Book VI. Battle

  • 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 VI.895<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\nThe son of Raghu heard, consoled,<br />\nThe wondrous tale Hanumán told;<br />\nAnd, as his joyous hope grew high,<br />\nIn friendly words he made reply:<br />\n“Behold a mighty task achieved,<br />\nWhich never heart but his conceived.<br />\nWho else across the sea can spring,<br />\nSave Váyu896and the Feathered King?897<br />\nWho, pass the portals strong and high<br />\nWhich Nágas,898Gods, and fiends defy,<br />\nWhere Rávaṇ\'s hosts their station keep,—<br />\nAnd come uninjured o\'er the deep?<br />\nBy such a deed the Wind-God\'s son<br />\nGood service to the king has done,<br />\nAnd saved from ruin and disgrace<br />\nLakshmaṇ and me and Raghu\'s race.<br />\nWell has he planned and bravely fought,<br />\n895The Sixth Book is called in Sanskrit Yuddha-Káṇḍa or The War, and<br />\nLanká-Káṇda. It is generally known at the present day by the latter title.<br />\n896Váyu is the God of Wind.<br />\n897Garuḍa the King of Birds.<br />\n898Serpent-Gods.<br />\nCanto II. Sugríva\'s Speech.<br />\n1505<br />\nAnd with due care my lady sought.<br />\nBut of the sea I sadly think,<br />\nAnd the sweet hopes that cheered me sink.<br />\nHow can we cross the leagues of foam<br />\nThat keep us from the giant\'s home?<br />\nWhat can the Vánar legions more<br />\nThan muster on the ocean shore?”<br />\nCanto II. Sugríva\'s Speech.<br />\nHe ceased: and King Sugríva tried<br />\nTo calm his grief, and thus replied:<br />\n“\'Be to thy nobler nature true,<br />\nNor let despair thy soul subdue.<br />\nThis cloud of causeless woe dispel,<br />\nFor all as yet has prospered well,<br />\nAnd we have traced thy queen, and know<br />\nThe dwelling of our Rákshas foe.<br />\nArise, consult: thy task must be<br />\nTo cast a bridge athwart the sea,<br />\nThe city of our foe to reach<br />\nThat crowns the mountain by the beach;<br />\n[428]<br />\nAnd when our feet that isle shall tread,<br />\nRejoice and deem thy foeman dead.<br />\nThe sea unbridged, his walls defy<br />\nBoth fiends and children of the sky,<br />\nThough at the fierce battalions\' head<br />\nLord Indra\'s self the onset led.<br />\nYea, victory is thine before<br />\nThe long bridge touch the farther shore,<br />\nSo fleet and fierce and strong are these<br />\n1506<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWho limb them as their fancies please.<br />\nAway with grief and sad surmise<br />\nThat mar the noblest enterprise,<br />\nAnd with their weak suspicion blight<br />\nThe sage\'s plan, the hero\'s might.<br />\nCome, this degenerate weakness spurn,<br />\nAnd bid thy dauntless heart return,<br />\nFor each fair hope by grief is crossed<br />\nWhen those we love are dead or lost.<br />\nArise, O best of those who know,<br />\nArm for the giant\'s overthrow.<br />\nNone in the triple world I see<br />\nWho in the fight may equal thee;<br />\nNone who before thy face may stand<br />\nAnd brave the bow that arms thy hand,<br />\nTrust to these mighty Vánars: they<br />\nWith full success thy trust will pay,<br />\nWhen thou shalt reach the robber\'s hold,<br />\nAnd loving arms round Sítá fold.”<br />\nCanto III. Lanká.<br />\nHe ceased: and Raghu\'s son gave heed,<br />\nAttentive to his prudent rede:<br />\nThen turned again, with hope inspired,<br />\nTo Hanumán, and thus inquired:<br />\nCanto III. Lanká.<br />\n1507<br />\n“Light were the task for thee, I ween,<br />\nTo bridge the sea that gleams between<br />\nThe mainland and the island shore.<br />\nOr dry the deep and guide as o\'er.<br />\nFain would I learn from thee whose feet<br />\nHave trod the stones of every street,<br />\nOf fenced Lanká\'s towers and forts,<br />\nAnd walls and moats and guarded ports,<br />\nAnd castles where the giants dwell,<br />\nAnd battlemented citadel.<br />\nO Váyu\'s son, describe it all,<br />\nWith palace, fort, and gate, and wall.”<br />\nHe ceased: and, skilled in arts that guide<br />\nThe eloquent, the chief replied:<br />\n“Vast is the city, gay and strong,<br />\nWhere elephants unnumbered throng,<br />\nAnd countless hosts of Rákshas breed<br />\nStand ready by the car and steed.<br />\nFour massive gates, securely barred,<br />\nAll entrance to the city guard,<br />\nWith murderous engines fixt to throw<br />\nBolt, arrow, rock to check the foe,<br />\nAnd many a mace with iron head<br />\nThat strikes at once a hundred dead.<br />\nHer golden ramparts wide and high<br />\nWith massy strength the foe defy,<br />\nWhere inner walls their rich inlay<br />\nOf coral, turkis, pearl display.<br />\nHer circling moats are broad and deep,<br />\nWhere ravening monsters dart and leap.<br />\nBy four great piers each moat is spanned<br />\nWhere lines of deadly engines stand.<br />\n1508<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIn sleepless watch at every gate<br />\nUnnumbered hosts of giants wait,<br />\nAnd, masters of each weapon, rear<br />\nThe threatening pike and sword and spear.<br />\nMy fury hurled those ramparts down,<br />\nFilled up the moats that gird the town,<br />\nThe piers and portals overturned,<br />\nAnd stately Lanká spoiled and burned.<br />\nHowe\'er we Vánars force our way<br />\nO\'er the wide seat of Varuṇ\'s899sway,<br />\nBe sure that city of the foe<br />\nIs doomed to sudden overthrow,<br />\nNay, why so vast an army lead?<br />\nBrave Angad, Dwivid good at need,<br />\nFierce Mainda, Panas famed in fight,<br />\nAnd Níla\'s skill and Nala\'s might,<br />\nAnd Jámbaván the strong and wise,<br />\nWill dare the easy enterprise.<br />\nAssailed by these shall Lanká fall<br />\nWith gate and rampart, tower and wall.<br />\nCommand the gathering, chief: and they<br />\nIn happy hour will haste away.”<br />\nCanto IV. The March.<br />\nHe ceased; and spurred by warlike pride<br />\nThe impetuous son of Raghu cried:<br />\n“Soon shall mine arm with wrathful joy<br />\nThat city of the foe destroy.<br />\n899The God of the sea.<br />\nCanto IV. The March.<br />\n1509<br />\nNow, chieftain, now collect the host,<br />\nAnd onward to the southern coast!<br />\nThe sun in his meridian tower<br />\nGives glory to the Vánar power.<br />\nThe demon lord who stole my queen<br />\nBy timely flight his life may screen.<br />\nShe, when she knows her lord is near,<br />\nWill cling to hope and banish fear,<br />\nSaved like a dying wretch who sips<br />\nThe drink of Gods with fevered lips.<br />\nArise, thy troops to battle lead:<br />\nAll happy omens counsel speed.<br />\nThe Lord of Stars in favouring skies<br />\nBodes glory to our enterprise.<br />\nThis arm shall slay the fiend; and she,<br />\nMy consort, shall again be free.<br />\n[429]<br />\nMine upward-throbbing eye foreshows<br />\nThe longed-for triumph o\'er my foes.<br />\nFar in the van be Níla\'s post,<br />\nTo scan the pathway for the host,<br />\nAnd let thy bravest and thy best,<br />\nA hundred thousand, wait his hest.<br />\nGo forth, O warrior Níla, lead<br />\nThe legions on through wood and mead<br />\nWhere pleasant waters cool the ground,<br />\nAnd honey, flowers, and fruit abound.<br />\nGo, and with timely care prevent<br />\nThe Rákshas foeman\'s dark intent.<br />\nWith watchful troops each valley guard<br />\nEre brooks and fruits and roots be marred<br />\nAnd search each glen and leafy shade<br />\nFor hostile troops in ambuscade.<br />\nBut let the weaklings stay behind:<br />\nFor heroes is our task designed.<br />\n1510<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nLet thousands of the Vánar breed<br />\nThe vanguard of the armies lead:<br />\nFierce and terrific must it be<br />\nAs billows of the stormy sea.<br />\nThere be the hill-huge Gaja\'s place,<br />\nAnd Gavaya\'s, strongest of his race,<br />\nAnd, like the bull that leads the herd,<br />\nGaváksha\'s, by no fears deterred<br />\nLet Rishabh, matchless in the might<br />\nOf warlike arms, protect our right,<br />\nAnd Gandhamádan next in rank<br />\nDefend and guide the other flank.<br />\nI, like the God who rules the sky<br />\nBorne on Airávat900mounted high<br />\nOn stout Hanúmán\'s back will ride,<br />\nThe central host to cheer and guide.<br />\nFierce as the God who rules below,<br />\nOn Angad\'s back let Lakshmaṇ show<br />\nLike him who wealth to mortals shares,901<br />\nThe lord whom Sárvabhauma902bears.<br />\nThe bold Susheṇ\'s impetuous might,<br />\nAnd Vegadarśí\'s piercing sight,<br />\nAnd Jámbaván whom bears revere,<br />\nIllustrious three, shall guard the rear.”<br />\nHe ceased, the royal Vánar heard,<br />\nAnd swift, obedient to his word,<br />\nSprang forth in numbers none might tell<br />\nFrom mountain, cave, and bosky dell,<br />\nFrom rocky ledge and breezy height,<br />\nFierce Vánars burning for the fight.<br />\n900Indra\'s elephant.<br />\n901Kuvera, God of wealth.<br />\n902Kuvera\'s elephant.<br />\nCanto IV. The March.<br />\n1511<br />\nAnd Ráma\'s course was southward bent<br />\nAmid the mighty armament.<br />\nOn, joyous, pressed in close array<br />\nThe hosts who owned Sugríva\'s sway,<br />\nWith nimble feet, with rapid bound<br />\nExploring, ere they passed, the ground,<br />\nWhile from ten myriad throats rang out<br />\nThe challenge and the battle shout.<br />\nOn roots and honeycomb they fed,<br />\nAnd clusters from the boughs o\'erhead,<br />\nOr from the ground the tall trees tore<br />\nRich with the flowery load they bore.<br />\nSome carried comrades, wild with mirth,<br />\nThen cast their riders to the earth,<br />\nWho swiftly to their feet arose<br />\nAnd overthrew their laughing foes.<br />\nWhile still rang out the general cry,<br />\n“King Rávaṇ and his fiends shall die,”<br />\nStill on, exulting in the pride<br />\nOf conscious strength, the Vánars hied,<br />\nAnd gazed where noble Sahya, best<br />\nOf mountains, raised each towering crest.<br />\nThey looked on lake and streamlet, where<br />\nThe lotus bloom was bright and fair,<br />\nNor marched—for Ráma\'s hest they feared<br />\nWhere town or haunt of men appeared.<br />\nStill onward, fearful as the waves<br />\nOf Ocean when he roars and raves,<br />\nLed by their eager chieftains, went<br />\nThe Vánars\' countless armament.<br />\nEach captain, like a noble steed<br />\nUrged by the lash to double speed.<br />\nPressed onward, filled with zeal and pride,<br />\nBy Ráma\'s and his brother\'s side,<br />\n1512<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWho high above the Vánar throng<br />\nOn mighty backs were borne along,<br />\nLike the great Lords of Day and Night<br />\nSeized by eclipsing planets might.<br />\nThen Lakshmaṇ radiant as the morn,<br />\nOn Angad\'s shoulders high upborne.<br />\nWith sweet consoling words that woke<br />\nNew ardour, to his brother spoke:<br />\n“Soon shalt thou turn, thy queen regained<br />\nAnd impious Rávaṇ\'s life-blood drained,<br />\nIn happiness and high renown<br />\nTo dear Ayodhyá\'s happy town.<br />\nI see around exceeding fair<br />\nAll omens of the earth and air.<br />\nAuspicious breezes sweet and low<br />\nTo greet the Vánar army blow,<br />\nAnd softly to my listening ear<br />\nCome the glad cries of bird and deer.<br />\nBright is the sky around us, bright<br />\nWithout a cloud the Lord of Light,<br />\nAnd Śukra903with propitious love<br />\nLooks on thee from his throne above.<br />\nThe pole-star and the Sainted Seven904<br />\nShine brightly in the northern heaven,<br />\nAnd great Triśanku,905glorious king,<br />\n[430]<br />\nIkshváku\'s son from whom we spring,<br />\nBeams in unclouded glory near<br />\nHis holy priest906whom all revere.<br />\n903The planet Venus, or its regent who is regarded as the son of Bhrigu and<br />\npreceptor of the Daityas.<br />\n904The seven rishis or saints who form the constellation of the Great Bear.<br />\n905Triśanku was raised to the skies to form a constellation in the southern<br />\nhemisphere. The story in told in Book I, Canto LX.<br />\n906The sage Viśvámitra, who performed for Triśanku the great sacrifice which<br />\nCanto IV. The March.<br />\n1513<br />\nUndimmed the two Viśákhás907shine,<br />\nThe strength and glory of our line,<br />\nAnd Nairrit\'s908influence that aids<br />\nOur Rákshas foemen faints and fades.<br />\nThe running brooks are fresh and fair,<br />\nThe boughs their ripening clusters bear,<br />\nAnd scented breezes gently sway<br />\nThe leaflet of the tender spray.<br />\nSee, with a glory half divine<br />\nThe Vánars\' ordered legions shine,<br />\nBright as the Gods\' exultant train<br />\nWho saw the demon Tárak slain.<br />\nO let thine eyes these signs behold,<br />\nAnd bid thy heart be glad and bold.”<br />\nThe Vánar squadrons densely spread<br />\nO\'er all the country onward sped,<br />\nWhile rising from the rapid beat<br />\nOf bears\' and monkeys\' hastening feet.<br />\nDust hid the earth with thickest veil,<br />\nAnd made the struggling sunbeams pale.<br />\nNow where Mahendra\'s peaks arise<br />\nCame Ráma of the lotus eyes<br />\nAnd the long arm\'s resistless might,<br />\nAnd clomb the mountain\'s wood-crowned height.<br />\nThence Daśaratha\'s son beheld<br />\nWhere billowy Ocean rose and swelled,<br />\nPast Malaya\'s peaks and Sahya\'s chain<br />\nThe Vánar legions reached the main,<br />\nAnd stood in many a marshalled band<br />\nraised him to the heavens.<br />\n907One of the lunar asterisms containing four or originally two stars under the<br />\nregency of a dual divinity Indrágni, Indra and Agni.<br />\n908The lunar asterism Múla, belonging to the Rákshases.<br />\n1514<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nOn loud-resounding Ocean\'s strand.<br />\nTo the fair wood that fringed the tide<br />\nCame Daśaratha\'s son, and cried:<br />\n“At length, my lord Sugríva, we<br />\nHave reached King Varuṇ\'s realm the sea,<br />\nAnd one great thought, still-vexing, how<br />\nTo cross the flood, awaits us now.<br />\nThe broad deep ocean, that denies<br />\nA passage, stretched before us lies.<br />\nThen let us halt and plan the while<br />\nHow best to storm the giant\'s isle.”<br />\nHe ceased: Sugríva on the coast<br />\nBy trees o\'ershadowed stayed the host,<br />\nThat seemed in glittering lines to be<br />\nThe bright waves of a second sea.<br />\nThen from the shore the captains gazed<br />\nOn billows which the breezes raised<br />\nTo fury, as they dashed in foam<br />\nO\'er Varuṇ\'s realm, the Asurs\' home:909<br />\nThe sea that laughed with foam, and danced<br />\nWith waves whereon the sunbeams glanced:<br />\nWhere, when the light began to fade,<br />\nHuge crocodiles and monsters played;<br />\nAnd, when the moon went up the sky,<br />\nThe troubled billows rose on high<br />\nFrom the wild watery world whereon<br />\nA thousand moons reflected shone:<br />\nWhere awful serpents swam and showed<br />\nTheir fiery crests which flashed and glowed,<br />\nIllumining the depths of hell,<br />\nThe prison where the demons dwell.<br />\nThe eye, bewildered, sought in vain<br />\n909The Asurs or demons dwell imprisoned in the depths beneath the sea.<br />\nCanto V. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1515<br />\nThe bounding line of sky and main:<br />\nAlike in shade, alike in glow<br />\nWere sky above and sea below.<br />\nThere wave-like clouds by clouds were chased,<br />\nHere cloud-like billows roared and raced:<br />\nThen shone the stars, and many a gem<br />\nThat lit the waters answered them.<br />\nThey saw the great-souled Ocean stirred<br />\nTo frenzy by the winds, and heard,<br />\nLoud as ten thousand drums, the roar<br />\nOf wild waves dashing on the shore.<br />\nThey saw him mounting to defy<br />\nWith deafening voice the troubled sky.<br />\nAnd the deep bed beneath him swell<br />\nIn fury as the billows fell.<br />\nCanto V. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\nThere on the coast in long array<br />\nThe Vánars\' marshalled legions lay,<br />\nWhere Níla\'s care had ordered well<br />\nThe watch of guard and sentinel,<br />\nAnd Mainda moved from post to post<br />\nWith Dwivid to protect the host.<br />\n1516<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen Ráma stood by Lakshmaṇ\'s side,<br />\nAnd mastered by his sorrow cried:<br />\n“My brother dear, the heart\'s distress,<br />\nAs days wear on, grows less and less.<br />\nBut my deep-seated grief, alas,<br />\nGrows fiercer as the seasons pass.<br />\nThough for my queen my spirit longs,<br />\nAnd broods indignant o\'er my wrongs,<br />\nStill wilder is my grief to know<br />\nThat her young life is passed in woe.<br />\nBreathe, gentle gale, O breathe where she<br />\nLies prisoned, and then breathe on me,<br />\n[431]<br />\nAnd, though my love I may not meet,<br />\nThy kiss shall be divinely sweet.<br />\nAh, by the giant\'s shape appalled,<br />\nOn her dear lord for help she called,<br />\nStill in mine ears the sad cry rings<br />\nAnd tears my heart with poison stings.<br />\nThrough the long daylight and the gloom<br />\nOf night wild thoughts of her consume<br />\nMy spirit, and my love supplies<br />\nThe torturing flame which never dies.<br />\nLeave me, my brother; I will sleep<br />\nCouched on the bosom of the deep,<br />\nFor the cold wave may bring me peace<br />\nAnd bid the fire of passion cease.<br />\nOne only thought my stay must be,<br />\nThat earth, one earth, holds her and me,<br />\nTo hear, to know my darling lives<br />\nSome life-supporting comfort gives,<br />\nAs streams from distant fountains run<br />\nO\'er meadows parching in the sun.<br />\nAh when, my foeman at my feet,<br />\nShall I my queen, my glory, meet,<br />\nCanto VI. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1517<br />\nThe blossom of her dear face raise<br />\nAnd on her eyes enraptured gaze,<br />\nPress her soft lips to mine again,<br />\nAnd drink a balm to banish pain!<br />\nAlas, alas! where lies she now,<br />\nMy darling of the lovely brow?<br />\nOn the cold earth, no help at hand,<br />\nForlorn amid the Rákshas band,<br />\nKing Janak\'s child still calls on me,<br />\nHer lord and love, to set her free.<br />\nBut soon in glory will she rise<br />\nA crescent moon in autumn skies,<br />\nAnd those dark rovers of the night,<br />\nLike scattered clouds shall turn in flight.”<br />\nCanto VI. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\nBut when the giant king surveyed<br />\nHis glorious town in ruin laid,<br />\nAnd each dire sign of victory won<br />\nBy Hanumán the Wind-God\'s son,<br />\nHe vailed his angry eyes oppressed<br />\nBy shame, and thus his lords addressed:<br />\n“The Vánar spy has passed the gate<br />\nOf Lanká long inviolate,<br />\nEluded watch and ward, and seen<br />\nWith his bold eyes the captive queen.<br />\nMy royal roof with flames is red,<br />\nThe bravest of my lords are dead,<br />\nAnd the fierce Vánar in his hate<br />\nHas left our city desolate.<br />\n1518<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nNow ponder well the work that lies<br />\nBefore us, ponder and advise.<br />\nWith deep-observing judgment scan<br />\nThe peril, and mature a plan.<br />\nFrom counsel, sages say, the root,<br />\nSprings victory, most glorious fruit.<br />\nFirst ranks the king, when woe impends<br />\nWho seeks the counsel of his friends,<br />\nOf kinsmen ever faithful found,<br />\nOr those whose hopes with his are bound,<br />\nThen with their aid his strength applies,<br />\nAnd triumphs in his enterprise.<br />\nNext ranks the prince who plans alone,<br />\nNo counsel seeks to aid his own,<br />\nWeighs loss and gain and wrong and right,<br />\nAnd seeks success with earnest might.<br />\nUnwisest he who spurns delays,<br />\nWho counts no cost, no peril weighs,<br />\nSpeeds to his aim, defying fate,<br />\nAnd risks his all, precipitate.<br />\nThus too in counsel sages find<br />\nA best, a worst, a middle kind.<br />\nWhen gathered counsellors explore<br />\nThe way by light of holy lore,<br />\nAnd all from first to last agree,<br />\nIs the best counsel of the three.<br />\nNext, if debate first waxes high,<br />\nAnd each his chosen plan would try<br />\nTill all agree at last, we deem<br />\nThis counsel second in esteem.<br />\nWorst of the three is this, when each<br />\nAssails with taunt his fellow\'s speech;<br />\nWhen all debate, and no consent<br />\nConcludes the angry argument.<br />\nCanto VII. Rávan Encouraged.<br />\n1519<br />\nConsult then, lords; my task shall be<br />\nTo crown with act your wise decree.<br />\nWith thousands of his wild allies<br />\nThe vengeful Ráma hither hies;<br />\nWith unresisted might and speed<br />\nAcross the flood his troops will lead,<br />\nOr for the Vánar host will drain<br />\nThe channels of the conquered main.”<br />\nCanto VII. Rávan Encouraged.<br />\nHe ceased: they scorned, with blinded eyes,<br />\nThe foeman and his bold allies,<br />\nRaised reverent hands with one accord,<br />\nAnd thus made answer to their lord:<br />\n“Why yield thee, King, to causeless fear?<br />\nA mighty host with sword and spear<br />\nAnd mace and axe and pike and lance<br />\nWaits but thy signal to advance.<br />\nArt thou not he who slew of old<br />\nThe Serpent-Gods, and stormed their hold;<br />\nScaled Mount Kailása and o\'erthrew<br />\nKuvera910and his Yaksha crew,<br />\n[432]<br />\n910The God of Riches, brother and enemy of Rávaṇ and first possessor of<br />\nPushpak the flying car.<br />\n1520<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCompelling Śiva\'s haughty friend<br />\nBeneath a mightier arm to bend?<br />\nDidst thou not bring from realms afar<br />\nThe marvel of the magic car,<br />\nWhen they who served Kuvera fell<br />\nCrushed in their mountain citadel?<br />\nAttracted by thy matchless fame<br />\nTo thee, a suppliant, Maya came,<br />\nThe lord of every Dánav band,<br />\nAnd won thee with his daughter\'s hand.<br />\nThy arm in hell itself was felt,<br />\nWhere Vásuki911and Śankha dwelt,<br />\nAnd they and Takshak, overthrown,<br />\nWere forced thy conquering might to own.<br />\nThe Gods in vain their blessing gave<br />\nTo heroes bravest of the brave,<br />\nWho strove a year and, sorely pressed,<br />\nTheir victor\'s peerless might confessed.<br />\nIn vain their magic arts they tried,<br />\nIn vain thy matchless arm defied<br />\nKing Varuṇ\'s sons with fourfold force,<br />\nCars, elephants, and foot, and horse,<br />\nBut for a while thy power withstood,<br />\nAnd, conquered, mourned their hardihood.<br />\nThou hast encountered, face to face,<br />\nKing Yáma912with his murdering mace.<br />\nFierce as the wild tempestuous sea,<br />\nWhat terror had his wrath for thee,<br />\nThough death in every threatening form,<br />\nAnd woe and torment, urged the storm?<br />\nThine arm a glorious victory won<br />\n911King of the Serpents. Śankha and Takshak are two of the eight Serpent<br />\nChiefs.<br />\n912The God of Death, the Pluto of the Hindus.<br />\nCanto VIII. Prahasta\'s Speech.<br />\n1521<br />\nO\'er the dread king who pities none;<br />\nAnd the three worlds, from terror freed,<br />\nIn joyful wonder praised thy deed.<br />\nThe tribe of Warriors, strong and dread<br />\nAs Indra\'s self, o\'er earth had spread;<br />\nAs giant trees that towering stand<br />\nIn mountain glens, they filled the land.<br />\nCan Raghu\'s son encounter foes<br />\nFierce, numerous, and strong as those?<br />\nYet, trained in war and practised well,<br />\nO\'ermatched by thee, they fought and fell,<br />\nStay in thy royal home, nor care<br />\nThe battle and the toil to share;<br />\nBut let the easy fight be won<br />\nBy Indrajít913thy matchless son.<br />\nAll, all shall die, if thou permit,<br />\nSlain by the hand of Indrajít.”<br />\nCanto VIII. Prahasta\'s Speech.<br />\nDark as a cloud of autumn, dread<br />\nPrahasta joined his palms and said:<br />\n913Literally Indra\'s conqueror, so called from his victory over that God.<br />\n1522<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Gandharvas, Gods, the hosts who dwell<br />\nIn heaven, in air, in earth, in hell,<br />\nHave yielded to thy might, and how<br />\nShall two weak men oppose thee now?<br />\nHanúmán came, a foe disguised,<br />\nAnd mocked us heedless and surprised,<br />\nOr never had he lived to flee<br />\nAnd boast that he has fought with me.<br />\nCommand, O King, and this right hand<br />\nShall sweep the Vánars from the land,<br />\nAnd hill and dale, to Ocean\'s shore,<br />\nShall know the death-doomed race no more.<br />\nBut let my care the means devise<br />\nTo guard thy city from surprise.”<br />\nThen Durmukh cried, of Rákshas race:<br />\n“Too long we brook the dire disgrace.<br />\nHe gave our city to the flames,<br />\nHe trod the chambers of thy dames.<br />\nNe\'er shall so weak and vile a thing<br />\nUnpunished brave the giants\' king.<br />\nNow shall this single arm attack<br />\nAnd drive the daring Vánars back,<br />\nTill to the winds of heaven they flee,<br />\nOr seek the depths of earth and sea.”<br />\nThen, brandishing the mace he bore,<br />\nWhose horrid spikes were stained with gore,<br />\nWhile fury made his eyeballs red,<br />\nImpetuous Vajradanshṭra said:<br />\nCanto VIII. Prahasta\'s Speech.<br />\n1523<br />\n“Why waste a thought on one so vile<br />\nAs Hanúmán the Vánar, while<br />\nSugríva, Lakshmaṇ, yet remain,<br />\nAnd Ráma mightier still, unslain?<br />\nThis mace to-day shall crush the three,<br />\nAnd all the host will turn and flee.<br />\nListen, and I will speak: incline,<br />\nO King, to hear these words of mine,<br />\nFor the deep plan that I propose<br />\nWill swiftly rid thee of thy foes.<br />\nLet thousands of thy host assume<br />\nThe forms of men in youthful bloom,<br />\nIn war\'s magnificent array<br />\nDraw near to Raghu\'s son, and say:<br />\n“Thy younger brother Bharat sends<br />\nThis army, and thy cause befriends.”<br />\nThen let our legions hasten near<br />\nWith bow and mace and sword and spear,<br />\nAnd on the Vánar army rain<br />\nOur steel and stone till all be slain.<br />\nIf Raghu\'s sons will fain believe,<br />\nEntangled in the net we weave,<br />\nThe penalty they both must pay,<br />\nAnd lose their forfeit lives to-day.”<br />\n[433]<br />\nThen with his warrior soul on fire,<br />\nNikumbha spoke in burning ire:<br />\n“I, only I, will take the field,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s son his life shall yield.<br />\nWithin these walls, O Chiefs, abide,<br />\nNor part ye from our monarch\'s side.”<br />\n1524<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto IX. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\nA score of warriors914forward sprang,<br />\nAnd loud the clashing iron rang<br />\nOf mace and axe and spear and sword,<br />\nAs thus they spake unto their lord:<br />\n“Their king Sugríva will we slay,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s sons, ere close of day,<br />\nAnd strike the wretch Hanúmán down,<br />\nThe spoiler of our golden town.”<br />\nBut sage Vibhishaṇ strove to calm<br />\nThe chieftains\' fury; palm to palm<br />\nHe joined in lowly reverence, pressed915<br />\nBefore them, and the throng addressed:<br />\n914Their names are Nikumbha, Rabhasa, Súryaśatru, Suptaghna, Yajnakopa,<br />\nMahápárśva, Mahodara, Agniketu, Raśmiketu, Durdharsha, Indraśatru, Pra-<br />\nhasta, Virúpáksha, Vajradanshṭra, Dhúmráksha, Durmukha, Mahábala.<br />\n915Similarly Antenor urges the restoration of Helen:<br />\n“Let Sparta\'s treasures be this hour restored,<br />\nAnd Argive Helen own her ancient lord.<br />\nAs this advice ye practise or reject,<br />\nSo hope success, or dread the dire effect,”<br />\nPOPE\'S{FNS Homer\'s Iliad, Book VII.<br />\nCanto IX. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\n1525<br />\n“Dismiss the hope of conquering one<br />\nSo stern and strong as Raghu\'s son.<br />\nIn due control each sense he keeps<br />\nWith constant care that never sleeps.<br />\nWhose daring heart has e\'er conceived<br />\nThe exploit Hanumán achieved,<br />\nAcross the fearful sea to spring,<br />\nThe tributary rivers\' king?<br />\nO Rákshas lords, in time be wise,<br />\nNor Ráma\'s matchless power despise.<br />\nAnd say, what evil had the son<br />\nOf Raghu to our monarch done,<br />\nWho stole the dame he loved so well<br />\nAnd keeps her in his citadel;<br />\nIf Khara in his foolish pride<br />\nEncountered Ráma, fought, and died,<br />\nMay not the meanest love his life<br />\nAnd guard it in the deadly strife?<br />\nThe Maithil dame, O Rákshas King,<br />\nSore peril to thy realm will bring.<br />\nRestore her while there yet is time,<br />\nNor let us perish for thy crime.<br />\nO, let the Maithil lady go<br />\nEre the avenger bend his bow<br />\nTo ruin with his arrowy showers<br />\nOur Lanká with her gates and towers.<br />\nLet Janak\'s child again be free<br />\nEre the wild Vánars cross the sea,<br />\nIn their resistless might assail<br />\nOur city and her ramparts scale.<br />\nAh, I conjure thee by the ties<br />\nOf brotherhood, be just and wise.<br />\nIn all my thoughts thy good I seek,<br />\nAnd thus my prudent counsel speak.<br />\n1526<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nLet captive Sítá be restored<br />\nEre, fierce as autumn\'s sun, her lord<br />\nSend his keen arrows from the string<br />\nTo drink the life-blood of our king.<br />\nThis fury from thy soul dismiss,<br />\nThe bane of duty, peace, and bliss.<br />\nSeek duty\'s path and walk therein,<br />\nAnd joy and endless glory win.<br />\nRestore the captive, ere we feel<br />\nThe piercing point of Ráma\'s steel.<br />\nO spare thy city, spare the lives<br />\nOf us, our friends, our sons and wives.”<br />\nThus spake Vibhishaṇ wise and brave:<br />\nThe Rákshas king no answer gave,<br />\nBut bade his lords the council close,<br />\nAnd sought his chamber for repose.<br />\nCanto X. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\nSoon as the light of morning broke,<br />\nVibhishaṇ from his slumber woke,<br />\nAnd, duty guiding every thought,<br />\nThe palace of his brother sought.<br />\nVast as a towering hill that shows<br />\nHis peaks afar, that palace rose.<br />\nHere stood within the monarch\'s gate<br />\nSage nobles skilful in debate.<br />\nThere strayed in glittering raiment through<br />\nThe courts his royal retinue,<br />\nWhere in wild measure rose and fell<br />\nCanto X. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\n1527<br />\nThe music of the drum and shell,<br />\nAnd talk grew loud, and many a dame<br />\nOf fairest feature went and came<br />\nThrough doors a marvel to behold,<br />\nWith pearl inlaid on burning gold:<br />\nTherein Gandharvas or the fleet<br />\nLords of the storm might joy to meet.<br />\nHe passed within the wondrous pile,<br />\nChief glory of the giants\' isle:<br />\nThus, ere his fiery course be done,<br />\nAn autumn cloud admits the sun.<br />\n[434]<br />\nHe heard auspicious voices raise<br />\nWith loud accord the note of praise,<br />\nAnd sages, deep in Scripture, sing<br />\nEach glorious triumph of the king.<br />\nHe saw the priests in order stand,<br />\nCurd, oil, in every sacred hand;<br />\nAnd by them flowers were laid and grain,<br />\nDue offerings to the holy train.<br />\nVibhishaṇ to the monarch bowed,<br />\nRaised on a throne above the crowd:<br />\nThen, skilled in arts of soft address,<br />\nHe raised his voice the king to bless,<br />\nAnd sate him on a seat where he<br />\nFull in his brother\'s sight should be.<br />\nThe chieftain there, while none could hear,<br />\nSpoke his true speech for Rávaṇ\'s ear,<br />\nAnd to his words of wisdom lent<br />\nThe force of weightiest argument:<br />\n“O brother, hear! since Ráma\'s queen<br />\nA captive in thy house has been,<br />\nDisastrous omens day by day<br />\nHave struck our souls with wild dismay.<br />\n1528<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nNo longer still and strong and clear<br />\nThe flames of sacrifice appear,<br />\nBut, restless with the frequent spark,<br />\nNeath clouds of smoke grow faint and dark.<br />\nOur ministering priests turn pale<br />\nTo see their wonted offerings fail,<br />\nAnd ants and serpents creep and crawl<br />\nWithin the consecrated hall.916<br />\nDried are the udders of our cows,<br />\nOur elephants have juiceless brows,917<br />\nNor can the sweetest pasture stay<br />\nThe charger\'s long unquiet neigh.<br />\nBig tears from mules and camels flow<br />\nWhose staring coats their trouble show,<br />\nNor can the leech\'s art restore<br />\nTheir health and vigour as before.<br />\nRapacious birds are fierce and bold:<br />\nNot single hunters as of old,<br />\nIn banded troops they chase the prey,<br />\nOr gathering on our temples stay.<br />\nThrough twilight hours with shriek and howl<br />\nAround the city jackals prowl,<br />\nAnd wolves and foul hyænas wait<br />\nAthirst for blood at every gate.<br />\nOne sole atonement still may cure<br />\nThese evils, and our weal assure.<br />\nRestore the Maithil dame, and win<br />\nAn easy pardon for thy sin.”<br />\n916The Agnisálá or room where the sacrificial fire was kept.<br />\n917The exudation of a fragrant fluid from the male elephant\'s temples, espe-<br />\ncially at certain seasons, is frequently spoken of in Sanskrit poetry. It is said to<br />\ndeceive and attract the bees, and is regarded as a sign of health and masculine<br />\nvigour.<br />\nCanto XI. The Summons.<br />\n1529<br />\nThe Rákshas monarch heard, and moved<br />\nTo sudden wrath his speech reproved:<br />\n“No danger, brother, can I see:<br />\nThe Maithil dame I will not free.<br />\nThough all the Gods for Ráma fight,<br />\nHe yields to my superior might.”<br />\nThus the tremendous king who broke<br />\nThe ranks of heavenly warriors spoke,<br />\nAnd, sternly purposed to resist,<br />\nHis brother from the hall dismissed.<br />\nCanto XI. The Summons.<br />\nStill Rávaṇ\'s haughty heart rebelled,<br />\nThe counsel of the wise repelled,<br />\nAnd, as his breast with passion burned,<br />\nHis thoughts again to Sítá turned.<br />\nThus, to each sign of danger blind,<br />\nTo love and war he still inclined.<br />\nThen mounted he his car that glowed<br />\nWith gems and golden net, and rode<br />\nWhere, gathered at the monarch\'s call,<br />\nThe nobles filled the council hall.<br />\nA host of warriors bright and gay<br />\nWith coloured robes and rich array,<br />\nWith shield and mace and spear and sword,<br />\nFollowed the chariot of their lord.<br />\nMid the loud voice of shells and beat<br />\nOf drums he raced along the street,<br />\nAnd, ere he came, was heard afar<br />\n1530<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe rolling thunder of his car.<br />\nHe reached the doors: the nobles bent<br />\nTheir heads before him reverent:<br />\nAnd, welcomed with their loud acclaim,<br />\nWithin the glorious hall he came.<br />\nHe sat upon a royal seat<br />\nWith golden steps beneath his feet,<br />\nAnd bade the heralds summon all<br />\nHis captains to the council hall.<br />\nThe heralds heard the words he spake,<br />\nAnd sped from house to house to wake<br />\nThe giants where they slept or spent<br />\nThe careless hours in merriment.<br />\nThese heard the summons and obeyed:<br />\nFrom chamber, grove, and colonnade,<br />\nOn elephants or cars they rode,<br />\nOr through the streets impatient strode.<br />\nAs birds on rustling pinions fly<br />\nThrough regions of the darkened sky,<br />\nThus cars and mettled coursers through<br />\nThe crowded streets of Lanká flew.<br />\nThe council hall was reached, and then,<br />\nAs lions seek their mountain den,<br />\nThrough massy doors that opened wide,<br />\nWith martial stalk the captains hied.<br />\nWelcomed with honour as was meet<br />\nThey stooped to press their monarch\'s feet,<br />\n[435]<br />\nAnd each a place in order found<br />\nOn stool, on cushion, or the ground.<br />\nNor did the sage Vibhishaṇ long<br />\nDelay to join the noble throng.<br />\nHigh on a car that shone like flame<br />\nWith gold and flashing gems he came,<br />\nDrew near and spoke his name aloud,<br />\nCanto XII. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1531<br />\nAnd reverent to his brother bowed.<br />\nCanto XII. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\nThe king in counsel unsurpassed<br />\nHis eye around the synod cast,<br />\nAnd fierce Prahasta, first and best<br />\nOf all his captains, thus addressed:<br />\n“Brave master of each warlike art,<br />\nArouse thee and perform thy part.<br />\nArray thy fourfold forces918well<br />\nTo guard our isle and citadel.”<br />\nThe captain of the hosts obeyed,<br />\nThe troops with prudent skill arrayed;<br />\nThen to the hall again he hied,<br />\nAnd stood before the king and cried:<br />\n“Each inlet to the town is closed<br />\nWithout, within, are troops disposed.<br />\nWith fearless heart thine aim pursue<br />\nAnd do the deed thou hast in view.”<br />\n918Consisting of warriors on elephants, warriors in chariots, charioteers, and<br />\ninfantry.<br />\n1532<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThus spoke Prahasta in the zeal<br />\nThat moved him for the kingdom\'s weal.<br />\nAnd thus the monarch, who pursued<br />\nHis own delight, his speech renewed:<br />\n“In ease and bliss, in toil and pain,<br />\nIn doubts of duty, pleasure, gain,<br />\nYour proper path I need not tell,<br />\nFor of yourselves ye know it well.<br />\nThe Storm-Gods, Moon, and planets bring<br />\nNew glory to their heavenly king,919<br />\nAnd, ranged about your monarch, ye<br />\nGive joy and endless fame to me.<br />\nMy secret counsel have I kept,<br />\nWhile senseless Kumbhakarṇa slept.<br />\nSix months the warrior\'s slumbers last<br />\nAnd bind his torpid senses fast;<br />\nBut now his deep repose he breaks,<br />\nThe best of all our champions wakes.<br />\nI captured, Ráma\'s heart to wring,<br />\nThis daughter of Videha\'s king.<br />\nAnd brought her from that distant land920<br />\nWhere wandered many a Rákshas band.<br />\nDisdainful still my love she spurns,<br />\nStill from each prayer and offering turns,<br />\nYet in all lands beneath the sun<br />\nNo dame may rival Sítá, none,<br />\nHer dainty waist is round and slight,<br />\nHer cheek like autumn\'s moon is bright,<br />\nAnd she like fruit in graven gold<br />\nMocks her921whom Maya framed of old.<br />\n919Indra, generally represented as surrounded by the Maruts or Storm-Gods.<br />\n920Janasthán, where Ráma lived as an ascetic.<br />\n921Máyá, regarded as the paragon of female beauty, was the creation of Maya<br />\nthe chief artificer of the Daityas or Dánavs.<br />\nCanto XII. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1533<br />\nFaultless in form, how firmly tread<br />\nHer feet whose soles are rosy red!<br />\nAh, as I gaze her beauty takes<br />\nMy spirit, and my passion wakes.<br />\nLooking for Ráma far away<br />\nShe sought with tears a year\'s delay<br />\nNor gazing on her love-lit eye<br />\nCould I that earnest prayer deny.<br />\nBut baffled hopes and vain desire<br />\nAt length my patient spirit tire.<br />\nHow shall the sons of Raghu sweep<br />\nTo vengeance o\'er the pathless deep?<br />\nHow shall they lead the Vánar train<br />\nAcross the monster-teeming main?<br />\nOne Vánar yet could find a way<br />\nTo Lanká\'s town, and burn and slay.<br />\nTake counsel then, remembering still<br />\nThat we from men need fear no ill;<br />\nAnd give your sentence in debate,<br />\nFor matchless is the power of fate.<br />\nAssailed by you the Gods who dwell<br />\nIn heaven beneath our fury fell.<br />\nAnd shall we fear these creatures bred<br />\nIn forests, by Sugríva led?<br />\nE\'en now on ocean\'s farther strand,<br />\nThe sons of Daśaratha stand,<br />\nAnd follow, burning to attack<br />\nTheir giant foes, on Sítá\'s track.<br />\nConsult then, lords for ye are wise:<br />\nA seasonable plan devise.<br />\nThe captive lady to retain,<br />\nAnd triumph when the foes are slain.<br />\nNo power can bring across the foam<br />\nThose Vánars to our island home;<br />\n1534<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nOr if they madly will defy<br />\nOur conquering might, they needs must die.”<br />\nThen Kumbhakarṇa\'s anger woke,<br />\nAnd wroth at Rávaṇ\'s words he spoke:<br />\n“O Monarch, when thy ravished eyes<br />\nFirst looked upon thy lovely prize,<br />\nThen was the time to bid us scan<br />\nEach peril and mature a plan.<br />\nBlest is the king who acts with heed,<br />\nAnd ne\'er repents one hasty deed;<br />\nAnd hapless he whose troubled soul<br />\nMourns over days beyond control.<br />\n[436]<br />\nThou hast, in beauty\'s toils ensnared,<br />\nA desperate deed of boldness dared;<br />\nBy fortune saved ere Ráma\'s steel<br />\nOne wound, thy mortal bane, could deal.<br />\nBut, Rávaṇ, as the deed is done,<br />\nThe toil of war I will not shun.<br />\nThis arm, O rover of the night,<br />\nThy foemen to the earth shall smite,<br />\nThough Indra with the Lord of Flame,<br />\nThe Sun and Storms, against me came.<br />\nE\'en Indra, monarch of the skies,<br />\nWould dread my club and mountain size,<br />\nShrink from these teeth and quake to hear<br />\nThe thunders of my voice of fear.<br />\nNo second dart shall Ráma cast:<br />\nThe first he aims shall be the last.<br />\nHe falls, and these dry lips shall drain<br />\nThe blood of him my hand has slain;<br />\nAnd Sítá, when her champion dies,<br />\nShall be thine undisputed prize.”<br />\nCanto XIII. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1535<br />\nCanto XIII. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\nBut Mahápárśva saw the sting<br />\nOf keen reproach had galled the king;<br />\nAnd humbly, eager to appease<br />\nHis anger, spoke in words like these:<br />\n“And breathes there one so cold and weak<br />\nThe forest and the gloom to seek<br />\nWhere savage beasts abound, and spare<br />\nTo taste the luscious honey there?<br />\nArt thou not lord? and who is he<br />\nShall venture to give laws to thee?<br />\nLove thy Videhan still, and tread<br />\nUpon thy prostrate foeman\'s head.<br />\nO\'er Sítá\'s will let thine prevail,<br />\nAnd strength achieve if flattery fail.<br />\nWhat though the lady yet be coy<br />\nAnd turn her from the proffered joy?<br />\nSoon shall her conquered heart relent<br />\nAnd yield to love and blandishment.<br />\nWith us let Kumbhakarṇa fight,<br />\nAnd Indrajít of matchless might:<br />\nWe need not other champions, they<br />\nShall lead us forth to rout and slay.<br />\nNot ours to bribe or soothe or part<br />\nThe foeman\'s force with gentle art,<br />\nDoomed, conquered by our might, to feel<br />\nThe vengeance of the warrior\'s steel.”<br />\nThe Rákshas monarch heard, and moved<br />\nBy flattering hopes the speech approved:<br />\n1536<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Hear me,” he cried, “great chieftain, tell<br />\nWhat in the olden time befell,—<br />\nA secret tale which, long suppressed,<br />\nLies prisoned only in my breast.<br />\nOne day—a day I never forget—<br />\nFair Punjikasthalá922I met,<br />\nWhen, radiant as a flame of fire,<br />\nShe sought the palace of the Sire.<br />\nIn passion\'s eager grasp I tore<br />\nFrom her sweet limbs the robes she wore,<br />\nAnd heedless of her prayers and cries<br />\nStrained to my breast the vanquised prize.<br />\nLike Naliní923with soil distained,<br />\nThe mansion of the Sire she gained,<br />\nAnd weeping made the outrage known<br />\nTo Brahmá on his heavenly throne.<br />\nHe in his wrath pronounced a curse,—<br />\nThat lord who made the universe:<br />\n“If, Rávaṇ, thou a second time<br />\nBe guilty of so foul a crime,<br />\nThy head in shivers shall be rent:<br />\nBe warned, and dread the punishment.”<br />\nAwed by the threat of vengeance still<br />\nI force not Sítá\'s stubborn will.<br />\nTerrific as the sea in might:<br />\nMy steps are like the Storm-Gods\' flight;<br />\nBut Ráma knows not this, or he<br />\nHad never sought to war with me.<br />\nWhere is the man would idly brave<br />\nThe lion in his mountain cave,<br />\nAnd wake him when with slumbering eyes<br />\nGrim, terrible as Death, he lies?<br />\n922One of the Nymphs of Indra\'s heaven.<br />\n923The Lotus River, a branch of the heavenly Gangá.