
[I omit the 28th and 29th Cantos as an unmistakeable interpola-
tion. Instead of advancing the story it goes back to Canto XVII,
containing a lamentation of Sítá after Rávaṇ has left her, and
describes the the auspicious signs sent to cheer her, the throbbing
of her left eye, arm, and side. The Canto is found in the Bengal
recension. Gorresio translates it. and observes: “I think that
Chapter XXVIII.—The Auspicious Signs—is an addition, a later
interpolation by the Rhapsodists. It has no bond of connexion
either with what precedes or follows it, and may be struck out
not only without injury to, but positively to the advantage of the
poem. The metre in which this chapter is written differs from
that which is generally adopted in the course of the poem.”]
Canto XXX. Hanumán's Deliberation.
845Kumbhakarṇa was one of Rávaṇ's brothers.
1450
The Ramayana
The Vánar watched concealed: each word
Of Sítá and the fiends he heard,
And in a maze of anxious thought
His quick-conceiving bosom wrought.
“At length my watchful eyes have seen,
Pursued so long, the Maithil queen,
Sought by our Vánar hosts in vain
From east to west, from main to main.
A cautious spy have I explored
The palace of the Rákhshas lord,
And thoroughly learned, concealed from sight,
The giant monarch's power and might.
And now my task must be to cheer
The royal dame who sorrows here.
For if I go, and soothe her not,
A captive in this distant spot,
She, when she finds no comfort nigh,
Will sink beneath her woes and die.
How shall my tale, if unconsoled
I leave her, be to Ráma told?
How shall I answer Raghu's son,
“No message from my darling, none?”
The husband's wrath, to fury fanned,
Will scorch me lifeless where I stand,
Or if I urge my lord the king
To Lanká's isle his hosts to bring,
In vain will be his zeal, in vain
The toil, the danger, and the pain.
Yea, this occasion must I seize
That from her guard the lady frees,846
To win her ear with soft address
And whisper hope in dire distress.
846The guards are still in the grove, but they are asleep; and Sítá has crept to a
tree at some distance from them.
Canto XXX. Hanumán's Deliberation.
1451
Shall I, a puny Vánar, choose
The Sanskrit men delight to use?
If, as a man of Bráhman kind,
I speak the tongue by rules refined,
The lady, yielding to her fears,
Will think 'tis Rávaṇ's voice she hears.
I must assume my only plan—
The language of a common847man.
Yet, if the lady sees me nigh,
[412]
In terror she will start and cry;
And all the demon band, alarmed,
Will come with various weapons armed,
With their wild shouts the grove will fill,
And strive to take me, or to kill.
And, at my death or capture, dies
The hope of Ráma`s enterprise.
For none can leap, save only me,
A hundred leagues across the sea.
It is a sin in me, I own,
To talk with Janak's child alone.
Yet greater is the sin if I
Be silent, and the lady die.
First I will utter Ráma's name,
And laud the hero's gifts and fame.
Perchance the name she holds so dear
847“As the reason assigned in these passages for not addressing Sítá in Sanskrit
such as a Bráhman would use is not that she would not understand it, but that
it would alarm her and be unsuitable to the speaker, we must take them as
indicating that Sanskrit, if not spoken by women of the upper classes at the
time when the Rámáyaṇa was written (whenever that may have been), was at
least understood by them, and was commonly spoken by men of the priestly
class, and other educated persons. By the Sanskrit proper to an [ordinary] man,
alluded to in the second passage, may perhaps be understood not a language in
which words different from Sanskrit were used, but the employment of formal
and elaborate diction.” MUIR'S{FNS Sanskrit Texts, Part II. p. 166.
1452
The Ramayana
Will soothe the faithful lady's fear.”
Canto XXXI. Hanumán's Speech.
Then in sweet accents low and mild
The Vánar spoke to Janak's child:
“A noble king, by sin unstained,
The mighty Daśaratha reigned.
Lord of the warrior's car and steed,
The pride of old Ikshváku's seed.
A faithful friend, a blameless king,
Protector of each living thing.
A glorious monarch, strong to save,
Blest with the bliss he freely gave.
His son, the best of all who know
The science of the bended bow,
Was moon-bright Ráma, brave and strong,
Who loved the right and loathed the wrong,
Who ne'er from kingly duty swerved,
Loved by the lands his might preserved.
His feet the path of law pursued;
His arm rebellious foes subdued.
His sire's command the prince obeyed
And, banished, sought the forest shade,
Where with his wife and brother he
Wandered a saintly devotee.
There as he roamed the wilds he slew
The bravest of the Rákshas crew.
The giant king the prince beguiled,
And stole his consort, Janak's child.
Then Ráma roamed the country round,
Canto XXXII. Sítá's Doubt.
1453
And a firm friend, Sugríva, found,
Lord of the Vánar race, expelled
From his own realm which Báli held,
He conquered Báli and restored
The kingdom to the rightful lord.
Then by Sugríva's high decree
The Vánar legions searched for thee,
Sampáti's counsel bade me leap
A hundred leagues across the deep.
And now my happy eyes have seen
At last the long-sought Maithil queen.
Such was the form, the eye, the grace
Of her whom Ráma bade me trace.”
He ceased: her flowing locks she drew
To shield her from a stranger's view;
Then, trembling in her wild surprise,
Raised to the tree her anxious eyes.
Canto XXXII. Sítá's Doubt.
Her eyes the Maithil lady raised
And on the monkey speaker gazed.
She looked, and trembling at the sight
Wept bitter tears in wild affright.
She shrank a while with fear distraught,
Then, nerved again, the lady thought:
“Is this a dream mine eyes have seen,
This creature, by our laws unclean?
O, may the Gods keep Ráma, still,
And Lakshmaṇ, and my sire, from ill!
1454
The Ramayana
It is no dream: I have not slept,
But, trouble-worn, have watched and wept
Afar from that dear lord of mine
For whom in ceaseless woe I pine,
No art may soothe my wild distress
Or lull me to forgetfulness.
I see but him: my lips can frame
No syllable but Ráma's name.
Each sight I see, each sound I hear,
Brings Ráma to mine eye or ear,
The wish was in my heart, and hence
The sweet illusion mocked my sense.
'Twas but a phantom of the mind,
And yet the voice was soft and kind.
Be glory to the Eternal Sire,848
Be glory to the Lord of Fire,
The mighty Teacher in the skies,849
And Indra with his thousand eyes,
And may they grant the truth to be
E'en as the words that startled me.”
[413]
Canto XXXIII. The Colloquy.
848Svayambhu, the Self-existent, Brahmá.
849Vṛihaspati or Váchaspati, the Lord of Speech and preceptor of the Gods.
Canto XXXIII. The Colloquy.
1455
Down from the tree Hanumán came
And humbly stood before the dame.
Then joining reverent palm to palm
Addressed her thus with words of balm:
“Why should the tears of sorrow rise,
Sweet lady, to those lovely eyes,
As when the wind-swept river floods
Two half expanded lotus buds?
Who art thou, O most fair of face?
Of Asur,850or celestial race?
Did Nága mother give thee birth?
For sure thou art no child of earth.
Do Rudras851claim that heavenly form?
Or the swift Gods852who ride the storm?
Or art thou Rohiṇí853the blest,
That star more lovely than the rest,—
Reft from the Moon thou lovest well
And doomed a while on earth to dwell?
Or canst thou, fairest wonder, be
The starry queen Arundhatí,854
Fled in thy wrath or jealous pride
From her dear lord Vaśishṭha's side?
Who is the husband, father, son
Or brother, O thou loveliest one,
Gone from this world in heaven to dwell,
For whom those eyes with weeping swell?
Yet, by the tears those sweet eyes shed,
850The Asurs were the fierce enemies of the Gods.
851The Rudras are manifestations of Śiva.
852The Maruts or Storm Gods.