<br />\nCanto XIV. Vibhishan\'s Speech.<br />\n1537<br />\nNo, blinded Ráma knows me not:<br />\nNe\'er has he seen mine arrows shot;<br />\nNe\'er marked them speeding to their aim<br />\nLike snakes with cloven tongues of flame.<br />\nOn him those arrows will I turn,<br />\nWhose fiery points shall rend and burn.<br />\nQuenched by my power when I assail<br />\nThe glory of his might shall fail,<br />\nAs stars before the sun grow dim<br />\nAnd yield their feeble light to him.”<br />\nCanto XIV. Vibhishan\'s Speech.<br />\nHe ceased: Vibhishaṇ ill at ease<br />\nAddressed the king in words like these:<br />\n“O Rávaṇ, O my lord, beware<br />\nOf Sítá dangerous as fair,<br />\nNor on thy heedless bosom hang<br />\nThis serpent with a deadly fang.<br />\nO King, the Maithil dame restore<br />\nTo Raghu\'s matchless son before<br />\nThose warriors of the woodlands, vast<br />\nAs mountain peaks, approaching fast,<br />\nArmed with fierce teeth and claws, enclose<br />\nThy city with unsparing foes.<br />\nO, be the Maithil dame restored<br />\nEre loosened from the clanging cord<br />\n[437]<br />\n1538<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe vengeful shafts of Ráma fly,<br />\nAnd low in death thy princes lie.<br />\nIn all thy legions hast thou one<br />\nA match in war for Raghu\'s son?<br />\nCan Kumbhakarṇa\'s self withstand,<br />\nOr Indrajít, that mighty hand?<br />\nIn vain with Ráma wilt thou strive:<br />\nThou wilt not save thy soul alive<br />\nThough guarded by the Lord of Day<br />\nAnd Storm-Gods\' terrible array,<br />\nIn vain to Indra wilt thou fly,<br />\nOr seek protection in the sky,<br />\nIn Yáma\'s gloomy mansion dwell,<br />\nOr hide thee in the depths of hell.”<br />\nHe ceased; and when his lips were closed<br />\nPrahasta thus his rede opposed:<br />\n“O timid heart, to counsel thus!<br />\nWhat terrors have the Gods for us?<br />\nCan snake, Gandharva, fiend appal<br />\nThe giants\' sons who scorn them all?<br />\nAnd shall we now our birth disgrace,<br />\nAnd dread a king of human race?”<br />\nThus fierce Prahasta counselled ill:<br />\nBut sage Vibhishaṇ\'s constant will<br />\nThe safety of the realm ensued;<br />\nWho thus in turn his speech renewed:<br />\nCanto XV. Indrajít\'s Speech.<br />\n1539<br />\n“Yes, when a soul defiled with sin<br />\nShall mount to heaven and enter in,<br />\nThen, chieftain, will experience teach<br />\nThe truth of thy disdainful speech.<br />\nCan I, or thou, or these or all<br />\nOur bravest compass Ráma\'s fall,<br />\nThe chief in whom all virtues shine,<br />\nThe pride of old Ikshváku\'a line,<br />\nWith whom the Gods may scarce compare<br />\nIn skill to act, in heart to dare?<br />\nYea, idly mayst thou vaunt thee, till<br />\nSharp arrows winged with matchless skill<br />\nFrom Ráma\'s bowstring, fleet and fierce<br />\nAs lightning\'s flame, thy body pierce.<br />\nNikumbha shall not save thee then,<br />\nNor Rávaṇ, from the lord of men.<br />\nO Monarch, hear my last appeal,<br />\nMy counsel for thy kingdom\'s weal.<br />\nThis sentence I again declare:<br />\nO giant King, beware, beware!<br />\nSave from the ruin that impends<br />\nThy town, thy people, and thy friends;<br />\nO hear the warning urged once more:<br />\nTo Raghu\'s son the dame restore.”<br />\nCanto XV. Indrajít\'s Speech.<br />\nHe ceased: and Indrajít the pride<br />\nOf Rákshas warriors thus replied:<br />\n1540<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Is this a speech our king should hear,<br />\nThis counsel of ignoble fear?<br />\nA scion of our glorious race<br />\nShould ne\'er conceive a thought so base,<br />\nBut one mid all our kin we find,<br />\nVibhishaṇ, whose degenerate mind<br />\nNo spark of gallant pride retains,<br />\nWhose coward soul his lineage stains.<br />\nAgainst one giant what can two<br />\nUnhappy sons of Raghu do?<br />\nAway with idle fears, away!<br />\nMatched with our meanest, what are they?<br />\nBeneath my conquering prowess fell<br />\nThe Lord of earth and heaven and hell.924<br />\nThrough every startled region dread<br />\nOf my resistless fury spread;<br />\nAnd Gods in each remotest sphere<br />\nConfessed the universal fear.<br />\nRending the air with roar and groan,<br />\nAirávat925to the earth was thrown.<br />\nFrom his huge head the tusks I drew,<br />\nAnd smote the Gods with fear anew.<br />\nShall I who tame celestials\' pride,<br />\nBy whom the fiends are terrified,<br />\nNow prove a weakling little worth,<br />\nAnd fail to slay those sons of earth?”<br />\nHe ceased: Vibhishaṇ trained and tried<br />\nIn war and counsel thus replied<br />\n924Trilokanátha, Lord of the Three Worlds, is a title of Indra.<br />\n925The celestial elephant that carries Indra.<br />\nCanto XVI. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1541<br />\n“Thy speech is marked with scorn of truth,<br />\nWith rashness and the pride of youth.<br />\nYea, to thy ruin like a child<br />\nThou pratest, and thy words are wild.<br />\nMost dear, O Indrajít, to thee<br />\nShould Rávaṇ\'s weal and safety be,<br />\nFor thou art called his son, but thou<br />\nArt proved his direst foeman now,<br />\nWhen warned by me thou hast not tried<br />\nTo turn the coming woe aside.<br />\nBoth thee and him \'twere meet to slay,<br />\nWho brought thee to this hall to-day,<br />\nAnd dared so rash a youth admit<br />\nTo council where the wisest sit.<br />\nPresumptuous, wild, devoid of sense,<br />\nFilled full of pride and insolence,<br />\nThy reckless tongue thou wilt not rule<br />\nThat speaks the counsel of a fool.<br />\nWho in the fight may brook or shun<br />\nThe arrows shot by Raghu\'s son<br />\nWith flame and fiery vengeance sped,<br />\nDire as his staff who rules the dead?<br />\nO Rávaṇ, let thy people live,<br />\nAnd to the son of Raghu give<br />\nFair robes and gems and precious ore,<br />\nAnd Sítá to his arms restore.”<br />\n[438]<br />\nCanto XVI. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1542<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen, while his breast with fury swelled,<br />\nThus Rávaṇ spoke, as fate impelled:<br />\n“Better with foes thy dwelling make,<br />\nOr house thee with the venomed snake,<br />\nThan live with false familiar friends<br />\nWho further still thy foeman\'s ends.<br />\nI know their treacherous mood, I know<br />\nTheir secret triumph at thy woe.<br />\nThey in their inward hearts despise<br />\nThe brave, the noble, and the wise,<br />\nGrieve at their bliss with rancorous hate,<br />\nAnd for their sorrows watch and wait:<br />\nScan every fault with curious eye,<br />\nAnd each slight error magnify.<br />\nAsk elephants who roam the wild<br />\nHow were their captive friends beguiled.<br />\n“For fire,” they cry, “we little care,<br />\nFor javelin and shaft and snare:<br />\nOur foes are traitors, taught to bind<br />\nThe trusting creatures of their kind.”<br />\nStill, still, shall blessings flow from cows,926<br />\nAnd Bráhmans love their rigorous vows;<br />\nStill woman change her restless will,<br />\nAnd friends perfidious work us ill.<br />\nWhat though with conquering feet I tread<br />\nOn every prostrate foeman\'s head;<br />\nWhat though the worlds in abject fear<br />\nTheir mighty lord in me revere?<br />\nThis thought my peace of mind destroys<br />\nAnd robs me of expected joys.<br />\nThe lotus of the lake receives<br />\n926As producers of the ghi, clarified butter or sacrificial oil, used in fire-offer-<br />\nings.<br />\nCanto XVI. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\n1543<br />\nThe glittering rain that gems its leaves,<br />\nBut each bright drop remains apart:<br />\nSo is it still with heart and heart.<br />\nDeceitful as an autumn cloud<br />\nWhich, though its thunderous voice be loud,<br />\nOn the dry earth no torrent sends,<br />\nSuch is the race of faithless friends.<br />\nNo riches of the bloomy spray<br />\nWill tempt the wandering bee to stay<br />\nThat loves from flower to flower to range;<br />\nAnd friends like thee are swift to change.<br />\nThou blot upon thy glorious line,<br />\nIf any giant\'s tongue but thine<br />\nHad dared to give this base advice,<br />\nHe should not live to shame me twice.”<br />\nThen just Vibhishaṇ in the heat<br />\nOf anger started from his seat,<br />\nAnd with four captains of the band<br />\nSprang forward with his mace in hand;<br />\nThen, fury flashing from his eye,<br />\nLooked on the king and made reply:<br />\n“Thy rights, O Rávaṇ, I allow:<br />\nMy brother and mine elder thou.<br />\nSuch, though from duty\'s path they stray,<br />\nWe love like fathers and obey,<br />\nBut still too bitter to be borne<br />\nIs thy harsh speech of cruel scorn.<br />\nThe rash like thee, who spurn control,<br />\nNor check one longing of the soul,<br />\nUrged by malignant fate repel<br />\nThe faithful friend who counsels well.<br />\nA thousand courtiers wilt thou meet,<br />\n1544<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWith flattering lips of smooth deceit:<br />\nBut rare are they whose tongue or ear<br />\nWill speak the bitter truth, or hear.<br />\nUnclose thy blinded eyes and see<br />\nThat snares of death encompass thee.<br />\nI dread, my brother, to behold<br />\nThe shafts of Ráma, bright with gold,<br />\nFlash fury through the air, and red<br />\nWith fires of vengeance strike thee dead.<br />\nLord, brother, King, again reflect,<br />\nNor this mine earnest prayer reject,<br />\nO, save thyself, thy royal town,<br />\nThy people and thine old renown.”<br />\nCanto XVII. Vibhishan\'s Flight.<br />\nSoon as his bitter words were said,<br />\nTo Raghu\'s sons Vibhishaṇ fled.927<br />\nTheir eyes the Vánar leaders raised<br />\nAnd on the air-borne Rákhshas gazed,<br />\nBright as a thunderbolt, in size<br />\nLike Meru\'s peak that cleaves the skies.<br />\nIn gorgeous panoply arrayed<br />\nLike Indra\'s self he stood displayed,<br />\nAnd four attendants brave and bold<br />\n927This desertion to the enemy is somewhat abrupt, and is narrated with<br />\nbrevity not usual with Válmíki. In the Bengal recension the preceding speakers<br />\nand speeches differ considerably from those given in the text which I follow.<br />\nVibhishaṇ is kicked from his seat by Rávaṇ, and then, after telling his mother<br />\nwhat has happened, he flies to Mount Kailása where he has an interview with<br />\nŚiva, and by his advice seeks Ráma and the Vánar army.<br />\nCanto XVII. Vibhishan\'s Flight.<br />\n1545<br />\nShone by their chief in mail and gold.<br />\nSugríva then with dark surmise<br />\nBent on their forms his wondering eyes,<br />\nAnd thus in hasty words confessed<br />\nThe anxious doubt that moved his breast:<br />\n“Look, look ye Vánars, and beware:<br />\nThat giant chief sublime in air<br />\nWith other four in bright array<br />\nComes armed to conquer and to slay.”<br />\n[439]<br />\nSoon as his warning speech they heard,<br />\nThe Vánar chieftains undeterred<br />\nSeized fragments of the rock and trees,<br />\nAnd made reply in words like these:<br />\n“We wait thy word: the order give,<br />\nAnd these thy foes shall cease to live.<br />\nCommand us, mighty King, and all<br />\nLifeless upon the earth shall fall.”<br />\nMeanwhile Vibhishaṇ with the four<br />\nStood high above the ocean shore.<br />\nSugríva and the chiefs he spied,<br />\nAnd raised his mighty voice and cried:<br />\n“From Rávaṇ, lord of giants, I<br />\nHis brother, named Vibhishaṇ, fly.<br />\nFrom Janasthán he stole the child<br />\nOf Janak by his art beguiled,<br />\nAnd in his palace locked and barred<br />\nSurrounds her with a Rákshas guard.<br />\nI bade him, plied with varied lore,<br />\nHis hapless prisoner restore.<br />\nBut he, by Fate to ruin sent,<br />\nNo credence to my counsel lent,<br />\nMad as the fevered wretch who sees<br />\n1546<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd scorns the balm to bring him ease.<br />\nHe scorned the sage advice I gave,<br />\nHe spurned me like a base-born slave.<br />\nI left my children and my wife,<br />\nAnd fly to Raghu\'s son for life.<br />\nI pray thee, Vánar chieftain, speed<br />\nTo him who saves in hour of need,<br />\nAnd tell him famed in distant lands<br />\nThat suppliant here Vibhishaṇ stands.”<br />\nThe Rákshas ceased: Sugríva hied<br />\nTo Raghu\'s noble son and cried:<br />\n“A stranger from the giant host,<br />\nBorne o\'er the sea, has reached the coast;<br />\nA secret foe, he comes to slay,<br />\nAs owls attack their heedless prey.<br />\n\'Tis thine, O King, in time of need<br />\nTo watch, to counsel, and to lead,<br />\nOur Vánar legions to dispose,<br />\nAnd guard us from our crafty foes.<br />\nVibhishaṇ from the giants\' isle,<br />\nKing Rávaṇ\'s brother, comes with guile<br />\nAnd, feigning from his king to flee,<br />\nSeeks refuge, Raghu\'s son, with thee.<br />\nArise, O Ráma, and prevent<br />\nBy bold attack his dark intent.<br />\nWho comes in friendly guise prepared<br />\nTo slay thee by his arts ensnared.”<br />\nCanto XVII. Vibhishan\'s Flight.<br />\n1547<br />\nThus urged Sugríva famed for lore<br />\nOf moving words, and spoke no more.<br />\nThen Ráma thus in turn addressed<br />\nThe bold Hanúmán and the rest:<br />\n“Chiefs of the Vánar legions each<br />\nOf you heard Sugríva\'s speech.<br />\nWhat think ye now in time of fear,<br />\nWhen peril and distress are near,<br />\nIn every doubt the wise depend<br />\nFor counsel on a faithful friend.”<br />\nThey heard his gracious words, and then<br />\nSpake reverent to the lord of men:<br />\n“O Raghu\'s son, thou knowest well<br />\nAll things of heaven and earth and hell.<br />\n\'Tis but thy friendship bids us speak<br />\nThe counsel Ráma need not seek.<br />\nSo duteous, brave, and true art thou,<br />\nHeroic, faithful to thy vow.<br />\nDeep in the scriptures, trained and tried,<br />\nStill in thy friends wilt thou confide.<br />\nLet each of us in turn impart<br />\nThe secret counsel of his heart,<br />\nAnd strive to win his chief\'s assent,<br />\nBy force of wisest argument.”<br />\nThey ceased and Angad thus began:<br />\n“With jealous eye the stranger scan:<br />\nNot yet with trusting heart receive<br />\nVibhishaṇ, nor his tale believe.<br />\nThese giants wandering far and wide<br />\nTheir evil nature falsely hide,<br />\nAnd watching with malignant skill<br />\nAssail us when we fear no ill.<br />\n1548<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWell ponder every hope and fear<br />\nUntil thy doubtful course be clear;<br />\nThen own his merit or detect<br />\nHis guile, and welcome or reject.”<br />\nThen Śarabha the bold and brave<br />\nIn turn his prudent sentence gave:<br />\n“Yea, Ráma, send a skilful spy<br />\nWith keenest tact to test and try.<br />\nThen let the stranger, as is just,<br />\nObtain or be refused thy trust.”<br />\nThen he whose heart was rich in store<br />\nOf scripture\'s life-directing lore,<br />\nKing Jámbaván, stood forth and cried:<br />\n“Suspect, suspect a foe allied<br />\nWith Rávaṇ lord of Lanká\'s isle,<br />\nAnd Rákshas sin and Rákshas guile.”<br />\nThen Mainda, wisest chief, who knew<br />\nThe wrong, the right, the false, the true,<br />\nPondered a while, then silence broke,<br />\nAnd thus his sober counsel spoke:<br />\n“Let one with gracious speech draw near<br />\nAnd gently charm Vibhishaṇ\'s ear,<br />\nTill he the soothing witchery feel<br />\nAnd all his secret heart reveal.<br />\nSo thou his aims and hopes shalt know,<br />\nAnd hail the friend or shun the foe.”<br />\nCanto XVII. Vibhishan\'s Flight.<br />\n1549<br />\n“Not he,” Hanúmán cried, “not he<br />\nWho taught the Gods928may rival thee,<br />\nSupreme in power of quickest sense,<br />\nFirst in the art of eloquence.<br />\nBut hear me soothly speak, O King,<br />\nAnd learn the hope to which I cling.<br />\nVibhishaṇ comes no crafty spy:<br />\nUrged by his brother\'s fault to fly.<br />\nWith righteous soul that loathes the sin,<br />\nHe fled from Lanká and his kin.<br />\n[440]<br />\nIf strangers question, doubt will rise<br />\nAnd chill the heart of one so wise.<br />\nMarred by distrust the parle will end,<br />\nAnd thou wilt lose a faithful friend.<br />\nNor let it seem so light a thing<br />\nTo sound a stranger\'s heart, O King.<br />\nAnd he, I ween, whate\'er he say,<br />\nWill ne\'er an evil thought betray.<br />\nHe comes a friend in happy time,<br />\nLoathing his brother for his crime.<br />\nHis ear has heard thine old renown,<br />\nThe might that struck King Báli down,<br />\nAnd set Sugríva on the throne.<br />\nAnd looking now to thee alone<br />\nHe comes thy matchless aid to win<br />\nAnd punish Rávaṇ for his sin.<br />\nThus have I tried thy heart to move,<br />\nAnd thus Vibhishaṇ\'s truth to prove.<br />\nStill in his friendship I confide;<br />\nBut ponder, wisest, and decide.”<br />\n928Vṛihaspati the preceptor of the Gods.<br />\n1550<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\nThen Ráma\'s rising doubt was stilled,<br />\nAnd friendly thoughts his bosom filled.<br />\nThus, deep in Scripture\'s lore, he spake:<br />\n“The suppliant will I ne\'er forsake,<br />\nNor my protecting aid refuse<br />\nWhen one in name of friendship sues.<br />\nThough faults and folly blot his fame,<br />\nPity and help he still may claim.”<br />\nHe ceased: Sugríva bowed his head<br />\nAnd pondered for a while, and said:<br />\n“Past number be his faults or few,<br />\nWhat think ye of the Rákshas who,<br />\nWhen threatening clouds of danger rise,<br />\nDeserts his brother\'s side and flies?<br />\nSay, Vánars, who may hope to find<br />\nTrue friendship in his faithless kind?”<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\n1551<br />\nThe son of Raghu heard his speech:<br />\nHe cast a hasty look on each<br />\nOf those brave Vánar chiefs, and while<br />\nUpon his lips there played a smile,<br />\nTo Lakshmaṇ turned and thus expressed<br />\nThe thoughts that moved his gallant breast:<br />\n“Well versed in Scripture\'s lore, and sage<br />\nAnd duly reverent to age,<br />\nIs he, with long experience stored,<br />\nWho counsels like this Vánar lord.<br />\nYet here, methinks, for searching eyes<br />\nSome deeper, subtler matter lies.<br />\nTo you and all the world are known<br />\nThe perils of a monarch\'s throne,<br />\nWhile foe and stranger, kith and kin<br />\nBy his misfortune trust to win.<br />\nBy hope of such advantage led,<br />\nVibhishaṇ o\'er the sea has fled.<br />\nHe in his brother\'s stead would reign,<br />\nAnd our alliance seeks to gain;<br />\nAnd we his offer may embrace,<br />\nA stranger and of alien race.<br />\nBut if he comes a spy and foe,<br />\nWhat power has he to strike a blow<br />\nIn furtherance of his close design?<br />\nWhat is his strength compared with mine?<br />\nAnd can I, Vánar King, forget<br />\nThe great, the universal debt,<br />\nEver to aid and welcome those<br />\nWho pray for shelter, friends or foes?<br />\nHast thou not heard the deathless praise<br />\nWon by the dove in olden days,<br />\nWho conquering his fear and hate<br />\nWelcomed the slayer of his mate,<br />\n1552<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd gave a banquet, to refresh<br />\nThe weary fowler, of his flesh?<br />\nNow hear me, Vánar King, rehearse<br />\nWhat Kaṇdu929spoke in ancient verse,<br />\nSaint Kaṇva\'s son who loved the truth<br />\nAnd clave to virtue from his youth:<br />\n“Strike not the suppliant when he stands<br />\nAnd asks thee with beseeching hands<br />\nFor shelter: strike him not although<br />\nHe were thy father\'s mortal foe.<br />\nNo, yield him, be he proud or meek,<br />\nThe shelter which he comes to seek,<br />\nAnd save thy foeman, if the deed<br />\nShould cost thy life, in desperate need.”<br />\nAnd shall I hear the wretched cry,<br />\nAnd my protecting aid deny?<br />\nShall I a suppliant\'s prayer refuse,<br />\nAnd heaven and glory basely lose?<br />\nNo, I will do for honour sake<br />\nE\'en as the holy Kaṇdu spake,<br />\nPreserve a hero\'s name from stain,<br />\nAnd bliss in heaven and glory gain.<br />\nBound by a solemn vow I sware<br />\nThat all my saving help should share<br />\nWho sought me in distress and cried,<br />\n“Thou art my hope, and none beside.”<br />\nThen go, I pray thee, Vánar King,<br />\nVibhishaṇ to my presence bring,<br />\nYea, were he Rávaṇ\'s self, my vow<br />\nForbids me to reject him now.”<br />\n929In Book II, Canto XXI, Kaṇdu is mentioned by Ráma as an example of<br />\nfilial obedience. At the command of his father he is said to have killed a cow.<br />\nCanto XIX. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\n1553<br />\nHe ceased: the Vánar king approved;<br />\nAnd Ráma toward Vibhishaṇ moved.<br />\nSo moves, a brother God to greet,<br />\nLord Indra from his heavenly seat.<br />\n[441]<br />\nCanto XIX. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\nWhen Raghu\'s son had owned his claim<br />\nDown from the air Vibhishaṇ came,<br />\nAnd with his four attendants bent<br />\nAt Ráma\'s feet most reverent.<br />\n“O Ráma,” thus he cried, “in me<br />\nVibhishaṇ, Rávaṇ\'s brother see.<br />\nBy him disgraced thine aid I seek,<br />\nSure refuge of the poor and weak.<br />\nFrom Lanká, friends, and wealth I fly,<br />\nAnd reft of all on thee rely.<br />\nOn thee, the wretch\'s firmest friend,<br />\nMy kingdom, joys, and life depend.”<br />\nWith glance of favour Ráma eyed<br />\nThe Rákshas chief and thus replied:<br />\n“First from thy lips I fain would hear<br />\nEach brighter hope, each darker fear.<br />\nSpeak, stranger, that I well may know<br />\nThe strength and weakness of the foe.”<br />\n1554<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: the Rákshas chief obeyed,<br />\nAnd thus in turn his answer made:<br />\n“O Prince, the Self-existent gave<br />\nThis boon to Rávaṇ; he may brave<br />\nAll foes in fight; no fiend or snake,<br />\nGandharva, God, his life may take.<br />\nHis brother Kumbhakarṇa vies<br />\nIn might with him who rules the skies.<br />\nThe captain of his armies—fame<br />\nPerhaps has taught the warrior\'s name—<br />\nIs terrible Prahasta, who<br />\nKing Maṇibhadra\'s930self o\'erthrew.<br />\nWhere is the warrior found to face<br />\nYoung Indrajít, when armed with brace<br />\nAnd guard931and bow he stands in mail<br />\nAnd laughs at spear and arrowy hail?<br />\nWithin his city Lanká dwell<br />\nTen million giants fierce and fell,<br />\nWho wear each varied shape at will<br />\nAnd eat the flesh of those they kill.<br />\nThese hosts against the Gods he led,<br />\nAnd heavenly might discomfited.”<br />\nThen Ráma cried: “I little heed<br />\nGigantic strength or doughty deed.<br />\nIn spite of all their might has done<br />\nThe king, the captain, and the son<br />\nShall fall beneath my fury dead,<br />\nAnd thou shalt reign in Rávaṇ\'s stead.<br />\nHe, though in depths of earth he dwell,<br />\n930A King of the Yakshas, or Kuvera himself, the God of Gold.<br />\n931The brace protects the left arm from injury from the bow-string, and the<br />\nguard protects the fingers of the right hand.<br />\nCanto XIX. Vibhishan\'s Counsel.<br />\n1555<br />\nOr seek protection down in hell,<br />\nOr kneel before the Sire supreme,<br />\nHis forfeit life shall ne\'er redeem.<br />\nYea, by my brothers\' lives I swear,<br />\nI will not to my home repair<br />\nTill Rávaṇ and his kith and kin<br />\nHave paid in death the price of sin.”<br />\nVibhishaṇ bowed his head and cried:<br />\n“Thy conquering army will I guide<br />\nTo storm the city of the foe,<br />\nAnd aid the tyrant\'s overthrow.”<br />\nThus spake Vibhishaṇ: Ráma pressed<br />\nThe Rákshas chieftain to his breast,<br />\nAnd cried to Lakshmaṇ: “Haste and bring<br />\nSea-water for the new-made king.”<br />\nHe spoke, and o\'er Vibhishaṇ\'s head<br />\nThe consecrating drops were shed<br />\nMid shouts that hailed with one accord<br />\nThe giants\' king and Lanká\'s lord.<br />\n“Is there no way,” Hanúmán cried,<br />\n“No passage o\'er the boisterous tide?<br />\nHow may we lead the Vánar host<br />\nIn triumph to the farther coast?”<br />\n“Thus,” said Vibhishaṇ, “I advise:<br />\nLet Raghu\'s son in suppliant guise<br />\nEntreat the mighty Sea to lend<br />\nHis succour and this cause befriend.<br />\nHis channels, as the wise have told,<br />\nBy Sagar\'s sons were dug of old,932<br />\nNor will high-thoughted Ocean scorn<br />\nA prince of Sagar\'s lineage born.”<br />\n932The story is told in Book I, Cantos XL, XLI, XLII.<br />\n1556<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased; the prudent counsel won<br />\nThe glad assent of Raghu\'s son.<br />\nThen on the ocean shore a bed<br />\nOf tender sacred grass was spread,<br />\nWhere Ráma at the close of day<br />\nLike fire upon an altar lay.<br />\nCanto XX. The Spies.<br />\nŚárdúla, Rávaṇ\'s spy, surveyed<br />\nThe legions on the strand arrayed.<br />\nAnd bore, his bosom racked with fear,<br />\nThese tidings to the monarch\'s ear:<br />\n“They come, they come. A rushing tide,<br />\nTen leagues they spread from side to side,<br />\nAnd on to storm thy city press,<br />\nFierce rovers of the wilderness.<br />\nRich in each princely power and grace,<br />\nThe pride of Daśaratha\'s race,<br />\nRáma and Lakshmaṇ lead their bands,<br />\nAnd halt them on the ocean sands.<br />\nO Monarch, rise, this peril meet;<br />\nRisk not the danger of defeat.<br />\n[442]<br />\nCanto XX. The Spies.<br />\n1557<br />\nFirst let each wiser art be tried;<br />\nBribe them, or win them, or divide.”<br />\nSuch was the counsel of the spy:<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ called to Śuka: “Fly,<br />\nSugríva lord of Vánars seek,<br />\nAnd thus my kingly message speak:<br />\n“Great power and might and fame are thine,<br />\nBrave scion of a royal line,<br />\nKing Riksharajas\' son, in thee<br />\nA brother and a friend I see.<br />\nHow wronged by me canst thou complain?<br />\nWhat profit here pretend to gain?<br />\nIf from the wood the wife I stole<br />\nOf Ráma of the prudent soul,<br />\nWhat cause hast thou to mourn the theft?<br />\nThou art not injured or bereft.<br />\nReturn, O King, thy steps retrace<br />\nAnd seek thy mountain dwelling-place.<br />\nNo, never may thy hosts within<br />\nMy Lanká\'s walls a footing win.<br />\nA mighty town whose strength defies<br />\nThe gathered armies of the skies.”<br />\nHe ceased: obedient Śuka heard;<br />\nWith wings and plumage of a bird<br />\nHe rose in eager speed and through<br />\nThe air upon his errand flew.<br />\nBorne o\'er the sea with rapid wing<br />\nHe stood above the Vánar king,<br />\nAnd spoke aloud, sublime in air,<br />\nThe message he was charged to bear.<br />\nThe Vánar heard the words he spoke,<br />\nAnd quick redoubling stroke on stroke<br />\nOn head and pinions hemmed him round<br />\n1558<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd bore him struggling to the ground.<br />\nThe Rákshas wounded and distressed<br />\nThese words to Raghu\'s son addressed:<br />\n“Quick, quick! This Vánar host restrain,<br />\nFor heralds never must be slain.<br />\nTo him alone, a wretch untrue,<br />\nThe punishment of death is due<br />\nWho leaves his master\'s speech unsaid<br />\nAnd speaks another in its stead.”<br />\nMoved by the suppliant speech and prayer<br />\nUp sprang the prince and cried, forbear.<br />\nSaved from his wild assailant\'s blows<br />\nAgain the Rákshas herald rose<br />\nAnd borne on light wings to the sky<br />\nAddressed Sugríva from on high:<br />\n“O Vánar Monarch, chief endued<br />\nWith power and wonderous fortitude,<br />\nWhat answer is my king, the fear<br />\nAnd scourge of weeping worlds, to hear?”<br />\n“Go tell thy lord,” Sugríva cried,<br />\n“Thou, Ráma\'s foe, art thus defied.<br />\nHis arm the guilty Báli slew;<br />\nThus, tyrant, shalt thou perish too.<br />\nThy sons, thy friends, proud King, and all<br />\nThy kith and kin with thee shall fall;<br />\nAnd, emptied of the giant\'s brood,<br />\nBurnt Lanká be a solitude.<br />\nFly to the Sun-God\'s pathway, go<br />\nAnd hide thee deep in hell below:<br />\nIn vain from Ráma shalt thou flee<br />\nThough heavenly warriors fight for thee.<br />\nThine arm subdued, securely bold,<br />\nThe Vulture-king infirm and old:<br />\nCanto XX. The Spies.<br />\n1559<br />\nBut will thy puny strength avail<br />\nWhen Raghu\'s wrathful sons assail?<br />\nA captive in thy palace lies<br />\nThe lady of the lotus eyes:<br />\nThou knowest not how fierce and strong<br />\nIs he whom thou hast dared to wrong.<br />\nThe best of Raghu\'s lineage, he<br />\nWhose conquering hand shall punish thee.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Angad raised a cry;<br />\n“This is no herald but a spy.<br />\nAbove thee from his airy post<br />\nHis rapid eye surveyed our host,<br />\nWhere with advantage he might scan<br />\nOur gathered strength from rear to van.<br />\nBind him, Vánars, bind the spy,<br />\nNor let him back to Lanká fly.”<br />\nThey hurled the Rákshas to the ground,<br />\nThey grasped his neck, his pinions bound,<br />\nAnd firmly held him while in vain<br />\nHis voice was lifted to complain.<br />\nBut Ráma\'s heart inclined to spare,<br />\nHe listened to his plaint and prayer,<br />\nAnd cried aloud: “O Vánars, cease;<br />\nThe captive from his bonds release.”<br />\n1560<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XXI. Ocean Threatened.<br />\nHis hands in reverence Ráma raised<br />\nAnd southward o\'er the ocean gazed;<br />\nThen on the sacred grass that made<br />\nHis lowly couch his limbs he laid.<br />\nHis head on that strong arm reclined<br />\nWhich Sítá, best of womankind,<br />\nHad loved in happier days to hold<br />\nWith soft arms decked with pearls and gold.<br />\nThen rising from his bed of grass,<br />\n“This day,” he cried, “the host shall pass<br />\nTriumphant to the southern shore,<br />\nOr Ocean\'s self shall be no more.”<br />\nThus vowing in his constant breast<br />\nAgain he turned him to his rest,<br />\nAnd there, his eyes in slumber closed,<br />\nSilent beside the sea reposed.<br />\nThrice rose the Day-God thrice he set,<br />\nThe lord of Ocean came not yet,<br />\nThrice came the night, but Raghu\'s son<br />\nNo answer by his service won.<br />\nTo Lakshmaṇ thus the hero cried,<br />\nHis eyes aflame with wrath and pride:<br />\n“In vain the softer gifts that grace<br />\nThe good are offered to the base.<br />\nLong-suffering, patience, gentle speech<br />\n[443]<br />\nCanto XXI. Ocean Threatened.<br />\n1561<br />\nTheir thankless hearts can never reach.<br />\nThe world to him its honour pays<br />\nWhose ready tongue himself can praise,<br />\nWho scorns the true, and hates the right,<br />\nWhose hand is ever raised to smite.<br />\nEach milder art is tried in vain:<br />\nIt wins no glory, but disdain.<br />\nAnd victory owns no softer charm<br />\nThan might which nerves a warrior\'s arm.<br />\nMy humble suit is still denied<br />\nBy Ocean\'s overweening pride.<br />\nThis day the monsters of the deep<br />\nIn throes of death shall wildly leap.<br />\nMy shafts shall rend the serpents curled<br />\nIn caverns of the watery world,<br />\nDisclose each sunless depth and bare<br />\nThe tangled pearl and coral there.<br />\nAway with mercy! at a time<br />\nLike this compassion is a crime.<br />\nWelcome, the battle and the foe!<br />\nMy bow! my arrows and my bow!<br />\nThis day the Vánars\' feet shall tread<br />\nThe conquered Sea\'s exhausted bed,<br />\nAnd he who never feared before<br />\nShall tremble to his farthest shore.”<br />\nRed flashed his eyes with angry glow:<br />\nHe stood and grasped his mighty bow,<br />\nTerrific as the fire of doom<br />\nWhose quenchless flames the world consume.<br />\nHis clanging cord the archer drew,<br />\nAnd swift the fiery arrows flew<br />\nFierce as the flashing levin sent<br />\nBy him who rules the firmament.<br />\n1562<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nDown through the startled waters sped<br />\nEach missile with its flaming head.<br />\nThe foamy billows rose and sank,<br />\nAnd dashed upon the trembling bank.<br />\nSea monsters of tremendous form<br />\nWith crash and roar of thunder storm.<br />\nStill the wild waters rose and fell<br />\nCrowned with white foam and pearl and shell.<br />\nEach serpent, startled from his rest,<br />\nRaised his fierce eyes and glowing crest.<br />\nAnd prisoned Dánavs933where they dwelt<br />\nIn depths below the terror felt.<br />\nAgain upon his string he laid<br />\nA flaming shaft, but Lakshmaṇ stayed<br />\nHis arm, with gentle reasoning tried<br />\nTo soothe his angry mood, and cried:<br />\n“Brother, reflect: the wise control<br />\nThe rising passions of the soul.<br />\nLet Ocean grant, without thy threat,<br />\nThe boon on which thy heart is set.<br />\nThat gracious lord will ne\'er refuse<br />\nWhen Ráma son of Raghu sues.”<br />\nHe ceased: and voices from the air<br />\nFell clear and loud, Spare, Ráma, spare.<br />\nCanto XXII. Ocean Threatened.<br />\n933Fiends and enemies of the Gods.<br />\nCanto XXII. Ocean Threatened.<br />\n1563<br />\nWith angry menace Ráma, best<br />\nOf Raghu\'s sons, the Sea addressed:<br />\n“With fiery flood of arrowy rain<br />\nThy channels will I dry and drain.<br />\nAnd I and all the Vánar host<br />\nWill reach on foot the farther coast.<br />\nThou shalt not from destruction save<br />\nThe creatures of the teeming wave,<br />\nAnd lapse of time shall ne\'er efface<br />\nThe memory of the dire disgrace.”<br />\nThus spoke the warrior, and prepared<br />\nThe mortal shaft which never spared,<br />\nKnown mystic weapon, by the name<br />\nOf Brahmá, red with quenchless flame.<br />\nGreat terror, as he strained the bow,<br />\nStruck heaven above and earth below.<br />\nThrough echoing skies the thunder pealed,<br />\nAnd startled mountains rocked and reeled,<br />\nThe earth was black with sudden night<br />\nAnd heaven was blotted from the sight.<br />\nThen ever and anon the glare<br />\nOf meteors shot through murky air,<br />\nAnd with a wild terrific sound<br />\nRed lightnings struck the trembling ground.<br />\nIn furious gusts the fierce wind blew:<br />\nTall trees it shattered and o\'erthrew,<br />\nAnd, smiting with a giant\'s stroke,<br />\nHuge masses from the mountain broke.<br />\nA cry of terror long and shrill<br />\nCame from each valley, plain, and hill.<br />\nEach ruined dale, each riven peak<br />\nRe-echoed with a wail or shriek.<br />\n1564<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWhile Raghu\'s son undaunted gazed,<br />\nThe waters of the deep were raised,<br />\nAnd, still uplifted more and more,<br />\nLeapt in wild flood upon the shore.<br />\nStill Ráma looked upon the tide<br />\nAnd kept his post unterrified.<br />\nThen from the seething flood upreared<br />\nMajestic Ocean\'s form appeared,<br />\nAs rising from his eastern height<br />\nSprings through the sky the Lord of Light.<br />\nAttendant on their monarch came<br />\nSea serpents with their eyes aflame.<br />\nLike lazulite mid burning gold<br />\nHis form was wondrous to behold.<br />\nBright with each fairest precious stone<br />\nA chain about his neck was thrown.<br />\nCalm shone his lotus eyes beneath<br />\nThe blossoms of his heavenly wreath,<br />\nAnd many a pearl and sea-born gem<br />\nFlashed in the monarch\'s diadem.<br />\nThere Gangá, tributary queen,<br />\nAnd Sindhu934by his lord, were seen,<br />\n[444]<br />\nAnd every stream and brook renowned<br />\nIn ancient story girt him round.<br />\nThen, as the waters rose and swelled,<br />\nThe king with suppliant hands upheld,<br />\nHis glorious head to Ráma bent<br />\nAnd thus addressed him reverent:<br />\n“Air, ether, fire, earth, water, true<br />\nTo nature\'s will, their course pursue;<br />\nAnd I, as ancient laws ordain,<br />\nUnfordable must still remain.<br />\n934The Indus.<br />\nCanto XXII. Ocean Threatened.<br />\n1565<br />\nYet, Raghu\'s son, my counsel hear:<br />\nI ne\'er for love or hope or fear<br />\nWill pile my waters in a heap<br />\nAnd leave a pathway through the deep.<br />\nStill shall my care for thee provide<br />\nAn easy passage o\'er the tide,<br />\nAnd like a city\'s paven street<br />\nShall be the road beneath thy feet.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Ráma spoke again:<br />\n“This spell is ne\'er invoked in vain.<br />\nWhere shall the magic shaft, to spend<br />\nThe fury of its might, descend?”<br />\n“Shoot,” Ocean cried, “thine arrow forth<br />\nWith all its fury to the north,<br />\nWhere sacred Drumakulya lies,<br />\nWhose glory with thy glory vies.<br />\nThere dwells a wild Abhíra935race,<br />\nAs vile in act as foul of face,<br />\nFierce Dasyus936who delight in ill,<br />\nAnd drink my tributary rill.<br />\nMy soul no longer may endure<br />\nTheir neighbourhood and touch impure.<br />\nAt these, O son of Raghu, aim<br />\nThine arrow with the quenchless flame.”<br />\nSwift from the bow, as Ráma drew<br />\nHis cord, the fiery arrow flew.<br />\nEarth groaned to feel the wound, and sent<br />\nA rush of water through the rent;<br />\nAnd famed for ever is the well<br />\nOf Vraṇa937where the arrow fell.<br />\n935Cowherds, sprung from a Bráhman and a woman of the medical tribe, the<br />\nmodern Ahírs.<br />\n936Barbarians or outcasts.<br />\n937Vraṇa means wound or rent.<br />\n1566<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen every brook and lake beside<br />\nThroughout the region Ráma dried.<br />\nBut yet he gave a boon to bless<br />\nAnd fertilize the wilderness:<br />\nNo fell disease should taint the air,<br />\nAnd sheep and kine should prosper there:<br />\nEarth should produce each pleasant root,<br />\nThe stately trees should bend with fruit;<br />\nOil, milk, and honey should abound,<br />\nAnd fragrant herbs should clothe the ground.<br />\nThen spake the king of brooks and seas<br />\nTo Raghu\'s son in words like these:<br />\n“Now let a wondrous task be done<br />\nBy Nala, Viśvakarmá\'s son,<br />\nWho, born of one of Vánar race,<br />\nInherits by his father\'s grace<br />\nA share of his celestial art.<br />\nCall Nala to perform his part,<br />\nAnd he, divinely taught and skilled,<br />\nA bridge athwart the sea shall build.”<br />\nHe spoke and vanished. Nala, best<br />\nOf Vánar chiefs, the king addressed:<br />\n“O\'er the deep sea where monsters play<br />\nA bridge, O Ráma, will I lay;<br />\nFor, sharer of my father\'s skill,<br />\nMine is the power and mine the will.<br />\n\'Tis vain to try each gentler art<br />\nTo bribe and soothe the thankless heart;<br />\nIn vain on such is mercy spent;<br />\nIt yields to naught but punishment.<br />\nThrough fear alone will Ocean now<br />\nA passage o\'er his waves allow.<br />\nMy mother, ere she bore her son,<br />\nCanto XXII. Ocean Threatened.<br />\n1567<br />\nThis boon from Viśvakarmá won:<br />\n“O Mandarí, thy child shall be<br />\nIn skill and glory next to me.”<br />\nBut why unbidden should I fill<br />\nThine ear with praises of my skill?<br />\nCommand the Vánar hosts to lay<br />\nFoundations for the bridge to-day.”<br />\nHe spoke: and swift at Ráma\'s hest<br />\nUp sprang the Vánars from their rest,<br />\nThe mandate of the king obeyed<br />\nAnd sought the forest\'s mighty shade.<br />\nUnrooted trees to earth they threw,<br />\nAnd to the sea the timber drew.<br />\nThe stately palm was bowed and bent,<br />\nAśokas from the ground were rent,<br />\nAnd towering Sáls and light bamboos,<br />\nAnd trees with flowers of varied hues,<br />\nWith loveliest creepers wreathed and crowned,<br />\nShook, reeled, and fell upon the ground.<br />\nWith mighty engines piles of stone<br />\nAnd seated hills were overthrown:<br />\nUnprisoned waters sprang on high,<br />\nIn rain descending from the sky:<br />\nAnd ocean with a roar and swell<br />\nHeaved wildly when the mountains fell.<br />\nThen the great bridge of wondrous strength<br />\nWas built, a hundred leagues in length.<br />\nRocks huge as autumn clouds bound fast<br />\nWith cordage from the shore were cast,<br />\nAnd fragments of each riven hill,<br />\nAnd trees whose flowers adorned them still.<br />\nWild was the tumult, loud the din<br />\nAs ponderous rocks went thundering in.<br />\n1568<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nEre set of sun, so toiled each crew,<br />\nTen leagues and four the structure grew;<br />\nThe labours of the second day<br />\nGave twenty more of ready way,<br />\nAnd on the fifth, when sank the sun,<br />\nThe whole stupendous work was done.<br />\nO\'er the broad way the Vánars sped,<br />\nNor swayed it with their countless tread.<br />\n[445]<br />\nExultant on the ocean strand<br />\nVibhishaṇ stood, and, mace in hand,<br />\nLonged eager for the onward way,<br />\nAnd chafed impatient at delay.<br />\nThen thus to Ráma trained and tried<br />\nIn battle King Sugríva cried:<br />\n“Come, Hanumán\'s broad back ascend;<br />\nLet Angad help to Lakshmaṇ lend.<br />\nThese high above the sea shall bear<br />\nTheir burthen through the ways of air.”<br />\nSo, with Sugríva, borne o\'erhead<br />\nIkshváku\'s sons the legions led.<br />\nBehind, the Vánar hosts pursued<br />\nTheir march in endless multitude.<br />\nSome skimmed the surface of the wave,<br />\nTo some the air a passage gave.<br />\nAmid their ceaseless roar the sound<br />\nOf Ocean\'s fearful voice was drowned,<br />\nAs o\'er the bridge by Nala planned<br />\nThey hastened on to Lanká\'s strand,<br />\nWhere, by the pleasant brooks, mid trees<br />\nLoaded with fruit, they took their ease.<br />\nCanto XXIII. The Omens.<br />\n1569<br />\nCanto XXIII. The Omens.<br />\nThen Ráma, peerless in the skill<br />\nThat marks each sign of good and ill,<br />\nStrained his dear brother to his breast,<br />\nAnd thus with prudent words addressed:<br />\n“Now, Lakshmaṇ, by the water\'s side<br />\nIn fruitful groves the host divide,<br />\nThat warriors of each woodland race<br />\nMay keep their own appointed place.<br />\nDire is the danger: loss of friends,<br />\nOf Vánars and of bears, impends.<br />\nDistained with dust the breezes blow,<br />\nAnd earth is shaken from below.<br />\nThe tall hills rock from foot to crown,<br />\nAnd stately trees come toppling down.<br />\nIn threatening shape, with voice of fear,<br />\nThe clouds like cannibals appear,<br />\nAnd rain in fitful torrents, red<br />\nWith sanguinary drops, is shed.<br />\nLong streaks of lurid light invest<br />\nThe evening skies from east to west.<br />\nAnd from the sun at times a ball<br />\nOf angry fire is seen to fall.<br />\nFrom every glen and brake is heard<br />\nThe boding voice of beast and bird:<br />\nFrom den and lair night-prowlers run<br />\nAnd shriek against the falling sun.<br />\nUp springs the moon, but hot and red<br />\nKills the sad night with woe and dread;<br />\nNo gentle lustre, but the gloom<br />\nThat heralds universal doom.<br />\nA cloud of dust and vapour mars<br />\nThe beauty of the evening stars,<br />\n1570<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd wild and fearful is the sky<br />\nAs though the wreck of worlds were nigh.<br />\nAround our heads in boding flight<br />\nWheel hawk and vulture, crow and kite;<br />\nAnd every bird of happy note<br />\nShrieks terror from his altered throat.<br />\nSword, spear and shaft shall strew the plain<br />\nDyed red with torrents of the slain.<br />\nTo-day the Vánar troops shall close<br />\nAround the city of our foes.”<br />\nCanto XXIV. The Spy\'s Return.<br />\nAs shine the heavens with autumn\'s moon<br />\nRefulgent in the height of noon,<br />\nSo shone with light which Ráma gave<br />\nThat army of the bold and brave,<br />\nAs from the sea it marched away<br />\nIn war\'s magnificent array,<br />\nAnd earth was shaken by the beat<br />\nAnd trampling of unnumbered feet.<br />\nThen to the giants\' ears were borne,<br />\nThe mingled notes of drum and horn,<br />\nAnd clash of tambours smote the sky,<br />\nAnd shouting and the battle cry.<br />\nThe sound of martial strains inspired<br />\nEach chieftain, and his bosom fired:<br />\nWhile giants from their walls replied,<br />\nAnd answering shouts the foe defied,<br />\nThen Ráma looked on Lanká where<br />\nBright banners floated in the air,<br />\nCanto XXIV. The Spy\'s Return.<br />\n1571<br />\nAnd, pierced with anguish at the view,<br />\nHis loving thoughts to Sítá flew.<br />\n“There, prisoned by the giant, lies<br />\nMy lady of the tender eyes,<br />\nLike Rohiṇí the queen of stars<br />\nO\'erpowered by the fiery Mars.”<br />\nThen turned he to his brother chief<br />\nAnd cried in agony of grief:<br />\n“See on the hill, divinely planned<br />\nAnd built by Viśvakarmá\'s hand,<br />\nThe towers and domes of Lanká rise<br />\nIn peerless beauty to the skies.<br />\nBright from afar the city shines<br />\nWith gleam of palaces and shrines,<br />\nLike pale clouds through the region spread<br />\nBy Vishṇu\'s self inhabited.<br />\nFair gardens grow, and woods between<br />\nThe stately domes are fresh and green,<br />\nWhere trees their bloom and fruit display,<br />\nAnd sweet birds sing on every spray.<br />\nEach bird is mad with joy, and bees<br />\nSing labouring in the bloomy trees<br />\nOn branches by the breezes bowed,<br />\nWhere the gay Koïl\'s voice is loud.”<br />\nThis said, he ranged with warlike art<br />\nEach body of the host apart.<br />\n[446]<br />\n“There in the centre,” Ráma cried,<br />\n“Be Angad\'s place by Níla\'s side.<br />\nLet Rishabh of impetuous might<br />\nBe lord and leader on the right,<br />\nAnd Gandhamádan, next in rank,<br />\nBe captain of the farther flank.<br />\nLakshmaṇ and I the hosts will lead,<br />\n1572<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd Jámbaván of ursine breed,<br />\nWith bold Susheṇ unused to fear,<br />\nAnd Vegadarśí, guide the rear.”<br />\nThus Ráma spoke: the chiefs obeyed;<br />\nAnd all the Vánar hosts arrayed<br />\nShowed awful as the autumn sky<br />\nWhen clouds embattled form on high.<br />\nTheir arms were mighty trees o\'erthrown,<br />\nAnd massy blocks of mountain stone.<br />\nOne hope in every warlike breast,<br />\nOne firm resolve, they onward pressed,<br />\nTo die in fight or batter down<br />\nThe walls and towers of Lanká\'s town.<br />\nThose marshalled legions Ráma eyed,<br />\nAnd thus to King Sugríva cried:<br />\n“Now, Monarch, ere the hosts proceed,<br />\nLet Śuka, Rávaṇ\'s spy, be freed.”<br />\nHe spoke: the Vánar gave consent<br />\nAnd loosed him from imprisonment:<br />\nAnd Śuka, trembling and afraid,<br />\nHis homeward way to Rávaṇ made.<br />\nLoud laughed the lord of Lanká\'s isle:<br />\n“Where hast thou stayed this weary while?<br />\nWhy is thy plumage marred, and why<br />\nDo twisted cords thy pinions tie?<br />\nSay, comest thou in evil plight<br />\nThe victim of the Vánars\' spite?”<br />\nCanto XXIV. The Spy\'s Return.<br />\n1573<br />\nHe ceased: the spy his fear controlled,<br />\nAnd to the king his story told:<br />\n“I reached the ocean\'s distant shore,<br />\nThy message to the king I bore.<br />\nIn sudden wrath the Vánars rose,<br />\nThey struck me down with furious blows;<br />\nThey seized me helpless on the ground,<br />\nMy plumage rent, my pinions bound.<br />\nThey would not, headlong in their ire,<br />\nConsider, listen, or inquire;<br />\nSo fickle, wrathful, rough and rude<br />\nIs the wild forest multitude.<br />\nThere, marshalling the Vánar bands,<br />\nKing Ráma with Sugríva stands,<br />\nRáma the matchless warrior, who<br />\nVirádha and Kabandha slew,<br />\nKhara, and countless giants more,<br />\nAnd tracks his queen to Lanká\'s shore.<br />\nA bridge athwart the sea was cast,<br />\nAnd o\'er it have his legions passed.<br />\nHark! heralded by horns and drums<br />\nThe terrible avenger comes.<br />\nE\'en now the giants\' isle he fills<br />\nWith warriors huge as clouds and hills,<br />\nAnd burning with vindictive hate<br />\nWill thunder soon at Lanká\'s gate.<br />\nYield or oppose him: choose between<br />\nThy safety and the Maithil queen.”<br />\nHe ceased: the tyrant\'s eyeballs blazed<br />\nWith fury as his voice he raised:<br />\n“No, if the dwellers of the sky,<br />\nGandharvas, fiends assail me, I<br />\nWill keep the Maithil lady still,<br />\n1574<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nNor yield her back for fear of ill.<br />\nWhen shall my shafts with iron hail<br />\nMy foeman, Raghu\'s son, assail,<br />\nThick as the bees with eager wing<br />\nBeat on the flowery trees of spring?<br />\nO, let me meet my foe at length,<br />\nAnd strip him of his vaunted strength,<br />\nFierce as the sun who shines afar<br />\nStealing the light of every star.<br />\nStrong as the sea\'s impetuous might<br />\nMy ways are like the tempest\'s flight;<br />\nBut Ráma knows not this, or he<br />\nIn terror from my face would flee.”<br />\nCanto XXV. Rávan\'s Spies.938<br />\nWhen Ráma and the host he led<br />\nAcross the sea had safely sped,<br />\nThus Rávaṇ, moved by wrath and pride,<br />\nTo Śuka and to Sáraṇ cried:<br />\n“O counsellors, the Vánar host<br />\nHas passed the sea from coast to coast,<br />\nAnd Daśaratha\'s son has wrought<br />\nA wondrous deed surpassing thought.<br />\nAnd now in truth I needs must know<br />\nThe strength and number of the foe.<br />\nGo ye, to Ráma\'s host repair<br />\nAnd count me all the legions there.<br />\nLearn well what power each captain leads<br />\n938Here in the Bengal recension (Gorresio\'s edition), begins Book VI.<br />\nCanto XXV. Rávan\'s Spies.<br />\n1575<br />\nHis name and fame for warlike deeds.<br />\nLearn by what artist\'s wondrous aid<br />\nThat bridge athwart the sea was made;<br />\nLearn how the Vánar host came o\'er<br />\nAnd halted on the island shore.<br />\nMark Ráma son of Raghu well;<br />\nHis valour, strength, and weapons tell.<br />\nWatch his advisers one by one,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ, Raghu\'s younger son.<br />\nLearn with observant eyes, and bring<br />\n“Unerring tidings to your king.<br />\nHe ceased: then swift in Vánar guise<br />\nForth on their errand sped the spies.<br />\nThey reached the Vánars, and, dismayed,<br />\nTheir never-ending lines surveyd:<br />\nNor would they try, in mere despair,<br />\nTo count the countless legions there,<br />\n[447]<br />\nThat crowded valley, plain and hill,<br />\nThat pressed about each cave and rill.<br />\nThough sea-like o\'er the land were spread<br />\nThe endless hosts which Ráma led,<br />\nThe bridge by thousands yet was lined,<br />\nAnd eager myriads pressed behind.<br />\nBut sage Vibhishaṇ\'s watchful eyes<br />\nHad marked the giants in disguise.<br />\nHe gave command the pair to seize,<br />\nAnd told the tale in words like these:<br />\n“O Ráma these, well known erewhile,<br />\nAre giant sons of Lanká\'s isle,<br />\nTwo counsellors of Rávaṇ sent<br />\nTo watch the invading armament.”<br />\n1576<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nVibhishaṇ ceased: at Ráma\'s look<br />\nThe Rákshas envoys quailed and shook;<br />\nThen suppliant hand to hand they pressed<br />\nAnd thus Ikshváku\'s son addressed:<br />\n“O Ráma, bear the truth we speak:<br />\nOur monarch Rávaṇ bade us seek<br />\nThe Vánar legions and survey<br />\nTheir numbers, strength, and vast array.”<br />\nThen Ráma, friend and hope and guide<br />\nOf suffering creatures, thus replied:<br />\n“Now giants, if your eyes have scanned<br />\nOur armies, numbering every band,<br />\nMarked lord and chief, and gazed their fill,<br />\nReturn to Rávaṇ when ye will.<br />\nIf aught remain, if aught anew<br />\nYe fain would scan with closer view,<br />\nVibhishaṇ, ready at your call,<br />\nWill lead you forth and show you all.<br />\nThink not of bonds and capture; fear<br />\nNo loss of life, no peril here:<br />\nFor, captive, helpless and unarmed,<br />\nAn envoy never should be harmed.<br />\nAgain to Lanká\'s town repair,<br />\nSpeed to the giant monarch there,<br />\nAnd be these words to Rávaṇ told,<br />\nFierce brother of the Lord of Gold:<br />\n“Now, tyrant, tremble for thy sin:<br />\nCall up thy friends, thy kith and kin,<br />\nAnd let the power and might be seen<br />\nWhich made thee bold to steal my queen.<br />\nTo-morrow shall thy mournful eye<br />\nBehold thy bravest warriors die,<br />\nCanto XXV. Rávan\'s Spies.<br />\n1577<br />\nAnd Lanká\'s city, tower and wall,<br />\nStruck by my fiery shafts, will fall.<br />\nThen shall my vengeful blow descend<br />\nIts rage on thee and thine to spend,<br />\nFierce as the fiery bolt that flew<br />\nFrom heaven against the Dánav crew,<br />\nMid those rebellious demons sent<br />\nBy him who rules the firmament.”<br />\nThus spake Ikshváku\'s son, and ceased:<br />\nThe giants from their bonds released<br />\nLauded the King with glad accord,<br />\nAnd hasted homeward to their lord.<br />\nBefore the tyrant side by side<br />\nŚuka and Sáraṇ stood and cried:<br />\n“Vibhishaṇ seized us, King, and fain<br />\nHis helpless captives would have slain.<br />\nBut glorious Ráma saw us; he,<br />\nGreat-hearted hero, made us free.<br />\nThere in one spot our eyes beheld<br />\nFour chiefs on earth unparalleled,<br />\nWho with the guardian Gods may vie<br />\nWho rule the regions of the sky.<br />\nThere Ráma stood, the boast and pride<br />\nOf Raghu\'s race, by Lakshmaṇ\'s side.<br />\nThere stood the sage Vibhishaṇ, there<br />\nSugríva strong beyond compare.<br />\nThese four alone can batter down<br />\nGate, rampart, wall, and Lanká\'s town.<br />\nNay, Ráma matchless in his form,<br />\nA single foe, thy town would storm:<br />\nSo wondrous are his weapons, he<br />\nNeeds not the succour of the three.<br />\nWhy speak we of the countless train<br />\n1578<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThat fills the valley, hill and plain,<br />\nThe millions of the Vánar breed<br />\nWhom Ráma and Sugríva lead?<br />\nO King, be wise, contend no more,<br />\nAnd Sítá to her lord restore.”<br />\nCanto XXVI. The Vánar Chiefs.<br />\n“Not if the Gods in heaven who dwell,<br />\nGandharvas, and the fiends of hell<br />\nIn banded opposition rise<br />\nAgainst me, will I yield my prize.<br />\nStill trembling from the ungentle touch<br />\nOf Vánar hands ye fear too much,<br />\nAnd bid me, heedless of the shame,<br />\nGive to her lord the Maithil dame.”<br />\nThus spoke the king in stern reproof;<br />\nThen mounted to his palace roof<br />\nAloft o\'er many a story raised,<br />\nAnd on the lands beneath him gazed.<br />\nThere by his faithful spies he stood<br />\nAnd looked on sea and hill and wood.<br />\nThere stretched before him far away<br />\nThe Vánars\' numberless array:<br />\nScarce could the meadows\' tender green<br />\nBeneath their trampling feet be seen.<br />\nHe looked a while with furious eye,<br />\nThen questioned thus the nearer spy:<br />\n“Bend, Sáraṇ, bend thy gaze, and show<br />\nThe leaders of the Vánar foe.<br />\nCanto XXVI. The Vánar Chiefs.<br />\n1579<br />\nTell me their heroes\' names, and teach<br />\nThe valour, power and might of each.”<br />\nObedient Sáraṇ eyed the van,<br />\nThe leaders marked, and thus began:<br />\n“That chief conspicuous at the head<br />\nOf warriors in the forest bred,<br />\nWho hither bends his ruthless eye<br />\nAnd shouts his fearful battle cry:<br />\n[448]<br />\nWhose voice with pealing thunder shakes<br />\nAll Lanká, with the groves and lakes<br />\nAnd hills that tremble at the sound,<br />\nIs Níla, for his might renowned:<br />\nFirst of the Vánar lords controlled<br />\nBy King Sugríva lofty-souled.<br />\nHe who his mighty arm extends,<br />\nAnd his fierce eye on Lanká bends,<br />\nIn stature like a stately tower,<br />\nIn colour like a lotus flower,<br />\nWho with his wild earth-shaking cries<br />\nThee, Rávaṇ, to the field defies,<br />\nIs Angad, by Sugríva\'s care<br />\nAnointed his imperial heir:<br />\nIn wondrous strength, in martial fire<br />\nPeer of King Báli\'s self, his sire;<br />\nFor Ráma\'s sake in arms arrayed<br />\nLike Varuṇ called to Śakra\'s aid.<br />\nBehind him, girt by warlike bands,<br />\nNala the mighty Vánar stands,<br />\nThe son of Viśvakarmá, he<br />\nWho built the bridge athwart the sea.<br />\nLook farther yet, O King, and mark<br />\nThat chieftain clothed in Sandal bark.<br />\n\'Tis Śweta, famed among his peers,<br />\n1580<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nA sage whom all his race reveres.<br />\nSee, in Sugríva\'s ear he speaks,<br />\nThen, hasting back, his post reseeks,<br />\nAnd turns his practised eye to view<br />\nThe squadrons he has formed anew.<br />\nNext Kumud stands who roamed of yore<br />\nOn Gomatí\'s939delightful shore,<br />\nFeared where the waving woods invest<br />\nHis seat on Mount Sanrochan\'s crest.<br />\nNext him a chieftain strong and dread,<br />\nComes Chaṇḍa at his legions\' head;<br />\nExulting in his warrior might<br />\nHe hastens, burning for the fight,<br />\nAnd boasts that his unaided powers<br />\nShall cast to earth thy walls and towers.<br />\nMark, mark that chief of lion gait,<br />\nWho views thee with a glance of hate<br />\nAs though his very eyes would burn<br />\nThe city walls to which they turn:<br />\n\'Tis Rambha, Vánar king; he dwells<br />\nIn Krishṇagiri\'s tangled dells,<br />\nWhere Vindhya\'s pleasant slopes are spread<br />\nAnd fair Sudarśan lifts his head.<br />\nThere, listening with erected ears,<br />\nŚarabha, mighty chief, appears.<br />\nHis soul is burning for the strife,<br />\nNor dreads the jeopardy of life.<br />\nHe trembles as he moves, for ire,<br />\nAnd bends around his glance of fire.<br />\nNext, like a cloud that veils the skies,<br />\nA chieftain of terrific size,<br />\nConspicuous mid the Vánars, comes<br />\n939The Goomtee.<br />\nCanto XXVII. The Vánar Chiefs.<br />\n1581<br />\nWith battle shout like rolling drums,<br />\n\'Tis Panas, trained in war and tried,<br />\nWho dwells on Páriyátra\'s side.<br />\nHe, far away, the chief who throws<br />\nA glory o\'er the marshalled rows<br />\nThat ranged behind their captain stand<br />\nExulting on the ocean strand,<br />\nIs Vinata the fierce in fight,<br />\nPreëminent like Dardur\'s height.<br />\nThat chieftain bending down to drink<br />\nOn lovely Veṇá\'s verdant brink,<br />\nIs Krathan; now he lifts his eyes<br />\nAnd thee to mortal fray defies.<br />\nNext Gavaya comes, whose haughty mind<br />\nScorns all the warriors of his kind.<br />\nHe comes to trample—such his boast—<br />\nOn Lanká with his single host.”<br />\nCanto XXVII. The Vánar Chiefs.<br />\n“Yet more remain, brave chiefs who stake<br />\nTheir noble lives for Ráma\'s sake.<br />\nSee, glorious, golden-coated, one<br />\nWho glisters like the morning sun,<br />\nWhom thousands of his race surround,<br />\n\'Tis Hara for his strength renowned.<br />\nNext comes a mighty chieftain, he<br />\nWhose legions, armed with rock and tree,<br />\nPress on, in numbers passing tale,<br />\nThe ramparts of our town to scale.<br />\nO Rávaṇ, see the king advance<br />\n1582<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nTerrific with his fiery glance,<br />\nGirt by the bravest of his train,<br />\nMajestic as the God of Rain,<br />\nParjanya, when his host of clouds<br />\nAbout the king, embattled, crowds:<br />\nOn Rikshaván\'s high mountain nursed,<br />\nIn Narmadá940he slakes his thirst,<br />\nDhúmra, proud ursine chief, who leads<br />\nWild warriors whom the forest breeds.<br />\nHis brother, next in strength and age,<br />\nIn Jámbaván the famous sage.<br />\nOf yore his might and skill he lent<br />\nTo him who rules the firmament,<br />\nAnd Indra\'s liberal boons repaid<br />\nThe chieftain for the timely aid.<br />\nThere like a gloomy cloud that flies<br />\nBorne by the tempest through the skies,<br />\nPramáthí stands: he roamed of yore<br />\nThe forest wilds on Gangá\'s shore,<br />\nWhere elephants were struck with dread<br />\nAnd trembling at his coming fled.<br />\nThere on his foes he loved to sate<br />\nThe old hereditary hate.941<br />\n[449]<br />\nLook, Gaja and Gaváksha show<br />\nTheir lust of battle with the foe.<br />\nSee Nala burning for the fray,<br />\nAnd Níla chafing at delay.<br />\nBehind the eager captains press<br />\nWild hosts in numbers numberless,<br />\nAnd each for Ráma\'s sake would fall<br />\n940The Anglicized Nerbudda.<br />\n941AccordingtoaPauraniklegendKeśaríHanumán\'sputativefatherhadkilled<br />\nan Asur or demon who appeared in the form of an elephant, and hence arose<br />\nthe hostility between Vánars and elephants.<br />\nCanto XXVIII. The Chieftains.<br />\n1583<br />\nOr force his way through Lanká\'s wall.”<br />\nCanto XXVIII. The Chieftains.<br />\nThere Sáraṇ ceased: then Śuka broke<br />\nThe silence and to Rávaṇ spoke:<br />\n“O Monarch, yonder chiefs survey:<br />\nLike elephants in size are they,<br />\nAnd tower like stately trees that grow<br />\nWhere Gangá\'s nursing waters flow;<br />\nYea, tall as mountain pines that fling<br />\nLong shadows o\'er the snow-crowned king.<br />\nThey all in wild Kishkindhá dwell<br />\nAnd serve their lord Sugríva well.<br />\nThe Gods\' and bright Gandharvas\' seed,<br />\nThey take each form that suits their need.<br />\nNow farther look, O Monarch, where<br />\nThose chieftains stand, a glorious pair,<br />\nConspicuous for their godlike frames;<br />\nDwivid and Mainda are their names.<br />\nTheir lips the drink of heaven have known,<br />\nAnd Brahmá claims them for his own.<br />\nThat chieftain whom thine eyes behold<br />\nRefulgent like a hill of gold,<br />\nBefore whose wrathful might the sea<br />\nRoused from his rest would turn and flee,<br />\nThe peerless Vánar, he who came<br />\nTo Lanká for the Maithil dame,<br />\nThe Wind-God\'s son Hanumán; thou<br />\nHast seen him once, behold him now.<br />\nStill nearer let thy glance be bent,<br />\n1584<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd mark that prince preëminent<br />\nMid chieftains for his strength and size<br />\nAnd splendour of his lotus eyes.<br />\nFar through the worlds his virtues shine,<br />\nThe glory of Ikshváku\'s line.<br />\nThe path of truth he never leaves,<br />\nAnd still through all to duty cleaves.<br />\nDeep in the Vedas, skilled to wield<br />\nThe mystic shafts to him revealed:<br />\nWhose flaming darts to heaven ascend,<br />\nAnd through the earth a passage rend:<br />\nIn might like him who rules the sky;<br />\nLike Yáma, when his wrath grows high:<br />\nWhose queen, the darling of his soul,<br />\nThy magic art deceived and stole:<br />\nThere royal Ráma stands and longs<br />\nFor battle to avenge his wrongs.<br />\nNear on his right a prince, in hue<br />\nLike pure gold freshly burnished, view:<br />\nBroad is his chest, his eye is red,<br />\nHis black hair curls about his head:<br />\n\'Tis Lakshmaṇ, faithful friend, who shares<br />\nHis brother\'s joys, his brother\'s cares.<br />\nBy Ráma\'s side he loves to stand<br />\nAnd serve him as his better hand,<br />\nFor whose dear sake without a sigh<br />\nThe warrior youth would gladly die.<br />\nOn Ráma\'s left Vibhishaṇ view,<br />\nWith giants for his retinue:<br />\nKing-making drops have dewed his head,<br />\nAppointed monarch in thy stead.<br />\nBehold that chieftain sternly still,<br />\nHigh towering like a rooted hill,<br />\nSupreme in power and pride of place,<br />\nCanto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.<br />\n1585<br />\nThe monarch of the Vánar race.<br />\nRaised high above his woodland kind,<br />\nIn might and glory, frame and mind,<br />\nHis head above his host he shows<br />\nConspicuous as the Lord of Snows.<br />\nHis home is far from hostile eyes<br />\nWhere deep in woods Kishkindhá lies.<br />\nA glistering chain which flowers bedeck<br />\nWith burnished gold adorns his neck.<br />\nQueen Fortune, loved by Gods and kings,<br />\nTo him her chosen favourite clings.<br />\nThat chain he owes to Ráma\'s grace,<br />\nAnd Tárá and his kingly place.<br />\nIn him the great Sugríva know,<br />\nWhom Ráma rescued from his foe.”942<br />\nCanto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.<br />\nThe giant viewed with earnest ken<br />\nThe Vánars and the lords of men;<br />\nThen thus, with grief and anger moved,<br />\nIn bitter tone the spies reproved:<br />\n“Can faithful servants hope to please<br />\nTheir master with such fates as these?<br />\nOr hope ye with wild words to wring<br />\nThe bosom of your lord and king?<br />\nSuch words were better said by those<br />\nWho come arrayed our mortal foes.<br />\n942Here follows the enumeration of Sugríva\'s forces which I do not attempt to<br />\nfollow. It soon reaches a hundred thousand billions.<br />\n1586<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIn vain your ears have heard the sage,<br />\nAnd listened to the lore of age,<br />\nUntaught, though lectured many a day,<br />\nThe first great lesson, to obey,<br />\n\'Tis marvel Rávaṇ reigns and rules<br />\nWhose counsellors are blind and fools.<br />\nHas death no terrors that ye dare<br />\nTo tempt your monarch to despair,<br />\n[450]<br />\nFrom whose imperial mandate flow<br />\nDisgrace and honour, weal and woe?<br />\nYea, forest trees, when flames are fanned<br />\nAbout their scorching trunks, may stand;<br />\nBut naught can set the sinner free<br />\nWhen kings the punishment decree.<br />\nI would not in mine anger spare<br />\nThe traitorous foe-praising pair,<br />\nBut years of faithful service plead<br />\nFor pardon, and they shall not bleed.<br />\nHenceforth to me be dead: depart,<br />\nFar from my presence and my heart.”<br />\nThus spoke the angry king: the two<br />\nCried, Long live Rávaṇ, and withdrew,<br />\nThe giant monarch turned and cried<br />\nTo strong Mahodar at his side:<br />\n“Go thou, and spies more faithful bring.<br />\nMore duteous to their lord the king.”<br />\nSwift at his word Mahodar shed,<br />\nAnd came returning at the head<br />\nOf long tried messengers, who bent<br />\nBefore their monarch reverent.<br />\n“Go quickly hence,” said Rávaṇ “scan<br />\nWith keenest eyes the foeman\'s plan.<br />\nCanto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.<br />\n1587<br />\nLearn who, as nearest friends, advise<br />\nAnd mould each secret enterprise.<br />\nLearn when he wakes and goes to rest,<br />\nSound every purpose of his breast.<br />\nLearn what the prince intends to-day:<br />\nWatch keenly all, and come away.”<br />\nWith joy they heard the words he said:<br />\nThen with Śárdúla at their head<br />\nAbout the giant king they went<br />\nWith circling paces reverent.<br />\nBy fair Suvela\'s grassy side<br />\nThe chiefs of Raghu\'s race they spied,<br />\nWhere, shaded by the waving wood,<br />\nVibhishaṇ and Sugríva stood.<br />\nA while they rested there and viewed<br />\nThe Vánars\' countless multitude.<br />\nVibhishaṇ with observant eyes<br />\nKnew at a glance the giant spies,<br />\nAnd bade the warriors of his train<br />\nBind the rash foes with cord and chain:<br />\n“Śárdúla\'s is the sin,” he cried.<br />\nHe neath the Vánars\' hands had died,<br />\nBut Ráma from their fury freed<br />\nThe captive in his utmost need,<br />\nAnd, merciful at sight of woe,<br />\nLoosed all the spies and bade them go.<br />\nThen home to Lanká\'s monarch fled<br />\nThe giant chiefs discomfited.<br />\n1588<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XXX. Sárdúla\'s Speech.<br />\nThey told their lord that Ráma still<br />\nLay waiting by Suvela\'s hill.<br />\nThe tyrant, flushed with angry glow,<br />\nHeard of the coming of the foe,<br />\nAnd thus with close inquiry pressed<br />\nŚárdúla spokesman for the rest:<br />\n“Why art thou sad, night-rover? speak:<br />\nHas grief or terror changed thy cheek?<br />\nHave the wild Vánars\' hostile bands<br />\nAssailed thee with their mighty hands?”<br />\nŚárdúla heard, but scarce might speak;<br />\nHis trembling tones were faint and weak:<br />\n“O Giant King, in vain we try<br />\nThe purpose of the foe to spy.<br />\nTheir strength and number none may tell,<br />\nAnd Ráma guards his legions well.<br />\nHe leaves no hope to prying eyes,<br />\nAnd parley with the chiefs denies:<br />\nEach road and path a Vánar guard,<br />\nOf mountain size, has closed and barred.<br />\nSoon as my feet an entrance found<br />\nBy giants was I seized and bound,<br />\nAnd wounded sore I fell beneath<br />\nTheir fists and knees and hands and teeth.<br />\nThen trembling, bleeding, wellnigh dead<br />\nTo Ráma\'s presence was I led.<br />\nHe in his mercy stooped to save,<br />\nAnd freedom to the captive gave.<br />\nWith rocks and shattered mountains he<br />\nHas bridged his way athwart the sea,<br />\nAnd he and all his legions wait<br />\nCanto XXXI. The Magic Head.<br />\n1589<br />\nEmbattled close to Lanká\'s gate.<br />\nSoon will the host thy wall assail,<br />\nAnd, swarming on, the rampart scale.<br />\nNow, O my King, his consort yield,<br />\nOr arm thee with the sword and shield.<br />\nThis choice is left thee: choose between<br />\nThy safety and the Maithil queen.”943<br />\nCanto XXXI. The Magic Head.<br />\nThe tyrant\'s troubled eye confessed<br />\nThe secret fear that filled his breast.<br />\nWith dread of coming woe dismayed<br />\nHe called his counsellors to aid;<br />\nThen sternly silent, deep in thought,<br />\nHis chamber in the palace sought.<br />\nThen, as the surest hope of all,<br />\nThe monarch bade his servants call<br />\n[451]<br />\nVidyujjihva, whom magic skill<br />\nMade master of the means of ill.<br />\nThen spake the lord of Lanká\'s isle:<br />\n“Come, Sítá with thine arts beguile.<br />\nWith magic skill and deftest care<br />\nA head like Ráma\'s own prepare.<br />\nThis head, long shafts and mighty bow,<br />\nTo Janak\'s daughter will we show.”<br />\n943I omit the rest of this canto, which is mere repetition. Rávaṇ gives in the<br />\nsame words his former answer that the Gods, Gandharvas and fiends combined<br />\nshall not force him to give up Sítá. He then orders Śárdúla to tell him the names<br />\nof the Vánar chieftains whom he has seen in Ráma\'s army. These have already<br />\nbeen mentioned by Śuka and Sáraṇ.<br />\n1590<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: Vidyujjihva obeyed,<br />\nAnd wondrous magic skill displayed;<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ for the art he showed<br />\nAn ornament of price bestowed.<br />\nThen to the grove where Sítá lay<br />\nThe lord of Lanká took his way.<br />\nPale, wasted, weeping, on the ground<br />\nThe melancholy queen he found,<br />\nWhose thoughts in utmost stress of ill<br />\nWere fixed upon her husband still.<br />\nThe giant king approached the dame,<br />\nDeclared in tones of joy his name;<br />\nThen heeding naught her wild distress<br />\nBespake her, stern and pitiless:<br />\n“The prince to whom thy fancies cling<br />\nThough loved and wooed by Lanká\'s king,<br />\nWho slew the noble Khara,—he<br />\nIs slain by warriors sent by me.<br />\nThy living root is hewn away,<br />\nThy scornful pride is tamed to-day.<br />\nThy lord in battle\'s front has died,<br />\nAnd Sítá shall be Rávaṇ\'s bride.<br />\nHence, idle thoughts: thy hope is fled;<br />\nWhat wilt thou, Sítá, with the dead?<br />\nRise, child of Janak, rise and be<br />\nThe queen of all my queens and me.<br />\nIncline thine ear, and I will tell,<br />\nDear lady, how thy husband fell.<br />\nHe bridged his way across the sea<br />\nWith countless troops to fight with me.<br />\nThe setting sun had flushed the west<br />\nWhen on the shore they took their rest.<br />\nWeary with toil no watch they kept,<br />\nSecurely on the sands they slept.<br />\nCanto XXXI. The Magic Head.<br />\n1591<br />\nPrahasta\'s troops assailed our foes,<br />\nAnd smote them in their deep repose.<br />\nScarce could their bravest prove their might:<br />\nThey perished in the dark of night.<br />\nAxe, spear, and sword, directed well,<br />\nUpon the sleeping myriads fell.<br />\nFirst in the fight Prahasta\'s sword<br />\nReft of his head thy slumbering lord.<br />\nRoused at the din Vibhishaṇ rose,<br />\nThe captive of surrounding foes,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ through the woods that spread<br />\nAround him with his Vánars fled.<br />\nHanúmán fell: one deadly stroke<br />\nThe neck of King Sugríva broke,<br />\nAnd Mainda sank, and Dwivid lay<br />\nGasping in blood his life away.<br />\nThe Vánars died, or fled dispersed<br />\nLike cloudlets when the storm has burst.<br />\nSome rose aloft in air, and more<br />\nRan to the sea and filled the shore.<br />\nOn shore, in woods, on hill and plain<br />\nOur conquering giants left the slain.<br />\nThus my victorious host o\'erthrew<br />\nThe Vánars, and thy husband slew:<br />\nSee, rudely stained with dust, and red<br />\nWith dropping blood, the severed head.”<br />\nThen, turning to a Rákshas slave,<br />\nThe ruthless king his mandate gave,<br />\nAnd straight Vidyujjihva who bore<br />\nThe head still wet with dripping gore,<br />\nThe arrows and the mighty bow,<br />\nBent down before his master low.<br />\n“Vidyujjihva,” cried Rávaṇ, “place<br />\n1592<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe head before the lady\'s face,<br />\nAnd let her see with weeping eyes<br />\nThat low in death her husband lies.”<br />\nBefore the queen the giant laid<br />\nThe beauteous head his art had made.<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ cried: “Thine eyes will know<br />\nThese arrows and the mighty bow.<br />\nWith fame of this by Ráma strung<br />\nThe earth and heaven and hell have rung.<br />\nPrahasta brought it hither when<br />\nHis hand had slain thy prince of men.<br />\nNow, widowed Queen, thy hopes resign:<br />\nForget thy husband and be mine.”<br />\nCanto XXXII. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\nAgain her eyes with tears o\'erflowed:<br />\nShe gazed upon the head he showed,<br />\nGazed on the bow so famed of yore,<br />\nThe glorious bow which Ráma bore.<br />\nShe gazed upon his cheek and brows,<br />\nThe eyes of her beloved spouse;<br />\nHis lips, the lustre of his hair,<br />\nThe priceless gem that glittered there.<br />\nThe features of her lord she knew,<br />\nAnd, pierced with anguish at the view,<br />\nShe lifted up her voice and cried:<br />\n“Kaikeyí, art thou satisfied?<br />\nNow all thy longings are fulfilled;<br />\nThe joy of Raghu\'s race is killed,<br />\nCanto XXXII. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n1593<br />\nAnd ruined is the ancient line,<br />\nDestroyer, by that fraud of thine.<br />\nAh, what offence, O cruel dame,<br />\nWhat fault in Ráma couldst thou blame,<br />\nTo drive him clad in hermit dress<br />\nWith Sítá to the wilderness?”<br />\nGreat trembling seized her frame, and she<br />\nFell like a stricken plantain tree.<br />\nAs lie the dead she lay; at length<br />\nSlowly regaining sense and strength,<br />\nOn the dear head she fixed her eye<br />\n[452]<br />\nAnd cried with very bitter cry:<br />\n“Ah, when thy cold dead cheek I view,<br />\nMy hero, I am murdered too.<br />\nThen first a faithful woman\'s eyes<br />\nSee sorrow, when her husband dies.<br />\nWhen thou, my lord, wast nigh to save,<br />\nSome stealthy hand thy death wound gave.<br />\nThou art not dead: rise, hero, rise;<br />\nLong life was thine, as spake the wise<br />\nWhose words, I ween, are ever true,<br />\nFor faith lies open to their view.<br />\nAh lord, and shall thy head recline<br />\nOn earth\'s cold breast, forsaking mine,<br />\nCounting her chill lap dearer far<br />\nThan I and my caresses are?<br />\nAh, is it thus these eyes behold<br />\nThy famous bow adorned with gold,<br />\nWhereon of yore I loved to bind<br />\nSweet garlands that my hands had twined?<br />\nAnd hast thou sought in heaven a place<br />\nAmid the founders of thy race,<br />\nWhere in the home deserved so well<br />\n1594<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThy sires and Daśaratha dwell?<br />\nOr dost thou shine a brighter star<br />\nIn skies where blest immortals are,<br />\nForsaking in thy lofty scorn<br />\nThe race wherein thy sires were born?<br />\nTurn to my gaze, O turn thine eye:<br />\nWhy are thy cold lips silent, why?<br />\nWhen first we met as youth and maid,<br />\nWhen in thy hand my hand was laid,<br />\nThy promise was thy steps should be<br />\nThrough life in duty\'s path with me.<br />\nRemember, faithful still, thy vow,<br />\nAnd take me with thee even now.<br />\nIs that broad bosom where I hung,<br />\nThat neck to which I fondly clung,<br />\nWhere flowery garlands breathed their scent<br />\nBy hungry dogs and vultures rent?<br />\nShall no funereal honours grace<br />\nThe parted lord of Raghu\'s race,<br />\nWhose bounty liberal fees bestowed,<br />\nFor whom the fires of worship glowed?<br />\nKauśalyá wild with grief will see<br />\nOne sole survivor of the three<br />\nWho in their hermit garments went<br />\nTo the dark woods in banishment.<br />\nThen at her cry shall Lakshmaṇ tell<br />\nHow, slain by night, the Vánars fell;<br />\nHow to thy side the giants crept,<br />\nAnd slew the hero as he slept.<br />\nThy fate and mine the queen will know,<br />\nAnd broken-hearted die of woe.<br />\nFor my unworthy sake, for mine,<br />\nRáma, the glory of his line,<br />\nWho bridged his way across the main,<br />\nCanto XXXII. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n1595<br />\nIs basely in a puddle slain;<br />\nAnd I, the graceless wife he wed,<br />\nHave brought this ruin on his head.<br />\nMe, too, on him, O Rávaṇ, slay:<br />\nThe wife beside her husband lay.<br />\nBy his dear body let me rest,<br />\nCheek close to cheek and breast to breast,<br />\nMy happy eyes I then will close,<br />\nAnd follow whither Ráma goes.”<br />\nThus cried the miserable dame;<br />\nWhen to the king a warder came,<br />\nBefore the giant monarch bowed<br />\nAnd said that, followed by a crowd<br />\nOf counsellors and lords of state,<br />\nPrahasta stood before the gate,<br />\nAnd, sent by some engrossing care,<br />\nCraved audience of his master there.<br />\nThe anxious tyrant left his seat<br />\nAnd hastened forth the chief to meet:<br />\nThen summoning his nobles all,<br />\nTook counsel in his regal hall.<br />\nWhen Lanká\'s lord had left the queen,<br />\nThe head and bow no more were seen.<br />\nThe giant king his nobles eyed,<br />\nAnd, terrible as Yáma, cried:<br />\n“O faithful lords, the time is come:<br />\nGather our hosts with beat of drum.<br />\nNigh to the town our foeman draws:<br />\nBe prudent, nor reveal the cause.”<br />\n1596<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe nobles listened and obeyed:<br />\nSwift were the gathered troops arrayed,<br />\nAnd countless rovers of the night<br />\nStood burning for the hour of fight.<br />\nCanto XXXIII. Saramá.<br />\nBut Saramá, of gentler mood,<br />\nWith pitying eyes the mourner viewed,<br />\nStole to her side and softly told<br />\nGlad tidings that her heart consoled,<br />\nRevealing with sweet voice and smile<br />\nThe secret of the giant\'s guile.<br />\nShe, one of those who night and day<br />\nWatching in turns by Sítá lay,<br />\nThough Rákshas born felt pity\'s touch,<br />\nAnd loved the hapless lady much.<br />\n“I heard,” she said, “thy bitter cry,<br />\nHeard Rávaṇ\'s speech and thy reply,<br />\nFor, hiding in the thicket near,<br />\nNo word or tone escaped mine ear.<br />\nWhen Rávaṇ hastened forth I bent<br />\nMy steps to follow as he went,<br />\nAnd learnt the secret cause that drove<br />\nThe monarch from the Aśoka grove.<br />\nBelieve me, Queen, thou needst not weep<br />\nFor Ráma slaughtered in his sleep.<br />\nThy lion lord of men defies<br />\nBy day attack, by night surprise.<br />\nCan even giants slay with ease<br />\nCanto XXXIII. Saramá.<br />\n1597<br />\nVast hosts who fight with brandished trees,<br />\nFor whom, with eye that never sleeps,<br />\nHis constant watch thy Ráma keeps?<br />\n[453]<br />\nLord of the mighty arm and chest,<br />\nOf earthly warriors first and best,<br />\nWhose fame through all the regions rings,<br />\nProud scion of a hundred kings;<br />\nWho guards his life and loves to lend<br />\nHis saving succour to a friend:<br />\nWhose bow no hand but his can strain,—<br />\nThy lord, thy Ráma is not slain.<br />\nObedient to his master\'s will,<br />\nA great magician, trained in ill,<br />\nWith deftest art surpassing thought<br />\nThat marvellous illusion wrought.<br />\nLet rising hope thy grief dispel:<br />\nLook up and smile, for all is well,<br />\nAnd gentle Lakshmí, Fortune\'s Queen,<br />\nRegards thee with a favouring mien.<br />\nThy Ráma with his Vánar train<br />\nHas thrown a bridge athwart the main,<br />\nHas led his countless legions o\'er,<br />\nAnd ranged them on this southern shore.<br />\nThese eyes have seen the hero stand<br />\nGirt by his hosts on Lanká\'s strand,<br />\nAnd breathless spies each moment bring<br />\nFresh tidings to the giant king;<br />\nAnd every peer and lord of state<br />\nIs called to counsel and debate.”<br />\nShe ceased: the sound, long loud and clear,<br />\nOf gathering armies smote her ear,<br />\nWhere call of drum and shell rang out,<br />\nThe tambour and the battle shout;<br />\n1598<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd, while the din the echoes woke,<br />\nAgain to Janak\'s child she spoke:<br />\n“Hear, lady, hear the loud alarms<br />\nThat call the Rákshas troops to arms,<br />\nFrom stable and from stall they lead<br />\nThe elephant and neighing steed,<br />\nBrace harness on with deftest care,<br />\nAnd chariots for the fight prepare.<br />\nSwift o\'er the trembling ground career<br />\nMailed horsemen armed with axe and spear,<br />\nAnd here and there in road and street<br />\nThe terrible battalions meet.<br />\nI hear the gathering near and far,<br />\nThe snorting steed, the rattling car.<br />\nBold chieftains, leaders of the brave,<br />\nPress densely on, like wave on wave,<br />\nAnd bright the evening sunbeams glance<br />\nOn helm and shield, on sword and lance.<br />\nHark, lady, to the ringing steel,<br />\nHark to the rolling chariot wheel:<br />\nHark to the mettled courser\'s neigh<br />\nAnd drums\' loud thunder far away.<br />\nThe Queen of Fortune holds thee dear,<br />\nFor Lanká\'s troops are struck with fear,<br />\nAnd Ráma with the lotus eyes,<br />\nLike Indra monarch of the skies,<br />\nWith conquering arm will slay his foe<br />\nAnd free his lady from her woe.<br />\nSoon will his breast support thy head,<br />\nAnd tears of joy thine eyes will shed.<br />\nSoon by his mighty arm embraced<br />\nThe long-lost rapture wilt thou taste,<br />\nAnd Ráma, meet for highest bliss,<br />\nWill gain his guerdon in thy kiss.”<br />\nCanto XXXIV. Saramá\'s Tidings.<br />\n1599<br />\nCanto XXXIV. Saramá\'s Tidings.<br />\nThus Saramá her story told:<br />\nAnd Sítá\'s spirit was consoled,<br />\nAs when the first fresh rain is shed<br />\nThe parching earth is comforted.<br />\nThen, filled with zeal for Sítá\'s sake,<br />\nAgain in gentle tones she spake,<br />\nAnd, skilled in arts that soothe and please,<br />\nAddressed the queen in words like these:<br />\n“Thy husband, lady, will I seek,<br />\nSay the fond words thy lips would speak,<br />\nAnd then, unseen of any eye,<br />\nBack to thy side will swiftly fly.<br />\nMy airy flights are speedier far<br />\nThan Garuḍa\'s and the tempest are.”<br />\nThen Sítá spake: her former woe<br />\nStill left her accents faint and low:<br />\n“I know thy steps, which naught can stay,<br />\nCan urge through heaven and hell their way.<br />\nThen if thy love and changeless will<br />\nWould serve the helpless captive still,<br />\nGo forth and learn each plot and guile<br />\nPlanned by the lord of Lanká\'s isle.<br />\nWith magic art like maddening wine<br />\nHe cheats these weeping eyes of mine,<br />\nTorments me with his suit, nor spares<br />\nReproof or flattery, threats or prayers.<br />\nThese guards surround me night and day;<br />\nMy heart is sad, my senses stray;<br />\nAnd helpless in my woe I fear<br />\nThe tyrant Rávaṇ even here.”<br />\n1600<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen Saramá replied: “I go<br />\nTo learn the purpose of thy foe,<br />\nSoon by thy side again to stand<br />\nAnd tell thee what the king has planned.”<br />\nShe sped, she heard with eager ears<br />\nThe tyrant speak his hopes and fears,<br />\nWhere, gathered at their master\'s call,<br />\nThe nobles filled the council hall;<br />\nThen swiftly, to her promise true,<br />\nBack to the Aśoka grove she flew.<br />\nThe lady on the grassy ground,<br />\nLonging for her return, she found;<br />\nWho with a gentle smile, to greet<br />\nThe envoy, led her to a seat.<br />\nThrough her worn frame a shiver ran<br />\nAs Saramá her tale began:<br />\n“There stood the royal mother: she<br />\nBesought her son to set thee free,<br />\n[454]<br />\nAnd to her counsel, tears and prayers,<br />\nThe elder nobles added theirs:<br />\n“O be the Maithil queen restored<br />\nWith honour to her angry lord,<br />\nLet Janasthán\'s unhappy fight<br />\nBe witness of the hero\'s might.<br />\nHanúmán o\'er the waters came<br />\nAnd looked upon the guarded dame.<br />\nLet Lanká\'s chiefs who fought and fell<br />\nThe prowess of the leader tell.”<br />\nIn vain they sued, in vain she wept,<br />\nHis purpose still unchanged he kept,<br />\nAs clings the miser to his gold,<br />\nHe would not loose thee from his hold.<br />\nNo, never till in death he lies,<br />\nWill Lanká\'s lord release his prize.<br />\nCanto XXXV. Malyaván\'s Speech.<br />\n1601<br />\nSoon slain by Ráma\'s arrows all<br />\nThe giants with their king will fall,<br />\nAnd Ráma to his home will lead<br />\nHis black-eyed queen from bondage freed.”<br />\nAn awful sound that moment rose<br />\nFrom Lanká\'s fast-approaching foes,<br />\nWhere drum and shell in mingled peal<br />\nMade earth in terror rock and reel.<br />\nThe hosts within the walls arrayed<br />\nStood trembling, in their hearts dismayed;<br />\nThought of the tempest soon to burst,<br />\nAnd Lanká\'s lord, their ruin, cursed.<br />\nCanto XXXV. Malyaván\'s Speech.<br />\nThe fearful notes of drum and shell<br />\nUpon the ear of Rávaṇ fell.<br />\nOne moment quailed his haughty look,<br />\nOne moment in his fear he shook,<br />\nBut soon recalling wonted pride,<br />\nHis counsellors he sternly eyed,<br />\nAnd with a voice that thundered through<br />\nThe council hall began anew:<br />\n“Lords, I have heard—your tongues have told—<br />\nHow Raghu\'s son is fierce and bold.<br />\nTo Lanká\'s shore has bridged his way<br />\nAnd hither leads his wild array.<br />\nI know your might, in battle tried,<br />\nFighting and conquering by my side.<br />\nWhy now, when such a foe is near,<br />\nLooks eye to eye in silent fear?”<br />\n1602<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased, his mother\'s sire well known<br />\nFor wisdom in the council shown,<br />\nMalyaván, sage and faithful guide.<br />\nThus to the monarch\'s speech replied:<br />\n“Long reigns the king in safe repose,<br />\nUnmoved by fear of vanquished foes,<br />\nWhose feet by saving knowledge led<br />\nIn justice path delight to tread:<br />\nWho knows to sheath the sword or wield,<br />\nTo order peace, to strike or yield:<br />\nPrefers, when foes are stronger, peace,<br />\nAnd bids a doubtful conflict cease.<br />\nNow, King, the choice before thee lies,<br />\nMake peace with Ráma, and be wise.<br />\nThis day the captive queen restore<br />\nWho brings the foe to Lanká\'s shore.<br />\nThe Sire by whom the worlds are swayed<br />\nOf yore the Gods and demons made.<br />\nWith these Injustice sided; those<br />\nFair Justice for her champions chose.<br />\nStill Justice dwells with Gods above;<br />\nInjustice, fiends and giants love.<br />\nThou, through the worlds that fear thee, long<br />\nHast scorned the right and loved the wrong,<br />\nAnd Justice, with thy foes allied,<br />\nGives might resistless to their side.<br />\nThou, guided by thy wicked will,<br />\nHast found delight in deeds of ill,<br />\nAnd sages in their holy rest<br />\nHave trembled, by thy power oppressed.<br />\nBut they, who check each vain desire,<br />\nAre clothed with might which burns like fire.<br />\nIn them the power and glory live<br />\nWhich zeal and saintly fervour give.<br />\nCanto XXXV. Malyaván\'s Speech.<br />\n1603<br />\nTheir constant task, their sole delight<br />\nIs worship and each holy rite,<br />\nTo chant aloud the Veda hymn,<br />\nNor let the sacred fires grow dim.