853RohiṇíisanasterismpersonifiedasthedaughterofDakshaandthefavourite
wife of the Moon. The chief star in the constellation is Aldebaran.
854Arundhatí was the wife of the great sage Vaśishṭha, and regarded as the
pattern of conjugal excellence. She was raised to the heavens as one of the
Pleiades.
1456
The Ramayana
Yet, by the earth that bears thy tread,855
By calling on a monarch's name,
No Goddess but a royal dame.
Art thou the queen, fair lady, say,
Whom Rávaṇ stole and bore away?
Yea, by that agony of woe,
That form unrivalled here below,
That votive garb, thou art, I ween,
King Janak's child and Ráma's queen.”
Hope at the name of Ráma woke,
And thus the gentle lady spoke:
“I am that Sítá wooed and won
By Daśaratha's royal son,
The noblest of Ikshváku's line;
And every earthly joy was mine.
But Ráma left his royal home
In Daṇḍak's tangled wilds to roam.
Where with Sumitrá's son and me,
He lived a saintly devotee.
The giant Rávaṇ came with guile
And bore me thence to Lanká's isle.
Some respite yet the fiend allows,
Two months of life, to Ráma's spouse.
Two moons of hopeless woe remain,
And then the captive will be slain.”
855The Gods do not shed tears; nor do they touch the ground when they walk
or stand. Similarly Milton's angels marched above the ground and “the passive
air upbore their nimble tread.” Virgil's “vera incessu patuit dea” may refer to
the same belief.
Canto XXXIV. Hanumán's Speech.
1457
Canto XXXIV. Hanumán's Speech.
Thus spoke the dame in mournful mood,
And Hanumán his speech renewed:
“O lady, by thy lord's decree
I come a messenger to thee.
Thy lord is safe with steadfast friends,
And greeting to his queen he sends,
And Lakshmaṇ, ever faithful bows
His reverent head to Ráma's spouse.”
Through all her frame the rapture ran,
As thus again the dame began:
“Now verily the truth I know
Of the wise saw of long ago:
“Once only in a hundred years
True joy to living man appears.”
He marked her rapture-beaming hue,
And nearer to the lady drew,
But at each onward step he took
Suspicious fear her spirit shook.
“Alas, Alas,” she cried in fear.
“False is the tale I joyed to hear.
'Tis Rávaṇ, 'tis the fiend, who tries
To mock me with a new disguise.
If thou, to wring my woman's heart,
Hast changed thy shape by magic art,
And wouldst a helpless dame beguile,
The wicked deed is doubly vile.
But no: that fiend thou canst not be:
Such joy I had from seeing thee.
But if my fancy does not err,
And thou art Ráma's messenger,
1458
The Ramayana
The glories of my lord repeat:
For to these ears such words are sweet.”
The Vánar knew the lady's thought,856
And gave the answer fondly sought:
[414]
“Bright as the sun that lights the sky
Dear as the Moon to every eye.
He scatters blessings o'er the land
Like bounties from Vaiśravaṇ's857hand.
Like Vishṇu strong and unsubdued,
Unmatched in might and fortitude.
Wise, truthful as the Lord of Speech,
With gentle words he welcomes each.
Of noblest mould and form is he,
Like love's incarnate deity.
He quells the fury of the foe,
And strikes when justice prompts the blow.
Safe in the shadow of his arm
The world is kept from scathe and harm.
Now soon shall Rávaṇ rue his theft,
And fall, of realm and life bereft.
For Ráma's wrathful hand shall wing
His shafts against the giant king.
The day, O Maithil Queen, is near
When he and Lakshmaṇ will be here,
And by their side Sugríva lead
His countless hosts of Vánar breed.
Sugríva's servant, I, by name
Hanumán, by his order came.
With desperate leap I crossed the sea
To Lanká's isle in search of thee,
856That a friend of Ráma would praise him as he should be praised, and that if
the stranger were Rávaṇ in disguise he would avoid the subject.
857Kuvera the God of Gold.
Canto XXXV. Hanumán's Speech.
1459
No traitor, gentle dame, am I:
Upon my word and faith rely.”
Canto XXXV. Hanumán's Speech.
With joyous heart she heard him tell
Of the great lord she loved so well,
And in sweet accents, soft and low,
Spoke, half forgetful of her woe:
“How didst thou stand by Ráma's side?
How came my lord and thou allied?
How met the people of the wood
With men on terms of brotherhood?
Declare each grace and regal sign
That decks the lords of Raghu's line.
Each circumstance and look relate:
Tell Ráma's form and speech, and gait.”
“Thy fear and doubt,” he cried, “dispelled,
Hear, lady, what mine eyes beheld.
Hear the imperial signs that grace
The glory of Ikshváku's race.
With moon-bright face and lotus eyes,
Most beautiful and good and wise,
With sun-like glory round his head,
Long-suffering as the earth we tread,
He from all foes his realm defends.
Yea, o'er the world his care extends.
He follows right in all his ways,
And ne'er from royal duty strays.
He knows the lore that strengthens kings;
1460
The Ramayana
His heart to truth and honour clings.
Each grace and gift of form and mind
Adorns that prince of human kind;
And virtues like his own endue
His brother ever firm and true.
O'er all the land they roamed distraught,
And thee with vain endeavour sought,
Until at length their wandering feet
Trod wearily our wild retreat.
Our banished king Sugríva spied
The princes from the mountain side.
By his command I sought the pair
And led them to our monarch there.
Thus Ráma and Sugríva met,
And joined the bonds that knit them yet,
When each besought the other's aid,
And friendship and alliance made.
An arrow launched from Ráma's bow
Laid Báli dead, Sugríva's foe.
Then by commandment of our lord
The Vánar hosts each land explored.
We reached the coast: I crossed the sea
And found my way at length to thee.”858
Canto XXXVI. Ráma's Ring.
858Sítá of course knows nothing of what has happened to Ráma since the time
when she was carried away by Rávaṇ. The poet therefore thinks it necessary to
repeat the whole story of the meeting between Ráma and Sugríva, the defeat of
Bálí, and subsequent events. I give the briefest possible outline of the story.
Canto XXXVI. Ráma's Ring.
1461
“Receive,” he cried, “this precious ring,859
Sure token from thy lord the king:
The golden ring he wont to wear:
See, Ráma's name engraven there.”
Then, as she took the ring he showed,
The tears that spring of rapture flowed.
She seemed to touch the hand that sent
The dearly valued ornament,
And with her heart again at ease,
Replied in gentle words like these:
“O thou, whose soul no fears deter,
Wise, brave, and faithful messenger!
And hast thou dared, o'er wave and foam,
To seek me in the giants' home?
In thee, true messenger, I find
The noblest of thy woodland kind.
Who couldst, unmoved by terror, brook
On Rávaṇ, king of fiends, to look.
[415]
Now may we commune here as friends,
For he whom royal Ráma sends
Must needs be one in danger tried,
A valiant, wise, and faithful guide.
Say, is it well with Ráma still?
Lives Lakshmaṇ yet untouched by ill?
Then why should Ráma's hand be slow
To free his consort from her woe?
Why spare to burn, in search of me,
The land encircled by the sea?
Can Bharat send no army out
With banners, cars and battle shout?
Cannot thy king Sugríva lend
His legions to assist his friend?”
859DE GUBERNATIS{FNS thinks that this ring which the Sun Ráma sends to
the Dawn Sítá is a symbol of the sun's disc.
1462
The Ramayana
His hands upon his head he laid
And thus again his answer made:
“Not yet has Ráma learnt where lies
His lady of the lotus eyes,
Or he like Indra from the sky
To Śachí's860aid, to thee would fly.
Soon will he hear the tale, and then,
Roused to revenge, the lord of men
Will to the giants' island lead
Fierce myriads of the woodland breed,
Bridging his conquering way, and make
The town a ruin for thy sake.
Believe my words, sweet dame; I swear
By roots and fruit, my woodland fare,
By Meru's peak and Vindhva's chain,
And Mandar of the Milky Main,
Soon shalt thou see thy lord, though now
He waits upon Praśravaṇ's861brow,
Come glorious as the breaking morn,
Like Indra on Airávat862borne.
For thee he looks with longing eyes;
The wood his scanty food supplies.
For thee his brow is pale and worn,
For thee are meat and wine forsworn.
Thine image in his heart he keeps,
For thee by night he wakes and weeps.
Or if perchance his eyes he close
And win brief respite from his woes,
E'en then the name of Sítá slips
In anguish from his murmuring lips.
860Śachí is the loved and lovely wife of Indra, and she is taken as the type of a
woman protected by a jealous and all-powerful husband.
861The mountain near Kishkindhá.
862Airávat is the mighty elephant on which Indra delights to ride.
Canto XXXVII. Sítá's Speech.
1463
If lovely flowers or fruit he sees,
Which women love, upon the trees,
To thee, to thee his fancy flies.
And ‘Sítá! O my love!’ he cries.”
Canto XXXVII. Sítá's Speech.
“Thou bringest me,” she cried again,
“A mingled draught of bliss and pain:
Bliss, that he wears me in his heart,
Pain, that he wakes and weeps apart,
O, see how Fate is king of all,
Now lifts us high, now bids us fall,
And leads a captive bound with cord
The meanest slave, the proudest lord,
Thus even now Fate's stern decree
Has struck with grief my lord and me.
Say, how shall Ráma reach the shore
Of sorrow's waves that rise and roar,
A shipwrecked sailor, well nigh drowned
In the wild sea that foams around?
When will he smite the demon down,
Lay low in dust the giants' town,
And, glorious from his foes' defeat,
His wife, his long-lost Sítá, meet?
Go, bid him speed to smite his foes
Before the year shall reach its close.
Ten months are fled but two remain,
Then Rávaṇ's captive must be slain.
Oft has Vibhishaṇ,863just and wise,
863Vibhishaṇ is the wicked Rávaṇ's good brother.
1464
The Ramayana
Besought him to restore his prize.
But deaf is Rávaṇ's senseless ear:
His brother's rede he will not hear.
Vibhishaṇ's daughter864loves me well:
From her I learnt the tale I tell.
Avindhva865prudent, just, and old,
The giant's fall has oft foretold;
But Fate impels him to despise
His word on whom he most relies.
In Ráma's love I rest secure,
For my fond heart is true and pure,
And him, my noblest lord, I deem
In valour, power, and might supreme.”
As from her eyes the waters ran,
The Vánar chief again began:
“Yea, Ráma, when he hears my tale,
Will with our hosts these walls assail.
Or I myself, O Queen, this day
Will bear thee from the fiend away,
Will lift thee up, and take thee hence
To him thy refuge and defence;
Will take thee in my arms, and flee
To Ráma far beyond the sea;
Will place thee on Praśravaṇ hill
Where Raghu's son is waiting still.”
[416]
“How canst thou bear me hence?” she cried,
“The way is long, the sea is wide.
To bear my very weight would be
A task too hard for one like thee.”866
864Her name is Kalá, or in the Bengal recension Nandá.
865One of Rávaṇ's chief councillors.
866Hanumán when he entered the city had in order to escape observation
condensed himself to the size of a cat.
Canto XXXVII. Sítá's Speech.
1465
Swift rose before her startled eyes
The Vánar in his native size,
Like Mandar's hill or Meru's height,
Encircled with a blaze of light.
“O come,” he cried, “thy fears dispel,
Nor doubt that I will bear thee well.
Come, in my strength and care confide,
And sit in joy by Ráma's side.”
Again she spake: “I know thee now,
Brave, resolute, and strong art thou;
In glory like the Lord of Fire
With storm-swift feet which naught may tire
But yet with thee I may not fly:
For, borne so swiftly through the sky,
Mine eyes would soon grow faint and dim,
My dizzy brain would reel and swim,
My yielding arms relax their hold,
And I in terror uncontrolled
Should fall into the raging sea
Where hungry sharks would feed on me.
Nor can I touch, of free accord,
The limbs of any save my lord.
If, by the giant forced away,
In his enfolding arms I lay,
Not mine, O Vánar, was the blame;
What could I do, a helpless dame?
Go, to my lord my message bear,
And bid him end my long despair.”
1466
The Ramayana
Canto XXXVIII. Sítá's Gem.
Again the Vánar chief replied,
With her wise answer satisfied:
“Well hast thou said: thou canst not brave
The rushing wind, the roaring wave.
Thy woman's heart would sink with fear
Before the ocean shore were near.
And for thy dread lest limb of thine
Should for a while be touched by mine,
The modest fear is worthy one
Whose cherished lord is Raghu's son.
Yet when I sought to bear thee hence
I spoke the words of innocence,
Impelled to set the captive free
By friendship for thy lord and thee.
But if with me thou wilt not try
The passage of the windy sky,
Give me a gem that I may show,
Some token which thy lord may know.”
Again the Maithil lady spoke,
While tears and sobs her utterance broke:
“The surest of all signs is this,
To tell the tale of vanished bliss.
Thus in my name to Ráma speak:
“Remember Chitrakúṭa's peak
And the green margin of the rill867
That flows beside that pleasant hill,
Where thou and I together strayed
Delighting in the tangled shade.
867The brook Mandákiní, not far from Chitrakúṭa where Ráma sojourned for
a time.
Canto XXXVIII. Sítá's Gem.
1467
There on the grass I sat with thee
And laid my head upon thy knee.
There came a greedy crow and pecked
The meat I waited to protect
And, heedless of the clods I threw,
About my head in circles flew,
Until by darling hunger pressed
He boldly pecked me on the breast.
I ran to thee in rage and grief
And prayed for vengeance on the thief.
Then Ráma868from his slumber rose
And smiled with pity at my woes.
Upon my bleeding breast he saw
The scratches made by beak and claw.
He laid an arrow on his bow,
And launched it at the shameless crow.
That shaft, with magic power endued,
The bird, where'er he flew, pursued,
Till back to Raghu's son he fled
And bent at Ráma's feet his head.869
Couldst thou for me with anger stirred
Launch that dire shaft upon a bird,
And yet canst pardon him who stole
The darling of thy heart and soul?
Rise up, O bravest of the brave,
And come in all thy might to save.
Come with the thunders of thy bow,
And smite to earth the Rákshas foe.”
She ceased; and from her glorious hair
She took a gem that sparkled there
868The poet here changes from the second person to the third.
869The whole long story is repeated with some slight variations and additions
from Book II, Canto XCVI. I give here only the outline.
1468
The Ramayana
A token which her husband's eyes
With eager love would recognize.
His head the Vánar envoy bent
In low obeisance reverent.
And on his finger bound the gem
She loosened from her diadem.
[I omit two Cantos of dialogue. Sítá tells Hanumán again to
convey her message to Ráma and bid him hasten to rescue her.
Hanumán replies as before that there is no one on earth equal to
Ráma, who will soon come and destroy Rávaṇ. There is not a
new idea in the two Cantos: all is reiteration.]
[417]
Canto XLI. The Ruin Of The Grove.
Dismissed with every honour due
The Vánar from the spot withdrew.
Then joyous thought the Wind-God's son:
“The mighty task is wellnigh done.
The three expedients I must leave;
The fourth alone can I achieve.870
These dwellers in the giants' isle
No arts of mine can reconcile.
I cannot bribe: I cannot sow
Dissension mid the Rákshas foe.
Arts, gifts, address, these fiends despise;
870The expedients to vanquish an enemy or to make him come to terms are said
to be four: conciliation, gifts, disunion, and force or punishment. Hanumán
considers it useless to employ the first three and resolves to punish Rávaṇ by
destroying his pleasure-grounds.