<br />\nNow through the air like thunder ring<br />\nThe echoes of the chants they sing.<br />\nThe vapours of their incense rise<br />\nAnd veil with cloudy pall the skies,<br />\nAnd Rákshas might grows weak and faint<br />\nKilled by the power of sage and saint.<br />\nBy Brahmá\'s boon thy life was screened<br />\nFrom God, Gandharva, Yaksha, fiend;<br />\nBut Vánars, men, and bears, arrayed<br />\nAgainst thee now, thy shores invade.<br />\nRed meteors, heralds of despair<br />\nFlash frequent through the lurid air,<br />\nForetelling to my troubled mind<br />\nThe ruin of the Rákshas kind.<br />\nWith awful thundering overhead<br />\nClouds black as night are densely spread,<br />\nAnd oozing from the gloomy pall<br />\nGreat drops of blood on Lanká fall.<br />\nDogs roam through house and shrine to steal<br />\nThe sacred oil and curd and meal,<br />\nCats pair with tigers, hounds with swine,<br />\nAnd asses\' foals are born of kine.<br />\nIn these and countless signs I trace<br />\nThe ruin of the giant race.<br />\n\'Tis Vishṇu\'s self who comes to storm<br />\nThy city, clothed in Ráma\'s form;<br />\nFor, well I ween, no mortal hand<br />\nThe ocean with a bridge has spanned.<br />\nO giant King, the dame release,<br />\nAnd sue to Raghu\'s son for peace”<br />\n1604<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n[455]<br />\nCanto XXXVI. Rávan\'s Reply.<br />\nBut Rávaṇ\'s breast with fury swelled,<br />\nAnd thus he spake by Death impelled,<br />\nWhile, under brows in anger bent,<br />\nFierce glances from his eyes were sent:<br />\n“The bitter words which thou, misled<br />\nBy friendly thought, hast fondly said,<br />\nWhich praise the foe and counsel fear,<br />\nUnheeded fall upon mine ear.<br />\nHow canst thou deem a mighty foe<br />\nThis Ráma who, in stress of woe,<br />\nSeeks, banished as his sire decreed,<br />\nAssistance from the Vánar breed?<br />\nAm I so feeble in thine eyes,<br />\nThough feared by dwellers of the skies,—<br />\nWhose might in many a battle shown<br />\nThe glorious race of giants own?<br />\nShall I for fear of him restore<br />\nThe lady whom I hither bore,<br />\nExceeding fair like Beauty\'s Queen944<br />\nWithout her well-loved lotus seen?<br />\nAround the chief let Lakshmaṇ stand,<br />\nSugríva, and each Vánar band,<br />\nSoon, Malyaván, thine eyes will see<br />\nThis boasted Ráma slain by me.<br />\nI in the brunt of war defy<br />\n944Lakshmí is the Goddess both of beauty and fortune, and is represented with<br />\na lotus in her hand.<br />\nCanto XXXVI. Rávan\'s Reply.<br />\n1605<br />\nThe mightiest warriors of the sky;<br />\nAnd if I stoop to combat men,<br />\nShall I be weak and tremble then?<br />\nThis mangled trunk the foe may rend,<br />\nBut Rávaṇ ne\'er can yield or bend,<br />\nAnd be it vice or virtue, I<br />\nThis nature never will belie.<br />\nWhat marvel if he bridged the sea?<br />\nWhy should this deed disquiet thee?<br />\nThis, only this, I surely know,<br />\nBack with his life he shall not go.”<br />\nThus in loud tones the king exclaimed,<br />\nAnd mute stood Malyaván ashamed,<br />\nHis reverend head he humbly bent,<br />\nAnd slowly to his mansion went.<br />\nBut Rávaṇ stayed, and deep in care<br />\nHeld counsel with his nobles there,<br />\nAll entrance to secure and close,<br />\nAnd guard the city from their foes.<br />\nHe bade the chief Prahasta wait,<br />\nCommander at the eastern gate,<br />\nTo fierce Mahodar, strong and brave,<br />\nTo keep the southern gate, he gave,<br />\nWhere Mahápárśva\'s might should aid<br />\nThe chieftain with his hosts arrayed.<br />\nTo guard the west—no chief more fit—<br />\nHe placed the warrior Indrajít,<br />\nHis son, the giant\'s joy and boast,<br />\nSurrounded by a Rákshas host:<br />\nAnd mighty Sáraṇ hastened forth<br />\nWith Śuka to protect the north.945<br />\n945The poet appears to have forgotten that Śuka and Sáraṇ were dismissed<br />\nwith ignominy in Canto XXIX, and have not been reinstated.<br />\n1606<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“I will myself,” the monarch cried,<br />\n“Be present on the northern side.”<br />\nThese orders for the walls\' defence<br />\nThe tyrant gave, then parted thence,<br />\nAnd, by the hope of victory fired,<br />\nTo chambers far within, retired.<br />\nCanto XXXVII. Preparations.<br />\nLords of the legions of the wood,<br />\nThe chieftains with Vibhishaṇ stood,<br />\nAnd, strangers in the foeman\'s land,<br />\nTheir hopes and fears in council scanned:<br />\n“See, see where Lanká\'s towers ascend,<br />\nWhich Rávaṇ\'s power and might defend,<br />\nWhich Gods, Gandharvas, fiends would fail<br />\nTo conquer, if they durst assail.<br />\nHow shall our legions pass within,<br />\nThe city of the foe to win,<br />\nWith massive walls and portals barred<br />\nWhich Rávaṇ keeps with surest guard?”<br />\nWith anxious looks the walls they eyed:<br />\nAnd sage Vibhishaṇ thus replied:<br />\n“These lords of mine946can answer: they<br />\nWithin the walls have found their way,<br />\nThe foeman\'s plan and order learned,<br />\nAnd hither to my side returned.<br />\nNow, Ráma, let my tongue declare<br />\n946The four who fled with him. Their names are Anala, Panasa, Sampáti, and<br />\nPramati.<br />\nCanto XXXVII. Preparations.<br />\n1607<br />\nHow Rávaṇ\'s hosts are stationed there.<br />\nPrahasta heads, in warlike state,<br />\nHis legions at the eastern gate.<br />\nTo guard the southern portal stands<br />\nMahodar, girt by Rákshas bands,<br />\nWhere mighty Mahápárśva, sent<br />\nBy Rávaṇ\'s hest, his aid has lent.<br />\nGuard of the gate that fronts the west<br />\nIs valiant Indrajít, the best<br />\nOf warriors, Rávaṇ\'s joy and pride;<br />\nAnd by the youthful chieftain\'s side<br />\nAre giants, armed for fierce attacks<br />\nWith sword and mace and battle-axe.<br />\nNorth, where approach is dreaded most,<br />\nThe king, encompassed with a host<br />\nOf giants trained in war, whose hands<br />\nWield maces, swords and lances, stands.<br />\n[456]<br />\nAll these are chiefs whom Rávaṇ chose<br />\nAs mightiest to resist his foes;<br />\nAnd each a countless army947leads<br />\nWith elephants and cars and steeds.”<br />\nThen Ráma, while his spirit burned<br />\nFor battle, words like these returned:<br />\n“The eastern gate be Níla\'s care,<br />\nOpponent of Prahasta there.<br />\nThe southern gate, with troops arrayed<br />\nLet Angad, Báli\'s son, invade.<br />\nThe gate that fronts the falling sun<br />\nShall be by brave Hanúmán won;<br />\nSoon through its portals shall he lead<br />\nHis myriads of Vánar breed.<br />\n947The numbers here are comparatively moderate: ten thousand elephants, ten<br />\nthousand chariots, twenty thousand horses and ten million giants.<br />\n1608<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe gate that fronts the north shall be<br />\nAssailed by Lakshmaṇ and by me,<br />\nFor I myself have sworn to kill<br />\nThe tyrant who delights in ill.<br />\nArmed with the boon which Brahmá gave,<br />\nThe Gods of heaven he loves to brave,<br />\nAnd through the trembling worlds he flies,<br />\nOppressor of the just and wise.<br />\nThou, Jámbaván, and thou, O King<br />\nOf Vánars, all your bravest bring,<br />\nAnd with your hosts in dense array<br />\nStraight to the centre force your way.<br />\nBut let no Vánar in the storm<br />\nDisguise him in a human form,<br />\nYe chiefs who change your shapes at will,<br />\nRetain your Vánar semblance still.<br />\nThus, when we battle with the foe,<br />\nBoth men and Vánars will ye know,<br />\nIn human form will seven appear;<br />\nMyself, my brother Lakshmaṇ here;<br />\nVibhishaṇ, and the four he led<br />\nFrom Lanká\'s city when he fled.”<br />\nThus Raghu\'s son the chiefs addressed:<br />\nThen, gazing on Suvela\'s crest,<br />\nTransported by the lovely sight,<br />\nHe longed to climb the mountain height.<br />\nCanto XXXVIII. The Ascent Of Suvela.<br />\nCanto XXXVIII. The Ascent Of Suvela.<br />\n1609<br />\n“Come let us scale,” the hero cried,<br />\n“This hill with various metals dyed.<br />\nThis night upon the breezy crest<br />\nSugríva, Lakshmaṇ, I, will rest,<br />\nWith sage Vibhishaṇ, faithful friend,<br />\nHis counsel and his lore to lend.<br />\nFrom those tall peaks each eager eye<br />\nThe foeman\'s city shall espy,<br />\nWho from the wood my darling stole<br />\nAnd brought long anguish on my soul.”<br />\nThus spake the lord of men, and bent<br />\nHis footsteps to the steep ascent,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ, true in weal and woe,<br />\nNext followed with his shafts and bow.<br />\nVibhishaṇ followed, next in place,<br />\nThe sovereign of the Vánar race,<br />\nAnd hundreds of the forest kind<br />\nThronged with impetuous feet, behind.<br />\nThe chiefs in woods and mountains bred<br />\nFast followed to Suvela\'s head,<br />\nAnd gazed on Lanká bright and fair<br />\nAs some gay city in the air.<br />\nOn glittering gates, on ramparts raised<br />\nBy giant hands, the chieftains gazed.<br />\nThey saw the mighty hosts that, skilled<br />\nIn arts of war, the city filled,<br />\nAnd ramparts with new ramparts lined,<br />\nThe swarthy hosts that stood behind.<br />\nWith spirits burning for the fight<br />\nThey saw the giants from the height,<br />\nAnd from a hundred throats rang out<br />\nDefiance and the battle shout.<br />\nThen sank the sun with dying flame,<br />\n1610<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd soft the shades of twilight came,<br />\nAnd the full moon\'s delicious light<br />\nWas shed upon the tranquil night.<br />\nCanto XXXIX. Lanká.<br />\nThey slept secure: the sun arose<br />\nAnd called the chieftains from repose.<br />\nBefore the wondering Vánars, gay<br />\nWith grove and garden, Lanká lay,<br />\nWhere golden buds the Champak showed,<br />\nAnd bright with bloom Aśoka glowed,<br />\nAnd palm and Sál and many a tree<br />\nWith leaf and flower were fair to see.<br />\nThey looked on wood and lawn and glade,<br />\nOn emerald grass and dusky shade,<br />\nWhere creepers filled the air with scent,<br />\nAnd luscious fruit the branches bent,<br />\nWhere bees inebriate loved to throng,<br />\nAnd each sweet bird was loud in song.<br />\nThe wondering Vánars passed the bound<br />\nThat circled that enchanting ground,<br />\nAnd as they came a sweet breeze through<br />\nThe odorous alleys softly blew.<br />\nSome Vánars, at their king\'s behest,<br />\nOnward to bannered Lanká pressed,<br />\nWhile, startled by the strangers\' tread,<br />\nThe birds and deer before them fled.<br />\nEarth trembled at each step they took,<br />\nAnd Lanká at their shouting shook.<br />\nBright rose before their wondering eyes<br />\nCanto XL. Rávan Attacked.<br />\n1611<br />\nTrikúṭa\'s peak that kissed the skies,<br />\nAnd, clothed with flowers of every hue,<br />\nAfar its golden radiance threw.<br />\nMost fair to see the mountain\'s head<br />\n[457]<br />\nA hundred leagues in length was spread.<br />\nThere Rávaṇ\'s town, securely placed,<br />\nThe summit of Trikúṭa graced.<br />\nO\'er leagues of land she stretched in pride,<br />\nA hundred long and twenty wide.<br />\nThey saw a lofty wall enfold<br />\nThe city, built of blocks of gold,<br />\nThey saw the beams of morning fall<br />\nOn dome and fane within the wall,<br />\nBright with the shine that mansion gives<br />\nWhere Vishṇu in his glory lives.<br />\nWhite-crested like the Lord of Snows<br />\nBefore them Rávaṇ\'s palace rose.<br />\nHigh on a thousand pillars raised<br />\nWith gold and precious stone it blazed,<br />\nGuarded by giant warders, crown<br />\nAnd ornament of Lanká\'s town.<br />\nCanto XL. Rávan Attacked.<br />\nStill stood the son of Raghu where<br />\nSuvela\'s peak rose high in air,<br />\nAnd with Sugríva turned his eye<br />\nTo scan each quarter of the sky.<br />\nThere on Trikúṭa, nobly planned<br />\nAnd built by Viśvakarmá\'s hand,<br />\nHe saw the lovely Lanká, dressed<br />\n1612<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIn all her varied beauty, rest.<br />\nHigh on a tower above the gate<br />\nThe tyrant stood in kingly state.<br />\nThe royal canopy displayed<br />\nAbove him lent its grateful shade,<br />\nAnd servants, from the giant band,<br />\nHis cheek with jewelled chowries fanned.<br />\nRed sandal o\'er his breast was spread,<br />\nHis ornaments and robe were red:<br />\nThus shows a cloud of darksome hue<br />\nWith golden sunbeams flashing through.<br />\nWhile Ráma and the chiefs intent<br />\nUpon the king their glances bent,<br />\nUp sprang Sugríva from the ground<br />\nAnd reached the turret at a bound.<br />\nUnterrified the Vánar stood,<br />\nAnd wroth, with wondrous hardihood,<br />\nThe king in bitter words addressed,<br />\nAnd thus his scorn and hate expressed:<br />\n“King of the giant race, in me<br />\nThe friend and slave of Ráma see.<br />\nLord of the world, he gives me power<br />\nTo smite thee in thy fenced tower.”<br />\nWhile through the air his challenge rang,<br />\nAt Rávaṇ\'s face the Vánar sprang.<br />\nSnatched from his head the kingly crown<br />\nAnd dashed it in his fury down.<br />\nStraight at his foe the giant flew,<br />\nHis mighty arms about him threw.<br />\nWith strength resistless swung him round<br />\nAnd dashed him panting to the ground.<br />\nUnharmed amid the storm of blows<br />\nSwift to his feet Sugríva rose.<br />\nCanto XL. Rávan Attacked.<br />\n1613<br />\nAgain in furious fight they met:<br />\nWith streams of blood their limbs were wet,<br />\nEach grasping his opponent\'s waist.<br />\nThus with their branches interlaced,<br />\nWhich, crimson with the flowers of spring,<br />\nFrom side to side the breezes swing,<br />\nIn furious wrestle you may see<br />\nThe Kinśuk and the Seemal tree.948<br />\nThey fought with fists and hands, alike<br />\nPrepared to parry and to strike.<br />\nLong time the doubtful combat, waged<br />\nWith matchless strength and fury, raged.<br />\nEach fiercely struck, each guarded well,<br />\nTill, closing, from the tower they fell,<br />\nAnd, grasping each the other\'s throat,<br />\nLay for an instant in the moat.<br />\nThey rose, and each in fiercer mood<br />\nThe sanguinary strife renewed.<br />\nWell matched in size and strength and skill<br />\nThey fought the dubious battle still.<br />\nWhile sweat and blood their limbs bedewed<br />\nThey met, retreated, and pursued:<br />\nEach stratagem and art they tried,<br />\nStood front to front and swerved aside.<br />\nHis hand a while the giant stayed<br />\nAnd called his magic to his aid.<br />\nBut brave Sugríva, swift to know<br />\nThe guileful purpose of the foe,<br />\nGained with light leap the upper air,<br />\nAnd breath and strength and spirit there;<br />\nThen, joyous as for victory won,<br />\n948TheKinśuk, alsocalledPaláśa, isButeaFrondosa, atreethatbearsbeautiful<br />\nred crescent shaped blossoms and is deservedly a favorite with poets. The<br />\nSeemal or Śálmalí is the silk cotton tree which also bears red blossoms.<br />\n1614<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nReturned to Raghu\'s royal son.<br />\nCanto XLI. Ráma\'s Envoy.<br />\nWhen Ráma saw each bloody trace<br />\nOn King Sugríva\'s limbs and face,<br />\nHe cried, while, sorrowing at the view,<br />\nHis arms about his friend he threw:<br />\n“Too venturous chieftain, kings like us<br />\nBring not their lives in peril thus;<br />\nNor, save when counsel shows the need,<br />\nAttempt so bold, so rash a deed.<br />\nRemember, I, Vibhishaṇ all<br />\nHave sorrowed fearing for thy fall.<br />\nO do not—for us all I speak—<br />\nThese desperate adventures seek.”<br />\n“I could not,” cried Sugríva, “brook<br />\nUpon the giant king to look,<br />\n[458]<br />\nNor challenge to the deadly strife<br />\nThe fiend who robbed thee of thy wife.”<br />\n“Now Lakshmaṇ, marshal,” Ráma cried,<br />\n“Our legions where the woods are wide,<br />\nAnd stand we ready to oppose<br />\nThe fury of our giant foes.<br />\nThis day our armies shall ascend<br />\nThe walls which Rávaṇ\'s powers defend,<br />\nAnd floods of Rákshas blood shall stain<br />\nThe streets encumbered with the slain.”<br />\nDown from the peak he came, and viewed<br />\nThe Vánars\' ordered multitude.<br />\nEach captain there for battle burned,<br />\nCanto XLI. Ráma\'s Envoy.<br />\n1615<br />\nEach fiery eye to Lanká turned.<br />\nOn, where the royal brothers led<br />\nTo Lanká\'s walls the legions sped.<br />\nThe northern gate, where giant foes<br />\nSwarmed round their monarch, Ráma chose<br />\nWhere he in person might direct<br />\nThe battle, and his troops protect.<br />\nWhat arm but his the post might keep<br />\nWhere, strong as he who sways the deep,949<br />\nMid thousands armed with bow and mace,<br />\nStood Rávaṇ mightiest of his race?<br />\nThe eastern gate was Níla\'s post,<br />\nWhere marshalled stood his Vánar host,<br />\nAnd Mainda with his troops arrayed,<br />\nAnd Dwivid stood to lend him aid.<br />\nThe southern gate was Angad\'s care,<br />\nWho ranged his bold battalions there.<br />\nHanúmán by the port that faced<br />\nThe setting sun his legions placed,<br />\nAnd King Sugríva held the wood<br />\nEast of the gate where Rávaṇ stood.<br />\nOn every side the myriads met,<br />\nAnd Lanká\'s walls of close beset<br />\nThat scarce the roving gale could win<br />\nA passage to the hosts within.<br />\nLoud as the angry ocean\'s roar<br />\nWhen wild waves lash the rocky shore,<br />\nTen thousand thousand throats upsent<br />\nA shout that tore the firmament,<br />\nAnd Lanká with each grove and brook<br />\nAnd tower and wall and rampart shook.<br />\nThe giants heard, and were appalled:<br />\n949Varuṇa.<br />\n1616<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen Raghu\'s son to Angad called,<br />\nAnd, led by kingly duty,950gave<br />\nThis order merciful as brave:<br />\n“Go, Angad, Rávaṇ\'s presence seek,<br />\nAnd thus my words of warning speak:<br />\n“How art thou changed and fallen now,<br />\nO Monarch of the giants, thou<br />\nWhose impious fury would not spare<br />\nSaint, nymph, or spirit of the air;<br />\nWhose foot in haughty triumph trod<br />\nOn Yaksha, king, and Serpent God:<br />\nHow art thou fallen from thy pride<br />\nWhich Brahmá\'s favour fortified!<br />\nWith myriads at thy Lanká\'s gate<br />\nI stand my righteous ire to sate,<br />\nAnd punish thee with sword and flame,<br />\nThe tyrant fiend who stole my dame.<br />\nNow show the might, employ the guile,<br />\nO Monarch of the giants\' isle,<br />\nWhich stole a helpless dame away:<br />\nCall up thy power and strength to-day.<br />\nOnce more I warn thee, Rákshas King,<br />\nThis hour the Maithil lady bring,<br />\nAnd, yielding while there yet is time,<br />\nSeek, suppliant, pardon for the crime,<br />\nOr I will leave beneath the sun<br />\nNo living Rákshas, no, not one.<br />\nIn vain from battle wilt thou fly,<br />\nOr borne on pinions seek the sky;<br />\nThe hand of Ráma shall not spare;<br />\nHis fiery shaft shall smite thee there.’”<br />\n950The duty of a king to save the lives of his people and avoid bloodshed until<br />\nmilder methods have been tried in vain.<br />\nCanto XLI. Ráma\'s Envoy.<br />\n1617<br />\nHe ceased: and Angad bowed his head;<br />\nThence like embodied flame he sped,<br />\nAnd lighted from his airy road<br />\nWithin the Rákshas king\'s abode.<br />\nThere sate, the centre of a ring<br />\nOf counsellors, the giant king.<br />\nSwift through the circle Angad pressed,<br />\nAnd spoke with fury in his breast:<br />\n“Sent by the lord of Kośal\'s land,<br />\nHis envoy here, O King, I stand,<br />\nAngad the son of Báli: fame<br />\nHas haply taught thine ears my name.<br />\nThus in the words of Ráma I<br />\nAm come to warn thee or defy:<br />\nCome forth, and fighting in the van<br />\nDisplay the spirit of a man.<br />\nThis arm shall slay thee, tyrant: all<br />\nThy nobles, kith and kin shall fall:<br />\nAnd earth and heaven, from terror freed,<br />\nShall joy to see the oppressor bleed.<br />\nVibhishaṇ, when his foe is slain,<br />\nAnointed king in peace shall reign.<br />\nOnce more I counsel thee: repent,<br />\nAvoid the mortal punishment,<br />\nWith honour due the dame restore,<br />\nAnd pardon for thy sin implore.”<br />\nLoud rose the king\'s infuriate cry:<br />\n“Seize, seize the Vánar, let him die.”<br />\nFour of his band their lord obeyed,<br />\nAnd eager hands on Angad laid.<br />\nHe purposing his strength to show<br />\nGave no resistance to the foe,<br />\nBut swiftly round his captors cast<br />\n1618<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHis mighty arms and held them fast.<br />\nFierce shout and cry around him rang:<br />\nLight to the palace roof he sprang,<br />\nThere his detaining arms unwound,<br />\nAnd hurled the giants to the ground.<br />\nThen, smiting with a fearful stroke,<br />\nA turret from the roof he broke,—<br />\nAs when the fiery levin sent<br />\n[459]<br />\nBy Indra from the clouds has rent<br />\nThe proud peak of the Lord of Snow,—<br />\nAnd flung the stony mass below.<br />\nAgain with loud terrific cry<br />\nHe sprang exulting to the sky,<br />\nAnd, joyous for his errand done,<br />\nStood by the side of Raghu\'s son.<br />\nCanto XLII. The Sally.<br />\nStill was the cry, “The Vánar foes<br />\nAround the leaguered city close.”<br />\nKing Rávaṇ from the terrace gazed<br />\nAnd saw, with eyes where fury blazed,<br />\nThe Vánar host in serried ranks<br />\nPress to the moat and line the banks,<br />\nAnd, first in splendour and in place,<br />\nThe lion lord of Raghu\'s race.<br />\nAnd Ráma looked on Lanká where<br />\nGay flags were streaming to the air,<br />\nAnd, while keen sorrow pierced him through,<br />\nHis loving thoughts to Sítá flew:<br />\n“There, there in deep affliction lies<br />\nCanto XLII. The Sally.<br />\n1619<br />\nMy darling with the fawn-like eyes.<br />\nThere on the cold bare ground she keeps<br />\nSad vigil and for Ráma weeps.”<br />\nMad with the thought, “Charge, charge,” he cried.<br />\n“Let earth with Rákshas blood be dyed.”<br />\nResponsive to his call rang out<br />\nA loud, a universal shout,<br />\nAs myriads filled the moat with stone,<br />\nTrees, rocks, and mountains overthrown,<br />\nAnd charging at their leader\'s call<br />\nPressed forward furious to the wall.<br />\nSome in their headlong ardour scaled<br />\nThe rampart\'s height, the guard assailed,<br />\nAnd many a ponderous fragment rent<br />\nFrom portal, tower, and battlement.<br />\nHuge gates adorned with burnished gold<br />\nWere loosed and lifted from their hold;<br />\nAnd post and pillar, with a sound<br />\nLike thunder, fell upon the ground.<br />\nAt every portal, east and west<br />\nAnd north and south, the chieftains pressed<br />\nEach in his post appointed led<br />\nHis myriads in the forest bred.<br />\n“Charge, let the gates be opened wide:<br />\nCharge, charge, my giants,” Rávaṇ cried.<br />\nThey heard his voice, and loud and long<br />\nRang the wild clamour of the throng,<br />\nAnd shell and drum their notes upsent,<br />\nAnd every martial instrument.<br />\nForth, at the bidding of their lord<br />\nFrom every gate the giants poured,<br />\nAs, when the waters rise and swell,<br />\n1620<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHuge waves preceding waves impel.<br />\nAgain from every Vánar throat<br />\nA scream of fierce defiance smote<br />\nThe welkin: earth and sea and sky<br />\nReëchoed with the awful cry.<br />\nThe roar of elephants, the neigh<br />\nOf horses eager for the fray.<br />\nThe frequent clash of warriors\' steel,<br />\nThe rattling of the chariot wheel.<br />\nFierce was the deadly fight: opposed<br />\nIn terrible array they closed,<br />\nAs when the Gods of heaven enraged<br />\nWith rebel fiends wild battle waged.<br />\nAxe, spear, and mace were wielded well:<br />\nAt every blow a Vánar fell.<br />\nBut shivered rock and brandished tree<br />\nBrought many a giant on his knee,<br />\nTo perish in his turn beneath<br />\nThe deadly wounds of nails and teeth.<br />\nCanto XLIII. The Single Combats.<br />\nBrave chiefs of each opposing side<br />\nTheir strength in single combat tried.<br />\nFierce Indrajít the fight began<br />\nWith Angad in the battle\'s van.<br />\nSampáti, strongest of his race,<br />\nStood with Prajangha face to face.<br />\nHanúmán, Jambumáli met<br />\nIn mortal opposition set.<br />\nVibhishaṇ, brother of the lord<br />\nCanto XLIII. The Single Combats.<br />\n1621<br />\nOf Lanká, raised his threatening sword<br />\nAnd singled out, with eyes aglow<br />\nWith wrath, Śatrughna for his foe.<br />\nThe mighty Gaja Tapan sought,<br />\nAnd Níla with Nikumbha fought.<br />\nSugríva, Vánar king, defied<br />\nFierce Praghas long in battle tried,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ fearless in the fight<br />\nEncountered Vírúpáksha\'s might.<br />\nTo meet the royal Ráma came<br />\nWild Agniketu fierce as flame;<br />\nMitraghana, he who loved to strike<br />\nHis foeman and his friend alike:<br />\nWith Raśmiketu, known and feared<br />\nWhere\'er his ponderous flag was reared;<br />\nAnd Yajnakopa whose delight<br />\nWas ruin of the sacred rite.<br />\nThese met and fought, with thousands more,<br />\nAnd trampled earth was red with gore.<br />\nSwift as the bolt which Indra sends<br />\nWhen fire from heaven the mountain rends<br />\nSmote Indrajít with furious blows<br />\nOn Angad queller of his foes.<br />\nBut Angad from his foeman tore<br />\nThe murderous mace the warrior bore,<br />\n[460]<br />\nAnd low in dust his coursers rolled,<br />\nHis driver, and his car of gold.<br />\nStruck by the shafts Prajangha sped,<br />\nThe Vánar chief Sampáti bled,<br />\nBut, heedless of his gashes he<br />\nCrushed down the giant with a tree.<br />\nThen car-borne Jambumáli smote<br />\nHanumán on the chest and throat;<br />\nBut at the car the Vánar rushed,<br />\n1622<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd chariot, steeds, and rider crushed.<br />\nSugríva whirled a huge tree round,<br />\nAnd struck fierce Praghas to the ground.<br />\nOne arrow shot from Lakshmaṇ\'s bow<br />\nLaid mighty Vírúpáksha low.<br />\nHis giant foes round Ráma pressed<br />\nAnd shot their shafts at head and breast;<br />\nBut, when the iron shower was spent,<br />\nFour arrows from his bow he sent,<br />\nAnd every missile, deftly sped;<br />\nCleft from the trunk a giant head.951<br />\nCanto XLIV. The Night.<br />\nThe lord of Light had sunk and set:<br />\nNight came; the foeman struggled yet;<br />\nAnd fiercer for the gloom of night<br />\nGrew the wild fury of the fight.<br />\nScarce could each warrior\'s eager eye<br />\nThe foeman from the friend descry.<br />\n“Rákshas or Vánar? say;” cried each,<br />\nAnd foe knew foeman by his speech.<br />\n“Why wilt thou fly? O warrior, stay:<br />\nTurn on the foe, and rend and slay:”<br />\nSuch were the cries, such words of fear<br />\nSmote through the gloom each listening ear.<br />\nEach swarthy rover of the night<br />\nWhose golden armour flashed with light,<br />\n951I have omitted several of these single combats, as there is little variety in<br />\nthe details and each duel results in the victory of the Vánar or his ally.<br />\nCanto XLIV. The Night.<br />\n1623<br />\nShowed like a towering hill embraced<br />\nBy burning woods about his waist.<br />\nThe giants at the Vánars flew,<br />\nAnd ravening ate the foes they slew:<br />\nWith mortal bite like serpent\'s fang,<br />\nThe Vánars at the giants sprang,<br />\nAnd car and steeds and they who bore<br />\nThe pennons fell bedewed with gore.<br />\nNo serried band, no firm array<br />\nThe fury of their charge could stay.<br />\nDown went the horse and rider, down<br />\nWent giant lords of high renown.<br />\nThough midnight\'s shade was dense and dark,<br />\nWith skill that swerved not from the mark<br />\nTheir bows the sons of Raghu drew,<br />\nAnd each keen shaft a chieftain slew.<br />\nUprose the blinding dust from meads<br />\nPloughed by the cars and trampling steeds,<br />\nAnd where the warriors fell the flood<br />\nWas dark and terrible with blood.<br />\nSix giants952singled Ráma out,<br />\nAnd charged him with a furious shout<br />\nLoud as the roaring of the sea<br />\nWhen every wind is raging free.<br />\nSix times he shot: six heads were cleft;<br />\nSix giants dead on earth were left.<br />\nNor ceased he yet: his bow he strained,<br />\nAnd from the sounding weapon rained<br />\nA storm of shafts whose fiery glare<br />\nFilled all the region of the air;<br />\nAnd chieftains dropped before his aim<br />\nLike moths that perish in the flame.<br />\n952Yajnaśatru, Mahápárśva, Mahodar, Vajradanshṭra, Śuka, and Sáraṇ.<br />\n1624<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nEarth glistened where the arrows fell,<br />\nAs shines in autumn nights a dell<br />\nWhich fireflies, flashing through the gloom,<br />\nWith momentary light illume.<br />\nBut Indrajít, when Báli\'s son953<br />\nThe victory o\'er the foe had won,<br />\nSaw with a fury-kindled eye<br />\nHis mangled steeds and driver die;<br />\nThen, lost in air, he fled the fight,<br />\nAnd vanished from the victor\'s sight.<br />\nThe Gods and saints glad voices raised,<br />\nAnd Angad for his virtue praised;<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s sons bestowed the meed<br />\nOf honour due to valorous deed.<br />\nCompelled his shattered car to quit,<br />\nRage filled the soul of Indrajít,<br />\nWho brooked not, strong by Brahmá\'s grace<br />\nDefeat from one of Vánar race.<br />\nIn magic mist concealed from view<br />\nHis bow the treacherous warrior drew,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s sons were first to feel<br />\nThe tempest of his winged steel.<br />\nThen when his arrows failed to kill<br />\nThe princes who defied him still,<br />\nHe bound them with the serpent noose,954<br />\nThe magic bond which none might loose.<br />\n953Angad.<br />\n954A mysterious weapon consisting of serpents transformed to arrows which<br />\ndeprived the wounded object of all sense and power of motion.<br />\nCanto XLV. Indrajít\'s Victory.<br />\n1625<br />\nCanto XLV. Indrajít\'s Victory.<br />\nBrave Ráma, burning still to know<br />\nThe station of his artful foe,<br />\n[461]<br />\nGave to ten chieftains, mid the best<br />\nOf all the host, his high behest.<br />\nSwift rose in air the Vánar band:<br />\nEach region of the sky they scanned:<br />\nBut Rávaṇ\'s son by magic skill<br />\nChecked them with arrows swifter still,<br />\nWhen streams of blood from chest and side<br />\nThe dauntless Vánars\' limbs had dyed,<br />\nThe giant in his misty shroud<br />\nShowed like the sun obscured by cloud.<br />\nLike serpents hissing through the air,<br />\nHis arrows smote the princely pair;<br />\nAnd from their limbs at every rent<br />\nA stream of rushing blood was sent.<br />\nLike Kinśuk trees they stood, that show<br />\nIn spring their blossoms\' crimson glow.<br />\nThen Indrajít with fury eyed<br />\nIkshváku\'s royal sons, and cried:<br />\n“Not mighty Indra can assail<br />\nOr see me when I choose to veil<br />\nMy form in battle: and can ye,<br />\nChildren of earth, contend with me?<br />\nThe arrowy noose this hand has shot<br />\nHas bound you with a hopeless knot;<br />\nAnd, slaughtered by my shafts and bow,<br />\nTo Yáma\'s hall this hour ye go.”<br />\n1626<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe spoke, and shouted. Then anew<br />\nThe arrows from his bowstring flew,<br />\nAnd pierced, well aimed with perfect art,<br />\nEach limb and joint and vital part.<br />\nTransfixed with shafts in every limb,<br />\nTheir strength relaxed, their eyes grew dim.<br />\nAs two tall standards side by side,<br />\nWith each sustaining rope untied,<br />\nFall levelled by the howling blast,<br />\nSo earth\'s majestic lords at last<br />\nBeneath the arrowy tempest reeled,<br />\nAnd prostrate pressed the battle field.<br />\nCanto XLVI. Indrajít\'s Triumph.<br />\nThe Vánar chiefs whose piercing eyes<br />\nScanned eagerly the earth and skies,<br />\nSaw the brave brothers wounded sore<br />\nTransfixed with darts and stained with gore.<br />\nThe monarch of the Vánar race,<br />\nWith wise Vibhishaṇ, reached the place;<br />\nAngad and Níla came behind,<br />\nAnd others of the forest kind,<br />\nAnd standing with Hanúmán there<br />\nLamented for the fallen pair.<br />\nTheir melancholy eyes they raised;<br />\nIn fruitless search a while they gazed.<br />\nBut magic arts Vibhishaṇ knew;<br />\nNot hidden from his keener view,<br />\nThough veiled by magic from the rest,<br />\nThe son of Rávaṇ stood confessed.<br />\nCanto XLVI. Indrajít\'s Triumph.<br />\n1627<br />\nFierce Indrajít with savage pride<br />\nThe fallen sons of Raghu eyed,<br />\nAnd every giant heart was proud<br />\nAs thus the warrior cried aloud:<br />\n“Slain by mine arrows Ráma lies,<br />\nAnd closed in death are Lakshmaṇ\'s eyes.<br />\nDead are the mighty princes who<br />\nDúshaṇ and Khara smote and slew.<br />\nThe Gods and fiends may toil in vain<br />\nTo free them from the binding chain.<br />\nThe haughty chief, my father\'s dread,<br />\nWho drove him sleepless from his bed,<br />\nWhile Lanká, troubled like a brook<br />\nIn rain time, heard his name and shook:<br />\nHe whose fierce hate our lives pursued<br />\nLies helpless by my shafts subdued.<br />\nNow fruitless is each wondrous deed<br />\nWrought by the race the forests breed,<br />\nAnd fruitless every toil at last<br />\nLike cloudlets when the rains are past.”<br />\nThen rose the shout of giants loud<br />\nAs thunder from a bursting cloud,<br />\nWhen, deeming Ráma, dead, they raised<br />\nTheir voices and the conqueror praised.<br />\nStill motionless, as lie the slain,<br />\nThe brothers pressed the bloody plain,<br />\nNo sigh they drew, no breath they heaved,<br />\nAnd lay as though of life bereaved.<br />\nProud of the deed his art had done,<br />\nTo Lanká\'s town went Rávaṇ\'s son,<br />\nWhere, as he passed, all fear was stilled,<br />\nAnd every heart with triumph filled.<br />\n1628<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nSugríva trembled as he viewed<br />\nEach fallen prince with blood bedewed,<br />\nAnd in his eyes which overflowed<br />\nWith tears the flame of anger glowed.<br />\n“Calm,” cried Vibhishaṇ, “calm thy fears,<br />\nAnd stay the torrent of thy tears.<br />\nStill must the chance of battle change,<br />\nAnd victory still delight to range.<br />\nOur cause again will she befriend<br />\nAnd bring us triumph in the end.<br />\nThis is not death: each prince will break<br />\nThe spell that holds him, and awake;<br />\nNor long shall numbing magic bind<br />\nThe mighty arm, the lofty mind.”<br />\nHe ceased: his finger bathed in dew<br />\nAcross Sugríva\'s eyes he drew;<br />\nFrom dulling mist his vision freed,<br />\nAnd spoke these words to suit the need:<br />\n“No time is this for fear: away<br />\nWith fainting heart and weak delay.<br />\nNow, e\'en the tear which sorrow wrings<br />\nFrom loving eyes destruction brings.<br />\nUp, on to battle at the head<br />\nOf those brave troops which Ráma led.<br />\nOr guardian by his side remain<br />\nTill sense and strength the prince regain.<br />\nSoon shall the trance-bound pair revive,<br />\nAnd from our hearts all sorrow drive.<br />\nThough prostrate on the earth he lie,<br />\n[462]<br />\nDeem not that Ráma\'s death is nigh;<br />\nDeem not that Lakshmí will forget<br />\nOr leave her darling champion yet.<br />\nRest here and be thy heart consoled;<br />\nCanto XLVII. Sítá.<br />\n1629<br />\nPonder my words, be firm and bold.<br />\nI, foremost in the battlefield,<br />\nWill rally all who faint or yield.<br />\nTheir staring eyes betray their fear;<br />\nThey whisper each in other\'s ear.<br />\nThey, when they hear my cheering cry<br />\nAnd see the friend of Ráma nigh,<br />\nWill cast their gloom and fears away<br />\nLike faded wreaths of yesterday.”<br />\nThus calmed he King Sugríva\'s dread;<br />\nThen gave new heart to those who fled.<br />\nFierce Indrajít, his soul on fire<br />\nWith pride of conquest, sought his sire,<br />\nRaised reverent hands, and told him all,<br />\nThe battle and the princes\' fall.<br />\nRejoicing at his foes\' defeat<br />\nUpsprang the monarch from his seat,<br />\nGirt by his giant courtiers: round<br />\nHis warrior son his arms he wound,<br />\nClose kisses on his head applied,<br />\nAnd heard again how Ráma died.<br />\nCanto XLVII. Sítá.<br />\n1630<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nStill on the ground where Ráma slept<br />\nTheir faithful watch the Vánars kept.<br />\nThere Angad stood o\'erwhelmed with grief<br />\nAnd many a lord and warrior chief;<br />\nAnd, ranged in densest mass around,<br />\nTheir tree-armed legions held the ground.<br />\nFar ranged each Vánar\'s eager eye,<br />\nNow swept the land, now sought the sky,<br />\nAll fearing, if a leaf was stirred,<br />\nA Rákshas in the sound they heard.<br />\nThe lord of Lanká in his hall,<br />\nRejoicing at his foeman\'s fall,<br />\nCommanded and the warders came<br />\nWho ever watched the Maithil dame.<br />\n“Go,” cried the Rákshas king, “relate<br />\nTo Janak\'s child her husband\'s fate.<br />\nLow on the earth her Ráma lies,<br />\nAnd dark in death are Lakshmaṇ\'s eyes.<br />\nBring forth my car and let her ride<br />\nTo view the chieftains side by side.<br />\nThe lord to whom her fancy turned<br />\nFor whose dear sake my love she spurned,<br />\nLies smitten, as he fiercely led<br />\nThe battle, with his brother dead.<br />\nLead forth the royal lady: go<br />\nHer husband\'s lifeless body show.<br />\nThen from all doubt and terror free<br />\nHer softening heart will turn to me.”<br />\nThey heard his speech: the car was brought;<br />\nThat shady grove the warders sought<br />\nWhere, mourning Ráma night and day,<br />\nThe melancholy lady lay.<br />\nThey placed her in the car and through<br />\nCanto XLVIII. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n1631<br />\nThe yielding air they swiftly flew.<br />\nThe lady looked upon the plain,<br />\nLooked on the heaps of Vánar slain,<br />\nSaw where, triumphant in the fight,<br />\nThronged the fierce rovers of the night,<br />\nAnd Vánar chieftains, mournful-eyed,<br />\nWatched by the fallen brothers\' side.<br />\nThere stretched upon his gory bed<br />\nEach brother lay as lie the dead,<br />\nWith shattered mail and splintered bow<br />\nPierced by the arrows of the foe.<br />\nWhen on the pair her eyes she bent,<br />\nBurst from her lips a wild lament<br />\nHer eyes o\'erflowed, she groaned and sighed<br />\nAnd thus in trembling accents cried:<br />\nCanto XLVIII. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n“False are they all, proved false to-day,<br />\nThe prophets of my fortune, they<br />\nWho in the tranquil time of old<br />\nA blessed life for me foretold,<br />\nPredicting I should never know<br />\nA childless dame\'s, a widow\'s woe,<br />\nFalse are they all, their words are vain,<br />\nFor thou, my lord and life, art slain.<br />\nFalse was the priest and vain his lore<br />\nWho blessed me in those days of yore<br />\nBy Ráma\'s side in bliss to reign:<br />\nFor thou, my lord and life, art slain.<br />\nThey hailed me happy from my birth,<br />\n1632<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nProud empress of the lord of earth.<br />\nThey blessed me—but the thought is pain—<br />\nFor thou, my lord and life, art slain.<br />\nAh, fruitless hope! each glorious sign<br />\nThat stamps the future queen is mine,<br />\nWith no ill-omened mark to show<br />\nA widow\'s crushing hour of woe.<br />\nThey say my hair is black and fine,<br />\nThey praise my brows\' continuous line;<br />\nMy even teeth divided well,<br />\nMy bosom for its graceful swell.<br />\nThey praise my feet and fingers oft;<br />\nThey say my skin is smooth and soft,<br />\nAnd call me happy to possess<br />\nThe twelve fair marks that bring success.955<br />\nBut ah, what profit shall I gain?<br />\nThou, O my lord and life, art slain.<br />\nThe flattering seer in former days<br />\nMy gentle girlish smile would praise,<br />\n[463]<br />\nAnd swear that holy water shed<br />\nBy Bráhman hands upon my head<br />\nShould make me queen, a monarch\'s bride:<br />\nHow is the promise verified?<br />\nMatchless in might the brothers slew<br />\nIn Janasthán the giant crew.<br />\nAnd forced the indomitable sea<br />\nTo let them pass to rescue me.<br />\nTheirs was the fiery weapon hurled<br />\nBy him who rules the watery world;956<br />\nTheirs the dire shaft by Indra sped;<br />\nTheirs was the mystic Brahmá\'s Head.957<br />\n955On each foot, and at the root of each finger.<br />\n956Varuṇ.<br />\n957The name of one of the mystical weapons the command over which was<br />\nCanto XLVIII. Sítá\'s Lament.<br />\n1633<br />\nIn vain they fought, the bold and brave:<br />\nA coward\'s hand their death-wounds gave.<br />\nBy secret shafts and magic spell<br />\nThe brothers, peers of Indra, fell.<br />\nThat foe, if seen by Ráma\'s eye<br />\nOne moment, had not lived to fly.<br />\nThough swift as thought, his utmost speed<br />\nHad failed him in the hour of need.<br />\nNo might, no tear, no prayer may stay<br />\nFate\'s dark inevitable day.<br />\nNor could their matchless valour shield<br />\nThese heroes on the battle field.<br />\nI sorrow for the noble dead,<br />\nI mourn my hopes for ever fled;<br />\nBut chief my weeping eyes o\'erflow<br />\nFor Queen Kauśalyá\'s hopeless woe.<br />\nThe widowed queen is counting now<br />\nEach hour prescribed by Ráma\'s vow,<br />\nAnd lives because she longs to see<br />\nOnce more her princely sons and me.”<br />\nThen Trijaṭá,958of gentler mould<br />\nThough Rákshas born, her grief consoled:<br />\n“Dear Queen, thy causeless woe dispel:<br />\nThy husband lives, and all is well.<br />\nLook round: in every Vánar face<br />\nThe light of joyful hope I trace.<br />\nNot thus, believe me, shine the eyes<br />\nOf warriors when their leader dies.<br />\nAn Army, when the chief is dead,<br />\nFlies from the field dispirited.<br />\nHere, undisturbed in firm array,<br />\ngiven by Viśvámitra to Ráma, as related in Book I.<br />\n958One of Sítá\'s guard, and her comforter on a former occasion also.<br />\n1634<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe Vánars by the brothers stay.<br />\nLove prompts my speech; no longer grieve;<br />\nPonder my counsel, and believe.<br />\nThese lips of mine from earliest youth<br />\nHave spoken, and shall speak, the truth.<br />\nDeep in my heart thy gentle grace<br />\nAnd patient virtues hold their place.<br />\nTurn, lady, turn once more thine eye:<br />\nThough pierced with shafts the heroes lie,<br />\nOn brows and cheeks with blood-drops wet<br />\nThe light of beauty lingers yet.<br />\nSuch beauty ne\'er is found in death,<br />\nBut vanishes with parting breath.<br />\nO, trust the hope these tokens give:<br />\nThe heroes are not dead, but live.”<br />\nThen Sítá joined her hands, and sighed,<br />\n“O, may thy words be verified!”<br />\nThe car was turned, which fleet as thought<br />\nThe mourning queen to Lanká brought.<br />\nThey led her to the garden, where<br />\nAgain she yielded to despair,<br />\nLamenting for the chiefs who bled<br />\nOn earth\'s cold bosom with the dead.<br />\nCanto XLIX. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\nCanto XLIX. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1635<br />\nRanged round the spot where Ráma fell<br />\nEach Vánar chief stood sentinel.<br />\nAt length the mighty hero broke<br />\nThe trance that held him, and awoke.<br />\nHe saw his senseless brother, dyed<br />\nWith blood from head to foot, and cried:<br />\n“What have I now to do with life<br />\nOr rescue of my prisoned wife,<br />\nWhen thus before my weeping eyes,<br />\nSlain in the fight, my brother lies?<br />\nA queen like Sítá I may find<br />\nAmong the best of womankind,<br />\nBut never such a brother, tried<br />\nIn war, my guardian, friend, and guide.<br />\nIf he be dead, the brave and true,<br />\nI will not live but perish too.