Canto XLI. The Ruin Of The Grove.
1469
But force shall yet their king chastise.
Perchance he may relent when all
The bravest of his chieftains fall.
This lovely grove will I destroy,
The cruel Rávaṇ's pride and joy.
The garden where he takes his ease
Mid climbing plants and flowery trees
That lift their proud tops to the skies,
Dear to the tyrant as his eyes.
Then will he rouse in wrath, and lead
His legions with the car and steed
And elephants in long array,
And seek me thirsty for the fray.
The Rákshas legions will I meet,
And all his bravest host defeat;
Then, glorious from the bloody plain,
Turn to my lord the king again.”
Then every lovely tree that bore
Fair blossoms, from the soil he tore,
Till each green bough that lent its shade
To singing birds on earth was laid.
The wilderness he left a waste,
The fountains shattered and defaced:
O'erthrew and levelled with the ground
Each shady seat and pleasure-mound.
Each arbour clad with climbing bloom,
Each grotto, cell, and picture room,
Each lawn by beast and bird enjoyed,
Each walk and terrace was destroyed.
And all the place that was so fair
Was left a ruin wild and bare,
As if the fury of the blast
Or raging fire had o'er it passed.
1470
The Ramayana
Canto XLII. The Giants Roused.
The cries of startled birds, the sound
Of tall trees crashing to the ground,
Struck with amaze each giant's ear,
And filled the isle with sudden fear.
Then, wakened by the crash and cries,
The fierce shefiends unclosed their eyes,
And saw the Vánar where he stood
Amid the devastated wood.
The more to scare them with the view
To size immense the Vánar grew;
And straight the Rákshas warders cried
Janak's daughter terrified
“Whose envoy, whence, and who is he,
Why has he come to talk with thee?
Speak, lady of the lovely eyes,
And let not fear thy joy disguise.”
Then thus replied the Maithil dame
Of noble soul and perfect frame.
“Can I discern, with scanty skill,
These fiends who change their forms at will?
'Tis yours to say: your kin you meet;
A serpent knows a serpent's feet.
Canto XLII. The Giants Roused.
1471
I weet not who he is: the sight
Has filled my spirit with affright.”
Some pressed round Sítá in a ring;
Some bore the story to their king:
“A mighty creature of our race,
In monkey form, has reached the place.
He came within the grove,” they cried,
“He stood and talked by Sítá's side,
He comes from Indra's court to her,
Or is Kuvera's messenger;
Or Ráma sent the spy to seek
His consort, and her wrongs to wreak.
His crushing arm, his trampling feet
Have marred and spoiled that dear retreat,
And all the pleasant place which thou
So lovest is a ruin now.
The tree where Sítá sat alone
Is spared where all are overthrown.
Perchance he saved the dame from harm:
Perchance the toil had numbed his arm.”
Then flashed the giant's eye with fire
Like that which lights the funeral pyre.
He bade his bravest Kinkars871speed
[418]
And to his feet the spoiler lead.
Forth from the palace, at his hest,
Twice forty thousand warriors pressed.
Burning for battle, strong and fierce,
With clubs to crush and swords to pierce,
They saw Hanúmán near a porch,
And, thick as moths around a torch,
871Kinkar means the special servant of a sovereign, who receives his orders
immediately from his master. The Bengal recension gives these Rákshases an
epithetwhichtheCommentatorexplains“asgeneratedinthemindofBrahmá.”
1472
The Ramayana
Rushed on the foe with wild attacks
Of mace and club and battle-axe.
As round him pressed the Rákshas crowd,
The wondrous monkey roared aloud,
That birds fell headlong from the sky:
Then spake he with a mighty cry:
“Long life to Daśaratha's heir,
And Lakshmaṇ, ever-glorious pair!
Long life to him who rules our race,
Preserved by noblest Ráma's grace!
I am the slave of Kośal's king,872
Whose wondrous deeds the minstrels sing.
Hanúmán I, the Wind-God's seed:
Beneath this arm the foemen bleed.
I fear not, unapproached in might,
A thousand Rávaṇ's ranged for fight,
Although in furious hands they rear
The hill and tree for sword and spear,
I will, before the giants' eyes,
Their city and their king chastise;
And, having communed with the dame,
Depart in triumph as I came.”
At that terrific roar and yell
The heart of every giant fell.
But still their king's command they feared
And pressed around with arms upreared.
Beside the porch a club was laid:
The Vánar caught it up, and swayed
The weapon round his head, and slew
The foremost of the Rákshas crew.
Thus Indra vanquished, thousand-eyed,
The Daityas who the Gods defied.
872Ráma de jure King of Kośal of which Ayodhyá was the capital.
Canto XLIII. The Ruin Of The Temple.
1473
Then on the porch Hanúmán sprang,
And loud his shout of triumph rang.
The giants looked upon the dead,
And turning to their monarch fled.
And Rávaṇ with his spirit wrought
To frenzy by the tale they brought,
Urged to the fight Prahasta's son,
Of all his chiefs the mightiest one.
Canto XLIII. The Ruin Of The Temple.
The Wind-God's son a temple873scaled
Which, by his fury unassailed,
High as the hill of Meru, stood
Amid the ruins of the wood;
And in his fury thundered out
Again his haughty battle-shout:
“I am the slave of Kośal's King
Whose wondrous deeds the minstrels sing.”
Forth hurried, by that shout alarmed,
The warders of the temple armed
With every weapon haste supplied,
And closed him in on every side,
With bands that strove to pierce and strike
With shaft and axe and club and pike.
Then from its base the Vánar tore
A pillar with the weight it bore.
Against the wall the mass he dashed,
873Chaityaprásáda is explained by the Commentator as the place where the
GodsoftheRákshaseswerekept. Gorresiotranslatesitby“ungrandeedificio.”
1474
The Ramayana
And forth the flames in answer flashed,
That wildly ran o'er roofs and wall
In hungry rage consuming all.
He whirled the pillar round his head
And struck a hundred giants dead.
Then high upheld on air he rose
And called in thunder to his foes:
“A thousand Vánar chiefs like me
Roam at their will o'er land and sea,
Terrific might we all possess:
Our stormy speed is limitless.
And all, unconquered in the fray,
Our king Sugríva's word obey.
Backed by his bravest myriads, he
Our warrior lord will cross the sea.
Then Lanká's lofty towers, and all
Your hosts and Rávaṇ's self shall fall.
None shall be left unslaughtered; none
Who braves the wrath of Raghu's son.”
Canto XLIV. Jambumáli's Death.
Then Jambumáli, pride and boast
For valour of the Rákshas host,
Prahasta's son supremely brave,
Obeyed the hest that Rávaṇ gave:
Fierce warrior with terrific teeth,
With saguine robes and brilliant wreath.
A bow like Indra's own874, and store
[419]
874The bow of Indra is the rainbow.
Canto XLIV. Jambumáli's Death.
1475
Of glittering shafts the chieftain bore.
And ever as the string he tried
The weapon with a roar replied,
Loud as the crashing thunder sent
By him who rules the firmament.
Soon as the foeman came in view
Borne on a car which asses drew,
The Vánar chieftain mighty-voiced
Shouted in triumph and rejoiced.
Prahasta's son his bow-string drew,
And swift the winged arrows flew,
One in the face the Vánar smote,
Another quivered in his throat.
Ten from the deadly weapon sent
His brawny arms and shoulders rent.
Then as he felt each galling shot
The Vánar's rage waxed fiercely hot.
He looked, and saw a mass of stone
That lay before his feet o'erthrown.
The mighty block he raised and threw,
And crashing through the air it flew.
But Jambumáli shunned the blow,
And rained fresh arrows from his bow.
The Vánar's limbs were red with gore:
A Sál tree from the earth he tore,
And, ere he hurled it undismayed,
Above his head the missile swayed.
But shafts from Jambumáli's bow
Cut through it ere his hand could throw.
And thigh and arm and chest and side
With streams of rushing blood were dyed.
Still unsubdued though wounded oft
The shattered trunk he raised aloft,
And down with well-directed aim
1476
The Ramayana
On Jambumáli's chest it came.
There crushed upon the trampled grass
He lay an undistinguished mass,
The foeman's eye no more could see
His head or chest or arm or knee.
And bow and car and steeds875and store
Of glittering shafts were seen no more.
When Jambumáli's death he heard,
King Rávaṇ's heart with rage was stirred
And forth his general's sons he sent,
For power and might preeminent.
Canto XLV. The Seven Defeated.
Forth went the seven in brave attire,
In glory brilliant as the fire,
Impetuous chiefs with massive bows,
The quellers of a host of foes:
Trained from their youth in martial lore,
And masters of the arms they bore:
Each emulous and fiercely bold,
And banners wrought with glittering gold
Waved o'er their chariots, drawn at speed
By coursers of the noblest breed.
On through the ruins of the grove
At Hanumán they fiercely drove,
And from the ponderous bows they strained
875We were told a few lines before that the chariot of Jambumáli was drawn
by asses. Here horses are spoken of. The Commentator notices the discrepancy
and says that by horses asses are meant.
Canto XLV. The Seven Defeated.
1477
A shower of deadly arrows rained.
Then scarce was seen the Vánar's form
Enveloped in the arrowy storm.
So stands half veiled the Mountains' King
When rainy clouds about him cling.
By nimble turn, by rapid bound
He shunned the shafts that rained around,
Eluding, as in air he rose,
The rushing chariots of his foes.
The mighty Vánar undismayed
Amid his archer foemen played,
As plays the frolic wind on high
Mid bow-armed876clouds that fill the sky.
He raised a mighty roar and yell
That fear on all the army fell,
And then, his warrior soul aglow
With fury, rushed upon the foe,
Some with his open hand he beat
To death and trampled with his feet;
Some with fierce nails he rent and slew,
And others with his fists o'erthrew;
Some with his legs, as on he rushed,
Some with his bulky chest he crushed;
While some struck senseless by his roar
Dropped on the ground and breathed no more,
The remnant, seized with sudden dread,
Turned from the grove and wildly fled.
The trampled earth was thickly strown
With steed and car and flag o'erthrown,
And the red blood in rivers flowed
From slaughtered fiends o'er path and road.
876Armed with the bow of Indra, the rainbow.
1478
The Ramayana
Canto XLVI. The Captains.
Mad with the rage of injured pride
King Rávaṇ summoned to his side
The valiant five who led his host,
Supreme in war and honoured most.
“Go forth,” he cried, “with car and steed,
And to my feet this monkey lead,
But watch each chance of time and place
To seize this thing of silvan race.
For from his wondrous exploits he
No monkey of the woods can be,
[420]
But some new kind of creature meant
To work us woe, by Indra sent.
Gandharvas, Nágas, and the best
Of Yakshas have our might confessed.
Have we not challenged and subdued
The whole celestial multitude?
Yet will you not, if you are wise,
A chief of monkey race despise.
For I myself have Báli known,
And King Sugríva's power I own.
But none of all their woodland throng
Was half so terrible and strong.”
Obedient to the words he spake
They hastened forth the foe to take.
Swift were the cars whereon they rode,
And bright their weapons flashed and glowed.
They saw: they charged in wild career
With sword and mace and axe and spear.
From Durdhar's bow five arrows sped
And quivered in the Vánar's head.
He rose and roared: the fearful sound
Canto XLVII. The Death Of Aksha.
1479
Made all the region echo round.
Then from above his weight he threw
On Durdhar's car that near him drew.
The weight that came with lightning speed
Crushed pole and axle, car and steed.
It shattered Durdhar's head and neck,
And left him lifeless mid the wreck.
Yúpáksha saw the warrior die,
And Virúpáksha heard his cry,
And, mad for vengeance for the slain,
They charged their Vánar foe again.
He rose in air: they onward pressed
And fiercely smote him on the breast.
In vain they struck his iron frame:
With eagle swoop to earth he came,
Tore from the ground a tree that grew
Beside him, and the demons slew.
Then Bhásakama raised his spear,
And Praghas with a laugh drew near,
And, maddened at the sight, the two
Against the undaunted Vánar flew.
As from his wounds the torrents flowed,
Like a red sun the Vánar showed.
He turned, a mountain peak to seize
With all its beasts and snakes and trees.
He hurled it on the pair: and they
Crushed, overwhelmed, beneath it lay.
Canto XLVII. The Death Of Aksha.
1480
The Ramayana
But Rávaṇ, as his fury burned,
His eyes on youthful Aksha877turned,
Who rose impetuous at his glance
And shouted for his bow and lance.
He rode upon a glorious car
That shot the light of gems afar.
His pennon waved mid glittering gold
And bright the wheels with jewels rolled,
By long and fierce devotion won
That car was splendid as the sun.
With rows of various weapons stored;
And thought-swift horses whirled their lord
Racing along the earth, or rose
High through the clouds whene'er he chose.
Then fierce and fearful war between
The Vánar and the fiend was seen.
The Gods and Asurs stood amazed,
And on the wondrous combat gazed.
A cry from earth rose long and shrill,
The wind was hushed, the sun grew chill.
The thunder bellowed from the sky,
And troubled ocean roared reply.
Thrice Aksha strained his dreadful bow,
Thrice smote his arrow on the foe,
And with full streams of crimson bled
Three gashes in the Vánar's head.
Then rose Hanúmán in the air
To shun the shafts no life could bear.
But Aksha in his car pursued,
And from on high the fight renewed
With storm of arrows, thick as hail
When angry clouds some hill assail.
877Rávaṇ's son.
Canto XLVIII. Hanumán Captured.
1481
Impatient of that arrowy shower
The Vánar chief put forth his power,
Again above his chariot rose
And smote him with repeated blows.
Terrific came each deadly stroke:
Breast neck and arm and back he broke;
And Aksha fell to earth, and lay
With all his life-blood drained away.
Canto XLVIII. Hanumán Captured.
To Indrajít878the bold and brave
The giant king his mandate gave:
“O trained in warlike science, best
In arms of all our mightiest,
Whose valour in the conflict shown
To Asurs and to Gods is known,
The Kinkars whom I sent are slain,
And Jambumálí and his train;
The lords who led our giant bands
Have fallen by the monkey's hands;
With shattered cars the ground is spread,
And Aksha lies amid the dead.
Thou art my best and bravest: go,
Unmatched in power, and slay the foe.”
[421]
He heard the hest: he bent his head;
Athirst for battle forth he sped.
Four tigers fierce, of tawny hue,
With fearful teeth, his chariot drew.
878Conqueror of Indra, another of Rávaṇ's sons.
1482
The Ramayana
Hanúmán heard his strong bow clang,
And swiftly from the earth he sprang,
While weak and ineffective fell
The archer's shafts though pointed well.
The Rákshas saw that naught might kill
The wondrous foe who mocked his skill,
And launched a magic shaft to throw
A binding spell about his foe.
Forth flew the shaft: the mystic charm
Stayed his swift feet and numbed his arm,
Through all his frame he felt the spell,
And motionless to earth he fell.
Nor would the reverent Vánar loose
The bonds that bound him as a noose.
He knew that Brahmá's self had charmed
The weapon that his might disarmed.
They saw him helpless on the ground,
And all the giants pressed around,
And bonds of hemp and bark were cast
About his limbs to hold him fast.