<br />\nHow, reft of Lakshmaṇ, shall I meet<br />\nMy mother, and Kaikeyí greet?<br />\nMy brother\'s eager question brook,<br />\nAnd fond Sumitrá\'s longing look?<br />\nWhat shall I say, o\'erwhelmed with shame<br />\nTo cheer the miserable dame?<br />\nHow, when she hears her son is dead,<br />\nWill her sad heart be comforted?<br />\nAh me, for longer life unfit<br />\nThis mortal body will I quit;<br />\nFor Lakshmaṇ slaughtered for my sake,<br />\nFrom sleep of death will never wake.<br />\nAh when I sank oppressed with care,<br />\nThy gentle voice could soothe despair.<br />\nAnd art thou, O my brother, killed?<br />\nIs that dear voice for ever stilled?<br />\nCold are those lips, my brother, whence<br />\nCame never word to breed offence?<br />\n1636<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAh stretched upon the gory plain<br />\nMy brother lies untimely slain:<br />\nNumbed is the mighty arm that slew<br />\nThe leaders of the giant crew.<br />\nTransfixed with shafts, with blood-streams red,<br />\nThou liest on thy lowly bed:<br />\n[464]<br />\nSo sinks to rest, his journey done,<br />\nMid arrowy rays the crimson sun.<br />\nThou, when from home and sire I fled,<br />\nThe wood\'s wild ways with me wouldst tread:<br />\nNow close to thine my steps shall be,<br />\nFor I in death will follow thee.<br />\nVibhishaṇ now will curse my name,<br />\nAnd Ráma as a braggart blame,<br />\nWho promised—but his word is vain—<br />\nThat he in Lanká\'s isle should reign.<br />\nReturn, Sugríva: reft of me<br />\nLead back thy Vánars o\'er the sea,<br />\nNor hope to battle face to face<br />\nWith him who rules the giant race.<br />\nWell have ye done and nobly fought,<br />\nAnd death in desperate combat sought.<br />\nAll that heroic might can do,<br />\nBrave Vánars, has been done by you.<br />\nMy faithful friends I now dismiss:<br />\nReturn: my last farewell is this.”<br />\nBedewed with tears was every cheek<br />\nAs thus the Vánars heard him speak.<br />\nVibhishaṇ on the field had stayed<br />\nThe Vánar hosts who fled dismayed.<br />\nNow lifting up his mace on high<br />\nWith martial step the chief drew nigh.<br />\nThe hosts who watched by Ráma\'s side<br />\nCanto L. The Broken Spell.<br />\n1637<br />\nBeheld his shape and giant stride.<br />\n\'Tis he, \'tis Rávaṇ\'s son, they thought:<br />\nAnd all in flight their safety sought.<br />\nCanto L. The Broken Spell.<br />\nSugríva viewed the flying crowd,<br />\nAnd thus to Angad cried aloud:<br />\n“Why run the trembling hosts, as flee<br />\nStorm-scattered barks across the sea?”<br />\n“Dost thou not mark,” the chief replied,<br />\n“Transfixed with shafts, with bloodstreams dyed,<br />\nWith arrowy toils about them wound,<br />\nThe sons of Raghu on the ground?”<br />\nThat moment brought Vibhishaṇ near.<br />\nSugríva knew the cause of fear,<br />\nAnd ordered Jámbaván, who led<br />\nThe bears, to check the hosts that fled.<br />\nThe king of bears his hest obeyed:<br />\nThe Vánars\' headlong flight was stayed.<br />\nA little while Vibhishaṇ eyed<br />\nThe brothers fallen side by side.<br />\nHis giant fingers wet with dew<br />\nAcross the heroes\' eyes he drew,<br />\nStill on the pair his sad look bent,<br />\nAnd spoke these word in wild lament:<br />\n“Ah for the mighty chiefs brought low<br />\nBy coward hand and stealthy blow!<br />\nBrave pair who loved the open fight,<br />\nSlain by that rover of the night.<br />\n1638<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nDishonest is the victory won<br />\nBy Indrajít my brother\'s son.<br />\nI on their might for aid relied,<br />\nAnd in my cause they fought and died.<br />\nLost is the hope that soothed each pain:<br />\nI live, but live no more to reign,<br />\nWhile Lanká\'s lord, untouched by ill,<br />\nExults in safe defiance still.”<br />\n“Not thus,” Sugríva said, “repine,<br />\nFor Lanká\'s isle shall still be thine.<br />\nNor let the tyrant and his son<br />\nExult before the fight be done.<br />\nThese royal chiefs, though now dismayed,<br />\nFreed from the spell by Garuḍ\'s aid,<br />\nTriumphant yet the foe shall meet<br />\nAnd lay the robber at their feet.”<br />\nHis hope the Vánar monarch told,<br />\nAnd thus Vibhishaṇ\'s grief consoled.<br />\nThen to Susheṇ who at his side<br />\nExpectant stood, Sugríva cried:<br />\n“When these regain their strength and sense,<br />\nFly, bear them to Kishkindhá hence.<br />\nHere with my legions will I stay,<br />\nThe tyrant and his kinsmen slay,<br />\nAnd, rescued from the giant king,<br />\nThe Maithil lady will I bring,<br />\nLike Glory lost of old, restored<br />\nBy Śakra, heaven\'s almighty lord.”<br />\nCanto L. The Broken Spell.<br />\n1639<br />\nSusheṇ made answer: “Hear me yet:<br />\nWhen Gods and fiends in battle met,<br />\nSo fiercely fought the demon crew,<br />\nSo wild a storm of arrows flew,<br />\nThat heavenly warriors faint with pain,<br />\nSank smitten by the ceaseless rain.<br />\nVṛihaspati,959with herb and spell,<br />\nCured the sore wounds of those who fell.<br />\nAnd, skilled in arts that heal and save,<br />\nNew life and sense and vigour gave.<br />\nFar, on the Milky Ocean\'s shore,<br />\nStill grow those herbs in boundless store;<br />\nLet swiftest Vánars thither speed<br />\nAnd bring them for our utmost need.<br />\nThose herbs that on the mountain spring<br />\nLet Panas and Sampáti bring,<br />\nFor well the wondrous leaves they know,<br />\nThat heal each wound and life bestow.<br />\nBeside that sea which, churned of yore,<br />\nThe amrit on its surface bore,<br />\nWhere the white billows lash the land,<br />\nChandra\'s fair height and Droṇa stand.<br />\nPlanted by Gods each glittering steep<br />\nLooks down upon the milky deep.<br />\nLet fleet Hanúmán bring us thence<br />\nThose herbs of wondrous influence.”<br />\nMeanwhile the rushing wind grew loud,<br />\nRed lightnings flashed from banks of cloud.<br />\nThe mountains shook, the wild waves rose,<br />\nAnd smitten with resistless blows<br />\n[465]<br />\n959The preceptor of the Gods.<br />\n1640<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nUnrooted fell each stately tree<br />\nThat fringed the margin of the sea.<br />\nAll life within the waters feared<br />\nThen, as the Vánars gazed, appeared<br />\nKing Garuḍ\'s self, a wondrous sight,<br />\nDisclosed in flames of fiery light.<br />\nFrom his fierce eye in sudden dread<br />\nAll serpents in a moment fled.<br />\nAnd those transformed to shaft that bound<br />\nThe princes vanished in the ground.<br />\nOn Raghu\'s sons his eyes he bent,<br />\nAnd hailed the lords armipotent.<br />\nThen o\'er them stooped the feathered king,<br />\nAnd touched their faces with his wing.<br />\nHis healing touch their pangs allayed,<br />\nAnd closed each rent the shafts had made.<br />\nAgain their eyes were bright and bold,<br />\nAgain the smooth skin shone like gold.<br />\nAgain within their shell enshrined<br />\nCame memory and each power of mind:<br />\nAnd, from those numbing bonds released,<br />\nTheir spirit, zeal, and strength increased.<br />\nFirm on their feet they stood, and then<br />\nThus Ráma spake, the lord of men:<br />\n“By thy dear grace in sorest need<br />\nFrom deadly bonds we both are freed.<br />\nTo these glad eyes as welcome now<br />\nAs Aja960or my sire art thou.<br />\nWho art thou, mighty being? say,<br />\nThus glorious in thy bright array.”<br />\nHe ceased: the king of birds replied,<br />\nWhile flashed his eye with joy and pride:<br />\n960Ráma\'s grandfather.<br />\nCanto LI. Dhúmráksha\'s Sally.<br />\n1641<br />\n“In me, O Raghu\'s son, behold<br />\nOne who has loved thee from of old:<br />\nGaruḍ, the lord of all that fly,<br />\nThy guardian and thy friend am I.<br />\nNot all the Gods in heaven could loose<br />\nThese numbing bonds, this serpent noose,<br />\nWherewith fierce Rávaṇ\'s son, renowned<br />\nFor magic arts, your limbs had bound.<br />\nThose arrows fixed in every limb<br />\nWere mighty snakes, transformed by him.<br />\nBlood thirsty race, they live beneath<br />\nThe earth, and slay with venomed teeth.<br />\nOn, smite the lord of Lanká\'s isle,<br />\nBut guard you from the giants\' guile<br />\nWho each dishonest art employ<br />\nAnd by deceit brave foes destroy.<br />\nSo shall the tyrant Rávaṇ bleed,<br />\nAnd Sítá from his power be freed.”<br />\nThus Garuḍ spake: then, swift as thought,<br />\nThe region of the sky he sought,<br />\nWhere in the distance like a blaze<br />\nOf fire he vanished from the gaze.<br />\nThen the glad Vánars\' joy rang out<br />\nIn many a wild tumultuous shout,<br />\nAnd the loud roar of drum and shell<br />\nStartled each distant sentinel.<br />\nCanto LI. Dhúmráksha\'s Sally.<br />\n1642<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nKing Rávaṇ, where he sat within,<br />\nHeard from his hall the deafening din,<br />\nAnd with a spirit ill at ease<br />\nAddressed his lords in words like these:<br />\n“That warlike shout, those joyous cries,<br />\nLoud as the thunder of the skies,<br />\nUpsent from every Vánar throat,<br />\nSome new-born confidence denote.<br />\nHark, how the sea and trembling shore<br />\nRe-echo with the Vánars\' roar.<br />\nThough arrowy chains, securely twined<br />\nBoth Ráma and his brother bind,<br />\nStill must the fierce triumphant shout<br />\nDisturb my soul with rising doubt.<br />\nSwift envoys to the army send,<br />\nAnd learn what change these cries portend.”<br />\nObedient, at their master\'s call,<br />\nFleet giants clomb the circling wall.<br />\nThey saw the Vánars formed and led:<br />\nThey saw Sugríva at their head,<br />\nThe brothers from their bonds released:<br />\nAnd hope grew faint and fear increased.<br />\nTheir faces pale with doubt and dread,<br />\nBack to the giant king they sped,<br />\nAnd to his startled ear revealed<br />\nThe tidings of the battle field.<br />\nThe flush of rage a while gave place<br />\nTo chilling fear that changed his face:<br />\nCanto LII. Dhúmráksha\'s Death.<br />\n1643<br />\n“What?” cried the tyrant, “are my foes<br />\nFreed from the binding snakes that close<br />\nWith venomed clasp round head and limb,<br />\nBright as the sun and fierce like him:<br />\nThe spell a God bestowed of yore,<br />\nThe spell that never failed before?<br />\nIf arts like these be useless, how<br />\nShall giant strength avail us now?<br />\nGo forth, Dhúmráksha, good at need,<br />\nThe bravest of my warriors lead:<br />\nForce through the foe thy conquering way,<br />\nAnd Ráma and the Vánars slay.”<br />\nBefore his king with reverence due<br />\nDhúmráksha bowed him, and withdrew.<br />\nAround him at his summons came<br />\nFierce legions led by chiefs of fame.<br />\nWell armed with sword and spear and mace,<br />\nThey hurried to the gathering place,<br />\nAnd rushed to battle, borne at speed<br />\nBy elephant and car and steed.<br />\nCanto LII. Dhúmráksha\'s Death.<br />\nThe Vánars saw the giant foe<br />\nPour from the gate in gallant show,<br />\n[466]<br />\n1644<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nRejoiced with warriors\' fierce delight<br />\nAnd shouted, longing for the fight.<br />\nNear came the hosts and nearer yet:<br />\nDire was the tumult as they met,<br />\nAs, serried line to line opposed,<br />\nThe Vánars and the giants closed.<br />\nFierce on the foe the Vánars rushed,<br />\nAnd, wielding trees, the foremost crushed;<br />\nBut, feathered from the heron\'s wing,<br />\nWith eager flight from sounding string,<br />\nAgainst them shot with surest aim<br />\nA ceaseless storm of arrows came:<br />\nAnd, pierced in head and chest and side,<br />\nFull many a Vánar fell and died.<br />\nThey perished slain in fierce attacks<br />\nWith sword and pike and battle-axe;<br />\nBut myriads following undismayed<br />\nTheir valour in the fight displayed.<br />\nUnnumbered Vánars rent and torn<br />\nWith shaft and spear to earth were borne.<br />\nBut crushed by branchy trees and blocks<br />\nOf jagged stone and shivered rocks<br />\nWhich the wild Vánars wielded well<br />\nThe bravest of the giants fell.<br />\nTheir trampled banners strewed the fields,<br />\nAnd broken swords and spears and shields;<br />\nAnd, crushed by blows which none might stay,<br />\nCars, elephants, and riders lay.<br />\nDhúmráksha turned his furious eye<br />\nAnd saw his routed legions fly.<br />\nStill dauntless, with terrific blows,<br />\nHe struck and slew his foremost foes.<br />\nAt every blow, at every thrust,<br />\nHe laid a Vánar in the dust.<br />\nCanto LII. Dhúmráksha\'s Death.<br />\n1645<br />\nSo fell they neath the sword and lance<br />\nIn battle\'s wild Gandharva961dance,<br />\nWhere clang of bow and clash of sword<br />\nDid duty for the silvery chord,<br />\nAnd hoofs that rang and steeds that neighed<br />\nLoud concert for the dancers made.<br />\nSo fiercely from Dhúmráksha\'s bow<br />\nHis arrows rained in ceaseless flow,<br />\nThe Vánar legions turned and fled<br />\nTo all the winds discomfited.<br />\nHanúmán saw the Vánars fly;<br />\nHe heaved a mighty rock on high.<br />\nHis keen eyes flashed with wrathful fire,<br />\nAnd, rapid as the Wind his sire,<br />\nStrong as the rushing tempests are,<br />\nHe hurled it at the advancing car.<br />\nSwift through the air the missile sang:<br />\nThe giant from the chariot sprang,<br />\nEre crushed by that terrific blow<br />\nLay pole and wheel and flag and bow.<br />\nHanúmán\'s eyes with fury blazed:<br />\nA mountain\'s rocky peak he raised,<br />\nPoised it on high in act to throw,<br />\nAnd rushed upon his giant foe.<br />\nDhúmráksha saw: he raised his mace<br />\nAnd smote Hanúmán on the face,<br />\nWho maddened by the wound\'s keen pang<br />\nAgain upon his foeman sprang;<br />\nAnd on the giant\'s head the rock<br />\nDescended with resistless shock.<br />\nCrushed was each limb: a shapeless mass<br />\nHe lay upon the blood-stained grass.<br />\n961The Gandharvas are warriors and Minstrels of Indra\'s heaven.<br />\n1646<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto LIII. Vajradanshtra\'s Sally.<br />\nWhen Rávaṇ in his palace heard<br />\nThe mournful news, his wrath was stirred;<br />\nAnd, gasping like a furious snake,<br />\nTo Vajradanshṭra thus he spake:<br />\n“Go forth, my fiercest captain, lead<br />\nThe bravest of the giants\' breed.<br />\nGo forth, the sons of Raghu slay<br />\nAnd by their side Sugríva lay.”<br />\nHe ceased: the chieftain bowed his head<br />\nAnd forth with gathered troops he sped.<br />\nCars, camels, steeds were well arrayed,<br />\nAnd coloured banners o\'er them played.<br />\nRings decked his arms: about his waist<br />\nThe life-protecting mail was braced,<br />\nAnd on the chieftain\'s forehead set<br />\nGlittered his cap and coronet.<br />\nBorne on a bannered car that glowed<br />\nWith golden sheen the warrior rode,<br />\nAnd footmen marched with spear and sword<br />\nAnd bow and mace behind their lord.<br />\nIn pomp and pride of warlike state<br />\nThey sallied from the southern gate,<br />\nBut saw, as on their way they sped,<br />\nDread signs around and overhead.<br />\nFor there were meteors falling fast,<br />\nThough not a cloud its shadow cast;<br />\nAnd each ill-omened bird and beast,<br />\nForboding death, the fear increased,<br />\nWhile many a giant slipped and reeled,<br />\nFalling before he reached the field.<br />\nCanto LIV. Vajradanshtra\'s Death.<br />\n1647<br />\nThey met in mortal strife engaged,<br />\nAnd long and fierce the battle raged.<br />\nSpears, swords uplifted, gleamed and flashed,<br />\nAnd many a chief to earth was dashed.<br />\nA ceaseless storm of arrows rained,<br />\nAnd limbs were pierced and blood-distained.<br />\nTerrific was the sound that filled<br />\nThe air, and every heart was chilled,<br />\nAs hurtling o\'er the giants flew<br />\nThe rocks and trees which Vánars threw.<br />\nFierce as a hungry lion when<br />\nUnwary deer approach his den,<br />\n[467]<br />\nAngad, his eyes with fury red,<br />\nWaving a tree above his head,<br />\nRushed with wild charge which none could stay<br />\nWhere stood the giants\' dense array.<br />\nLike tall trees levelled by the blast<br />\nBefore him fell the giants fast,<br />\nAnd earth that streamed with blood was strown<br />\nWith warriors, steeds, and cars o\'erthrown.<br />\nCanto LIV. Vajradanshtra\'s Death.<br />\nThe giant leader fiercely rained<br />\nHis arrows and the fight maintained.<br />\nEach time the clanging cord he drew<br />\nHis certain shaft a Vánar slew.<br />\nThen, as the creatures he has made<br />\nFly to the Lord of Life for aid,<br />\nTo Angad for protection fled<br />\nThe Vánar hosts dispirited.<br />\n1648<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen raged the battle fiercer yet<br />\nWhen Angad and the giant met.<br />\nA hundred thousand arrows, hot<br />\nWith flames of fire, the giant shot;<br />\nAnd every shaft he deftly sent<br />\nHis foeman\'s body pierced and rent.<br />\nFrom Angad\'s limbs ran floods of gore:<br />\nA stately tree from earth he tore,<br />\nWhich, maddened as his gashes bled,<br />\nHe hurled at his opponent\'s head.<br />\nHis bow the dauntless giant drew;<br />\nTo meet the tree swift arrows flew,<br />\nChecked the huge missile\'s onward way,<br />\nAnd harmless on the earth it lay.<br />\nA while the Vánar chieftain gazed,<br />\nThen from the earth a rock he raised<br />\nRent from a thunder-splitten height,<br />\nAnd cast it with resistless might.<br />\nThe giant marked, and, mace in hand,<br />\nLeapt from his chariot to the sand,<br />\nEre the rough mass descending broke<br />\nThe seat, the wheel, the pole and yoke.<br />\nThen Angad seized a shattered hill,<br />\nWhereon the trees were flowering still,<br />\nAnd with full force the jagged peak<br />\nFell crashing on the giant\'s cheek.<br />\nHe staggered, reeled, and fell: the blood<br />\nGushed from the giant in a flood.<br />\nReft of his might, each sense astray,<br />\nA while upon the sand he lay.<br />\nBut strength and wandering sense returned<br />\nAgain his eyes with fury burned,<br />\nAnd with his mace upraised on high<br />\nCanto LIV. Vajradanshtra\'s Death.<br />\n1649<br />\nHe wounded Angad on the thigh.<br />\nThen from his hand his mace he threw,<br />\nAnd closer to his foeman drew.<br />\nThen with their fists they fought, and smote<br />\nOn brow and cheek and chest and throat.<br />\nWorn out with toil, their limbs bedewed,<br />\nWith blood, the strife they still renewed,<br />\nLike Mercury and fiery Mars<br />\nMet in fierce battle mid the stars.<br />\nA while the deadly fight was stayed:<br />\nEach armed him with his trusty blade<br />\nWhose sheath with tinkling bells supplied,<br />\nAnd golden net, adorned his side;<br />\nAnd grasped his ponderous leather shield<br />\nTo fight till one should fall or yield.<br />\nUnnumbered wounds they gave and took:<br />\nTheir wearied bodies reeled and shook.<br />\nAt length upon the sand that drank<br />\nStreams of their blood the warriors sank,<br />\nBut as a serpent rears his head<br />\nSore wounded by a peasant\'s tread,<br />\nSo Angad, fallen on his knees,<br />\nYet gathered strength his sword to seize;<br />\nAnd, severed by the glittering blade,<br />\nThe giant\'s head on earth was laid.<br />\n[I omit Cantos LV, LVI, LVII, and LVIII, which relate how<br />\nAkampan and Prahasta sally out and fall. There is little novelty<br />\nof incident in these Cantos and the results are exactly the same as<br />\nbefore. In Canto LV, Akampan, at the command of Rávaṇ, leads<br />\nforth his troops. Evil omens are seen and heard. The enemies<br />\nmeet, and many fall on each side, the Vánars transfixed with<br />\narrows, the Rákshases crushed with rocks and trees.<br />\n1650<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIn Canto LVI Akampan sees that the Rákshases are worsted,<br />\nand fights with redoubled rage and vigour. The Vánars fall<br />\nfast under his “nets of arrows.” Hanumán comes to the rescue.<br />\nHe throws mountain peaks at the giant which are dexterously<br />\nstopped with flights of arrows; and at last beats him down and<br />\nkills him with a tree.<br />\nIn Canto LVII, Rávaṇ is seriously alarmed. He declares that<br />\nhe himself, Kumbhakarṇa or Prahasta, must go forth. Prahasta<br />\nsallies out vaunting that the fowls of the air shall eat their fill of<br />\nVánar flesh.<br />\nIn Canto LVIII, the two armies meet. Dire is the conflict;<br />\nceaseless is the rain of stones and arrows. At last Níla meets<br />\nPrahasta and breaks his bow. Prahasta leaps from his car, and the<br />\ngiant and the Vánar fight on foot. Níla with a huge tree crushes<br />\nhis opponent who falls like a tree when its roots are cut.]<br />\n[468]<br />\nCanto LIX. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\nThey told him that the chief was killed,<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ\'s breast with rage was filled.<br />\nThen, fiercely moved by wrath and pride,<br />\nThus to his lords the tyrant cried:<br />\n“No longer, nobles, may we show<br />\nThis lofty scorn for such a foe<br />\nBy whom our bravest, with his train<br />\nOf steeds and elephants, is slain.<br />\nMyself this day will take the field,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s sons their lives shall yield.”<br />\nCanto LIX. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\n1651<br />\nHigh on the royal car, that glowed<br />\nWith glory from his face, he rode;<br />\nAnd tambour shell and drum pealed out,<br />\nAnd joyful was each giant\'s shout.<br />\nA mighty host, with eyeballs red<br />\nLike flames of kindled fire, he led.<br />\nHe passed the city gate, and viewed,<br />\nArrayed, the Vánar multitude,<br />\nThose wielding massy rocks, and these<br />\nArmed with the stems of uptorn trees,<br />\nAnd Ráma with his eyes aglow<br />\nWith warlike ardour viewed the foe,<br />\nAnd thus the brave Vibhishaṇ, best<br />\nOf weapon-wielding chiefs, addressed:<br />\n“What captain leads this bright array<br />\nWhere lances gleam and banners play,<br />\nAnd thousands armed with spear and sword<br />\nAwait the bidding of their lord?”<br />\n“Seest, thou,” Vibhishaṇ answered, “one<br />\nWhose face is as the morning sun,<br />\nPreëminent for hugest frame?<br />\nAkampan962is the giant\'s name.<br />\nBehold that chieftain, chariot-borne,<br />\nWhom Brahmá\'s chosen gifts adorn.<br />\nHe wields a bow like Indra\'s own;<br />\nA lion on his flag is shown,<br />\nHis eyes with baleful fire are lit:<br />\n\'Tis Rávaṇ\'s son, \'tis Indrajít.<br />\nThere, brandishing in mighty hands<br />\nHis huge bow, Atikáya stands.<br />\nAnd that proud warrior o\'er whose head<br />\n962“Itistobeunderstood,”saysthecommentator, “thatthisisnottheAkampan<br />\nwho has already been slain.”<br />\n1652<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nA moon-bright canopy is spread:<br />\nWhose might, in many a battle tried,<br />\nHas tamed imperial Indra\'s pride;<br />\nWho wears a crown of burnished gold,<br />\nIs Lanká\'s lord the lofty-souled.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Ráma knew his foe,<br />\nAnd laid an arrow on his bow:<br />\n“Woe to the wretch,” he cried, “whom fate<br />\nAbandons to my deadly hate.”<br />\nHe spoke, and, firm by Lakshmaṇ\'s side,<br />\nThe giant to the fray defied.<br />\nThe lord of Lanká bade his train<br />\nOf warriors by the gates remain,<br />\nTo guard the city from surprise<br />\nBy Ráma\'s forest born allies.<br />\nThen as some monster of the sea<br />\nCleaves swift-advancing billows, he<br />\nCharged with impetuous onset through<br />\nThe foe, and cleft the host in two.<br />\nSugríva ran, the king to meet:<br />\nA hill uprooted from its seat<br />\nHe hurled, with trees that graced the height<br />\nAgainst the rover of the night:<br />\nBut cleft with shafts that checked its way<br />\nHarmless upon the earth it lay.<br />\nThen fiercer Rávaṇ\'s fury grew,<br />\nAn arrow from his side he drew,<br />\nSwift as a thunderbolt, aglow<br />\nWith fire, and launched it at the foe.<br />\nThrough flesh and bone a way it found,<br />\nAnd stretched Sugríva on the ground.<br />\nSusheṇ and Nala saw him fall,<br />\nGaváksha, Gavaya heard their call,<br />\nCanto LIX. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\n1653<br />\nAnd, poising hills, in act to fling<br />\nThey charged amain the giant king.<br />\nThey charged, they hurled the hills in vain,<br />\nHe checked them with his arrowy rain,<br />\nAnd every brave assailant felt<br />\nThe piercing wounds his missiles dealt,<br />\nThen smitten by the shafts that came<br />\nKeen, fleet, and thick, with certain aim,<br />\nThey fled to Ráma, sure defence<br />\nAgainst the oppressor\'s violence,<br />\nThen, reverent palm to palm applied,<br />\nThus Lakshmaṇ to his brother cried:<br />\n“To me, my lord, the task entrust<br />\nTo lay this giant in the dust.”<br />\n“Go, then,” said Ráma, “bravely fight;<br />\nBeat down this rover of the night.<br />\nBut he, unmatched in bold emprise,<br />\nFears not the Lord of earth and skies,<br />\nKeep on thy guard: with keenest eye<br />\nThy moments of attack espy.<br />\nLet hand and eye in due accord<br />\nProtect thee with the bow and sword.”<br />\nThen Lakshmaṇ round his brother threw<br />\nHis mighty arms in honour due,<br />\nBent lowly down his reverent head,<br />\nAnd onward to the battle sped.<br />\nHanúmán from afar beheld<br />\nHow Rávaṇ\'s shafts the Vánars quelled:<br />\nTo meet the giant\'s car he ran,<br />\nRaised his right arm and thus began:<br />\n“If Brahmá\'s boon thy life has screened<br />\nFrom Yaksha, God, Gandharva, fiend,<br />\nWith these contending fear no ill,<br />\n1654<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBut tremble at a Vánar still.”<br />\nWith fury flashing from his eye<br />\nThe lord of Lanká made reply:<br />\n“Strike, Vánar, strike: the fray begin,<br />\nAnd hope eternal fame to win.<br />\nThis arm shall prove thee in the strife<br />\n[469]<br />\nAnd end thy glory and thy life.”<br />\n“Remember,” cried the Wind-God\'s son,<br />\n“Remember all that I have done,<br />\nMy prowess, King, thou knowest well,<br />\nShown in the fight when Aksha963fell.”<br />\nWith heavy hand the giant smote<br />\nHanúmán on the chest and throat,<br />\nWho reeled and staggered to and fro,<br />\nStunned for a moment by the blow.<br />\nTill, mustering strength, his hand he reared<br />\nAnd struck the foe whom Indra feared.<br />\nHis huge limbs bent beneath the shock,<br />\nAs mountains, in an earthquake, rock,<br />\nAnd from the Gods and sages pealed<br />\nShouts of loud triumph as he reeled.<br />\nBut strength returning nerved his frame:<br />\nHis eyeballs flashed with fiercer flame.<br />\nNo living creature might resist<br />\nThat blow of his tremendous fist<br />\nWhich fell upon Hanúmán\'s flank:<br />\nAnd to the ground the Vánar sank,<br />\nNo sign of life his body showed:<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ in his chariot rode<br />\nAt Níla; and his arrowy rain<br />\nFell on the captain and his train.<br />\nFierce Níla stayed his Vánar band,<br />\n963Rávaṇ\'s son, whom Hanumán killed when he first visited Lanká.<br />\nCanto LIX. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\n1655<br />\nAnd, heaving with his single hand<br />\nA mountain peak, with vigorous swing<br />\nHurled the huge missile at the king.<br />\nHanúmán life and strength regained,<br />\nBurned for the fight and thus complained:<br />\n“Why, coward giant, didst thou flee<br />\nAnd leave the doubtful fight with me?”<br />\nSeven mighty arrows keen and fleet<br />\nThe giant launched, the hill to meet;<br />\nAnd, all its force and fury stayed,<br />\nThe harmless mass on earth was laid.<br />\nEnraged the Vánar chief beheld<br />\nThe mountain peak by force repelled,<br />\nAnd rained upon the foe a shower<br />\nOf trees uptorn with branch and flower.<br />\nStill his keen shafts which pierced and rent<br />\nEach flying tree the giant sent:<br />\nStill was the Vánar doomed to feel<br />\nThe tempest of the winged steel.<br />\nThen, smarting from that arrowy storm,<br />\nThe Vánar chief condensed his form,964<br />\nAnd lightly leaping from the ground<br />\nOn Rávaṇ\'s standard footing found;<br />\nThen springing unimpeded down<br />\nStood on his bow and golden crown.<br />\nThe Vánar\'s nimble leaps amazed<br />\nIkshváku\'s son who stood and gazed.<br />\nThe giant, raging in his heart,<br />\nLaid on his bow a fiery dart;<br />\nThe Vánar on his flagstaff eyed,<br />\nAnd thus in tones of fury cried:<br />\n964Níla was the son of Agni the God of Fire, and possessed, like Milton\'s<br />\ndemons, the power of dilating and condensing his form at pleasure.<br />\n1656<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Well skilled in magic lore art thou:<br />\nBut will thine art avail thee now?<br />\nSee if thy magic will defend<br />\nThy life against the dart I send.”<br />\nThus Rávaṇ spake, the giant king,<br />\nAnd loosed the arrow from the string.<br />\nIt pierced, with direst fury sped,<br />\nThe Vánar with its flaming head.<br />\nHis father\'s might, his power innate<br />\nPreserved him from the threatened fate.<br />\nUpon his knees he fell, distained<br />\nWith streams of blood, but life remained.<br />\nStill Rávaṇ for the battle burned:<br />\nAt Lakshmaṇ next his car he turned,<br />\nAnd charged amain with furious show,<br />\nStraining in mighty hands his bow.<br />\n“Come,” Lakshmaṇ cried, “assay the fight:<br />\nLeave foes unworthy of thy might.”<br />\nThus Lakshmaṇ spoke: and Lanká\'s lord<br />\nHeard the dread thunder of the cord.<br />\nAnd mad with burning rage and pride<br />\nIn hasty words like these replied:<br />\n“Joy, joy is mine, O Raghu\'s son:<br />\nThy fate to-day thou canst not shun.<br />\nSlain by mine arrows thou shalt tread<br />\nThe gloomy pathway of the dead.”<br />\nCanto LIX. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\n1657<br />\nThus as he spoke his bow he drew,<br />\nAnd seven keen shafts at Lakshmaṇ flew,<br />\nBut Raghu\'s son with surest aim<br />\nCleft every arrow as it came.<br />\nThus with fleet shafts each warrior shot<br />\nAgainst his foe, and rested not.<br />\nThen one choice weapon from his store,<br />\nBy Brahmá\'s self bestowed of yore,<br />\nFierce as the flames that end the world,<br />\nThe giant king at Lakshmaṇ hurled.<br />\nThe hero fell, and racked with pain,<br />\nScarce could his hand his bow retain.<br />\nBut sense and strength resumed their seat<br />\nAnd, lightly springing to his feet,<br />\nHe struck with one tremendous stroke<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ\'s bow in splinters broke.<br />\nFrom Lakshmaṇ\'s cord three arrows flew<br />\nAnd pierced the giant monarch through.<br />\nSore wounded Rávaṇ closed, and round<br />\nIkshváku\'s son his strong arms wound.<br />\nWith strength unrivalled, Brahmá\'s gift,<br />\nHe strove from earth his foe to lift.<br />\n“Shall I,” he cried, “who overthrow<br />\nMount Meru and the Lord of Snow,<br />\nAnd heaven and all who dwell therein,<br />\nBe foiled by one of Ráma\'s kin?”<br />\nBut though he heaved, and toiled, and strained,<br />\nUnmoved Ikshváku\'s son remained.<br />\nHis frame by those huge arms compressed<br />\nThe giant\'s God-given force confessed,<br />\nBut conscious that himself was part<br />\n[470]<br />\nOf Vishṇu, he was firm in heart.<br />\n1658<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe Wind-God\'s son the fight beheld,<br />\nAnd rushed at Rávaṇ, rage-impelled.<br />\nDown crashed his mighty hand; the foe<br />\nFull in the chest received the blow.<br />\nHis eyes grew dim, his knees gave way,<br />\nAnd senseless on the earth he lay.<br />\nThe Wind-God\'s son to Ráma bore<br />\nDeep-wounded Lakshmaṇ stained with gore.<br />\nHe whom no foe might lift or bend<br />\nWas light as air to such a friend.<br />\nThe dart that Lakshmaṇ\'s side had cleft,<br />\nUntouched, the hero\'s body left,<br />\nAnd flashing through the air afar<br />\nResumed its place in Rávaṇ\'s car;<br />\nAnd, waxing well though wounded sore,<br />\nHe felt the deadly pain no more.<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ, though with deep wounds pained,<br />\nSlowly his sense and strength regained,<br />\nAnd furious still and undismayed<br />\nOn bow and shaft his hand he laid.<br />\nThen Hanumán to Ráma cried:<br />\n“Ascend my back, great chief, and ride<br />\nLike Vishṇu borne on Garuḍ\'s wing,<br />\nTo battle with the giant king.”<br />\nSo, burning for the dire attack,<br />\nRode Ráma on the Vánar\'s back,<br />\nAnd with fierce accents loud and slow<br />\nThus gave defiance to the foe,<br />\nWhile his strained bowstring made a sound<br />\nLike thunder when it shakes the ground:<br />\n“Stay, Monarch of the giants, stay,<br />\nThe penalty of sin to pay.<br />\nCanto LIX. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\n1659<br />\nStay! whither wilt thou fly, and how<br />\nEscape the death that waits thee now?”<br />\nNo word the giant king returned:<br />\nHis eyes with flames of fury burned.<br />\nHis arm was stretched, his bow was bent,<br />\nAnd swift his fiery shafts were sent.<br />\nRed torrents from the Vánar flowed:<br />\nThen Ráma near to Rávaṇ strode,<br />\nAnd with keen darts that never failed,<br />\nThe chariot of the king assailed.<br />\nWith surest aim his arrows flew:<br />\nThe driver and the steeds he slew.<br />\nAnd shattered with the pointed steel<br />\nCar, flag, and pole and yoke and wheel.<br />\nAs Indra hurls his bolt to smite<br />\nMount Meru\'s heaven-ascending height,<br />\nSo Ráma with a flaming dart<br />\nStruck Lanká\'s monarch near the heart,<br />\nWho reeled and fell beneath the blow<br />\nAnd from loose fingers dropped his bow.<br />\nBright as the sun, with crescent head,<br />\nFrom Ráma\'s bow an arrow sped,<br />\nAnd from his forehead, proud no more,<br />\nCleft the bright coronet he wore.<br />\nThen Ráma stood by Rávaṇ\'s side<br />\nAnd to the conquered giant cried:<br />\n“Well hast thou fought: thine arm has slain<br />\nStrong heroes of the Vánar train.<br />\nI will not strike or slay thee now,<br />\nFor weary, faint with fight art thou.<br />\nTo Lanká\'s town thy footsteps bend,<br />\nAnd there the night securely spend.<br />\nTo-morrow come with car and bow,<br />\n1660<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd then my prowess shalt thou know.”<br />\nHe ceased: the king in humbled pride<br />\nRose from the earth and naught replied.<br />\nWith wounded limbs and shattered crown<br />\nHe sought again his royal town.<br />\nCanto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.<br />\nWith humbled heart and broken pride<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s gate the giant hied,<br />\nCrushed, like an elephant beneath<br />\nA lion\'s spring and murderous teeth,<br />\nOr like a serpent \'neath the wing<br />\nAnd talons of the Feathered King.<br />\nSuch was the giant\'s wild alarm<br />\nAt arrows shot by Ráma\'s arm;<br />\nShafts with red lightning round them curled,<br />\nLike Brahmá\'s bolts that end the world.<br />\nCanto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.<br />\n1661<br />\nSupported on his golden throne,<br />\nWith failing eye and humbled tone,<br />\n“Giants,” he cried, “the toil is vain,<br />\nFruitless the penance and the pain,<br />\nIf I whom Indra owned his peer,<br />\nSecure from Gods, a mortal fear.<br />\nMy soul remembers, now too late,<br />\nLord Brahmá\'s words who spoke my fate:<br />\n“Tremble, proud Giant,” thus they ran,<br />\n“And dread thy death from slighted man.<br />\nSecure from Gods and demons live,<br />\nAnd serpents, by the boon I give.<br />\nAgainst their power thy life is charmed,<br />\nBut against man is still unarmed.”<br />\nThis Ráma is the man foretold<br />\nBy Anaraṇya\'s965lips of old:<br />\n“Fear, Rávaṇ, basest of the base:<br />\nFor of mine own imperial race<br />\nA prince in after time shall spring<br />\nAnd thee and thine to ruin bring.<br />\nAnd Vedavatí,966ere she died<br />\nSlain by my ruthless insult, cried:<br />\n[471]<br />\n“A scion of my royal line<br />\nShall slay, vile wretch, both thee and thine.”<br />\nShe in a later birth became<br />\nKing Janak\'s child, now Ráma\'s dame.<br />\n965An ancient king of Ayodhyá said by some to have been Prithu\'s father.<br />\n966The daughter of King Kuśadhwaja. She became an ascetic, and being<br />\ninsulted by Rávaṇ in the woods where she was performing penance, destroyed<br />\nherself by entering fire, but was born again as Sítá to be in turn the destruction<br />\nof him who had insulted her.<br />\n1662<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nNandíśvara967foretold this fate,<br />\nAnd Umá968when I moved her hate,<br />\nAnd Rambhá,969and the lovely child<br />\nOf Varuṇ970by my touch defiled.<br />\nI know the fated hour is nigh:<br />\nHence, captains, to your stations fly.<br />\nLet warders on the rampart stand:<br />\nPlace at each gate a watchful band;<br />\nAnd, terror of immortal eyes,<br />\nLet mightiest Kumbhakarṇa rise.<br />\nHe, slumbering, free from care and pain,<br />\nBy Brahmá\'s curse, for months has lain.<br />\nBut when Prahasta\'s death he hears,<br />\nMine own defeat and doubts and fears,<br />\nThe chief will rise to smite the foe<br />\nAnd his unrivalled valour show.<br />\nThen Raghu\'s royal sons and all<br />\nThe Vánars neath his might will fall.”<br />\nThe giant lords his hest obeyed,<br />\nThey left him, trembling and afraid,<br />\nAnd from the royal palace strode<br />\nTo Kumbhakarṇa\'s vast abode.<br />\nThey carried garlands sweet and fresh,<br />\nAnd reeking loads of blood and flesh.<br />\n967Nandíśvara was Śiva\'s chief attendant. Rávaṇ had despised and laughed at<br />\nhim for appearing in the form of a monkey and the irritated Nandíśvara cursed<br />\nhim and foretold his destruction by monkeys.<br />\n968Rávaṇ once upheaved and shook Mount Kailása the favourite dwelling<br />\nplace of Śiva the consort of Umá, and was cursed in consequence by the<br />\noffended Goddess.<br />\n969Rambhá, who has several times been mentioned in the course of the poem,<br />\nwas one of the nymphs of heaven, and had been insulted by Rávaṇ.<br />\n970Punjikasthalá was the daughter of Varuṇ. Rávaṇ himself has mentioned<br />\nin this book his insult to her, and the curse pronounced in consequence by<br />\nBrahmá.<br />\nCanto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.<br />\n1663<br />\nThey reached the dwelling where he lay,<br />\nA cave that reached a league each way,<br />\nSweet with fair blooms of lovely scent<br />\nAnd bright with golden ornament.<br />\nHis breathings came so fierce and fast,<br />\nScarce could the giants brook the blast.<br />\nThey found him on a golden bed<br />\nWith his huge limbs at length outspread.<br />\nThey piled their heaps of venison near,<br />\nFat buffaloes and boars and deer.<br />\nWith wreaths of flowers they fanned his face,<br />\nAnd incense sweetened all the place.<br />\nEach raised his mighty voice as loud<br />\nAs thunders of an angry cloud,<br />\nAnd conchs their stirring summons gave<br />\nThat echoed through the giant\'s cave.<br />\nThen on his breast they rained their blows,<br />\nAnd high the wild commotion rose<br />\nWhen cymbal vied with drum and horn.<br />\nAnd war cries on the gale upborne.<br />\nThrough all the air loud discord spread,<br />\nAnd, struck with fear, the birds fell dead.<br />\nBut still he slept and took his rest.<br />\nThen dashed they on his shaggy chest<br />\nClubs, maces, fragments of the rock:<br />\nHe moved not once, nor felt the shock.<br />\nThe giants made one effort more<br />\nWith shell and drum and shout and roar.<br />\nClub, mallet, mace, in fury plied,<br />\nRained blows upon his breast and side.<br />\nAnd elephants were urged to aid,<br />\nAnd camels groaned and horses neighed.<br />\nThey drenched him with a hundred pails,<br />\nThey tore his ears with teeth and nails.<br />\n1664<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThey bound together many a mace<br />\nAnd beat him on the head and face;<br />\nAnd elephants with ponderous tread<br />\nStamped on his limbs and chest and head.<br />\nThe unusual weight his slumber broke:<br />\nHe started, shook his sides, and woke;<br />\nAnd, heedless of the wounds and blows,<br />\nYawning with thirst and hunger rose,<br />\nHis jaws like hell gaped fierce and wide,<br />\nDire as the flame neath ocean\'s tide.<br />\nRed as the sun on Meru\'s crest<br />\nThe giant\'s face his wrath expressed,<br />\nAnd every burning breath he drew<br />\nWas like the blast that rushes through<br />\nThe mountain cedars. Up he raised<br />\nHis awful head with eyes that blazed<br />\nLike comets, dire as Death in form<br />\nWho threats the worlds with fire and storm.<br />\nThe giants pointed to their stores<br />\nOf buffaloes and deer and boars,<br />\nAnd straight he gorged him with a flood<br />\nOf wine, with marrow, flesh, and blood.<br />\nHe ceased: the giants ventured near<br />\nAnd bent their lowly heads in fear.<br />\nThen Kumbhakar[n.]a glared with eyes<br />\nStill heavy in their first surprise,<br />\nStill drowsy from his troubled rest,<br />\nAnd thus the giant band addressed.<br />\n“How have ye dared my sleep to break?<br />\nNo trifling cause should bid me wake.<br />\nSay, is all well? or tell the need<br />\nThat drives you with unruly speed<br />\nTo wake me. Mark the words I say,<br />\nThe king shall tremble in dismay,<br />\n[472]<br />\nCanto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.<br />\n1665<br />\nThe fire be quenched and Indra slain<br />\nEre ye shall break my rest in vain.”<br />\nYúpáksha answered: “Chieftain, hear;<br />\nNo God or fiend excites our fear.<br />\nBut men in arms our walls assail:<br />\nWe tremble lest their might prevail.<br />\nFor vengeful Ráma vows to slay<br />\nThe foe who stole his queen away,<br />\nAnd, matchless for his warlike deeds,<br />\nA host of mighty Vánars leads.<br />\nEre now a monstrous Vánar came,<br />\nLaid Lanká waste with ruthless flame,<br />\nAnd Aksha, Rávaṇ\'s offspring, slew<br />\nWith all his warrior retinue.<br />\nOur king who never trembled yet<br />\nFor heavenly hosts in battle met,<br />\nAt length the general dread has shared,<br />\nO\'erthrown by Ráma\'s arm and spared.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Kumbhakarṇa spake:<br />\n“I will go forth and vengeance take;<br />\nWill tread their hosts beneath my feet,<br />\nThen triumph-flushed our king will meet.<br />\nOur giant bands shall eat their fill<br />\nOf Vánars whom this arm shall kill.<br />\nThe princes\' blood shall be my draught,<br />\nThe chieftains\' shall by you be quaffed.”<br />\nHe spake, and, with an eager stride<br />\nThat shook the earth, to Rávaṇ hied.<br />\n1666<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto LXI. The Vánars\' Alarm.<br />\nThe son of Raghu near the wall<br />\nSaw, proudly towering over all,<br />\nThe mighty giant stride along<br />\nAttended by the warrior throng;<br />\nHeard Kumbhakarṇa\'s heavy feet<br />\nAwake the echoes of the street;<br />\nAnd, with the lust of battle fired,<br />\nTurned to Vibhishaṇ and inquired:<br />\n“Vibhishaṇ, tell that chieftain\'s name<br />\nWho rears so high his mountain frame;<br />\nWith glittering helm and lion eyes,<br />\nPreëminent in might and size<br />\nAbove the rest of giant birth,<br />\nHe towers the standard of the earth;<br />\nAnd all the Vánars when they see<br />\nThe mighty warrior turn and flee.”<br />\n“In him,” Vibhishaṇ answered, “know<br />\nViśravas\' son, the Immortals\' foe,<br />\nFierce Kumbhakarṇa, mightier far<br />\nThan Gods and fiends and giants are.<br />\nHe conquered Yáma in the fight,<br />\nAnd Indra trembling owned his might.<br />\nHis arm the Gods and fiends subdued,<br />\nGandharvas and the serpent brood.<br />\nThe rest of his gigantic race<br />\nAre wondrous strong by God-giving grace;<br />\nBut nature at his birth to him<br />\nGave matchless power and strength of limb.<br />\nScarce was he born, fierce monster, when<br />\nHe killed and ate a thousand men.<br />\nThe trembling race of men, appalled,<br />\nCanto LXI. The Vánars\' Alarm.