They drew the ropes round feet and wrists;
They beat him with their hands and fists,
And dragged him as they strained the cord
With shouts of triumph to their lord.879
879The śloka which follows is probably an interpolation, as it is inconsistent
with the questioning in Canto L.:
He looked on Rávaṇ in his pride,
And boldly to the monarch cried:
“I came an envoy to this place
From him who rules the Vánar race.”
Canto XLIX. Rávan.
1483
Canto XLIX. Rávan.
On the fierce king Hanúmán turned
His angry eyes that glowed and burned.
He saw him decked with wealth untold
Of diamond and pearl and gold,
And priceless was each wondrous gem
That sparkled in his diadem.
About his neck rich chains were twined,
The best that fancy e'er designed,
And a fair robe with pearls bestrung
Down from his mighty shoulders hung.
Ten heads he reared,880as Mandar's hill
Lifts woody peaks which tigers fill,
Bright were his eyes, and bright, beneath,
The flashes of his awful teeth.
His brawny arms of wondrous size
Were decked with rings and scented dyes.
His hands like snakes with five long heads
Descending from their mountain beds.
He sat upon a crystal throne
Inlaid with wealth of precious stone,
Whereon, of noblest work, was set
A gold-embroidered coverlet.
Behind the monarch stood the best
Of beauteous women gaily dressed,
And each her giant master fanned,
Or waved a chourie in her hand.
880ThetenheadsofRávaṇhaveprovokedmuchridiculefromEuropeancritics.
It should be remembered that Spenser tells us of “two brethren giants, the one
of which had two heads, the other three;” and Milton speaks of the “four-fold
visaged Four,” the four Cherubic shapes each of whom had four faces.
1484
The Ramayana
Four noble courtiers881wise and good
In counsel, near the monarch stood,
As the four oceans ever stand
About the sea-encompassed land.
Still, though his heart with rage was fired,
The Vánar marvelled and admired:
“O what a rare and wondrous sight!
What beauty, majesty, and might!
All regal pomp combines to grace
This ruler of the Rákshas race.
He, if he scorned not right and law,
Might guide the world with tempered awe:
Yea, Indra and the Gods on high
Might on his saving power rely.”
Canto L. Prahasta's Questions.
Then fierce the giant's fury blazed
As on Hanúmán's form he gazed,
And shaken by each wild surmise
He spake aloud with flashing eyes:
“Can this be Nandi882standing here,
The mighty one whom all revere?
Who once on high Kailása's hill
Pronounced the curse that haunts me still?
Or is the woodland creature one
881Durdhar,orastheBengalrecensionreadsMahodara,Prahasta,Mahápárśva,
and Nikumbha.
882The chief attendant of Śiva.
Canto L. Prahasta's Questions.
1485
Of Asur race, or Bali's883son?
The wretch with searching question try:
Learn who he is, and whence; and why
He marred the glory of the grove,
And with my captains fiercely strove.”
[422]
Prahasta heard his lord's behest,
And thus the Vánar chief addressed:
“O monkey stranger be consoled:
Fear not, and let thy heart be bold.
If thou by Indra's mandate sent
Thy steps to Lanká's isle hast bent,
With fearless words the cause explain,
And freedom thou shalt soon regain.
Or if thou comest as a spy
Despatched by Vishṇu in the sky,
Or sent by Yáma, or the Lord
Of Riches, hast our town explored;
Proved by the prowess thou hast shown
No monkey save in form alone;
Speak boldly all the truth, and be
Released from bonds, unharmed and free.
But falsehood spoken to our king
Swift punishment of death will bring.”
He ceased: the Vánar made reply;
“Not Indra's messenger am I,
Nor came I hither to fulfil
Kuvera's hest or Vishṇu's will.
I stand before the giants here
A Vánar e'en as I appear.
I longed to see the king: 'twas hard
883Bali, not to be confounded with Báli the Vánar, was a celebrated Daitya or
demon who had usurped the empire of the three worlds, and who was deprived
of two thirds of his dominions by Vishṇu in the Dwarf-incarnation.
1486
The Ramayana
To win my way through gate and guard.
And so to gain my wish I laid
In ruin that delightful shade.
No fiend, no God of heavenly kind
With bond or chain these limbs may bind.
The Eternal Sire himself of old
Vouchsafed the boon that makes me bold,
From Brahmá's magic shaft released884
I knew the captor's power had ceased,
The fancied bonds I freely brooked,
And thus upon the king have looked.
My way to Lanká have I won,
A messenger from Raghu's son.”
Canto LI. Hanumán's Reply.
“My king Sugríva greets thee fair,
And bids me thus his rede declare.
Son of the God of Wind, by name
Hanumán, to this isle I came.
To set the Maithil lady free
I crossed the barrier of the sea.
I roamed in search of her and found
Her weeping in that lovely ground.
Thou in the lore of duty trained,
Who hast by stern devotion gained
This wondrous wealth and power and fame
Shouldst fear to wrong another's dame.
884When Hanumán was bound with cords, Indrajít released his captive from
the spell laid upon him by the magic weapon.
Canto LI. Hanumán's Reply.
1487
Hear thou my counsel, and be wise:
No fiend, no dweller in the skies
Can bear the shafts by Lakshmaṇ shot,
Or Ráma when his wrath is hot.
O Giant King, repent the crime
And soothe him while there yet is time.
Now be the Maithil queen restored
Uninjured to her sorrowing lord.
Soon wilt thou rue thy dire mistake:
She is no woman but a snake,
Whose very deadly bite will be
The ruin of thy house and thee.
Thy pride has led thy thoughts astray,
That fancy not a hand may slay
The monarch of the giants, screened
From mortal blow of God and fiend.
Sugríva still thy death may be:
No Yaksha, fiend, or God is he,
And Ráma from a woman springs,
The mortal seed of mortal kings.
O think how Báli fell subdued;
Think on thy slaughtered multitude.
Respect those brave and strong allies;
Consult thy safety, and be wise.
I, even I, no helper need
To overthrow, with car and steed,
Thy city Lanká half divine:
The power but not the will is mine.
For Raghu's son, before his friend
The Vánar monarch, swore to end
With his own conquering arm the life
Of him who stole his darling wife.
Turn, and be wise, O Rávaṇ turn;
Or thou wilt see thy Lanká burn,
1488
The Ramayana
And with thy wives, friends, kith and kin
Be ruined for thy senseless sin.”
Canto LII. Vibhishan's Speech.
Then Rávaṇ spake with flashing eye:
“Hence with the Vánar: let him die.”
Vibhishaṇ heard the stern behest,
And pondered in his troubled breast;
Then, trained in arts that soothe and please
Addressed the king in words like these:
“Revoke, my lord, thy fierce decree,
And hear the words I speak to thee.
Kings wise and noble ne'er condemn
To death the envoys sent to them.
Such deed the world's contempt would draw
On him who breaks the ancient law.885
Observe the mean where justice lies,
And spare his life but still chastise.”
[423]
Then forth the tyrant's fury broke,
And thus in angry words he spoke:
“O hero, when the wicked bleed
No sin or shame attends the deed.
The Vánar's blood must needs be spilt,
The penalty of heinous guilt.”
885“One who murders an ambassador (rája bhata) goes to Taptakumbha, the
hell of heated caldrons.” WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puraṇa, Vol. II. p. 217.
Canto LIII. The Punishment.
1489
Again Vibhishaṇ made reply:
“Nay, hear me, for he must not die.
Hear the great law the wise declare:
“Thy foeman's envoy thou shalt spare.”
'Tis true he comes an open foe:
'Tis true his hands have wrought us woe,
But law allows thee, if thou wilt,
A punishment to suit the guilt.
The mark of shame, the scourge, the brand,
The shaven head, the wounded hand.
Yea, were the Vánar envoy slain,
Where, King of giants, were the gain?
On them alone, on them who sent
The message, be the punishment.
For spake he well or spake he ill,
He spake obedient to their will,
And, if he perish, who can bear
Thy challenge to the royal pair?