<br />\n1667<br />\nOn Indra for protection called;<br />\nAnd he, to save the suffering world,<br />\nHis bolt at Kumbhakarṇa hurled.<br />\nSo awful was the monster\'s yell<br />\nThat fear on all the nations fell,<br />\nHe, rushing on with furious roar,<br />\nA tusk from huge Airávat tore,<br />\nAnd dealt the God so dire a blow<br />\nThat Indra reeling left his foe,<br />\nAnd with the Gods and mortals fled<br />\nTo Brahmá\'s throne dispirited.<br />\n“O Brahmá,” thus the suppliants cried,<br />\n“Some refuge for this woe provide.<br />\nIf thus his maw the giant sate<br />\nSoon will the world be desolate.”<br />\nThe Self-existent calmed their woe,<br />\nAnd spake in anger to their foe:<br />\n“As thou wast born, Pulastya\'s son,<br />\nThat worlds might weep by thee undone,<br />\nThou like the dead henceforth shalt be:<br />\nSuch is the curse I lay on thee.”<br />\nSenseless he lay, nor spoke nor stirred;<br />\nSuch was the power of Brahmá\'s word.<br />\nBut Rávaṇ, troubled for his sake,<br />\nThus to the Self-existent spake:<br />\n“Who lops the tree his care has reared<br />\nWhen golden fruit has first appeared?<br />\nNot thus, O Brahmá, deal with one<br />\nDescended from thine own dear son.971<br />\nStill thou, O Lord, thy word must keep,<br />\nHe may not die, but let him sleep.<br />\nYet fix a time for him to break<br />\n971Pulastya was the son of Brahmá and father of Viśravas or Paulastya the<br />\nfather of Rávaṇ and Kumbhakarṇa.<br />\n1668<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe chains of slumber and awake.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Brahmá made reply;<br />\n“Six months in slumber shall he lie<br />\nAnd then arising for a day<br />\nShall cast the numbing bonds away.”<br />\nNow Rávaṇ in his doubt and dread<br />\nHas roused the monster from his bed,<br />\nWho comes in this the hour of need<br />\nOn slaughtered Vánars flesh to feed.<br />\nEach Vánar, when his awe-struck eyes<br />\nBehold the monstrous chieftain, flies.<br />\nWith hopeful words their minds deceive,<br />\nAnd let our trembling hosts believe<br />\nThey see no giant, but, displayed,<br />\nA lifeless engine deftly made.”<br />\nThen Ráma called to Níla: “Haste,<br />\nLet troops near every gate be placed,<br />\nAnd, armed with fragments of the rock<br />\nAnd trees, each lane and alley block.”<br />\n[473]<br />\nThus Ráma spoke: the chief obeyed,<br />\nAnd swift the Vánars stood arrayed,<br />\nAs when the black clouds their battle form,<br />\nThe summit of a hill to storm.<br />\nCanto LXII. Rávan\'s Request.<br />\nCanto LXII. Rávan\'s Request.<br />\n1669<br />\nAlong bright Lanká\'s royal road<br />\nThe giant, roused from slumber, strode,<br />\nWhile from the houses on his head<br />\nA rain of fragrant flowers was shed.<br />\nHe reached the monarch\'s gate whereon<br />\nRich gems and golden fretwork shone.<br />\nThrough court and corridor that shook<br />\nBeneath his tread his way he took,<br />\nAnd stood within the chamber where<br />\nHis brother sat in dark despair.<br />\nBut sudden, at the grateful sight<br />\nThe monarch\'s eye again grew bright.<br />\nHe started up, forgot his fear,<br />\nAnd drew his giant brother near.<br />\nThe younger pressed the elder\'s feet<br />\nAnd paid the King observance meet,<br />\nThen cried: “O Monarch, speak thy will,<br />\nAnd let my care thy word fulfil.<br />\nWhat sudden terror and dismay<br />\nHave burst the bonds in which I lay?”<br />\nFierce flashed the flame from Rávaṇ\'s eye,<br />\nAs thus in wrath he made reply:<br />\n“Fair time, I ween, for sleep is this,<br />\nTo lull thy soul in tranquil bliss,<br />\nUnheeding, in oblivion drowned,<br />\nThe dangers that our lives surround.<br />\nBrave Ráma, Daśaratha\'s son,<br />\nA passage o\'er the sea has won,<br />\nAnd, with the Vánar monarch\'s aid,<br />\nRound Lanká\'s walls his hosts arrayed.<br />\nThough never in the deadly field<br />\nMy Rákshas troops were known to yield,<br />\nThe bravest of the giant train<br />\n1670<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHave fallen by the Vánars slain.<br />\nHence comes my fear. O fierce and brave,<br />\nGo forth, our threatened Lanká save.<br />\nGo forth, a dreadful vengeance take:<br />\nFor this, O chief, I bade thee wake.<br />\nThe Gods and trembling fiends have felt<br />\nThe furious blows thine arm has dealt.<br />\nEarth has no warrior, heaven has none<br />\nTo match thy might, Paulastya\'s son.”<br />\nCanto LXIII. Kumbhakarna\'s Boast.<br />\nThen Kumbhakarṇa laughed aloud<br />\nAnd cried; “O Monarch, once so proud,<br />\nWe warned thee, but thou wouldst not hear;<br />\nAnd now the fruits of sin appear.<br />\nWe warned thee, I, thy nobles, all<br />\nWho loved thee, in thy council hall.<br />\nThose sovereigns who with blinded eyes<br />\nNeglect the foe their hearts despise,<br />\nSoon, falling from their high estate<br />\nBring on themselves the stroke of fate.<br />\nAccept at length, thy life to save,<br />\nThe counsel sage Vibhishaṇ gave,<br />\nThe prudent counsel spurned before,<br />\nAnd Sítá to her lord restore.”972<br />\n972I omit a tedious sermon on the danger of rashness and the advantages of<br />\nprudence, sufficient to irritate a less passionate hearer than Rávaṇ.<br />\nCanto LXIII. Kumbhakarna\'s Boast.<br />\n1671<br />\nThe monarch frowned, by passion moved<br />\nAnd thus in angry words reproved:<br />\n“Wilt thou thine elder brother school,<br />\nForgetful of the ancient rule<br />\nThat bids thee treat him as the sage<br />\nWho guides thee with the lore of age?<br />\nThink on the dangers of the day,<br />\nNor idly throw thy words away:<br />\nIf, led astray, by passion stirred,<br />\nI in the pride of power have erred;<br />\nIf deeds of old were done amiss,<br />\nNo time for vain reproach is this.<br />\nUp, brother; let thy loving care<br />\nThe errors of thy king repair.”<br />\nTo calm his wrath, his soul to ease,<br />\nThe younger spake in words like these:<br />\n“Yea, from our bosoms let us cast<br />\nAll idle sorrow for the past.<br />\nLet grief and anger be repressed:<br />\nAgain be firm and self-possessed.<br />\nThis day, O Monarch, shalt thou see<br />\nThe Vánar legions turn and flee,<br />\nAnd Ráma and his brother slain<br />\nWith their hearts\' blood shall dye the plain.<br />\nYea, if the God who rules the dead,<br />\nAnd Varuṇ their battalions led;<br />\nIf Indra with the Storm-Gods came<br />\nAgainst me, and the Lord of Flame,<br />\nStill would I fight with all and slay<br />\nThy banded foes, my King, to-day.<br />\nIf Raghu\'s son this day withstand<br />\nThe blow of mine uplifted hand,<br />\nDeep in his breast my darts shall sink,<br />\n1672<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd torrents of his life-blood drink.<br />\nO fear not, in my promise trust:<br />\nThis arm shall lay him in the dust,<br />\nShall leave the fierce Sugríva dyed<br />\nWith gore, and Lakshmaṇ by his side,<br />\nAnd strike the great Hanúmán down,<br />\nThe spoiler of our glorious town.”973<br />\n[474]<br />\nCanto LXIV. Mahodar\'s Speech.<br />\nHe ceased: and when his lips were closed<br />\nMahodar thus his rede opposed:<br />\n“Why wilt thou shame thy noble birth<br />\nAnd speak like one of little worth?<br />\nWhy boast thee thus in youthful pride<br />\nRejecting wisdom for thy guide?<br />\nHow will thy single arm oppose<br />\nThe victor of a thousand foes,<br />\nWho proved in Janasthán his might<br />\nAnd slew the rovers of the night?<br />\nThe remnant of those legions, they<br />\nWho saw his power that fatal day,<br />\nNow in this leaguered city dread<br />\nThe mighty chief from whom they fled.<br />\nAnd wouldst thou meet the lord of men,<br />\nBeard the great lion in his den,<br />\n973The Bengal recension assigns a very different speech to Kumbhakarṇa and<br />\nmakeshimsaythatNáradthemessengeroftheGodshadformerlytoldhimthat<br />\nVishṇu himself incarnate as Daśaratha\'s son should come to destroy Rávaṇ.<br />\nCanto LXIV. Mahodar\'s Speech.<br />\n1673<br />\nAnd, when thine eyes are open, break<br />\nThe slumber of a deadly snake?<br />\nWho may an equal battle wage<br />\nWith him, so awful in his rage,<br />\nFierce as the God of Death whom none<br />\nMay vanquish, Daśaratha\'s son?<br />\nBut, Rávaṇ, shall the lady still<br />\nRefuse compliance with thy will?<br />\nNo, listen, King, to this design<br />\nWhich soon shall make the captive thine.<br />\nThis day through Lanká\'s streets proclaim<br />\nThat four of us974of highest fame<br />\nWith Kumbhakarṇa at our head<br />\nWill strike the son of Raghu dead.<br />\nForth to the battle will we go<br />\nAnd prove our prowess on the foe.<br />\nThen, if our bold attempt succeed,<br />\nNo further plans thy hopes will need.<br />\nBut if in vain our warriors strive,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s son be left alive,<br />\nWe will return, and, wounded sore,<br />\nOur armour stained with gouts of gore,<br />\nWill show the shafts that rent each frame,<br />\nKeen arrows marked with Ráma\'s name,<br />\nAnd say we giants have devoured<br />\nThe princes whom our might o\'erpowered.<br />\nThen let the joyful tidings spread<br />\nThat Raghu\'s royal sons are dead.<br />\nTo all around thy pleasure show,<br />\nGold, pearls, and precious robes, bestow.<br />\nGay garlands round the portals twine,<br />\nEnjoy the banquet and the wine.<br />\n974Mahodar, Dwijihva, Sanhráda, and Vitardan.<br />\n1674<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen go, the scornful lady seek,<br />\nAnd woo her when her heart is weak.<br />\nRich robes and gold and gems display,<br />\nAnd gently wile her grief away.<br />\nThen will she feel her hopeless state,<br />\nWidowed, forlorn, and desolate;<br />\nKnow that on thee her bliss depends,<br />\nFar from her country and her friends;<br />\nThen, her proud spirit overthrown,<br />\nThe lady will be all thine own.”<br />\nCanto LXV. Kumbhakarna\'s Speech.<br />\nBut haughty Kumbhakarṇa spurned<br />\nHis counsel, and to Rávaṇ turned:<br />\n“Thy life from peril will I free<br />\nAnd slay the foe who threatens thee.<br />\nA hero never vaunts in vain,<br />\nLike bellowing clouds devoid of rain,<br />\nNor, Monarch, be thine ear inclined<br />\nTo counsellors of slavish kind,<br />\nWho with mean arts their king mislead<br />\nAnd mar each gallant plan and deed.<br />\nO, let not words like his beguile<br />\nThe glorious king of Lanká\'s isle.”<br />\nCanto LXV. Kumbhakarna\'s Speech.<br />\n1675<br />\nThus scornful Kumbhakarṇa cried,<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ with a laugh replied:<br />\n“Mahodar fears and fain would shun<br />\nThe battle with Ikshváku\'s son.<br />\nOf all my giant warriors, who<br />\nIs strong as thou, and brave and true?<br />\nRide, conqueror, to the battle ride,<br />\nAnd tame the foeman\'s senseless pride.<br />\nGo forth like Yáma to the field,<br />\nAnd let thine arm thy trident wield.<br />\nScared by the lightning of thine eye<br />\nThe Vánar hosts will turn and fly;<br />\nAnd Ráma, when he sees thee near,<br />\nWith trembling heart will own his fear.”<br />\nThe champion heard, and, well content,<br />\nForth from the hall his footsteps bent.<br />\nHe grasped his spear, the foeman\'s dread,<br />\nBlack iron all, both shaft and head,<br />\nWhich, dyed in many a battle, bore<br />\nGreat spots of slaughtered victims\' gore.<br />\nThe king upon his neck had thrown<br />\nThe jewelled chain which graced his own.<br />\nAnd garlands of delicious scent<br />\nAbout his limbs for ornament.<br />\nAround his arms gay bracelets clung,<br />\nAnd pendants in his ears were hung.<br />\nAdorned with gold, about his waist<br />\nHis coat of mail was firmly braced,<br />\nAnd like Náráyaṇ975or the God<br />\nWho rules the sky he proudly trod.<br />\nBehind him went a mighty throng<br />\nOf giant warriors tall and strong,<br />\n[475]<br />\n975A name of Vishṇu.<br />\n1676<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nOn elephants of noblest breeds.<br />\nWith cars, with camels, and with steeds:<br />\nAnd, armed with spear and axe and sword<br />\nWere fain to battle for their lord.976<br />\nCanto LXVI. Kumbhakarna\'s Sally.<br />\nIn pomp and pride of warlike state<br />\nThe giant passed the city gate.<br />\nHe raised his voice: the hills, the shore<br />\nOf Lanká\'s sea returned the roar.<br />\nThe Vánars saw the chief draw nigh<br />\nWhom not the ruler of the sky,<br />\nNor Yáma, monarch of the dead,<br />\nMight vanquish, and affrighted fled.<br />\nWhen royal Angad, Báli\'s son,<br />\nSaw the scared Vánars turn and run,<br />\nUndaunted still he kept his ground,<br />\nAnd shouted as he gazed around:<br />\n“O Nala, Níla, stay nor let<br />\nYour souls your generous worth forget,<br />\nO Kumud and Gaváksha, why<br />\nLike base-born Vánars will ye fly?<br />\nTurn, turn, nor shame your order thus:<br />\nThis giant is no match for us”<br />\n976There is so much commonplace repetition in these Sallies of the Rákshas<br />\nchieftains that omissions are frequently necessary. The usual ill omens attend<br />\nthesallyofKumbhakarṇa, andtheCantoendswithadescriptionoftheterrified<br />\nVánars\' flight which is briefly repeated in different words at the beginning of<br />\nthe next Canto.<br />\nCanto LXVI. Kumbhakarna\'s Sally.<br />\n1677<br />\nThey heard his voice: the flight was stayed;<br />\nAgain for war they stood arrayed,<br />\nAnd hurled upon the foe a shower<br />\nOf mountain peaks and trees in flower.<br />\nStill on his limbs their missiles rained:<br />\nUnmoved, their blows he still sustained,<br />\nAnd seemed unconscious of the stroke<br />\nWhen rocks against his body broke.<br />\nFierce as the flame when woods are dry<br />\nHe charged with fury in his eye.<br />\nLike trees consumed with fervent heat<br />\nThey fell beneath the giant\'s feet.<br />\nSome o\'er the ground, dyed red with gore,<br />\nFled wild with terror to the shore,<br />\nAnd, deeming that all hope was lost,<br />\nRan to the bridge they erst had crossed.<br />\nSome clomb the trees their lives to save,<br />\nSome sought the mountain and the cave;<br />\nSome hid them in the bosky dell,<br />\nAnd there in deathlike slumber fell.<br />\nWhen Angad saw the chieftains fly<br />\nHe called them with a mighty cry:<br />\n“Once more, O Vánars, charge once more,<br />\nOn to the battle as before.<br />\nIn all her compass earth has not,<br />\nTo hide you safe, one secret spot.<br />\nWhat! leave your arms? each nobler dame<br />\nWill scorn her consort for the shame.<br />\nThis blot upon your names efface,<br />\nAnd keep your valour from disgrace.<br />\nStay, chieftains; wherefore will ye run,<br />\nA band of warriors scared by one?”<br />\n1678<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nScarce would they hear: they would not stay,<br />\nAnd basely spoke in wild dismay:<br />\n“Have we not fought, and fought in vain<br />\nHave we not seen our mightiest slain?<br />\nThe giant\'s matchless force we fear,<br />\nAnd fly because our lives are dear.”<br />\nBut Báli\'s son with gentle art<br />\nDispelled their dread and cheered each heart.<br />\nThey turned and formed and waited still<br />\nObedient to the prince\'s will.<br />\nCanto LXVII. Kumbhakarna\'s Death.<br />\nThus from their flight the Vánars turned,<br />\nAnd every heart for battle burned,<br />\nDetermined on the spot to die<br />\nOr gain a warrior\'s meed on high.<br />\nAgain the Vánars stooped to seize<br />\nTheir weapons, rocks and fallen trees;<br />\nAgain the deadly fight began,<br />\nAnd fiercely at the giant ran.<br />\nUnmoved the monster kept his place:<br />\nHe raised on high his awful mace,<br />\nWhirled the huge weapon round his head<br />\nAnd laid the foremost Vánars dead.<br />\nEight thousand fell bedewed with gore,<br />\nThen sank and died seven hundred more.<br />\nThen thirty, twenty, ten, or eight<br />\nAt each fierce onset met their fate,<br />\nAnd fast the fallen were devoured<br />\nLike snakes by Garuḍ\'s beak o\'erpowered.<br />\nCanto LXVII. Kumbhakarna\'s Death.<br />\n1679<br />\nThen Dwivid from the Vánar van,<br />\nArmed with an uptorn mountain, ran,<br />\nLike a huge cloud when fierce winds blow,<br />\nAnd charged amain the mountain foe.<br />\nWith wondrous force the hill he threw:<br />\nO\'er Kumbhakarṇa\'s head it flew,<br />\nAnd falling on his host afar<br />\nCrushed many a giant, steed, and car.<br />\nRocks, trees, by fierce Hanúmán sped,<br />\nRained fast on Kumbhakarṇa\'s head.<br />\nWhose spear each deadlier missile stopped,<br />\nAnd harmless on the plain it dropped.<br />\n[476]<br />\nThen with his furious eyes aglow<br />\nThe giant rushed upon the foe,<br />\nWhere, with a woody hill upheaved,<br />\nHanúmán\'s might his charge received.<br />\nThrough his vast frame the giant felt<br />\nThe angry blow Hanúmán dealt.<br />\nHe reeled a moment, sore distressed,<br />\nThen smote the Vánar on the breast,<br />\nAs when the War-God\'s furious stroke<br />\nThrough Krauncha\'s hill a passage broke.977<br />\nFierce was the blow, and deep and wide<br />\nThe rent: with crimson torrents dyed,<br />\nHanúmán, maddened by the pain,<br />\nRoared like a cloud that brings the rain,<br />\nAnd from each Rákshas throat rang out<br />\nLoud clamour and exultant shout.<br />\nThen Níla hurled with mustered might<br />\nThe fragment of a mountain height;<br />\n977KártikeyatheGodofWar, andtheheroandincarnationParaśurámaaresaid<br />\nto have cut a passage through the mountain Krauncha, a part of the Himálayan<br />\nrange, in the same way as the immense gorge that splits the Pyrenees under the<br />\ntowers of Marboré was cloven at one blow of Roland\'s sword Durandal.<br />\n1680<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nNor would the rock the foe have missed,<br />\nBut Kumbhakarṇa raised his fist<br />\nAnd smote so fiercely that the mass<br />\nFell crushed to powder on the grass.<br />\nFive chieftains of the Vánar race978<br />\nCharged Kumbhakarṇa face to face,<br />\nAnd his huge frame they wildly beat<br />\nWith rocks and trees and hands and feet.<br />\nRound Rishabh first the giant wound<br />\nHis arms and hurled him to the ground,<br />\nWhere speechless, senseless, wounded sore,<br />\nHe lay his face besmeared with gore.<br />\nThen Níla with his fist he slew,<br />\nAnd Śarabh with his knee o\'erthrew,<br />\nNor could Gaváksha\'s strength withstand<br />\nThe force of his terrific hand.<br />\nAt Gandhamádan\'s eager call<br />\nRushed thousands to avenge their fall,<br />\nNor ceased those Vánars to assail<br />\nWith knee and fist and tooth and nail.<br />\nAround his foes the giant threw<br />\nHis mighty arms, and nearer drew<br />\nThe captives subject to his will:<br />\nThen snatched them up and ate his fill.<br />\nThere was no respite then, no pause:<br />\nFast gaped and closed his hell-like jaws:<br />\nYet, prisoned in that gloomy cave,<br />\nSome Vánars still their lives could save:<br />\nSome through his nostrils found a way,<br />\nSome through his ears resought the day.<br />\nLike Indra with his thunder, like<br />\nThe God of Death in act to strike,<br />\n978Rishabh, Śarabh, Níla, Gaváksha, and Gandhamádan.<br />\nCanto LXVII. Kumbhakarna\'s Death.<br />\n1681<br />\nThe giant seized his ponderous spear,<br />\nAnd charged the foe in swift career.<br />\nBefore his might the Vánars fell,<br />\nNor could their hosts his charge repel.<br />\nThen trembling, nor ashamed to run,<br />\nThey turned and fled to Raghu\'s son.<br />\nWhen Báli\'s warrior son979beheld<br />\nTheir flight, his heart with fury swelled.<br />\nHe rushed, with his terrific shout,<br />\nTo meet the foe and stay the rout.<br />\nHe came, he hurled a mountain peak,<br />\nAnd smote the giant on the cheek.<br />\nHis ponderous spear the giant threw:<br />\nFierce was the cast, the aim was true;<br />\nBut Angad, trained in war and tried,<br />\nSaw ere it came, and leapt aside.<br />\nThen with his open hand he smote<br />\nThe giant on the chest and throat.<br />\nThat blow the giant scarce sustained;<br />\nBut sense and strength were soon regained.<br />\nWith force which nothing might resist<br />\nHe caught the Vánar by the wrist,<br />\nWhirled him, as if in pastime, round,<br />\nAnd dashed him senseless on the ground.<br />\nThere low on earth his foe lay crushed:<br />\nAt King Sugríva next he rushed,<br />\nWho, waiting for the charge, stood still,<br />\nAnd heaved on high a shattered hill,<br />\nHe looked on Kumbhakarṇa dyed<br />\nWith streams of blood, and fiercely cried:<br />\n“Great glory has thine arm achieved,<br />\n979Angad.<br />\nThe text calls him the son of the son of him who holds the<br />\nthunderbolt, i.e. the grandson of Indra.<br />\n1682<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd thousands of their lives bereaved.<br />\nNow leave a while thy meaner foes,<br />\nAnd brook the hill Sugríva throws.”<br />\nHe spoke, and hurled the mass he held:<br />\nThe giant\'s chest the stroke repelled,<br />\nThen on the Vánars fell despair,<br />\nAnd Rákshas clamour filled the air.<br />\nThe giant raised his arm, and fast<br />\nCame the tremendous980spear he cast.<br />\nHanúmán caught it as it flew,<br />\nAnd knapped it on his knee in two.<br />\nThe giant saw the broken spear:<br />\nHis clouded eye confessed his fear;<br />\nYet at Sugríva\'s head he sent<br />\nA peak from Lanká\'s mountain rent.<br />\n[477]<br />\nThe rushing mass no might could stay:<br />\nSugríva fell and senseless lay.<br />\nThe giant stooped his foe to seize,<br />\nAnd bore him thence, as bears the breeze<br />\nA cloud in autumn through the sky.<br />\nHe heard the sad Immortals sigh,<br />\nAnd shouts of triumph long and loud<br />\nWent up from all the Rákshas crowd.<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s gate the giant passed<br />\nHolding his struggling captive fast,<br />\nWhile from each terrace, house, and tower<br />\nFell on his haughty head a shower<br />\nOf fragrant scent and flowery rain,<br />\nBlossoms and leaves and scattered grain.981<br />\n980Literally, weighing a thousand bháras. The bhára is a weight equal to<br />\n2000 palas, the pala is equal to four karśas, and the karśa to 11375 French<br />\ngrammes or about 176 grains troy. The spear seems very light for a warrior of<br />\nKumbhakarṇa\'s strength and stature and the work performed with it.<br />\n981The custom of throwing parched or roasted grain, with wreaths and flowers,<br />\nCanto LXVII. Kumbhakarna\'s Death.<br />\n1683<br />\nBy slow degrees the Vánars\' lord<br />\nFelt life and sense and strength restored.<br />\nHe heard the giants\' joyful boast:<br />\nHe thought upon his Vánar host.<br />\nHis teeth and feet he fiercely plied,<br />\nAnd bit and rent the giant\'s side,<br />\nWho, mad with pain and smeared with gore,<br />\nHurled to the ground the load he bore.<br />\nRegardless of a storm of blows<br />\nSwift to the sky the Vánar rose,<br />\nThen lightly like a flying ball<br />\nHigh overleapt the city wall,<br />\nAnd joyous for deliverance won<br />\nRegained the side of Raghu\'s son.<br />\nAnd Kumbhakarṇa, mad with hate<br />\nAnd fury, sallied from the gate,<br />\nThe carnage of the foe renewed<br />\nAnd filled his maw with gory food.<br />\nSlaying, with headlong frenzy blind,<br />\nBoth Vánar foes and giant kind.<br />\nNor would Sumitrá\'s valiant son982<br />\nThe might of Kumbhakarṇa shun,<br />\nWho through his harness felt the sting<br />\nOf keen shafts loosened from the string.<br />\nHis heart confessed the warrior\'s power,<br />\nAnd, bleeding from the ceaseless shower<br />\nThat smote him on the chest and side,<br />\nWith words like these the giant cried:<br />\n“Well fought, well fought, Sumitrá\'s son;<br />\nEternal glory hast thou won,<br />\non the heads of kings and conquerors when they go forth to battle and return is<br />\nfrequently mentioned by Indian poets.<br />\n982Lakshmaṇ.<br />\n1684<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nFor thou in desperate fight hast met<br />\nThe victor never conquered yet,<br />\nWhom, borne on huge Airávat\'s back,<br />\nE\'en Indra trembles to attack.<br />\nGo, son of Queen Sumitrá, go:<br />\nThy valour and thy strength I know.<br />\nNow all my hope and earnest will<br />\nIs Ráma in the fight to kill.<br />\nLet him beneath my weapons fall,<br />\nAnd I will meet and conquer all.”<br />\nThe chieftain, of Sumitrá born,<br />\nMade answer as he laughed in scorn:<br />\n“Yea, thou hast won a victor\'s fame<br />\nFrom trembling Gods and Indra\'s shame.<br />\nThere waits thee now a mightier foe<br />\nWhose prowess thou hast yet to know.<br />\nThere, famous in a hundred lands,<br />\nRáma the son of Raghu stands.”<br />\nStraight at the king the giant sped,<br />\nAnd earth was shaken at his tread.<br />\nHis bow the hero grasped and strained,<br />\nAnd deadly shafts in torrents rained.<br />\nAs Kumbhakarṇa felt each stroke<br />\nFrom his huge mouth burst fire and smoke;<br />\nHis hands were loosed in mortal pain<br />\nAnd dropped his weapons on the plain.<br />\nThough reft of spear and sword and mace<br />\nNo terror changed his haughty face.<br />\nWith heavy hands he rained his blows<br />\nAnd smote to death a thousand foes.<br />\nWhere\'er the furious monster strode<br />\nWhile down his limbs the red blood flowed<br />\nCanto LXVII. Kumbhakarna\'s Death.<br />\n1685<br />\nLike torrents down a mountain\'s side,<br />\nVánars and bears and giants died.<br />\nHigh o\'er his head a rock he swung,<br />\nAnd the huge mass at Ráma flung.<br />\nBut Ráma\'s arrows bright as flame<br />\nShattered the mountain as it came.<br />\nThen Raghu\'s son, his eyes aglow<br />\nWith burning anger, charged the foe,<br />\nAnd as his bow he strained and tried<br />\nWith fearful clang the cord replied.<br />\nWroth at the bowstring\'s threatening clang<br />\nTo meet his foe the giant sprang.<br />\nHigh towering with enormous frame<br />\nHuge as a wood-crowned hill he came.<br />\nBut Ráma firm and self-possessed<br />\nIn words like these the foe addressed:<br />\n“Draw near, O Rákshas lord, draw near,<br />\nNor turn thee from the fight in fear.<br />\nThou meetest Ráma face to face,<br />\nDestroyer of the giant race.<br />\nCome, fight, and thou shalt feel this hour,<br />\nLaid low in death, thy conqueror\'s power.”<br />\nHe ceased: and mad with wrath and pride<br />\nThe giant champion thus replied:<br />\n“Come thou to me and thou shalt find<br />\nA foeman of a different kind.<br />\nNo Khara, no Virádha,—thou<br />\nHast met a mightier warrior now.<br />\nThe strength of Kumbhakarṇa fear,<br />\nAnd dread the iron mace I rear<br />\nThis mace in days of yore subdued<br />\nThe Gods and Dánav multitude.<br />\nProve, lion of Ikshváku\'s line,<br />\n1686<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThy power upon these limbs of mine.<br />\nThen, after trial, shalt thou bleed,<br />\nAnd with thy flesh my hunger feed.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Ráma, undismayed,<br />\nUpon his cord those arrows laid<br />\n[478]<br />\nWhich pierced the stately Sál trees through,<br />\nAnd Báli king of Vánars slew.<br />\nThey flew, they smote, but smote in vain<br />\nThose mighty limbs that felt no pain.<br />\nThen Ráma sent with surest aim<br />\nThe dart that bore the Wind-God\'s name.<br />\nThe missile from the giant tore<br />\nHis huge arm and the mace it bore,<br />\nWhich crushed the Vánars where it fell:<br />\nAnd dire was Kumbhakarṇa\'s yell.<br />\nThe giant seized a tree, and then<br />\nRushed madly at the lord of men.<br />\nAnother dart, Lord Indra\'s own,<br />\nTo meet his furious onset thrown,<br />\nHis left arm from the shoulder lopped,<br />\nAnd like a mountain peak it dropped.<br />\nThen from the bow of Ráma sped<br />\nTwo arrows, each with crescent head;<br />\nAnd, winged with might which naught could stay,<br />\nThey cut the giant\'s legs away.<br />\nThey fell, and awful was the sound<br />\nAs those vast columns shook the ground;<br />\nAnd sky and sea and hill and cave<br />\nIn echoing roars their answer gave.<br />\nThen from his side the hero drew<br />\nA dart that like the tempest flew—<br />\nNo deadlier shaft has ever flown<br />\nThan that which Indra called his own—<br />\nCanto LXVIII. Rávan\'s Lament.<br />\n1687<br />\nNor could the giant\'s mail-armed neck<br />\nThe fury of the missile check.<br />\nThrough skin and flesh and bone it smote<br />\nAnd rent asunder head and throat.<br />\nDown with the sound of thunder rolled<br />\nThe head adorned with rings of gold,<br />\nAnd crushed to pieces in its fall<br />\nA gate, a tower, a massive wall.<br />\nHurled to the sea the body fell:<br />\nTerrific was the ocean\'s swell,<br />\nNor could swift fin and nimble leap<br />\nSave the crushed creatures of the deep.<br />\nThus he who plagued in impious pride<br />\nThe Gods and Bráhmans fought and died.<br />\nGlad were the hosts of heaven, and long<br />\nThe air re-echoed with their song.983<br />\nCanto LXVIII. Rávan\'s Lament.<br />\n983IhaveabridgedthislongCantobyomittingsomevainrepetitions, common-<br />\nplace epithets and similes and other unimportant matter. There are many verses<br />\nin this Canto which European scholars would rigidly exclude as unmistakeably<br />\nthe work of later rhapsodists. Even the reverent Commentator whom I follow<br />\nventures to remark once or twice: Ayam śloka prak shipta iti bahavah, “This<br />\nśloka or verse is in the opinion of many interpolated.”<br />\n1688<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThey ran to Rávaṇ in his hall<br />\nAnd told him of his brother\'s fall:<br />\n“Fierce as the God who rules the dead,<br />\nUpon the routed foe he fed;<br />\nAnd, victor for a while, at length<br />\nFell slain by Ráma\'s matchless strength.<br />\nNow like a mighty hill in size<br />\nHis mangled trunk extended lies,<br />\nAnd where he fell, a bleeding mass,<br />\nBlocks Lanká\'s gate that none may pass.”<br />\nThe monarch heard: his strength gave way;<br />\nAnd fainting on the ground he lay.<br />\nGrieved at the giants\' mournful tale,<br />\nLong, shrill was Atikáya\'s wail;<br />\nAnd Triśirás in sorrow bowed<br />\nHis triple head, and wept aloud.<br />\nMahodar, Mahápárśva shed<br />\nHot tears and mourned their brother dead.<br />\nAt length, his wandering sense restored,<br />\nIn loud lament cried Lanká\'s lord:<br />\n“Ah chief, for might and valour famed,<br />\nWhose arm the haughty foeman tamed,<br />\nForsaking me, thy friends and all,<br />\nWhy hast thou fled to Yáma\'s hall?<br />\nWhy hast thou fled to taste no more<br />\nThe slaughtered foeman\'s flesh and gore?<br />\nAh me, my life is done to-day:<br />\nMy better arm is lopped away.<br />\nWhereon in danger I relied,<br />\nAnd, fearless, Gods and fiends defied.<br />\nHow could a shaft from Ráma\'s bow<br />\nThe matchless giant overthrow,<br />\nWhose iron frame so strong of yore<br />\nThe crushing bolt of Indra bore?<br />\nCanto LXIX. Narántak\'s Death.<br />\n1689<br />\nThis day the Gods and sages meet<br />\nAnd triumph at their foe\'s defeat.<br />\nThis day the Vánar chiefs will boast<br />\nAnd, with new ardour fired, their host<br />\nIn fiercer onset will assail<br />\nOur city, and the ramparts scale.<br />\nWhat care I for a monarch\'s name,<br />\nFor empire, or the Maithil dame?<br />\nWhat joy can power and riches give,<br />\nOr life that I should care to live,<br />\nUnless this arm in mortal fray<br />\nThe slayer of my brother slay?<br />\nFor me, of Kumbhakarṇa reft,<br />\nDeath is the only solace left;<br />\nAnd I will seek, o\'erwhelmed with woes,<br />\nThe realm to which my brother goes.<br />\nAh me ill-minded, not to take<br />\nHis counsel when Vibhishaṇ spake<br />\nWhen he this evil day foretold<br />\nMy foolish heart was overbold:<br />\nI drove my sage adviser hence,<br />\nAnd reap the fruits of mine offence.”<br />\n[479]<br />\nCanto LXIX. Narántak\'s Death.<br />\n1690<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nPierced to the soul by sorrow\'s sting<br />\nThus wailed the evil-hearted king.<br />\nThen Triśirás stood forth and cried:<br />\n“Yea, father, he has fought and died,<br />\nOur bravest: and the loss is sore:<br />\nBut rouse thee, and lament no more.<br />\nHast thou not still thy coat of mail,<br />\nThy bow and shafts which never fail?<br />\nA thousand asses draw thy car<br />\nWhich roars like thunder heard afar.<br />\nThy valour and thy warrior skill,<br />\nThy God-given strength, are left thee still.<br />\nUnarmed, thy matchless might subdued<br />\nThe Gods and Dánav multitude.<br />\nArmed with thy glorious weapons, how<br />\nShall Raghu\'s son oppose thee now?<br />\nOr, sire, within thy palace stay;<br />\nAnd I myself will sweep away<br />\nThy foes, like Garuḍ when he makes<br />\nA banquet of the writhing snakes.<br />\nSoon Raghu\'s son shall press the plain,<br />\nAs Narak984fell by Vishṇu slain,<br />\nOr Śambar985in rebellious pride<br />\nWho met the King of Gods986and died.”<br />\nThe monarch heard: his courage grew,<br />\nAnd life and spirit came anew.<br />\nDevántak and Narántak heard,<br />\nAnd their fierce souls with joy were stirred;<br />\n984Narak was a demon, son of Bhúmi or Earth, who haunted the city Prágjy-<br />\notisha.<br />\n985Śambar was a demon of drought.<br />\n986Indra.<br />\nCanto LXIX. Narántak\'s Death.<br />\n1691<br />\nAnd Atikáya987burned to fight,<br />\nAnd heard the summons with delight;<br />\nWhile from the rest loud rang the cry,<br />\n“I too will fight,” “and I,” “and I.”<br />\nThe joyous king his sons embraced,<br />\nWith gold and chains and jewels graced,<br />\nAnd sent them forth with stirring speech<br />\nOf benison and praise to each.<br />\nForth from the gate the princes sped<br />\nAnd ranged for war the troops they led.<br />\nThe Vánar legions charged anew,<br />\nAnd trees and rocks for missiles flew.<br />\nThey saw Narántak\'s mighty form<br />\nBorne on a steed that mocked the storm.<br />\nTo check his charge in vain they strove:<br />\nStraight through their host his way he clove,<br />\nAs springs a dolphin through the tide:<br />\nAnd countless Vánars fell and died,<br />\nAnd mangled limbs and corpses lay<br />\nTo mark the chief\'s ensanguined way,<br />\nSugríva saw them fall or fly<br />\nWhen fierce Narántak\'s steed was nigh,<br />\nAnd marked the giant where he sped<br />\nO\'er heaps of dying or of dead.<br />\nHe bade the royal Angad face<br />\nThat bravest chief of giant race.<br />\nAs springs the sun from clouds dispersed,<br />\nSo Angad from the Vánars burst.<br />\nNo weapon for the fight he bore<br />\nSave nails and teeth, and sought no more.<br />\n“Leave, giant chieftain,” thus he spoke,<br />\n987Devántak (Slayer of Gods) Narántak (Slayer of Men) Atikáya (Huge of<br />\nFrame) and Triśirás (Three Headed) were all sons of Rávaṇ.<br />\n1692<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Leave foes unworthy of thy stroke,<br />\nAnd bend against a nobler heart<br />\nThe terrors of thy deadly dart.”<br />\nNarántak heard the words he spake:<br />\nFast breathing, like an angry snake,<br />\nWith bloody teeth his lips he pressed<br />\nAnd hurled his dart at Angad\'s breast.<br />\nTrue was the aim and fierce the stroke,<br />\nYet on his breast the missile broke.<br />\nThen Angad at the giant flew,<br />\nAnd with a blow his courser slew:<br />\nThe fierce hand crushed through flesh and bone,<br />\nAnd steed and rider fell o\'erthrown.<br />\nNarántak\'s eyes with fury blazed:<br />\nHis heavy hand on high he raised<br />\nAnd struck in savage wrath the head<br />\nOf Báli\'s son, who reeled and bled,<br />\nFainted a moment and no more:<br />\nThen stronger, fiercer than before<br />\nSmote with that fist which naught could stay,<br />\nAnd crushed to death the giant lay.<br />\nCanto LXX. The Death Of Trisirás.<br />\nCanto LXX. The Death Of Trisirás.<br />\n1693<br />\nThen raged the Rákshas chiefs, and all<br />\nBurned to avenge Narántak\'s fall.<br />\nDevántak raised his club on high<br />\nAnd rushed at Angad with a cry.<br />\nBehind came Triśirás, and near<br />\nMahodar charged with levelled spear.<br />\nThere Angad stood to fight with three:<br />\nHigh o\'er his head he waved a tree,<br />\nAnd at Devántak, swift and true<br />\nAs Indra\'s flaming bolt, it flew.<br />\nBut, cut by giant shafts in twain,<br />\nWith minished force it flew in vain.<br />\nA shower of trees and blocks of stone<br />\nFrom Angad\'s hand was fiercely thrown;<br />\nBut well his club Devántak plied<br />\nAnd turned each rock and tree aside.<br />\nNor yet, by three such foes assailed,<br />\n[480]<br />\nThe heart of Angad sank or quailed.<br />\nHe slew the mighty beast that bore<br />\nMahodar: from his head he tore<br />\nA bleeding tusk, and blow on blow<br />\nFell fiercely on his Rákshas foe.<br />\nThe giant reeled, but strength regained,<br />\nAnd furious strokes on Angad rained,<br />\nWho, wounded by the storm of blows,<br />\nSank on his knees, but swiftly rose.<br />\nThen Triśirás, as up he sprang,<br />\nDrew his great bow with awful clang,<br />\nAnd fixed three arrows from his sheaf<br />\nFull in the forehead of the chief.<br />\nHanúmán saw, nor long delayed<br />\nTo speed with Níla to his aid,<br />\nWho at the three-faced giant sent<br />\nA peak from Lanká\'s mountain rent.<br />\n1694<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBut Triśirás with certain aim<br />\nShot rapid arrows as it came:<br />\nAnd shivered by their force it broke<br />\nAnd fell to earth with flash and smoke.<br />\nThen as the Wind-God\'s son came nigh,<br />\nDevántak reared his mace on high.<br />\nHanúmán smote him on the head<br />\nAnd stretched the monstrous giant dead.<br />\nFierce Triśirás with fury strained<br />\nHis bow, and showers of arrows rained<br />\nThat smote on Níla\'s side and chest:<br />\nHe sank a moment, sore distressed;<br />\nBut quickly gathered strength to seize<br />\nA mountain with its crown of trees.<br />\nCrushed by the hill, distained with gore,<br />\nMahodar fell to rise no more.<br />\nThen Triśirás raised high his spear<br />\nWhich chilled the trembling foe with fear<br />\nAnd, like a flashing meteor through<br />\nThe air at Hanúmán it flew.<br />\nThe Vánar shunned the threatened stroke,<br />\nAnd with strong hands the weapon broke.<br />\nThe giant drew his glittering blade:<br />\nDire was the wound the weapon made<br />\nDeep in the Vánar\'s ample chest,<br />\nWho, for a moment sore oppressed,<br />\nRaised his broad hand, regaining might,<br />\nAnd struck the rover of the night.<br />\nFierce was the blow: with one wild yell<br />\nLow on the earth the monster fell.<br />\nHanúmán seized his fallen sword<br />\nWhich served no more its senseless lord,<br />\nAnd from the monster triple-necked<br />\nCanto LXXI. Atikáya\'s Death.<br />\n1695<br />\nSmote his huge heads with crowns bedecked.<br />\nThen Mahápárśva burned with ire;<br />\nFierce flashed his eyes with vengeful fire.<br />\nA moment on the dead he gazed,<br />\nThen his black mace aloft was raised,<br />\nAnd down the mass of iron came<br />\nThat struck and shook the Vánar\'s frame.<br />\nHanúmán\'s chest was wellnigh crushed,<br />\nAnd from his mouth red torrents gushed:<br />\nYet served one instant to restore<br />\nHis spirit: from the foe he tore<br />\nHis awful mace, and smote, and laid<br />\nThe giant in the dust dismayed.<br />\nCrushed were his jaws and teeth and eyes:<br />\nBreathless and still he lay as lies<br />\nA summit from a mountain rent<br />\nBy him who rules the firmament.<br />\nCanto LXXI. Atikáya\'s Death.<br />\nBut Atikáya\'s wrath grew high<br />\nTo see his noblest kinsmen die.<br />\nHe, fiercest of the giant race,<br />\nPresuming still on Brahmá\'s grace;<br />\nProud tamer of the Immortals\' pride,<br />\nWhose power and might with Indra\'s vied,<br />\nFor blood and vengeful carnage burned,<br />\nAnd on the foe his fury turned.<br />\nHigh on a car that flashed and glowed<br />\nBright as a thousand suns he rode.<br />\nAround his princely brows was set<br />\n1696<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nA rich bejewelled coronet.<br />\nGold pendants in his ears he wore;<br />\nHe strained and tried the bow he bore,<br />\nAnd ever, as a shaft he aimed,<br />\nHis name and royal race proclaimed.<br />\nScarce might the Vánars brook to hear<br />\nHis clanging bow and voice of fear:<br />\nTo Raghu\'s elder son they fled,<br />\nTheir sure defence in woe and dread.<br />\nThen Ráma bent his eyes afar<br />\nAnd saw the giant in his car<br />\nFast following the flying crowd<br />\nAnd roaring like a rainy cloud.<br />\nHe, with the lust of battle fired,<br />\nTurned to Vibhishaṇ and inquired:<br />\n“Say, who is this, of mountain size,<br />\nThis archer with the lion eyes?<br />\nHis car, which strikes our host with awe,<br />\nA thousand eager coursers draw.<br />\nSurrounded by the flashing spears<br />\nWhich line his car, the chief appears<br />\nLike some huge cloud when lightnings play<br />\nAbout it on a stormy day;<br />\nAnd the great bow he joys to hold<br />\nWhose bended back is bright with gold,<br />\nAs Indra\'s bow makes glad the skies,<br />\nThat best of chariots glorifies.<br />\nO see the sunlike splendour flung<br />\nFrom the great flag above him hung,<br />\nWhere, blazoned with refulgent lines,<br />\nRáhu988the dreadful Dragon shines.<br />\nFull thirty quivers near his side,<br />\n988The demon of eclipse who seizes the Sun and Moon.<br />\nCanto LXXI. Atikáya\'s Death.<br />\n1697<br />\nHis car with shafts is well supplied:<br />\n[481]<br />\nAnd flashing like the light of stars<br />\nGleam his two mighty scimitars.<br />\nSay, best of giants, who is he<br />\nBefore whose face the Vánars flee?”<br />\nThus Ráma spake. Vibhishaṇ eyed<br />\nThe giants\' chief, and thus replied:<br />\n“This Ráma, this is Rávaṇ\'s son:<br />\nHigh fame his youthful might has won.<br />\nHe, best of warriors, bows his ear<br />\nThe wisdom of the wise to hear.<br />\nSupreme is he mid those who know<br />\nThe mastery of sword and bow.<br />\nUnrivalled in the bold attack<br />\nOn elephant\'s or courser\'s back,<br />\nHe knows, beside, each subtler art,<br />\nTo win the foe, to bribe, or part.<br />\nOn him the giant hosts rely,<br />\nAnd fear no ill when he is nigh.<br />\nThis peerless chieftain bears the name<br />\nOf Atikáya huge of frame,<br />\nWhom Dhanyamáliní of yore<br />\nTo Rávaṇ lord of Lanká bore.”<br />\nRoused by his bow-string\'s awful clang,<br />\nTo meet their foes the Vánars sprang.<br />\nArmed with tall trees from Lanká\'s wood,<br />\nAnd rocks and mountain peaks, they stood.<br />\nThe giant\'s arrows, gold-bedecked,<br />\nThe storm of hurtling missiles checked;<br />\nAnd ever on his foemen poured<br />\nFierce tempest from his clanging cord;<br />\nNor could the Vánar chiefs sustain<br />\n1698<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHis shafts\' intolerable rain.<br />\nThey fled: the victor gained the place<br />\nWhere stood the lord of Raghu\'s race,<br />\nAnd cried with voice of thunder: “Lo,<br />\nBorne on my car, with shaft and bow,<br />\nI, champion of the giants, scorn<br />\nTo fight with weaklings humbly born.<br />\nCome forth your bravest, if he dare,<br />\nAnd fight with one who will not spare.”<br />\nForth sprang Sumitrá\'s noble child,989<br />\nAnd strained his ready bow, and smiled;<br />\nAnd giants trembled as the clang<br />\nThrough heaven and earth reëchoing rang.<br />\nThe giant to his string applied<br />\nA pointed shaft, and proudly cried;<br />\n“Turn, turn, Sumitrá\'s son and fly,<br />\nFor terrible as Death am I.<br />\nFly, nor that youthful form oppose,<br />\nUntrained in war, to warriors\' blows.<br />\nWhat! wilt thou waste thy childish breath<br />\nAnd wake the dormant fire of death?<br />\nCast down, rash boy, that useless bow:<br />\nPreserve thy life, uninjured go.”<br />\nHe ceased: and stirred by wrath &amp; pride<br />\nSumitrá\'s noble son replied:<br />\n“By warlike deed, not words alone,<br />\nThe valour of the brave is shown.<br />\nCease with vain boasts my scorn to move,<br />\nAnd with thine arm thy prowess prove.