Who, cross the ocean and incite
Thy death-doomed enemies to fight?”
Canto LIII. The Punishment.
King Rávaṇ, by his pleading moved,
The counsel of the chief approved:
“Thy words are wise and true: to kill
An envoy would beseem us ill.
Yet must we for his crime invent
Some fitting mode of punishment.
The tail, I fancy, is the part
Most cherished by a monkey's heart.
1490
The Ramayana
Make ready: set his tail aflame,
And let him leave us as he came,
And thus disfigured and disgraced
Back to his king and people haste.”
The giants heard their monarch's speech;
And, filled with burning fury, each
Brought strips of cotton cloth, and round
The monkey's tail the bandage wound.
As round his tail the bands they drew
His mighty form dilating grew
Vast as the flame that bursts on high
Where trees are old and grass is dry.
Each band and strip they soaked in oil,
And set on fire the twisted coil.
Delighted as they viewed the blaze,
The cruel demons stood at gaze:
And mid loud drums and shells rang out
The triumph of their joyful shout.
They pressed about him thick and fast
As through the crowded streets he passed,
Observing with attentive care
Each rich and wondrous structure there,
Still heedless of the eager cry
That rent the air, The spy! the spy!
Some to the captive lady ran,
And thus in joyous words began:
“That copper-visaged monkey, he
Who in the garden talked with thee,
Through Lanká's town is led a show,
And round his tail the red flames glow.”
The mournful news the lady heard
That with fresh grief her bosom stirred.
Canto LIV. The Burning Of Lanká.
1491
Swift to the kindled fire she went
And prayed before it reverent:
“If I my husband have obeyed,
And kept the ascetic vows I made,
Free, ever free, from stain and blot,
O spare the Vánar; harm him not.”
Then leapt on high the flickering flame
And shone in answer to the dame.
The pitying fire its rage forbore:
The Vánar felt the heat no more.
Then, to minutest size reduced,
The bonds that bound his limbs he loosed,
And, freed from every band and chain,
Rose to his native size again.
He seized a club of ponderous weight
That lay before him by the gate,
Rushed at the fiends that hemmed him round,
And laid them lifeless on the ground.
Through Lanká's town again he strode,
And viewed each street and square and road,—
Still wreathed about with harmless blaze,
A sun engarlanded with rays.
[424]
Canto LIV. The Burning Of Lanká.
1492
The Ramayana
“What further deed remains to do
To vex the Rákshas king anew?
The beauty of his grove is marred,
Killed are the bravest of his guard.
The captains of his host are slain;
But forts and palaces remain,
Swift is the work and light the toil
Each fortress of the foe to spoil.”
Reflecting thus, his tail ablaze
As through the cloud red lightning plays,
He scaled the palaces and spread
The conflagration where he sped.
From house to house he hurried on,
And the wild flames behind him shone.
Each mansion of the foe he scaled,
And furious fire its roof assailed
Till all the common ruin shared:
Vibhishaṇ's house alone was spared.
From blazing pile to pile he sprang,
And loud his shout of triumph rang,
As roars the doomsday cloud when all
The worlds in dissolution fall.
The friendly wind conspired to fan
The hungry flames that leapt and ran,
And spreading in their fury caught
The gilded walls with pearls inwrought,
Till each proud palace reeled and fell
As falls a heavenly citadel.
Canto LV. Fear For Sítá.
1493
Loud was the roar the demons raised
Mid walls that split and beams that blazed,
As each with vain endeavour strove
To stay the flames in house or grove.
The women, with dishevelled hair,
Flocked to the roofs in wild despair,
Shrieked out for succour, wept aloud,
And fell, like lightning from a cloud.
He saw the flames ascend and curl
Round turkis, diamond, and pearl,
While silver floods and molten gold
From ruined wall and latice rolled.
As fire grows fiercer as he feeds
On wood and grass and crackling reeds,
So Hanúmán the ruin eyed
With fury still unsatisfied.
Canto LV. Fear For Sítá.
But other thoughts resumed their sway
When Lanká's town in ruin lay;
And, as his bosom felt their weight
He stood a while to meditate.
“What have I done?”, he thought with shame,
“Destroyed the town with hostile flame.
O happy they whose firm control
Checks the wild passion of the soul;
Who on the fires of anger throw
The cooling drops that check their glow.
But woe is me, whom wrath could lead
To do this senseless shameless deed.
1494
The Ramayana
The town to fire and death I gave,
Nor thought of her I came to save,—
Doomed by my own rash folly, doomed
To perish in the flames consumed.
If I, when anger drove me wild,
Have caused the death of Janak's child,
The kindled flame shall end my woe,
Or the deep fires that burn below,886
Or my forsaken corse shall be
Food for the monsters of the sea.
How can I meet Sugríva? how
Before the royal brothers bow,—
I whose rash deed has madly foiled,
The noble work in which we toiled?
Or has her own bright virtue shed
Its guardian influence round her head?
She lives untouched,—the peerless dame;
Flame has no fury for the flame.887
The very fire would ne'er consent
To harm a queen so excellent,—
The high-souled Ráma's faithful wife,
Protected by her holy life.
She lives, she lives. Why should I fear
For one whom Raghu's sons hold dear?
Has not the pitying fire that spared
The Vánar for the lady cared?”
Such were his thoughts: he pondered long,
And fear grew faint and hope grew strong.
Then round him heavenly voices rang,
And, sweetly tuned, his praises sang:
“O glorious is the exploit done
886The fire which is supposed to burn beneath the sea.
887Sítá is likened to the fire which is an emblem of purity.
Canto LVI. Mount Arishta.
1495
By Hanumán the Wind-God's son.
The flames o'er Lanká's city rise:
The giants' home in ruin lies.
O'er roof and wall the fires have spread,
Nor harmed a hair of Sítá's head.”
Canto LVI. Mount Arishta.
He looked upon the burning waste,
Then sought the queen in joyous haste,
With words of hope consoled her heart,
And made him ready to depart.
[425]
He scaled Arishṭa's glorious steep
Whose summits beetled o'er the deep.
The woods in varied beauty dressed
Hung like a garland round his crest,
And clouds of ever changing hue
A robe about his shoulders threw.
On him the rays of morning fell
To wake the hill they loved so well,
And bid unclose those splendid eyes
That glittered in his mineral dyes.
He woke to hear the music made
By thunders of the white cascade,
While every laughing rill that sprang
From crag to crag its carol sang.
For arms, he lifted to the stars
His towering stems of Deodárs,
And morning heard his pealing call
In tumbling brook and waterfall.
He trembled when his woods were pale
1496
The Ramayana
And bowed beneath the autumn gale,
And when his vocal reeds were stirred
His melancholy moan was heard.
Far down against the mountain's feet
The Vánar heard the wild waves beat;
Then turned his glances to the north.
Sprang from the peak and bounded forth,
The mountain felt the fearful shock
And trembled through his mass of rock.
The tallest trees were crushed and rent
And headlong to the valley sent,
And as the rocking shook each cave
Loud was the roar the lions gave.
Forth from the shaken cavern came
Fierce serpents with their tongues aflame;
And every Yaksha, wild with dread,
And Kinnar and Gandharva, fled.
Canto LVII. Hanumán's Return.
Still, like a winged mountain, he
Sprang forward through the airy sea,888
888Iomittwostanzaswhichcontinuethemetaphoroftheseaorlakeofair. The
moon is its lotus, the sun its wild-duck, the clouds are its water-weeds, Mars
is its shark and so on. Gorresio remarks: “This comparison of a great lake to
the sky and of celestial to aquatic objects is one of those ideas which the view
and qualities of natural scenery awake in lively fancies. Imagine one of those
grand and splendid lakes of India covered with lotus blossoms, furrowed by
wild-ducks of the most vivid colours, mantled over here and there with flowers
and water weeds &c. and it will be understood how the fancy of the poet could
readily compare to the sky radiant with celestial azure the blue expanse of the
Canto LVII. Hanumán's Return.