<br />\nBorne on thy car, with sword and bow,<br />\nWith all thine arms, thy valour show.<br />\n989Lakshmaṇ.<br />\nCanto LXXI. Atikáya\'s Death.<br />\n1699<br />\nFight, and my deadly shafts this day<br />\nLow in the dust thy head shall lay,<br />\nAnd, rushing fast in ceaseless flood,<br />\nShall rend thy flesh and drink thy blood.”<br />\nHis giant foe no answer made,<br />\nBut on his string an arrow laid.<br />\nHe raised his arm, the cord he drew,<br />\nAt Lakshmaṇ\'s breast the arrow flew.<br />\nSumitrá\'s son, his foemen\'s dread,<br />\nShot a fleet shaft with crescent head,<br />\nWhich cleft that arrow pointed well,<br />\nAnd harmless to the earth it fell.<br />\nA shower of shafts from Lakshmaṇ\'s bow<br />\nFell fast and furious on the foe<br />\nWho quailed not as the missiles smote<br />\nWith idle force his iron coat.<br />\nThen came the friendly Wind-God near,<br />\nAnd whispered thus in Lakshmaṇ\'s ear:<br />\n“Such shafts as these in vain assail<br />\nThy foe\'s impenetrable mail.<br />\nA more tremendous missile try,<br />\nOr never may the giant die.<br />\nEmploy the mighty spell, and aim<br />\nThe weapon known by Brahmá\'s name.”<br />\nHe ceased; Sumitrá\'s son obeyed:<br />\nOn his great bow the shaft was laid,<br />\nAnd with a roar like thunder, true<br />\nAs Indra\'s flashing bolt, it flew.<br />\nThe giant poured his shafts like rain<br />\nTo check its course, but all in vain.<br />\nWith spear and mace and sword he tried<br />\nTo turn the fiery dart aside.<br />\nWinged with a force which naught could check,<br />\n1700<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIt smote the monster in the neck,<br />\nAnd, sundered from his shoulders, rolled<br />\nTo earth his head and helm of gold.<br />\nCanto LXXII. Rávan\'s Speech.<br />\nThe giants bent, in rage and grief,<br />\nTheir eyes upon the fallen chief:<br />\nThen flying wild with fear and pale<br />\nTo Rávaṇ bore the mournful tale.<br />\nHe heard how Atikáya died,<br />\nThen turned him to his lords, and cried:<br />\n“Where are they now—my bravest—where,<br />\nWise to consult and prompt to dare?<br />\nWhere is Dhúmráksha, skilled to wield<br />\nAll weapons in the battle field?<br />\nAkampan, and Prahasta\'s might,<br />\nAnd Kumbhakarṇa bold in fight?<br />\nThese, these and many a Rákshas more,<br />\nEach master of the arms he bore,<br />\n[482]<br />\nWho every foe in fight o\'erthrew,<br />\nThe victors none could e\'er subdue,<br />\nHave perished by the might of one,<br />\nThe vengeful arm of Raghu\'s son.<br />\nIn vain I cast mine eyes around,<br />\nNo match for Ráma here is found,<br />\nNo chief to stand before that bow<br />\nWhose deadly shafts have caused our woe.<br />\nNow, warriors, to your stations hence;<br />\nProvide ye for the wall\'s defence,<br />\nAnd be the Aśoka garden, where<br />\nCanto LXXIII. Indrajít\'s Victory.<br />\n1701<br />\nThe lady lies, your special care.<br />\nBe every lane and passage barred,<br />\nSet at each gate a chosen guard.<br />\nAnd with your troops, where danger calls,<br />\nBe ready to defend the walls.<br />\nEach movement of the Vánars mark;<br />\nObserve them when the skies grow dark;<br />\nBe ready in the dead of night,<br />\nAnd ere the morning bring the light.<br />\nTaught by our loss we may not scorn<br />\nThese legions of the forest-born.”<br />\nHe ceased: the Rákshas lords obeyed;<br />\nEach at his post his troops arrayed:<br />\nAnd, torn with pangs that pierced him through<br />\nThe monarch from the hall withdrew.<br />\nCanto LXXIII. Indrajít\'s Victory.<br />\nBut Indrajít the fierce and bold<br />\nWith words like these his sire consoled:<br />\n“Dismiss, O King, thy grief and dread,<br />\nAnd be not thus disquieted.<br />\nAgainst this numbing sorrow strive,<br />\nFor Indrajít is yet alive;<br />\nAnd none in battle may withstand<br />\nThe fury of his strong right hand.<br />\nThis day, O sire, thine eyes shall see<br />\nThe sons of Raghu slain by me.”<br />\n1702<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: he bade the king farewell:<br />\nClear, mid the roar of drum and shell,<br />\nThe clash of sword and harness rang<br />\nAs to his car the warrior sprang.<br />\nClose followed by his Rákshas train<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s gate he reached the plain.<br />\nThen down he leapt, and bade a band<br />\nOf giants by the chariot stand:<br />\nThen with due rites, as rules require,<br />\nDid worship to the Lord of Fire.<br />\nThe sacred oil, as texts ordain,<br />\nWith wreaths of scented flowers and grain,<br />\nWithin the flame in order due,<br />\nThat mightiest of the giants threw.<br />\nThere on the ground were spear and blade,<br />\nAnd arrowy leaves and fuel laid;<br />\nAn iron ladle deep and wide,<br />\nAnd robes with sanguine colours dyed.<br />\nBeside him stood a sable goat:<br />\nThe giant seized it by the throat,<br />\nAnd straight from the consuming flame<br />\nAuspicious signs of victory came.<br />\nFor swiftly, curling to the right,<br />\nThe fire leapt up with willing light<br />\nUndimmed by smoky cloud, and, red<br />\nLike gold, upon the offering fed.<br />\nThey brought him, while the flame yet glowed,<br />\nThe dart by Brahmá\'s grace bestowed,<br />\nAnd all the arms he wielded well<br />\nWere charmed with text and holy spell.<br />\nThen fiercer for the fight he burned,<br />\nAnd at the foe his chariot turned,<br />\nWhile all his followers lifting high<br />\nCanto LXXIII. Indrajít\'s Victory.<br />\n1703<br />\nTheir maces charged with furious cry.<br />\nDire, yet more dire the battle grew,<br />\nAs rocks and trees and arrows flew.<br />\nThe giant shot his shafts like rain,<br />\nAnd Vánars fell in myriads slain,<br />\nSugríva, Angad, Níla felt<br />\nThe wounds his hurtling arrows dealt.<br />\nHis shafts the blood of Gaya drank;<br />\nHanúmán reeled and Mainda sank.<br />\nBright as the glances of the sun<br />\nCame the swift darts they could not shun.<br />\nCaught in the arrowy nets he wove,<br />\nIn vain the sons of Raghu strove;<br />\nAnd Ráma, by the darts oppressed,<br />\nHis brother chieftain thus addressed:<br />\n“See, first this giant warrior sends<br />\nDestruction, mid our Vánar friends,<br />\nAnd now his arrows thick and fast<br />\nTheir binding net around us cast.<br />\nTo Brahmá\'s grace the chieftain owes<br />\nThe matchless power and might he shows;<br />\nAnd mortal strength in vain contends<br />\nWith him whom Brahmá\'s self befriends.<br />\nThen let us still with dauntless hearts<br />\nEndure this storm of pelting darts.<br />\nSoon must we sink bereaved of sense;<br />\nAnd then the victor, hurrying hence,<br />\nWill seek his father in his hall<br />\nAnd tell him of his foemen\'s fall.”<br />\nHe ceased: o\'erpowered by shaft and spell<br />\nThe sons of Raghu reeled and fell.<br />\nThe Rákshas on their bodies gazed;<br />\nAnd, mid the shouts his followers raised,<br />\nSped back to Lanká to relate<br />\n1704<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nIn Rávaṇ\'s hall the princes\' fate.<br />\nCanto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.<br />\nThe shades of falling night concealed<br />\nThe carnage of the battle field,<br />\n[483]<br />\nWhich, bearing each a blazing brand,<br />\nHanúmán and Vibhishaṇ scanned,<br />\nMoving with slow and anxious tread<br />\nAmong the dying and the dead.<br />\nSad was the scene of slaughter shown<br />\nWhere\'er the torches\' light was thrown.<br />\nHere mountain forms of Vánars lay<br />\nWhose heads and limbs were lopped away,<br />\nArms, legs and fingers strewed the ground,<br />\nAnd severed heads lay thick around.<br />\nThe earth was moist with sanguine streams,<br />\nAnd sighs were heard and groans and screams.<br />\nThere lay Sugríva still and cold,<br />\nThere Angad, once so brave and bold.<br />\nThere Jámbaván his might reposed,<br />\nThere Vegadarśí\'s eyes were closed;<br />\nThere in the dust was Nala\'s pride,<br />\nAnd Dwivid lay by Mainda\'s side.<br />\nWhere\'er they looked the ensanguined plain<br />\nWas strewn with myriads of the slain;990<br />\nThey sought with keenly searching eyes<br />\nKing Jámbaván supremely wise.<br />\n990In such cases as this I am not careful to reproduce the numbers of the poet,<br />\nwhich in the text which I follow are 670000000; the Bengal recension being<br />\ncontent with thirty million less.<br />\nCanto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.<br />\n1705<br />\nHis strength had failed by slow decay,<br />\nAnd pierced with countless shafts he lay.<br />\nThey saw, and hastened to his side,<br />\nAnd thus the sage Vibhishaṇ cried:<br />\n“Thee, monarch of the bears, we seek:<br />\nSpeak if thou yet art living, speak.”<br />\nSlow came the aged chief\'s reply;<br />\nScarce could he say with many a sigh:<br />\n“Torn with keen shafts which pierce each limb,<br />\nMy strength is gone, my sight is dim;<br />\nYet though I scarce can raise mine eyes,<br />\nThy voice, O chief, I recognize.<br />\nO, while these ears can hear thee, say,<br />\nHas Hanúmán survived this day?”<br />\n“Why ask,” Vibhishaṇ cried, “for one<br />\nOf lower rank, the Wind-God\'s son?<br />\nHast thou forgotten, first in place,<br />\nThe princely chief of Raghu\'s race?<br />\nCan King Sugríva claim no care,<br />\nAnd Angad, his imperial heir?”<br />\n“Yea, dearer than my noblest friends<br />\nIs he on whom our hope depends.<br />\nFor if the Wind-God\'s son survive,<br />\nAll we though dead are yet alive.<br />\nBut if his precious life be fled<br />\nThough living still we are but dead:<br />\nHe is our hope and sure relief.”<br />\nThus slowly spoke the aged chief:<br />\nThen to his side Hanúmán came,<br />\nAnd with low reverence named his name.<br />\nCheered by the face he longed to view<br />\nThe wounded chieftain lived anew.<br />\n1706<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Go forth,” he cried, “O strong and brave,<br />\nAnd in their woe the Vánars save.<br />\nNo might but thine, supremely great,<br />\nMay help us in our lost estate.<br />\nThe trembling bears and Vánars cheer,<br />\nCalm their sad hearts, dispel their fear.<br />\nSave Raghu\'s noble sons, and heal<br />\nThe deep wounds of the winged steel.<br />\nHigh o\'er the waters of the sea<br />\nTo far Himálaya\'s summits flee.<br />\nKailása there wilt thou behold,<br />\nAnd Rishabh, with his peaks of gold.<br />\nBetween them see a mountain rise<br />\nWhose splendour will enchant thine eyes;<br />\nHis sides are clothed above, below,<br />\nWith all the rarest herbs that grow.<br />\nUpon that mountain\'s lofty crest<br />\nFour plants, of sovereign powers possessed,<br />\nSpring from the soil, and flashing there<br />\nShed radiance through the neighbouring air.<br />\nOne draws the shaft: one brings again<br />\nThe breath of life to warm the slain;<br />\nOne heals each wound; one gives anew<br />\nTo faded cheeks their wonted hue.<br />\nFly, chieftain, to that mountain\'s brow<br />\nAnd bring those herbs to save us now.”<br />\nHanúmán heard, and springing through<br />\nThe air like Vishṇu\'s discus991flew.<br />\nThe sea was passed: beneath him, gay<br />\nWith bright-winged birds, the mountains lay,<br />\nAnd brook and lake and lonely glen,<br />\n991The discus or quoit, a sharp-edged circular missile is the favourite weapon<br />\nof Vishṇu.<br />\nCanto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.<br />\n1707<br />\nAnd fertile lands with toiling men.<br />\nOn, on he sped: before him rose<br />\nThe mansion of perennial snows.<br />\nThere soared the glorious peaks as fair<br />\nAs white clouds in the summer air.<br />\nHere, bursting from the leafy shade,<br />\nIn thunder leapt the wild cascade.<br />\nHe looked on many a pure retreat<br />\nDear to the Gods\' and sages\' feet:<br />\nThe spot where Brahmá dwells apart,<br />\nThe place whence Rudra launched his dart;992<br />\nVishṇu\'s high seat and Indra\'s home,<br />\nAnd slopes where Yáma\'s servants roam.<br />\nThere was Kuvera\'s bright abode;<br />\nThere Brahmá\'s mystic weapon glowed.<br />\nThere was the noble hill whereon<br />\n[484]<br />\nThose herbs with wondrous lustre shone,<br />\nAnd, ravished by the glorious sight,<br />\nHanúmán rested on the height.<br />\nHe, moving down the glittering peak,<br />\nThe healing herbs began to seek:<br />\nBut, when he thought to seize the prize,<br />\nThey hid them from his eager eyes.<br />\nThen to the hill in wrath he spake:<br />\n“Mine arm this day shall vengeance take,<br />\nIf thou wilt feel no pity, none,<br />\nIn this great need of Raghu\'s son.”<br />\nHe ceased: his mighty arms he bent<br />\nAnd from the trembling mountain rent<br />\nHis huge head with the life it bore,<br />\nSnakes, elephants, and golden ore.<br />\n992To destroy Tripura the triple city in the sky, air and earth, built by Maya for<br />\na celebrated Asur or demon, or as another commentator explains, to destroy<br />\nKandarpa or Love.<br />\n1708<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nO\'er hill and plain and watery waste<br />\nHis rapid way again he traced.<br />\nAnd mid the wondering Vánars laid<br />\nHis burthen through the air conveyed,<br />\nThe wondrous herbs\' delightful scent<br />\nTo all the host new vigour lent.<br />\nFree from all darts and wounds and pain<br />\nThe sons of Raghu lived again,<br />\nAnd dead and dying Vánars healed<br />\nRose vigorous from the battle field.<br />\nCanto LXXV. The Night Attack.<br />\nSugríva spake in words like these:<br />\n“Now, Vánar lords, the occasion seize.<br />\nFor now, of sons and brothers reft,<br />\nTo Rávaṇ little hope is left:<br />\nAnd if our host his gates assail<br />\nHis weak defence will surely fail.”<br />\nCanto LXXV. The Night Attack.<br />\n1709<br />\nAt dead of night the Vánar bands<br />\nRushed on with torches in their hands.<br />\nScared by the coming of the host<br />\nEach giant warder left his post.<br />\nWhere\'er the Vánar legions came<br />\nTheir way was marked with hostile flame<br />\nThat spread in fury to devour<br />\nPalace and temple, gate and tower.<br />\nDown came the walls and porches, down<br />\nCame stately piles that graced the town.<br />\nIn many a house the fire was red,<br />\nOn sandal wood and aloe fed.<br />\nAnd scorching flames in billows rolled<br />\nO\'er diamonds and pearls and gold.<br />\nOn cloth of wool, on silk brocade,<br />\nOn linen robes their fury preyed.<br />\nWheels, poles and yokes were burned, and all<br />\nThe coursers\' harness in the stall;<br />\nAnd elephants\' and chariots\' gear,<br />\nThe sword, the buckler, and the spear.<br />\nScared by the crash of falling beams,<br />\nMid lamentations, groans and screams,<br />\nForth rushed the giants through the flames<br />\nAnd with them dragged bewildered dames,<br />\nEach, with o\'erwhelming terror wild,<br />\nStill clasping to her breast a child.<br />\nThe swift fire from a cloud of smoke<br />\nThrough many a gilded lattice broke,<br />\nAnd, melting pearl and coral, rose<br />\nO\'er balconies and porticoes.<br />\nThe startled crane and peacock screamed<br />\nAs with strange light the courtyard gleamed,<br />\nAnd fierce unusual glare was thrown<br />\nOn shrinking wood and heated stone.<br />\n1710<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nFrom burning stall and stable freed<br />\nRushed frantic elephant and steed,<br />\nAnd goaded by the driving blaze<br />\nFled wildly through the crowded ways.<br />\nAs earth with fervent heat will glow<br />\nWhen comes her final overthrow;<br />\nFrom gate to gate, from court to spire<br />\nProud Lanká was one blaze of fire,<br />\nAnd every headland, rock and bay<br />\nShone bright a hundred leagues away.<br />\nForth, blinded by the heat and flame<br />\nRan countless giants huge of frame;<br />\nAnd, mustering for fierce attack,<br />\nThe Vánars charged to drive them back,<br />\nWhile shout and scream and roar and cry<br />\nReëchoed through the earth and sky.<br />\nThere Ráma stood with strength renewed,<br />\nAnd ever, as the foe he viewed,<br />\nShaking the distant regions rang<br />\nHis mighty bow\'s tremendous clang.<br />\nThen through the gates Nikumbha hied,<br />\nAnd Kumbha by his brother\'s side,<br />\nSent forth—the bravest and the best—<br />\nTo battle by the king\'s behest.<br />\nThere fought the chiefs in open field,<br />\nAnd Angad fell and Dwivid reeled.<br />\nSugríva saw: by rage impelled<br />\nHe crushed the bow which Kumbha held.<br />\nAbout his foe Sugríva wound<br />\nHis arms, and, heaving from the ground<br />\nThe giant hurled him o\'er the bank;<br />\nAnd deep beneath the sea he sank.<br />\nLike mandar hill with furious swell<br />\nUp leapt the waters where he fell.<br />\nCanto LXXV. The Night Attack.<br />\n1711<br />\nAgain he rose: he sprang to land<br />\nAnd raised on high his threatening hand:<br />\nFull on Sugríva\'s chest it came<br />\nAnd shook the Vánar\'s massy frame,<br />\nBut on the wounded bone he broke<br />\nHis wrist—so furious was the stroke.<br />\nWith force that naught could stay or check,<br />\nSugríva smote him neath the neck.<br />\nThe fierce blow crashed through flesh and bone<br />\nAnd Kumbha lay in death o\'erthrown.<br />\nNikumbha saw his brother die,<br />\nAnd red with fury flashed his eye.<br />\nHe dashed with mighty sway and swing<br />\n[485]<br />\nHis axe against the Vánar king;<br />\nBut shattered on that living rock<br />\nIt split in fragments at the shock.<br />\nSugríva, rising to the blow,<br />\nRaised his huge hand and smote his foe.<br />\nAnd in the dust the giant lay<br />\nGasping in blood his soul away.<br />\n[IhavebrieflydespatchedKumbhaandNikumbha,eachofwhom<br />\nhas in the text a long Canto to himself. When they fall Rávaṇ<br />\nsends forth Makaráksha or Crocodile-Eye, the son of Khara who<br />\nwas slain by Ráma in the forest before the abduction of Sítá.<br />\nThe account of his sallying forth, of his battle with Ráma and<br />\nof his death by the fiery dart of that hero occupies two Cantos<br />\nwhich I entirely pass over. Indrajít again comes forth and, ren-<br />\ndered invisible by his magic art slays countless Vánars with his<br />\nunerring arrows. He retires to the city and returns bearing in his<br />\nchariot an effigy of Sítá, the work of magic, weeping and wailing<br />\nby his side. He grasps the lovely image by the hair and cuts<br />\nit down with his scimitar in the sight of the enraged Hanúmán<br />\nand all the Vánar host. At last after much fighting of the usual<br />\nkind Indrajít\'s chariot is broken in pieces, his charioteer is slain,<br />\n1712<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nand he himself falls by Lakshmaṇ\'s hand, to the inexpressible<br />\ndelight of the high-souled saints, the nymphs of heaven and other<br />\ncelestial beings.]<br />\nCanto XCIII. Rávan\'s Lament.<br />\nThey sought the king, a mournful train,<br />\nAnd cried, “My lord, thy son is slain.<br />\nBy Lakshmaṇ\'s hand, before these eyes,<br />\nThe warrior fell no more to rise.<br />\nNo time is this for vain regret:<br />\nThy hero son a hero met;<br />\nAnd he whose might in battle pressed<br />\nLord Indra and the Gods confessed,<br />\nWhose power was stranger to defeat,<br />\nHas gained in heaven a blissful seat.”<br />\nThe monarch heard the mournful tale:<br />\nHis heart was faint, his cheek was pale;<br />\nHis fleeting sense at length regained,<br />\nIn trembling tones he thus complained:<br />\n“Ah me, my son, my pride: the boast<br />\nAnd glory of the giant host.<br />\nCould Lakshmaṇ\'s puny might defeat<br />\nThe foe whom Indra feared to meet?<br />\nCould not thy deadly arrows split<br />\nProud Mandar\'s peaks, O Indrajít,<br />\nAnd the Destroyer\'s self destroy?<br />\nAnd wast thou conquered by a boy?<br />\nI will not weep: thy noble deed<br />\nHas blessed thee with immortal meed<br />\nCanto XCIII. Rávan\'s Lament.<br />\n1713<br />\nGained by each hero in the skies<br />\nWho fighting for his sovereign dies.<br />\nNow, fearless of all meaner foes,<br />\nThe guardian Gods993will taste repose:<br />\nBut earth to me, with hill and plain,<br />\nIs desolate, for thou art slain.<br />\nAh, whither hast thou fled, and left<br />\nThy mother, Lanká, me bereft;<br />\nLeft pride and state and wives behind,<br />\nAnd lordship over all thy kind?<br />\nI fondly hoped thy hand should pay<br />\nDue honours on my dying day:<br />\nAnd couldst thou, O beloved, flee<br />\nAnd leave thy funeral rites to me?<br />\nLife has no comfort left me, none,<br />\nO Indrajít my son, my son.”<br />\nThus wailed he broken by his woes:<br />\nBut swift the thought of vengeance rose.<br />\nIn awful wrath his teeth he gnashed,<br />\nAnd from his eyes red lightning flashed.<br />\nHot from his mouth came fire and smoke,<br />\nAs thus the king in fury spoke:<br />\n993The Lokapálas are sometimes regarded as deities appointed by Brahmá at<br />\nthe creation of the word to act as guardians of different orders of beings, but<br />\nmore commonly they are identified with the deities presiding over the four<br />\ncardinal and four intermediate points of the compass, which, according to<br />\nManu V. 96, are 1, Indra, guardian of the East; 2, Agni, of the South-east;<br />\n3, Yáma, of the South; 4, Súrya, of the South-west; 5, Varuṇa, of the West;<br />\n6, Pavana or Váyu, of the North-west; 7, Kuvera, of the North; 8, Soma or<br />\nChandra, of the North-east.<br />\n1714<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Through many a thousand years of yore<br />\nThe penance and the pain I bore,<br />\nAnd by fierce torment well sustained<br />\nThe highest grace of Brahmá gained,<br />\nHis plighted word my life assured,<br />\nFrom Gods of heaven and fiends secured.<br />\nHe armed my limbs with burnished mail<br />\nWhose lustre turns the sunbeams pale,<br />\nIn battle proof gainst heavenly bands<br />\nWith thunder in their threatening hands.<br />\nArmed in this mail myself will go<br />\nWith Brahmá\'s gift my deadly bow,<br />\nAnd, cleaving through the foes my way,<br />\nThe slayers of my son will slay.”<br />\nThen, by his grief to frenzy wrought,<br />\nThe captive in the grove he sought.<br />\nSwift through the shady path he sped:<br />\nEarth trembled at his furious tread.<br />\nFierce were his eyes: his monstrous hand<br />\nHeld drawn for death his glittering brand.<br />\n[486]<br />\nThere weeping stood the Maithil dame:<br />\nShe shuddered as the giant came.<br />\nNear drew the rover of the night<br />\nAnd raised his sword in act to smite;<br />\nBut, by his nobler heart impelled,<br />\nOne Rákshas lord his arm withheld:<br />\n“Wilt thou, great Monarch,” thus he cried,<br />\n“Wilt thou, to heavenly Gods allied,<br />\nBlot for all time thy glorious fame,<br />\nThe slayer of a gentle dame?<br />\nWhat! shall a woman\'s blood be spilt<br />\nTo stain thee with eternal guilt,<br />\nThee deep in all the Veda\'s lore?<br />\nCanto XCVI. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\n1715<br />\nFar be the thought for evermore.<br />\nAh look, and let her lovely face<br />\nThis fury from thy bosom chase.”<br />\nHe ceased: the prudent counsel pleased<br />\nThe monarch, and his wrath appeased;<br />\nThen to his council hall in haste<br />\nThe giant lord his steps retraced.<br />\n[I omit two Cantos in the first of which Ráma with an enchanted<br />\nGandharva weapon deals destruction among the Rákshases sent<br />\nout by Rávaṇ, and in the second the Rákshas dames lament the<br />\nslain and mourn over the madness of Rávaṇ.]<br />\nCanto XCVI. Rávan\'s Sally.<br />\nThe groans and cries of dames who wailed<br />\nThe ears of Lanká\'s lord assailed,<br />\nFor from each house and home was sent<br />\nThe voice of weeping and lament.<br />\nIn troubled thought his head he bowed,<br />\nThen fiercely loosing on the crowd<br />\nOf nobles near his throne he broke<br />\nThe silence, and in fury spoke:<br />\n“This day my deadly shafts shall fly,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s sons shall surely die.<br />\nThis day shall countless Vánars bleed<br />\nAnd dogs and kites and vultures feed.<br />\nGo, bid them swift my car prepare,<br />\nBring the great bow I long to bear:<br />\nAnd let my host with sword and shield<br />\nAnd spear be ready for the field.”<br />\n1716<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nFrom street to street the captains passed<br />\nAnd Rákshas warriors gathered fast.<br />\nWith spear and sword to pierce and strike,<br />\nAnd axe and club and mace and pike.<br />\n[I omit several weapons for which I cannot find distinctive<br />\nnames, and among them the Sataghní or Centicide, supposed<br />\nby some to be a kind of fire-arms or rocket, but described by a<br />\ncommentator on the Mahábhárata as a stone or cylindrical piece<br />\nof wood studded with iron spikes.]<br />\nThen Rávaṇ\'s warrior chariot994wrought<br />\nWith gold and rich inlay was brought.<br />\nMid tinkling bells and weapons\' clang<br />\nThe monarch on the chariot sprang,<br />\nWhich, decked with gems of every hue,<br />\nEight steeds of noble lineage drew.<br />\nMid roars of drum and shell rang out<br />\nFrom countless throats a joyful shout.<br />\nAs, girt with hosts in warlike pride,<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s streets the tyrant hied.<br />\nStill, louder than the roar of drums,<br />\nWent up the cry “He comes, he comes,<br />\nOur ever conquering lord who trod<br />\nBeneath his feet both fiend and God.”<br />\nOn to the gate the warriors swept<br />\nWhere Raghu\'s sons their station kept.<br />\nWhen Rávaṇ\'s car the portal passed<br />\nThe sun in heaven was overcast.<br />\nEarth rocked and reeled from side to side<br />\nAnd birds with boding voices cried.<br />\n994The chariots of Rávaṇ\'s present army are said to have been one hundred<br />\nand fifty million in number with three hundred million elephants, and twelve<br />\nhundred million horses and asses. The footmen are merely said to have been<br />\n“unnumbered.”<br />\nCanto C. Rávan In The Field.<br />\n1717<br />\nAgainst the standard of the king<br />\nA vulture flapped his horrid wing.<br />\nBig gouts of blood before him dropped,<br />\nHis trembling steeds in terror stopped.<br />\nThe hue of death was on his cheek,<br />\nAnd scarce his flattering tongue could speak,<br />\nWhen, terrible with flash and flame,<br />\nThrough murky air a meteor came.<br />\nStill by the hand of Death impelled<br />\nHis onward way the giant held.<br />\nThe Vánars in the field afar<br />\nHeard the loud thunder of his car.<br />\nAnd turned with warriors\' fierce delight<br />\nTo meet the giant in the fight.<br />\nHe came: his clanging bow he drew<br />\nAnd myriads of the Vánars slew.<br />\nSome through the side and heart he cleft,<br />\nSome headless on the plain were left.<br />\nSome struggling groaned with mangled thighs,<br />\nOr broken arms or blinded eyes.<br />\n[I omit Cantos XCVII, XCVIII, and XCIX, which describe in<br />\nthe usual way three single combats between Sugríva and Angad<br />\non the Vánar side and Virúpáksha, Mahodar, and Mahápárśva on<br />\nthe side of the giants. The weapons of the Vánars are trees and<br />\nrocks; the giants fight with swords, axes, and bows and arrows.<br />\nThe details are generally the same as those of preceding duels.<br />\nThe giants fall, one in each Canto.]<br />\n[487]<br />\nCanto C. Rávan In The Field.<br />\n1718<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe plain with bleeding limbs was spread,<br />\nAnd heaps of dying and of dead.<br />\nHis mighty bow still Ráma strained,<br />\nAnd shafts upon the giants rained.<br />\nStill Angad and Sugríva, wrought<br />\nTo fury, for the Vánars fought.<br />\nCrushed with huge rocks through chest and side<br />\nMahodar, Mahápárśva died,<br />\nAnd Virúpáksha stained with gore<br />\nDropped on the plain to rise no more.<br />\nWhen Rávaṇ saw the three o\'erthrown<br />\nHe cried aloud in furious tone:<br />\n“Urge, urge the car, my charioteer,<br />\nThe haughty Vánars\' death is near.<br />\nThis very day shall end our griefs<br />\nFor leaguered town and slaughtered chiefs.<br />\nRáma the tree whose lovely fruit<br />\nIs Sítá, shall this arm uproot,—<br />\nWhose branches with protecting shade<br />\nAre Vánar lords who lend him aid.”<br />\nThus cried the king: the welkin rang<br />\nAs forth the eager coursers sprang,<br />\nAnd earth beneath the chariot shook<br />\nWith flowery grove and hill and brook.<br />\nFast rained his shafts: where\'er he sped<br />\nThe conquered Vánars fell or fled,<br />\nOn rolled the car in swift career<br />\nTill Raghu\'s noble sons were near.<br />\nThen Ráma looked upon the foe<br />\nAnd strained and tried his sounding bow,<br />\nTill earth and all the region rang<br />\nRe-echoing to the awful clang.<br />\nHis bow the younger chieftain bent,<br />\nCanto C. Rávan In The Field.<br />\n1719<br />\nAnd shaft on shaft at Rávaṇ sent.<br />\nHe shot: but Rávaṇ little recked;<br />\nEach arrow with his own he checked,<br />\nAnd headless, baffled of its aim,<br />\nTo earth the harmless missile came;<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ stayed his arm o\'erpowered<br />\nBy the thick darts the giant showered.<br />\nFierce waxed the fight and fiercer yet,<br />\nFor Rávaṇ now and Ráma met,<br />\nAnd each on other poured amain<br />\nThe tempest of his arrowy rain.<br />\nWhile all the sky above was dark<br />\nWith missiles speeding to their mark<br />\nLike clouds, with flashing lightning twined<br />\nAbout them, hurried by the wind.<br />\nNot fiercer was the wondrous fight<br />\nWhen Vritra fell by Indra\'s might.<br />\nAll arts of war each foeman knew,<br />\nAnd trained alike, his bowstring drew.<br />\nRed-eyed with fury Lanká\'s king<br />\nPressed his huge fingers on the string,<br />\nAnd fixed in Ráma\'s brows a flight<br />\nOf arrows winged with matchless flight.<br />\nStill Raghu\'s son endured, and bore<br />\nThat crown of shafts though wounded sore.<br />\nO\'er a dire dart a spell he spoke<br />\nWith mystic power to aid the stroke.<br />\nIn vain upon the foe it smote<br />\nRebounding from the steelproof coat.<br />\nThe giant armed his bow anew,<br />\nAnd wondrous weapons hissed and flew,<br />\nTerrific, deadly, swift of flight,<br />\nBeaked like the vulture and the kite,<br />\nOr bearing heads of fearful make,<br />\n1720<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nOf lion, tiger, wolf and snake.995<br />\nThen Ráma, troubled by the storm<br />\nOf flying darts in every form<br />\nShot by an arm that naught could tire,<br />\nLaunched at the foe his dart of fire,<br />\nWhich, sacred to the Lord of Flame,<br />\nBurnt and consumed where\'er it came.<br />\nAnd many a blazing shaft beside<br />\nThe hero to his string applied.<br />\nWith fiery course of dazzling hue<br />\nSwift to the mark each missile flew,<br />\nSome flashing like a shooting star,<br />\nSome as the tongues of lightning are;<br />\nOne like a brilliant plant, one<br />\nIn splendour like the morning sun.<br />\nWhere\'er the shafts of Ráma burned<br />\nThe giant\'s darts were foiled and turned.<br />\nFar into space his weapons fled,<br />\nBut as they flew struck thousands dead.<br />\nCanto CI. Lakshman\'s Fall.<br />\nWhen Rávaṇ saw his darts repelled,<br />\nWith double rage his bosom swelled.<br />\nHe summoned, wroth but undismayed,<br />\nA mightier charm to lend its aid.<br />\n995It is not very easy to see the advantage of having arrows headed in the way<br />\nmentioned. Fanciful names for war-engines and weapons derived from their<br />\nresemblance to various animals are not confined to India. The “War-wolf” was<br />\nused by Edward I. at the siege of Brechin, the “Cat-house” and the “Sow” were<br />\nused by Edward III. at the siege of Dunbar.<br />\nCanto CI. Lakshman\'s Fall.<br />\n1721<br />\nAnd, fierce as fire before the blast,<br />\nA storm of missiles thick and fast,<br />\nSpear, pike and javelin, mace and brand,<br />\nCame hurtling from the giant\'s hand.<br />\nBut, mightier still, the arms employed<br />\nBy Raghu\'s son their force destroyed,<br />\nAnd every dart fell dulled and spent<br />\nBy powers the bards of heaven had lent.<br />\nWith his huge mace Vibhishaṇ slew<br />\nThe steeds that Rávaṇ\'s chariot drew.<br />\n[488]<br />\nThen Rávaṇ hurled in deadly ire<br />\nA ponderous spear that flashed like fire:<br />\nBut Ráma\'s arrows checked its way,<br />\nAnd harmless on the earth it lay,<br />\nThe giant seized a mightier spear,<br />\nWhich Death himself would shun with fear.<br />\nVibhishaṇ with the stroke had died,<br />\nBut Lakshmaṇ\'s hand his bowstring plied,<br />\nAnd flying arrows thick as hail<br />\nSmote fiercely on the giant\'s mail.<br />\nThen Rávaṇ turned his aim aside,<br />\nOn Lakshmaṇ looked and fiercely cried:<br />\n“Thou, thou again my wrath hast braved,<br />\nAnd from his death Vibhishaṇ saved.<br />\nNow in his stead this spear receive<br />\nWhose deadly point thy heart shall cleave.”<br />\nHe ceased: he hurled the mortal dart<br />\nBy Maya forged with magic art.<br />\nThe spear, with all his fury flung,<br />\nSwift, flickering like a serpent\'s tongue,<br />\nAdorned with many a tinkling bell,<br />\nSmote Lakshmaṇ, and the hero fell.<br />\nWhen Ráma saw, he heaved a sigh,<br />\n1722<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nA tear one moment dimmed his eye.<br />\nBut tender grief was soon repressed<br />\nAnd thoughts of vengeance filled his breast.<br />\nThe air around him flashed and gleamed<br />\nAs from his bow the arrows streamed;<br />\nAnd Lanká\'s lord, the foeman\'s dread,<br />\nO\'erwhelmed with terror turned and fled.<br />\nCanto CII. Lakshman Healed.<br />\nBut Ráma, pride of Raghu\'s race,<br />\nGazed tenderly on Lakshmaṇ\'s face,<br />\nAnd, as the sight his spirit broke,<br />\nTurned to Susheṇ and sadly spoke:<br />\n“Where is my power and valour? how<br />\nShall I have heart for battle now,<br />\nWhen dead before my weeping eyes<br />\nMy brother, noblest Lakshmaṇ, lies?<br />\nMy tears in blinding torrents flow,<br />\nMy hand unnerved has dropped my bow.<br />\nThe pangs of woe have blanched my cheek,<br />\nMy heart is sick, my strength is weak.<br />\nAh me, my brother! Ah, that I<br />\nBy Lakshmaṇ\'s side might sink and die:<br />\nLife, war and conquest, all are vain<br />\nIf Lakshmaṇ lies in battle slain.<br />\nWhy will those eyes my glances shun?<br />\nHast thou no word of answer, none?<br />\nAh, is thy noble spirit flown<br />\nAnd gone to other worlds alone?<br />\nCouldst thou not let thy brother seek<br />\nCanto CII. Lakshman Healed.<br />\n1723<br />\nThose worlds with thee? O speak, O speak!<br />\nRise up once more, my brother, rise,<br />\nLook on me with thy loving eyes.<br />\nWere not thy steps beside me still<br />\nIn gloomy wood, on breezy hill?<br />\nDid not thy gentle care assuage<br />\nThy brother\'s grief and fitful rage?<br />\nDidst thou not all his troubles share,<br />\nHis guide and comfort in despair?”<br />\nAs Ráma, vanquished, wept and sighed<br />\nThe Vánar chieftain thus replied:<br />\n“Great Prince, unmanly thoughts dismiss,<br />\nNor yield thy soul to grief like this.<br />\nIn vain those burning tears are shed:<br />\nOur glory Lakshmaṇ is not dead.<br />\nDeath on his brow no mark has set,<br />\nWhere beauty\'s lustre lingers yet.<br />\nClear is the skin, and tender hues<br />\nOf lotus flowers his palms suffuse.<br />\nO Ráma, cheer thy trembling heart;<br />\nNot thus do life and body part.<br />\nNow, Hanumán, to thee I speak:<br />\nHie hence to tall Mahodaya\'s996peak<br />\nWhere herbs of sovereign virtue grow<br />\nWhich life and health and strength bestow<br />\nBring thou the leaves to balm his pain,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ shall be well again.”<br />\n996Apparently a peak of the Himalaya chain.<br />\n1724<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: the Wind-God\'s son obeyed<br />\nSwift through the clouds his way he made.<br />\nHe reached the hill, nor stayed to find<br />\nThe wondrous herbs of healing kind,<br />\nFrom its broad base the mount he tore<br />\nWith all the shrubs and trees it bore,<br />\nSped through the clouds again and showed<br />\nTo wise Susheṇ his woody load.997<br />\nSusheṇ in wonder viewed the hill,<br />\nAnd culled the sovereign salve of ill.<br />\nSoon as the healing herb he found,<br />\nThe fragrant leaves he crushed and ground.<br />\nThen over Lakshmaṇ\'s face he bent,<br />\nWho, healed and strengthened by the scent<br />\nOf that blest herb divinely sweet,<br />\nRose fresh and lusty on his feet.<br />\nCanto CIII. Indra\'s Car.<br />\nThen Raghu\'s son forgot his woe:<br />\nAgain he grasped his fallen bow<br />\nAnd hurled at Lanká\'s lord amain<br />\nThe tempest of his arrowy rain.<br />\n[489]<br />\n997This exploit of Hanumán is related with inordinate prolixity in the Bengal<br />\nrecension(Gortesio\'stext). Amongotheradventureshenarrowlyescapesbeing<br />\nshot by Bharat as he passes over Nandigrama near Ayodhyá. Hanumán stays<br />\nBharat in time, and gives him an account of what has befallen Ráma and Sítá<br />\nin the forest and in Lanká.<br />\nCanto CIII. Indra\'s Car.<br />\n1725<br />\nDrawn by the steeds his lords had brought,<br />\nAgain the giant turned and fought.<br />\nAnd drove his glittering chariot nigh<br />\nAs springs the Day-God through the sky.<br />\nThen, as his sounding bow he bent,<br />\nLike thunderbolts his shafts were sent,<br />\nAs when dark clouds in rain time shed<br />\nFierce torrents on a mountain\'s head.<br />\nHigh on his car the giant rode,<br />\nOn foot the son of Raghu strode.<br />\nThe Gods from their celestial height<br />\nIndignant saw the unequal fight.<br />\nThen he whom heavenly hosts revere,<br />\nLord Indra, called his charioteer:<br />\n“Haste, Mátali,” he cried, “descend;<br />\nTo Raghu\'s son my chariot lend.<br />\nWith cheering words the chief address;<br />\nAnd all the Gods thy deed will bless.”<br />\nHe bowed; he brought the glorious car<br />\nWhose tinkling bells were heard afar;<br />\nFair as the sun of morning, bright<br />\nWith gold and pearl and lazulite.<br />\nHe yoked the steeds of tawny hue<br />\nThat swifter than the tempest flew.<br />\nThen down the slope of heaven he hied<br />\nAnd stayed the car by Ráma\'s side.<br />\n“Ascend, O Chief,” he humbly cried,<br />\n“The chariot which the Gods provide.<br />\nThe mighty bow of Indra see,<br />\nSent by the Gods who favour thee;<br />\nBehold this coat of glittering mail,<br />\nAnd spear and shafts which never fail.”<br />\n1726<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCheered by the grace the Immortals showed<br />\nThe chieftain on the chariot rode.<br />\nThen as the car-borne warriors met<br />\nThe awful fight raged fiercer yet.<br />\nEach shaft that Rávaṇ shot became<br />\nA serpent red with kindled flame,<br />\nAnd round the limbs of Ráma hung<br />\nWith fiery jaws and quivering tongue.<br />\nBut every serpent fled dismayed<br />\nWhen Raghu\'s valiant son displayed<br />\nThe weapon of the Feathered King,998<br />\nAnd loosed his arrows from the string.<br />\nBut Rávaṇ armed his bow anew,<br />\nAnd showers of shafts at Ráma flew,<br />\nWhile the fierce king in swift career<br />\nSmote with a dart the charioteer.<br />\nAn arrow shot by Rávaṇ\'s hand<br />\nLaid the proud banner on the sand,<br />\nAnd Indra\'s steeds of heavenly strain<br />\nFell by the iron tempest slain.<br />\nOn Gods and spirits of the air<br />\nFell terror, trembling, and despair.<br />\nThe sea\'s white billows mounted high<br />\nWith froth and foam to drench the sky.<br />\nThe sun by lurid clouds was veiled,<br />\nThe friendly lights of heaven were paled;<br />\nAnd, fiercely gleaming, fiery Mars<br />\nOpposed the beams of gentler stars.<br />\n998As Garuḍ the king of birds is the mortal enemy of serpents the weapon<br />\nsacred to him is of course best calculated to destroy the serpent arrows of<br />\nRávaṇ.<br />\nCanto CVI. Glory To The Sun.<br />\n1727<br />\nThen Ráma\'s eyes with fury blazed<br />\nAs Indra\'s heavenly spear he raised.<br />\nLoud rang the bells: the glistering head<br />\nBright flashes through the region shed.<br />\nDown came the spear in swift descent:<br />\nThe giant\'s lance was crushed and bent.<br />\nThen Rávaṇ\'s horses brave and fleet<br />\nFell dead beneath his arrowy sleet.<br />\nFierce on his foeman Ráma pressed,<br />\nAnd gored with shafts his mighty breast.<br />\nAnd spouting streams of crimson dyed<br />\nThe weary giant\'s limbs and side.<br />\n[I omit Cantos CIV and CV in which the fight is renewed and<br />\nRávaṇ severely reprimands his charioteer for timidity and want<br />\nof confidence in his master\'s prowess, and orders him to charge<br />\nstraight at Ráma on the next occasion.]<br />\nCanto CVI. Glory To The Sun.<br />\nThere faint and bleeding fast, apart<br />\nStood Rávaṇ raging in his heart.<br />\nThen, moved with ruth for Ráma\'s sake,<br />\nAgastya999came and gently spake:<br />\n“Bend, Ráma, bend thy heart and ear<br />\nThe everlasting truth to hear<br />\nWhich all thy hopes through life will bless<br />\nAnd crown thine arms with full success.<br />\nThe rising sun with golden rays,<br />\n999The celebrated saint who has on former occasions assisted Ráma with his<br />\ngifts and counsel.<br />\n1728<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nLight of the worlds, adore and praise:<br />\nThe universal king, the lord<br />\nBy hosts of heaven and fiends adored.<br />\nHe tempers all with soft control,<br />\nHe is the Gods\' diviner soul;<br />\nAnd Gods above and fiends below<br />\nAnd men to him their safety owe.<br />\nHe Brahmá, Vishṇu, Śiva, he<br />\nEach person of the glorious Three,<br />\nIs every God whose praise we tell,<br />\nThe King of Heaven,1000the Lord of Hell:1001<br />\nEach God revered from times of old,<br />\nThe Lord of War,1002the King of Gold:1003<br />\n[490]<br />\nMahendra, Time and Death is he,<br />\nThe Moon, the Ruler of the Sea.1004<br />\nHe hears our praise in every form,—<br />\nThe manes,1005Gods who ride the storm,1006<br />\nThe Aśvins,1007Manu,1008they who stand<br />\nRound Indra,1009and the Sádhyas\'1010band<br />\nHe is the air, and life and fire,<br />\n1000Indra.<br />\n1001Yáma.<br />\n1002Kártikeya.<br />\n1003Kubera.<br />\n1004Varuṇ.<br />\n1005The Pitris, forefathers or spirits of the dead, are of two kinds, either the<br />\nspirits of the father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers of an individual or the<br />\nprogenitors of mankind generally, to both of whom obsequial worship is paid<br />\nand oblations of food are presented.<br />\n1006The Maruts or Storm-Gods.<br />\n1007The Heavenly Twins, the Castor and Pollux of the Hindus.<br />\n1008The Man par excellence, the representative man and father of the human<br />\nrace regarded also as God.<br />\n1009The Vasus, a class of deities originally personifications of natural phenom-<br />\nena.<br />\n1010A class of celestial beings who dwell between the earth and the sun.<br />\nCanto CVI. Glory To The Sun.<br />\n1729<br />\nThe universal source and sire:<br />\nHe brings the seasons at his call,<br />\nCreator, light, and nurse of all.<br />\nHis heavenly course he joys to run,<br />\nMaker of Day, the golden sun.<br />\nThe steeds that whirl his car are seven,1011<br />\nThe flaming steeds that flash through heaven.<br />\nLord of the sky, the conqueror parts<br />\nThe clouds of night with glistering darts.<br />\nHe, master of the Vedas\' lore,<br />\nCommands the clouds\' collected store:<br />\nHe is the rivers\' surest friend;<br />\nHe bids the rains, and they descend.<br />\nStars, planets, constellations own<br />\nTheir monarch of the golden throne.<br />\nLord of twelve forms,1012to thee I bow,<br />\nMost glorious King of heaven art thou.<br />\nO Ráma, he who pays aright<br />\nDue worship to the Lord of Light<br />\nShall never fall oppressed by ill,<br />\nBut find a stay and comfort still.<br />\nAdore with all thy heart and mind<br />\nThis God of Gods, to him resigned;<br />\nAnd thou his saving power shalt know<br />\nVictorious o\'er thy giant foe.”