1497
And rushing through the ether drew
The clouds to follow as he flew,
Through the great host around him spread,
Grey, golden, dark, and white, and red.
Now in a sable cloud immersed,
Now from its gloomy pall he burst,
Like the bright Lord of Stars concealed
A moment, and again revealed.
Sunábha889passed, he neared the coast
Where waited still the Vánar host.
They heard a rushing in the skies,
And lifted up their wondering eyes.
His wild triumphant shout they knew
That louder still and louder grew,
And Jámbaván with eager voice
Called on the Vánars to rejoice:
“Look he returns, the Wind-God's son,
And full success his toils have won;
Triumphant is the shout that comes
Like music of a thousand drums.”
Up sprang the Vánars from the ground
And listened to the wondrous sound
Of hurtling arm and thigh as through
The region of the air he flew,
Loud as the wind, when tempests rave,
Roars in the prison of the cave.
From crag to crag, from height to height;
They bounded in their mad delight,
And when he touched the mountain's crest,
water, to the soft light of the moon the inner hue of the lotus, to the splendour
of the sun the brilliant colours of the wild-fowl, to the stars the flowers, to the
cloud the weeds that float upon the water &c.”
889Sunábha is the mountain that rose from the sea when Hanumán passed over
to Lanká.
1498
The Ramayana
With reverent welcome round him pressed.
They brought him of their woodland fruits,
They brought him of the choicest roots,
And laughed and shouted in their glee
The noblest of their chiefs to see.
Nor Hanumán delayed to greet
Sage Jámbaván with reverence meet;
To Angad and the chiefs he bent
For age and rank preëminent,
And briefly spoke: “These eyes have seen,
These lips addressed, the Maithil queen.”
They sat beneath the waving trees,
And Angad spoke in words like these:
“O noblest of the Vánar kind
For valour power and might combined,
To thee triumphant o'er the foe
Our hopes, our lives and all we owe.
O faithful heart in perils tried,
[426]
Which toil nor fear could turn aside,
Thy deed the lady will restore,
And Ráma's heart will ache no more.”890
Canto LVIII. The Feast Of Honey.
They rose in air: the region grew
Dark with their shadow as they flew.
Swift to a lovely grove891they came
That rivalled heavenly Nandan's892fame;
890Three Cantos of repetition are omitted.
891Madhuvan the “honey-wood.”
892Indra's pleasure-ground or elysium.
Canto LVIII. The Feast Of Honey.
1499
Where countless bees their honey stored,—
The pleasance of the Vánars' lord,
To every creature fenced and barred,
Which Dadhimukh was set to guard,
A noble Vánar, brave and bold,
Sugríva's uncle lofty-souled.
To Angad came with one accord
The Vánars, and besought their lord
That they those honeyed stores might eat
That made the grove so passing sweet.
He gave consent: they sought the trees
Thronged with innumerable bees.
They rifled all the treasured store,
And ate the fruit the branches bore,
And still as they prolonged the feast
Their merriment and joy increased.
Drunk with the sweets, they danced and bowed,
They wildly sang, they laughed aloud,
Some climbed and sprang from tree to tree,
Some sat and chattered in their glee.
Some scaled the trees which creepers crowned,
And rained the branches to the ground.
There with loud laugh a Vánar sprang
Close to his friend who madly sang,
In doleful mood another crept
To mix his tears with one who wept.
Then Dadhimukh with fury viewed
The intoxicated multitude.
He looked upon the rifled shade,
And all the ruin they had made;
Then called with angry voice, and strove
To save the remnant of the grove.
1500
The Ramayana
But warning cries and words were spurned,
And angry taunt and threat returned.
Then fierce and wild contention rose:
With furious words he mingled blows.
They by no shame or fear withheld,
By drunken mood and ire impelled,
Used claws, and teeth, and hands, and beat
The keeper under trampling feet.
[Three Cantos consisting of little but repetitions are omitted.
Dadhimukh escapes from the infuriated monkeys and hastens to
Sugríva to report their misconduct. Sugríva infers that Hanumán
and his band have been successful in their search, and that the
exuberance of spirits and the mischief complained of, are but the
natural expression of their joy. Dadhimukh obtains little sympa-
thy from Sugríva, and is told to return and send the monkeys on
with all possible speed.]
Canto LXV. The Tidings.
On to Praśravaṇ's hill they sped
Where blooming trees their branches spread.
To Raghu's sons their heads they bent
And did obeisance reverent.
Then to their king, by Angad led,
Each Vánar chieftain bowed his head;
And Hanumán the brave and bold
His tidings to the monarch told;
But first in Ráma's hand he placed
The gem that Sítá's brow had graced:
“I crossed the sea: I searched a while
For Sítá in the giants' isle.
Canto LXVI. Ráma's Speech.
1501
I found her vext with taunt and threat
By demon guards about her set.
Her tresses twined in single braid,
On the bare earth her limbs were laid.
Sad were her eyes: her cheeks were pale
As shuddering flowers in winter's gale.
I stood beside the weeping dame,
And gently whispered Ráma's name:
With cheering words her grief consoled,
And then the whole adventure told.
She weeps afar beyond the sea,
And her true heart is still with thee.
She gave a sign that thou wouldst know,
She bids thee think upon the crow,
And bright mark pressed upon her brow
When none was nigh but she and thou.
She bids thee take this precious stone,
The sea-born gem thou long hast known.
“And I,” she said, “will dull the sting
Of woe by gazing on the ring.
One little month shall I sustain
This life oppressed with woe and pain:
And when the month is ended, I
The giants' prey must surely die.’”
[427]
Canto LXVI. Ráma's Speech.
1502
The Ramayana
There ceased the Vánar: Ráma pressed
The treasured jewel to his breast,
And from his eyes the waters broke
As to the Vánar king he spoke:
“As o'er her babe the mother weeps,
This flood of tears the jewel steeps.
This gem that shone on Sítá's head
Was Janak's gift when we were wed,
And the pure brow that wore it lent
New splendour to the ornament.
This gem, bright offspring of the wave,
The King of Heaven to Janak gave,
Whose noble sacrificial rite
Had filled the God with new delight.
Now, as I gaze upon the prize,
Methinks I see my father's eyes.
Methinks I see before me stand
The ruler of Videha's land.893
Methinks mine arms are folded now
Round her who wore it on her brow.
Speak, Hanumán, O say, dear friend,
What message did my darling send?
O speak, and let thy words impart
Their gentle dew to cool my heart.
Ah, 'tis the crown of woe to see
This gem and ask “Where, where is she?”
If for one month her heart be strong,
Her days of life will yet be long.
But I, with naught to lend relief,
This very day must die of grief.
Come, Hanumán, and quickly guide
The mourner to his darling's side.
893Janak was king of Videha or Mithilá in Behar.
Canto LXVI. Ráma's Speech.
1503
O lead me—thou hast learnt the way—
I cannot and I will not stay.
How can my gentle love endure,
So timid, delicate, and pure,
The dreadful demons fierce and vile
Who watch her in the guarded isle?
No more the light of beauty shines
From Sítá as she weeps and pines.
But pain and sorrow, cloud on cloud
Her moonlight glory dim and shroud.
O speak, dear Hanumán, and tell
Each word that from her sweet lips fell,
Her words, her words alone can give
The healing balm to make me live.”894
894The original contains two more Cantos which end the Book. Canto LXVII
beginsthus: “Hanumánthusaddressedbythegreat-souledsonofRaghurelated
to the son of Raghu all that Sítá had said.” And the two Cantos contain nothing
but Hanumán's account of his interview with Sítá, and the report of his own
speeches as well as of hers.