<br />\n[This Canto does not appear in the Bengal recension. It comes in<br />\nawkwardly and may I think be considered as an interpolation, but<br />\nI paraphrase a portion of it as a relief after so much fighting and<br />\ncarnage, and as an interesting glimpse of the monotheistic ideas<br />\nwhich underlie the Hindu religion. The hymn does not readily<br />\nlend itself to metrical translation, and I have not attempted here<br />\n1011The seven horses are supposed to symbolize the seven days of the week.<br />\n1012One for each month in the year.<br />\n1730<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nto give a faithful rendering of the whole. A literal version of the<br />\ntext and the commentary given in the Calcutta edition will be<br />\nfound in the Additional Notes.<br />\nA canto is here omitted. It contains fighting of the ordinary<br />\nkind between Ráma and Rávaṇ, and a description of sights and<br />\nsounds of evil omen foreboding the destruction of the giant.]<br />\nCanto CVIII. The Battle.<br />\nHe spoke, and vanished: Ráma raised<br />\nHis eyes with reverence meet, and praised<br />\nThe glorious Day-God full in view:<br />\nThen armed him for the fight anew.<br />\nUrged onward by his charioteer<br />\nThe giant\'s foaming steeds came near,<br />\nAnd furious was the battle\'s din<br />\nWhere each resolved to die or win.<br />\nThe Rákshas host and Vánar bands<br />\nStood with their weapons in their hands,<br />\nAnd watched in terror and dismay<br />\nThe fortune of the awful fray.<br />\nThe giant chief with rage inflamed<br />\nHis darts at Ráma\'s pennon aimed;<br />\nBut when they touched the chariot made<br />\nBy heavenly hands their force was stayed.<br />\nThen Ráma\'s breast with fury swelled;<br />\nHe strained the mighty bow he held,<br />\nAnd straight at Rávaṇ\'s banner flew<br />\nAn arrow as the string he drew—<br />\nA deadly arrow swift of flight,<br />\nLike some huge snake ablaze with light,<br />\nCanto CIX. The Battle.<br />\n1731<br />\nWhose fury none might e\'er repel,—<br />\nAnd, split in twain, the standard fell.<br />\nAt Ráma\'s steeds sharp arrows, hot<br />\nWith flames of fire, the giant shot.<br />\nUnmoved the heavenly steeds sustained<br />\nThe furious shower the warrior rained,<br />\nAs though soft lotus tendrils smote<br />\nEach haughty crest and glossy coat.<br />\nThen volleyed swift by magic art,<br />\nTree, mountain peak and spear and dart,<br />\nTrident and pike and club and mace<br />\nFlew hurtling straight at Ráma\'s face.<br />\nBut Ráma with his steeds and car<br />\nEscaped the storm which fell afar<br />\nWhere the strange missiles, as they rushed<br />\nTo earth, a thousand Vánars crushed.<br />\n[491]<br />\nCanto CIX. The Battle.<br />\nWith wondrous power and might and skill<br />\nThe giant fought with Ráma still.<br />\nEach at his foe his chariot drove,<br />\nAnd still for death or victory strove.<br />\nThe warriors\' steeds together dashed,<br />\nAnd pole with pole reëchoing clashed.<br />\nThen Ráma launching dart on dart<br />\nMade Rávaṇ\'s coursers swerve and start.<br />\nNor was the lord of Lanká slow<br />\nTo rain his arrows on the foe,<br />\n1732<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWho showed, by fiery points assailed,<br />\nNo trace of pain, nor shook nor quailed.<br />\nDense clouds of arrows Ráma shot<br />\nWith that strong arm which rested not,<br />\nAnd spear and mace and club and brand<br />\nFell in dire rain from Rávaṇ\'s hand.<br />\nThe storm of missiles fiercely cast<br />\nStirred up the oceans with its blast,<br />\nAnd Serpent-Gods and fiends who dwell<br />\nBelow were troubled by the swell.<br />\nThe earth with hill and plain and brook<br />\nAnd grove and garden reeled and shook:<br />\nThe very sun grew cold and pale,<br />\nAnd horror stilled the rising gale.<br />\nGod and Gandharva, sage and saint<br />\nCried out, with grief and terror faint:<br />\n“O may the prince of Raghu\'s line<br />\nGive peace to Bráhmans and to kine,<br />\nAnd, rescuing the worlds, o\'erthrow<br />\nThe giant king our awful foe.”<br />\nThen to his deadly string the pride<br />\nOf Raghu\'s race a shaft applied.<br />\nSharp as a serpent\'s venomed fang<br />\nStraight to its mark the arrow sprang,<br />\nAnd from the giant\'s body shred<br />\nWith trenchant steel the monstrous head.<br />\nThere might the triple world behold<br />\nThat severed head adorned with gold.<br />\nBut when all eyes were bent to view,<br />\nSwift in its stead another grew.<br />\nAgain the shaft was pointed well:<br />\nAgain the head divided fell;<br />\nBut still as each to earth was cast<br />\nCanto CX. Rávan\'s Death.<br />\n1733<br />\nAnother head succeeded fast.<br />\nA hundred, bright with fiery flame,<br />\nFell low before the victor\'s aim,<br />\nYet Rávaṇ by no sign betrayed<br />\nThat death was near or strength decayed.<br />\nThe doubtful fight he still maintained,<br />\nAnd on the foe his missiles rained.<br />\nIn air, on earth, on plain, on hill,<br />\nWith awful might he battled still;<br />\nAnd through the hours of night and day<br />\nThe conflict knew no pause or stay.<br />\nCanto CX. Rávan\'s Death.<br />\nThen Mátali to Ráma cried:<br />\n“Let other arms the day decide.<br />\nWhy wilt thou strive with useless toil<br />\nAnd see his might thy efforts foil?<br />\nLaunch at the foe thy dart whose fire<br />\nWas kindled by the Almighty Sire.”<br />\nHe ceased: and Raghu\'s son obeyed:<br />\nUpon his string the hero laid<br />\nAn arrow, like a snake that hissed.<br />\nWhose fiery flight had never missed:<br />\nThe arrow Saint Agastya gave<br />\nAnd blessed the chieftain\'s life to save<br />\nThat dart the Eternal Father made<br />\nThe Monarch of the Gods to aid;<br />\nBy Brahmá\'s self on him bestowed<br />\nWhen forth to fight Lord Indra rode.<br />\n\'Twas feathered with the rushing wind;<br />\n1734<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe glowing sun and fire combined<br />\nTo the keen point their splendour lent;<br />\nThe shaft, ethereal element,<br />\nBy Meru\'s hill and Mandar, pride<br />\nOf mountains, had its weight supplied.<br />\nHe laid it on the twisted cord,<br />\nHe turned the point at Lanká\'s lord,<br />\nAnd swift the limb-dividing dart<br />\nPierced the huge chest and cleft the heart,<br />\nAnd dead he fell upon the plain<br />\nLike Vritra by the Thunderer slain.<br />\nThe Rákahas host when Rávaṇ fell<br />\nSent forth a wild terrific yell,<br />\nThen turned and fled, all hope resigned,<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s gates, nor looked behind.<br />\nHis voice each joyous Vánar raised,<br />\nAnd Ráma, conquering Ráma, praised.<br />\nSoft from celestial minstrels came<br />\nThe sound of music and acclaim.<br />\nSoft, fresh, and cool, a rising breeze<br />\nBrought odours from the heavenly trees,<br />\nAnd ravishing the sight and smell<br />\nA wondrous rain of blossoms fell:<br />\nAnd voices breathed round Raghu\'s son:<br />\n“Champion of Gods, well done, well done.”<br />\nCanto CXI. Vibhishan\'s Lament.<br />\nCanto CXI. Vibhishan\'s Lament.<br />\n1735<br />\nVibhishaṇ saw his brother slain,<br />\nNor could his heart its woe contain.<br />\nO\'er the dead king he sadly bent<br />\nAnd mourned him with a loud lament:<br />\n“O hero, bold and brave,” he cried,<br />\n“Skilled in all arms, in battle tried.<br />\nSpoiled of thy crown, with limbs outspread,<br />\n[492]<br />\nWhy wilt thou press thy gory bed?<br />\nWhy slumber on the earth\'s cold breast,<br />\nWhen sumptuous couches woo to rest?<br />\nAh me, my brother over bold,<br />\nThine is the fate my heart foretold:<br />\nBut love and pride forbade to hear<br />\nThe friend who blamed thy wild career.<br />\nFallen is the sun who gave us light,<br />\nOur lordly moon is veiled in night.<br />\nOur beacon fire is dead and cold<br />\nA hundred waves have o\'er it rolled.<br />\nWhat could his light and fire avail<br />\nAgainst Lord Ráma\'s arrowy hail?<br />\nWoe for the giants\' royal tree,<br />\nWhose stately height was fair to see.<br />\nHis buds were deeds of kingly grace,<br />\nHis bloom the sons who decked his race.<br />\nWith rifled bloom and mangled bough<br />\nThe royal tree lies prostrate now.”<br />\n“Nay, idly mourn not,” Ráma cried,<br />\n“The warrior king has nobly died,<br />\nIntrepid hero, firm through all,<br />\nSo fell he as the brave should fall;<br />\nAnd ill beseems it chiefs like us<br />\nTo weep for those who perish thus.<br />\nBe firm: thy causeless grief restrain,<br />\nAnd pay the dues that yet remain.”<br />\n1736<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAgain Vibhishaṇ sadly spoke:<br />\n“His was the hero arm that broke<br />\nEmbattled Gods\' and Indra\'s might,<br />\nUnconquered ere to-day in fight.<br />\nHe rushed against thee, fought and fell,<br />\nAs Ocean, when his waters swell,<br />\nHurling his might against a rock,<br />\nFalls spent and shattered by the shock.<br />\nWoe for our king\'s untimely end,<br />\nThe generous lord the trusty friend:<br />\nOur sure defence when fear arose,<br />\nA dreaded scourge to stubborn foes.<br />\nO, let the king thy hand has slain<br />\nThe honours of the dead obtain.”<br />\nThen Ráma answered. “Hatred dies<br />\nWhen low in dust the foeman lies.<br />\nNow triumph bids the conflict cease,<br />\nAnd knits us in the bonds of peace.<br />\nLet funeral rites be duly paid.<br />\nAnd be it mine thy toil to aid.”<br />\nCanto CXII. The Rákshas Dames.<br />\nHigh rose the universal wail<br />\nThat mourned the monarch\'s death, and, pale<br />\nWith crushing woe, her hair unbound,<br />\nHer eyes in floods of sorrow drowned,<br />\nForth from the inner chambers came<br />\nWith trembling feet each royal dame,<br />\nHeedless of those who bade them stay<br />\nCanto CXIII. Mandodarí\'s Lament.<br />\n1737<br />\nThey reached the field where Rávaṇ lay;<br />\nThere falling by their husband\'s side,<br />\n“Ah, King! ah dearest lord!” they cried.<br />\nLike creepers shattered by the storm<br />\nThey threw them on his mangled form.<br />\nOne to his bleeding bosom crept<br />\nAnd lifted up her voice and wept.<br />\nAbout his feet one mourner clung,<br />\nAround his neck another hung,<br />\nOne on the giant\'s severed head,<br />\nHer pearly tears in torrents shed<br />\nFast as the drops the summer shower<br />\nPours down upon the lotus flower.<br />\n“Ah, he whose arm in anger reared<br />\nThe King of Gods and Yáma feared,<br />\nWhile panic struck their heavenly train,<br />\nLies prostrate in the battle slain.<br />\nThy haughty heart thou wouldst not bend,<br />\nNor listen to each wiser friend.<br />\nAh, had the dame, as they implored,<br />\nBeen yielded to her injured lord,<br />\nWe had not mourned this day thy fall,<br />\nAnd happy had it been for all.<br />\nThen Ráma and thy friends content<br />\nIn blissful peace their days had spent.<br />\nThine injured brother had not fled,<br />\nNor giant chiefs and Vánars bled.<br />\nYet for these woes we will not blame.<br />\nThy fancy for the Maithil dame,<br />\nFate, ruthless Fate, whom none may bend<br />\nHas urged thee to thy hapless end.”<br />\n1738<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto CXIII. Mandodarí\'s Lament.<br />\nWhile thus they wept, supreme in place,<br />\nThe loveliest for form and face,<br />\nMandodarí drew near alone,<br />\nLooked on her lord and made her moan:<br />\n“Ah Monarch, Indra feared to stand<br />\nIn fight before thy conquering hand.<br />\nFrom thy dread spear the Immortals ran;<br />\nAnd art thou murdered by a man?<br />\nAh, \'twas no child of earth, I know,<br />\nThat smote thee with that mortal blow.<br />\n\'Twas Death himself in Ráma\'s shape,<br />\nThat slew thee: Death whom none escape.<br />\nOr was it he who rules the skies<br />\nWho met thee, clothed in man\'s disguise?<br />\nAh no, my lord, not Indra: he<br />\nIn battle ne\'er could look on thee.<br />\nOne only God thy match I deem:<br />\n\'Twas Vishṇu\'s self, the Lord Supreme,<br />\nWhose days through ceaseless time extend<br />\nAnd ne\'er began and ne\'er shall end:<br />\nHe with the discus, shell, and mace,<br />\nBrought ruin on the giant race.<br />\nGirt by the Gods of heaven arrayed<br />\nLike Vánar hosts his strength to aid,<br />\nHe Ráma\'s shape and arms assumed<br />\n[493]<br />\nAnd slew the king whom Fate had doomed.<br />\nIn Janasthán when Khara died<br />\nWith giant legions by his side,<br />\nNo mortal was the unconquered foe<br />\nIn Ráma\'s form who struck the blow.<br />\nWhen Hanumán the Vanár came<br />\nAnd burnt thy town with hostile flame,<br />\nCanto CXIII. Mandodarí\'s Lament.<br />\n1739<br />\nI counselled peace in anxious fear:<br />\nI counselled, but thou wouldst not hear.<br />\nThy fancy for the foreign dame<br />\nHas brought thee death and endless shame.<br />\nWhy should thy foolish fancy roam?<br />\nHadst thou not wives as fair at home?<br />\nIn beauty, form and grace could she,<br />\nDear lord, surpass or rival me?<br />\nNow will the days of Sítá glide<br />\nIn tranquil joy by Ráma\'s side:<br />\nAnd I—ah me, around me raves<br />\nA sea of woe with whelming waves.<br />\nWith thee in days of old I trod<br />\nEach spot beloved by nymph and God;<br />\nI stood with thee in proud delight<br />\nOn Mandar\'s side and Meru\'s height;<br />\nWith thee, my lord, enchanted strayed<br />\nIn Chaitraratha\'s1013lovely shade,<br />\nAnd viewed each fairest scene afar<br />\nTransported in thy radiant car.<br />\nBut source of every joy wast thou,<br />\nAnd all my bliss is ended now.”<br />\nThen Ráma to Vibhishaṇ cried:<br />\n“Whate\'er the ritual bids, provide.<br />\nObsequial honours duly pay,<br />\nAnd these sad mourners\' grief allay.”<br />\nVibhishaṇ answered, wise and true,<br />\nFor duty\'s changeless law he knew:<br />\n“Nay one who scorned all sacred vows<br />\nAnd dared to touch another\'s spouse,<br />\nFell tyrant of the human race,<br />\nWith funeral rites I may not grace.”<br />\n1013The garden of Kuvera, the God of Riches.<br />\n1740<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHim Raghu\'s royal son, the best<br />\nOf those who love the law, addressed:<br />\n“False was the rover of the night,<br />\nHe loved the wrong and scorned the right.<br />\nYet for the fallen warrior plead<br />\nThe dauntless heart, the valorous deed.<br />\nLet him who ne\'er had brooked defeat,<br />\nThe chief whom Indra feared to meet,<br />\nThe ever-conquering lord, obtain<br />\nThe honours that should grace the slain.”<br />\nVibhishaṇ bade his friends prepare<br />\nThe funeral rites with thoughtful care.<br />\nHimself the royal palace sought<br />\nWhence sacred fire was quickly brought,<br />\nWith sandal wood and precious scents<br />\nAnd pearl and coral ornaments.<br />\nWise Bráhmans, while the tears that flowed<br />\nDown their wan cheeks their sorrow sowed,<br />\nUpon a golden litter laid<br />\nThe corpse in finest ropes arrayed.<br />\nThereon were flowers and pennons hung,<br />\nAnd loud the monarch\'s praise was sung.<br />\nThen was the golden litter raised,<br />\nWhile holy fire in order blazed.<br />\nAnd first in place Vibhishaṇ led<br />\nThe slow procession of the dead,<br />\nBehind, their cheeks with tears bedewed,<br />\nCame sad the widowed multitude.<br />\nWhere, raised as Bráhmans ordered, stood<br />\nPiled sandal logs, and scented wood,<br />\nThe body of the king was set<br />\nHigh on a deerskin coverlet.<br />\nThen duly to the monarch\'s shade<br />\nThe offerings for the dead they paid,<br />\nCanto CXIV. Vibhishan Consecrated.<br />\n1741<br />\nAnd southward on the eastern side<br />\nAn altar formed and fire supplied.<br />\nThen on the shoulder of the dead<br />\nThe oil and clotted milk were shed.<br />\nAll rites were done as rules ordain:<br />\nThe sacrificial goat was slain.<br />\nNext on the corpse were perfumes thrown<br />\nAnd many a flowery wreath was strown;<br />\nAnd with Vibhishaṇ\'s ready aid<br />\nRich vesture o\'er the king was laid.<br />\nThen while the tears their cheeks bedewed<br />\nParched grain upon the dead they strewed;<br />\nLast, to the wood, as rules require,<br />\nVibhishaṇ set the kindling fire.<br />\nThen having bathed, as texts ordain,<br />\nTo Lanká went the mourning train.<br />\nVibhishaṇ, when his task was done,<br />\nStood by the side of Raghu\'s son.<br />\nAnd Ráma, freed from every foe,<br />\nUnstrung at last his deadly bow,<br />\nAnd laid the glittering shafts aside,<br />\nAnd mail by Indra\'s love supplied.<br />\nCanto CXIV. Vibhishan Consecrated.<br />\n1742<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nJoy reigned in heaven where every eye<br />\nHad seen the Lord of Lanká die.<br />\nIn cars whose sheen surpassed the sun\'s<br />\nTriumphant rode the radiant ones:<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ\'s death, by every tongue,<br />\nAnd Ráma\'s glorious deeds were sung.<br />\nThey praised the Vánars true and brave,<br />\nThe counsel wise Sugríva gave.<br />\nThe deeds of Hanúmán they told,<br />\nThe valiant chief supremely bold,<br />\nThe strong ally, the faithful friend,<br />\nAnd Sítá\'s truth which naught could bend.<br />\nTo Mátali, whom Indra sent,<br />\nHis head the son of Raghu bent:<br />\nAnd he with fiery steeds who clove<br />\nThe clouds again to Swarga drove.<br />\n[494]<br />\nRound King Sugríva brave and true<br />\nHis arms in rapture Ráma threw,<br />\nLooked on the host with joy and pride,<br />\nAnd thus to noble Lakshmaṇ cried:<br />\n“Now let king-making drops be shed,<br />\nDear brother, on Vibhishaṇ\'s head<br />\nFor truth and friendship nobly shown,<br />\nAnd make him lord of Rávaṇ\'s throne.”<br />\nThis longing of his heart he told:<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ took an urn of gold<br />\nAnd bade the wind-fleet Vánars bring<br />\nSea water for the giants\' king.<br />\nThe brimming urn was swiftly brought:<br />\nThen on a throne superbly wrought<br />\nVibhishaṇ sat, the giants\' lord,<br />\nAnd o\'er his brows the drops were poured.<br />\nCanto CXV. Sítá\'s Joy.<br />\n1743<br />\nAs Raghu\'s son the rite beheld<br />\nHis loving heart with rapture swelled:<br />\nBut tenderer thoughts within him woke,<br />\nAnd thus to Hanúmán he spoke:<br />\n“Go to my queen: this message give:<br />\nSay Lakshmaṇ and Sugríva live.<br />\nThe death of Lanká\'s monarch tell,<br />\nAnd bid her joy, for all is well.”<br />\nCanto CXV. Sítá\'s Joy.<br />\nThe Vánar chieftain bowed his head,<br />\nWithin the walls of Lanká sped,<br />\nLeave from the new-made king obtained,<br />\nAnd Sítá\'s lovely garden gained.<br />\nBeneath a tree the queen he found,<br />\nWhere Rákshas warders watched around.<br />\nHer pallid cheek, her tangled hair,<br />\nHer raiment showed her deep despair,<br />\nNear and more near the envoy came<br />\nAnd gently hailed the weeping dame.<br />\nShe started up in sweet surprise,<br />\nAnd sudden joy illumed her eyes.<br />\nFor well the Vánar\'s voice she knew,<br />\nAnd hope reviving sprang and grew.<br />\n1744<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Fair Queen,” he said, “our task is done:<br />\nThe foe is slain and Lanká won.<br />\nTriumphant mid triumphant friends<br />\nKind words of greeting Ráma sends.<br />\n“Blest for thy sake, O spouse most true,<br />\nMy deadly foe I met and slew.<br />\nMine eyes are strangers yet to sleep:<br />\nI built a bridge athwart the deep<br />\nAnd crossed the sea to Lanká\'s shore<br />\nTo keep the mighty oath I swore.<br />\nNow, gentle love, thy cares dispel,<br />\nAnd weep no more, for all is well.<br />\nFear not in Rávaṇ\'s house to stay<br />\nFor good Vibhishaṇ now bears sway,<br />\nFor constant truth and friendship known<br />\nRegard his palace as thine own.”<br />\nHe greets thee thus thy heart to cheer,<br />\nAnd urged by love will soon be here.”<br />\nThen flushed with joy the lady\'s cheek.<br />\nHer eyes o\'erflowed, her voice was weak;<br />\nBut struggling with her sobs she broke<br />\nHer silence thus, and faintly spoke:<br />\n“So fast the flood of rapture came,<br />\nMy trembling tongue no words could frame.<br />\nNe\'er have I heard in days of bliss<br />\nA tale that gave such joy as this.<br />\nMore precious far than gems and gold<br />\nThe message which thy lips have told.”<br />\nCanto CXV. Sítá\'s Joy.<br />\n1745<br />\nHis reverent hands the Vánar raised<br />\nAnd thus the lady\'s answer praised:<br />\n“Sweet are the words, O Queen, which thou<br />\nTrue to thy lord, hast spoken now,<br />\nBetter than gems and pearls of price,<br />\nYea, or the throne of Paradise.<br />\nBut, lady, ere I leave this place,<br />\nGrant me, I pray, a single grace.<br />\nPermit me, and this vengeful hand<br />\nShall slay thy guards, this Rákshas band,<br />\nWhose cruel insult threat and scorn<br />\nThy gentle soul too long has borne.”<br />\nThus, stern of mood, Hanúmán cried:<br />\nThe Maithil lady thus replied:<br />\n“Nay, be not wroth with servants: they,<br />\nWhen monarchs bid must needs obey.<br />\nAnd, vassals of their lords, fulfil<br />\nEach fancy of their sovereign will.<br />\nTo mine own sins the blame impute,<br />\nFor as we sow we reap the fruit.<br />\nThe tyrant\'s will these dames obeyed<br />\nWhen their fierce threats my soul dismayed.”<br />\nShe ceased: with admiration moved<br />\nThe Vánar chief her words approved:<br />\n“Thy speech,” he cried, “is worthy one<br />\nWhom love has linked to Raghu\'s son.<br />\nNow speak, O Queen, that I may know<br />\nThy pleasure, for to him I go.”<br />\nThe Vánar ceased: then Janak\'s child<br />\nMade answer as she sweetly smiled:<br />\n“\'My first, my only wish can be,<br />\nO chief, my loving lord to see.”<br />\n1746<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAgain the Vánar envoy spoke,<br />\nAnd with his words new rapture woke:<br />\n“Queen, ere this sun shall cease to shine<br />\nThy Ráma\'s eyes shall look in thine.<br />\nAgain the lord of Raghu\'s race<br />\nShall turn to thee his moon-bright face.<br />\nHis faithful brother shall thou see<br />\nAnd every friend who fought for thee,<br />\nAnd greet once more thy king restored<br />\nLike Śachí1014to her heavenly lord.”<br />\nTo Raghu\'s son his steps he bent<br />\nAnd told the message that she sent.<br />\n[495]<br />\nCanto CXVI. The Meeting.<br />\nHe looked upon that archer chief<br />\nWhose full eye mocked the lotus leaf,<br />\nAnd thus the noble Vánar spake:<br />\n“Now meet the queen for whose dear sake<br />\nThy mighty task was first begun,<br />\nAnd now the glorious fruit is won.<br />\nO\'erwhelmed with woe thy lady lies,<br />\nThe hot tears streaming from her eyes.<br />\nAnd still the queen must long and pine<br />\nUntil those eyes be turned to thine.”<br />\n1014The consort of Indra.<br />\nCanto CXVI. The Meeting.<br />\n1747<br />\nBut Ráma stood in pensive mood,<br />\nAnd gathering tears his eyes bedewed.<br />\nHis sad looks sought the ground: he sighed<br />\nAnd thus to King Vibhishaṇ cried:<br />\n“Let Sítá bathe and tire her head<br />\nAnd hither to my sight be led<br />\nIn raiment sweet with precious scent,<br />\nAnd gay with golden ornament.”<br />\nThe Rákshas king his palace sought,<br />\nAnd Sítá from her bower was brought.<br />\nThen Rákshas bearers tall and strong,<br />\nSelected from the menial throng,<br />\nThrough Lanká\'s gate the queen, arrayed<br />\nIn glorious robes and gems, conveyed.<br />\nConcealed behind the silken screen,<br />\nSwift to the plain they bore the queen,<br />\nWhile Vánars, close on every side,<br />\nWith eager looks the litter eyed.<br />\nThe warders at Vibhishaṇ\'s hest<br />\nThe onward rushing throng repressed,<br />\nWhile like the roar of ocean loud<br />\nRose the wild murmur of the crowd.<br />\nThe son of Raghu saw and moved<br />\nWith anger thus the king reproved:<br />\n“Why vex with hasty blow and threat<br />\nThe Vánars, and my rights forget?<br />\nRepress this zeal, untimely shown:<br />\nI count this people as mine own.<br />\nA woman\'s guard is not her bower,<br />\nThe lofty wall, the fenced tower:<br />\nHer conduct is her best defence,<br />\nAnd not a king\'s magnificence.<br />\nAt holy rites, in war and woe,<br />\n1748<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHer face unveiled a dame may show;<br />\nWhen at the Maiden\'s Choice1015they meet,<br />\nWhen marriage troops parade the street.<br />\nAnd she, my queen, who long has lain<br />\nIn prison racked with care and pain,<br />\nMay cease a while her face to hide,<br />\nFor is not Ráma by her side?<br />\nLay down the litter: on her feet<br />\nLet Sítá come her lord to meet.<br />\nAnd let the hosts of woodland race<br />\nLook near upon the lady\'s face.”<br />\nThen Lakshmaṇ and each Vánar chief<br />\nWho heard his words were filled with grief.<br />\nThe lady\'s gentle spirit sank,<br />\nAnd from each eye in fear she shrank,<br />\nAs, her sweet eyelids veiled for shame,<br />\nSlowly before her lord she came.<br />\nWhile rapture battled with surprise<br />\nShe raised to his her wistful eyes.<br />\nThen with her doubt and fear she strove,<br />\nAnd from her breast all sorrow drove.<br />\nRegardless of the gathering crowd,<br />\nBright as the moon without a cloud,<br />\nShe bent her eyes, no longer dim,<br />\nIn joy and trusting love on him.<br />\n1015The Swayamvara, Self-choice or election of a husband by a princess or<br />\ndaughter of a Kshatriya at a public assembly of suitors held for the purpose.<br />\nFor a description of the ceremony see Nala and Damayantí an episode of the<br />\nMahábhárat translated by the late Dean Milman, and Idylls from the Sanskrit.<br />\nCanto CXVII. Sítá\'s Disgrace.<br />\n1749<br />\nCanto CXVII. Sítá\'s Disgrace.<br />\nHe saw her trembling by his side,<br />\nAnd looked upon her face and cried:<br />\n“Lady, at length my task is done,<br />\nAnd thou, the prize of war, art won,<br />\nThis arm my glory has retrieved,<br />\nAnd all that man might do achieved;<br />\nThe insulting foe in battle slain<br />\nAnd cleared mine honour from its stain.<br />\nThis day has made my name renowned<br />\nAnd with success my labour crowned.<br />\nLord of myself, the oath I swore<br />\nIs binding on my soul no more.<br />\nIf from my home my queen was reft,<br />\nThis arm has well avenged the theft,<br />\nAnd in the field has wiped away<br />\nThe blot that on mine honour lay.<br />\nThe bridge that spans the foaming flood,<br />\nThe city red with giants\' blood;<br />\nThe hosts by King Sugríva led<br />\nWho wisely counselled, fought and bled;<br />\nVibhishaṇ\'s love, our guide and stay—<br />\nAll these are crowned with fruit to-day.<br />\nBut, lady, \'twas not love for thee<br />\nThat led mine army o\'er the sea.<br />\n\'Twas not for thee our blood was shed,<br />\nOr Lanká filled with giant dead.<br />\nNo fond affection for my wife<br />\nInspired me in the hour of strife.<br />\nI battled to avenge the cause<br />\nOf honour and insulted laws.<br />\nMy love is fled, for on thy fame<br />\nLies the dark blot of sin and shame;<br />\n1750<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd thou art hateful as the light<br />\n[496]<br />\nThat flashes on the injured sight.<br />\nThe world is all before thee: flee:<br />\nGo where thou wilt, but not with me.<br />\nHow should my home receive again<br />\nA mistress soiled with deathless stain?<br />\nHow should I brook the foul disgrace,<br />\nScorned by my friends and all my race?<br />\nFor Rávaṇ bore thee through the sky,<br />\nAnd fixed on thine his evil eye.<br />\nAbout thy waist his arms he threw,<br />\nClose to his breast his captive drew,<br />\nAnd kept thee, vassal of his power,<br />\nAn inmate of his ladies\' bower.”<br />\nCanto CXVIII. Sítá\'s Reply.<br />\nStruck down with overwhelming shame<br />\nShe shrank within her trembling frame.<br />\nEach word of Ráma\'s like a dart<br />\nHad pierced the lady to the heart;<br />\nAnd from her sweet eyes unrestrained<br />\nThe torrent of her sorrows, rained.<br />\nHer weeping eyes at length she dried,<br />\nAnd thus mid choking sobs replied:<br />\n“Canst thou, a high-born prince, dismiss<br />\nA high-born dame with speech like this?<br />\nSuch words befit the meanest hind,<br />\nNot princely birth and generous mind,<br />\nBy all my virtuous life I swear<br />\nI am not what thy words declare.<br />\nCanto CXVIII. Sítá\'s Reply.<br />\n1751<br />\nIf some are faithless, wilt thou find<br />\nNo love and truth in womankind?<br />\nDoubt others if thou wilt, but own<br />\nThe truth which all my life has shown.<br />\nIf, when the giant seized his prey,<br />\nWithin his hated arms I lay,<br />\nAnd felt the grasp I dreaded, blame<br />\nFate and the robber, not thy dame.<br />\nWhat could a helpless woman do?<br />\nMy heart was mine and still was true,<br />\nWhy when Hanúmán sent by thee<br />\nSought Lanká\'s town across the sea,<br />\nCouldst thou not give, O lord of men,<br />\nThy sentence of rejection then?<br />\nThen in the presence of the chief<br />\nDeath, ready death, had brought relief,<br />\nNor had I nursed in woe and pain<br />\nThis lingering life, alas in vain.<br />\nThen hadst thou shunned the fruitless strife<br />\nNor jeopardied thy noble life,<br />\nBut spared thy friends and bold allies<br />\nTheir vain and weary enterprise.<br />\nIs all forgotten, all? my birth,<br />\nNamed Janak\'s child, from fostering earth?<br />\nThat day of triumph when a maid<br />\nMy trembling hand in thine I laid?<br />\nMy meek obedience to thy will,<br />\nMy faithful love through joy and ill,<br />\nThat never failed at duty\'s call—<br />\nO King, is all forgotten, all?”<br />\nTo Lakshmaṇ then she turned and spoke<br />\nWhile sobs and sighs her utterance broke:<br />\n“Sumitrá\'s son, a pile prepare,<br />\n1752<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMy refuge in my dark despair.<br />\nI will not live to bear this weight<br />\nOf shame, forlorn and desolate.<br />\nThe kindled fire my woes shall end<br />\nAnd be my best and surest friend.”<br />\nHis mournful eyes the hero raised<br />\nAnd wistfully on Ráma gazed,<br />\nIn whose stern look no ruth was seen,<br />\nNo mercy for the weeping queen.<br />\nNo chieftain dared to meet those eyes,<br />\nTo pray, to question or advise.<br />\nThe word was passed, the wood was piled<br />\nAnd fain to die stood Janak\'s child.<br />\nShe slowly paced around her lord,<br />\nThe Gods with reverent act adored,<br />\nThen raising suppliant hands the dame<br />\nPrayed humbly to the Lord of Flame:<br />\n“As this fond heart by virtue swayed<br />\nFrom Raghu\'s son has never strayed,<br />\nSo, universal witness, Fire<br />\nProtect my body on the pyre,<br />\nAs Raghu\'s son has idly laid<br />\nThis charge on Sítá, hear and aid.”<br />\nShe ceased: and fearless to the last<br />\nWithin the flame\'s wild fury passed.<br />\nThen rose a piercing cry from all<br />\nDames, children, men, who saw her fall<br />\nAdorned with gems and gay attire<br />\nBeneath the fury of the fire.<br />\nCanto CXIX. Glory To Vishnu.<br />\n1753<br />\nCanto CXIX. Glory To Vishnu.<br />\nThe shrill cry pierced through Ráma\'s ears<br />\nAnd his sad eyes o\'erflowed with tears,<br />\nWhen lo, transported through the sky<br />\nA glorious band of Gods was nigh.<br />\nAncestral shades,1016by men revered,<br />\nIn venerable state appeared,<br />\nAnd he from whom all riches flow,1017<br />\nAnd Yáma Lord who reigns below:<br />\nKing Indra, thousand-eyed, and he<br />\nWho wields the sceptre of the sea.1018<br />\nThe God who shows the blazoned bull,1019<br />\nAnd Brahmá Lord most bountiful<br />\nBy whose command the worlds were made<br />\nAll these on radiant cars conveyed,<br />\n[497]<br />\nBrighter than sun-beams, sought the place<br />\nWhere stood the prince of Raghu\'s race,<br />\nAnd from their glittering seats the best<br />\nOf blessed Gods the chief addressed:<br />\n“Couldst thou, the Lord of all, couldst thou,<br />\nCreator of the worlds, allow<br />\nThy queen, thy spouse to brave the fire<br />\nAnd give her body to the pyre?<br />\nDost thou not yet, supremely wise,<br />\nThy heavenly nature recognize?”<br />\nThey ceased: and Ráma thus began:<br />\n“I deem myself a mortal man.<br />\nOf old Ikshváku\'s line, I spring<br />\n1016The Pitris or Manes, the spirits of the dead.<br />\n1017Kuvera, the God of Wealth.<br />\n1018Varuṇ, God of the sea.<br />\n1019Mahádeva or Śiva whose ensign is a bull.<br />\n1754</p>\n', created = 1594063953, expire = 1594150353, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:bde83e71700880b16fea183a1851f4cd' in /home/piv1691/theosophy-mm.net/www/includes/cache.inc on line 108.
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BOOK VI.895
Canto I. Ráma's Speech.
The son of Raghu heard, consoled,
The wondrous tale Hanumán told;
And, as his joyous hope grew high,
In friendly words he made reply:
“Behold a mighty task achieved,
Which never heart but his conceived.
Who else across the sea can spring,
Save Váyu896and the Feathered King?897
Who, pass the portals strong and high
Which Nágas,898Gods, and fiends defy,
Where Rávaṇ's hosts their station keep,—
And come uninjured o'er the deep?
By such a deed the Wind-God's son
Good service to the king has done,
And saved from ruin and disgrace
Lakshmaṇ and me and Raghu's race.
Well has he planned and bravely fought,
895The Sixth Book is called in Sanskrit Yuddha-Káṇḍa or The War, and
Lanká-Káṇda. It is generally known at the present day by the latter title.
896Váyu is the God of Wind.
897Garuḍa the King of Birds.
898Serpent-Gods.
Canto II. Sugríva's Speech.
1505
And with due care my lady sought.
But of the sea I sadly think,
And the sweet hopes that cheered me sink.
How can we cross the leagues of foam
That keep us from the giant's home?
What can the Vánar legions more
Than muster on the ocean shore?”
Canto II. Sugríva's Speech.
He ceased: and King Sugríva tried
To calm his grief, and thus replied:
“'Be to thy nobler nature true,
Nor let despair thy soul subdue.
This cloud of causeless woe dispel,
For all as yet has prospered well,
And we have traced thy queen, and know
The dwelling of our Rákshas foe.
Arise, consult: thy task must be
To cast a bridge athwart the sea,
The city of our foe to reach
That crowns the mountain by the beach;
[428]
And when our feet that isle shall tread,
Rejoice and deem thy foeman dead.
The sea unbridged, his walls defy
Both fiends and children of the sky,
Though at the fierce battalions' head
Lord Indra's self the onset led.
Yea, victory is thine before
The long bridge touch the farther shore,
So fleet and fierce and strong are these
1506
The Ramayana
Who limb them as their fancies please.
Away with grief and sad surmise
That mar the noblest enterprise,
And with their weak suspicion blight
The sage's plan, the hero's might.
Come, this degenerate weakness spurn,
And bid thy dauntless heart return,
For each fair hope by grief is crossed
When those we love are dead or lost.
Arise, O best of those who know,
Arm for the giant's overthrow.
None in the triple world I see
Who in the fight may equal thee;
None who before thy face may stand
And brave the bow that arms thy hand,
Trust to these mighty Vánars: they
With full success thy trust will pay,
When thou shalt reach the robber's hold,
And loving arms round Sítá fold.”
Canto III. Lanká.
He ceased: and Raghu's son gave heed,
Attentive to his prudent rede:
Then turned again, with hope inspired,
To Hanumán, and thus inquired:
Canto III. Lanká.
1507
“Light were the task for thee, I ween,
To bridge the sea that gleams between
The mainland and the island shore.
Or dry the deep and guide as o'er.
Fain would I learn from thee whose feet
Have trod the stones of every street,
Of fenced Lanká's towers and forts,
And walls and moats and guarded ports,
And castles where the giants dwell,
And battlemented citadel.
O Váyu's son, describe it all,
With palace, fort, and gate, and wall.”
He ceased: and, skilled in arts that guide
The eloquent, the chief replied:
“Vast is the city, gay and strong,
Where elephants unnumbered throng,
And countless hosts of Rákshas breed
Stand ready by the car and steed.
Four massive gates, securely barred,
All entrance to the city guard,
With murderous engines fixt to throw
Bolt, arrow, rock to check the foe,
And many a mace with iron head
That strikes at once a hundred dead.
Her golden ramparts wide and high
With massy strength the foe defy,
Where inner walls their rich inlay
Of coral, turkis, pearl display.
Her circling moats are broad and deep,
Where ravening monsters dart and leap.
By four great piers each moat is spanned
Where lines of deadly engines stand.
1508
The Ramayana
In sleepless watch at every gate
Unnumbered hosts of giants wait,
And, masters of each weapon, rear
The threatening pike and sword and spear.
My fury hurled those ramparts down,
Filled up the moats that gird the town,
The piers and portals overturned,
And stately Lanká spoiled and burned.
Howe'er we Vánars force our way
O'er the wide seat of Varuṇ's899sway,
Be sure that city of the foe
Is doomed to sudden overthrow,
Nay, why so vast an army lead?
Brave Angad, Dwivid good at need,
Fierce Mainda, Panas famed in fight,
And Níla's skill and Nala's might,
And Jámbaván the strong and wise,
Will dare the easy enterprise.
Assailed by these shall Lanká fall
With gate and rampart, tower and wall.
Command the gathering, chief: and they
In happy hour will haste away.”
Canto IV. The March.
He ceased; and spurred by warlike pride
The impetuous son of Raghu cried:
“Soon shall mine arm with wrathful joy
That city of the foe destroy.
899The God of the sea.
Canto IV. The March.
1509
Now, chieftain, now collect the host,
And onward to the southern coast!
The sun in his meridian tower
Gives glory to the Vánar power.
The demon lord who stole my queen
By timely flight his life may screen.
She, when she knows her lord is near,
Will cling to hope and banish fear,
Saved like a dying wretch who sips
The drink of Gods with fevered lips.
Arise, thy troops to battle lead:
All happy omens counsel speed.
The Lord of Stars in favouring skies
Bodes glory to our enterprise.
This arm shall slay the fiend; and she,
My consort, shall again be free.
[429]
Mine upward-throbbing eye foreshows
The longed-for triumph o'er my foes.
Far in the van be Níla's post,
To scan the pathway for the host,
And let thy bravest and thy best,
A hundred thousand, wait his hest.
Go forth, O warrior Níla, lead
The legions on through wood and mead
Where pleasant waters cool the ground,
And honey, flowers, and fruit abound.
Go, and with timely care prevent
The Rákshas foeman's dark intent.
With watchful troops each valley guard
Ere brooks and fruits and roots be marred
And search each glen and leafy shade
For hostile troops in ambuscade.
But let the weaklings stay behind:
For heroes is our task designed.
1510
The Ramayana
Let thousands of the Vánar breed
The vanguard of the armies lead:
Fierce and terrific must it be
As billows of the stormy sea.
There be the hill-huge Gaja's place,
And Gavaya's, strongest of his race,
And, like the bull that leads the herd,
Gaváksha's, by no fears deterred
Let Rishabh, matchless in the might
Of warlike arms, protect our right,
And Gandhamádan next in rank
Defend and guide the other flank.
I, like the God who rules the sky
Borne on Airávat900mounted high
On stout Hanúmán's back will ride,
The central host to cheer and guide.
Fierce as the God who rules below,
On Angad's back let Lakshmaṇ show
Like him who wealth to mortals shares,901
The lord whom Sárvabhauma902bears.
The bold Susheṇ's impetuous might,
And Vegadarśí's piercing sight,
And Jámbaván whom bears revere,
Illustrious three, shall guard the rear.”
He ceased, the royal Vánar heard,
And swift, obedient to his word,
Sprang forth in numbers none might tell
From mountain, cave, and bosky dell,
From rocky ledge and breezy height,
Fierce Vánars burning for the fight.
900Indra's elephant.
901Kuvera, God of wealth.
902Kuvera's elephant.
Canto IV. The March.
1511
And Ráma's course was southward bent
Amid the mighty armament.
On, joyous, pressed in close array
The hosts who owned Sugríva's sway,
With nimble feet, with rapid bound
Exploring, ere they passed, the ground,
While from ten myriad throats rang out
The challenge and the battle shout.
On roots and honeycomb they fed,
And clusters from the boughs o'erhead,
Or from the ground the tall trees tore
Rich with the flowery load they bore.
Some carried comrades, wild with mirth,
Then cast their riders to the earth,
Who swiftly to their feet arose
And overthrew their laughing foes.
While still rang out the general cry,
“King Rávaṇ and his fiends shall die,”
Still on, exulting in the pride
Of conscious strength, the Vánars hied,
And gazed where noble Sahya, best
Of mountains, raised each towering crest.
They looked on lake and streamlet, where
The lotus bloom was bright and fair,
Nor marched—for Ráma's hest they feared
Where town or haunt of men appeared.
Still onward, fearful as the waves
Of Ocean when he roars and raves,
Led by their eager chieftains, went
The Vánars' countless armament.
Each captain, like a noble steed
Urged by the lash to double speed.
Pressed onward, filled with zeal and pride,
By Ráma's and his brother's side,
1512
The Ramayana
Who high above the Vánar throng
On mighty backs were borne along,
Like the great Lords of Day and Night
Seized by eclipsing planets might.
Then Lakshmaṇ radiant as the morn,
On Angad's shoulders high upborne.
With sweet consoling words that woke
New ardour, to his brother spoke:
“Soon shalt thou turn, thy queen regained
And impious Rávaṇ's life-blood drained,
In happiness and high renown
To dear Ayodhyá's happy town.
I see around exceeding fair
All omens of the earth and air.
Auspicious breezes sweet and low
To greet the Vánar army blow,
And softly to my listening ear
Come the glad cries of bird and deer.
Bright is the sky around us, bright
Without a cloud the Lord of Light,
And Śukra903with propitious love
Looks on thee from his throne above.
The pole-star and the Sainted Seven904
Shine brightly in the northern heaven,
And great Triśanku,905glorious king,
[430]
Ikshváku's son from whom we spring,
Beams in unclouded glory near
His holy priest906whom all revere.
903The planet Venus, or its regent who is regarded as the son of Bhrigu and
preceptor of the Daityas.
904The seven rishis or saints who form the constellation of the Great Bear.
905Triśanku was raised to the skies to form a constellation in the southern
hemisphere. The story in told in Book I, Canto LX.
906The sage Viśvámitra, who performed for Triśanku the great sacrifice which
Canto IV. The March.
1513
Undimmed the two Viśákhás907shine,
The strength and glory of our line,
And Nairrit's908influence that aids
Our Rákshas foemen faints and fades.
The running brooks are fresh and fair,
The boughs their ripening clusters bear,
And scented breezes gently sway
The leaflet of the tender spray.
See, with a glory half divine
The Vánars' ordered legions shine,
Bright as the Gods' exultant train
Who saw the demon Tárak slain.
O let thine eyes these signs behold,
And bid thy heart be glad and bold.”
The Vánar squadrons densely spread
O'er all the country onward sped,
While rising from the rapid beat
Of bears' and monkeys' hastening feet.
Dust hid the earth with thickest veil,
And made the struggling sunbeams pale.
Now where Mahendra's peaks arise
Came Ráma of the lotus eyes
And the long arm's resistless might,
And clomb the mountain's wood-crowned height.
Thence Daśaratha's son beheld
Where billowy Ocean rose and swelled,
Past Malaya's peaks and Sahya's chain
The Vánar legions reached the main,
And stood in many a marshalled band
raised him to the heavens.
907One of the lunar asterisms containing four or originally two stars under the
regency of a dual divinity Indrágni, Indra and Agni.
908The lunar asterism Múla, belonging to the Rákshases.
1514
The Ramayana
On loud-resounding Ocean's strand.
To the fair wood that fringed the tide
Came Daśaratha's son, and cried:
“At length, my lord Sugríva, we
Have reached King Varuṇ's realm the sea,
And one great thought, still-vexing, how
To cross the flood, awaits us now.
The broad deep ocean, that denies
A passage, stretched before us lies.
Then let us halt and plan the while
How best to storm the giant's isle.”
He ceased: Sugríva on the coast
By trees o'ershadowed stayed the host,
That seemed in glittering lines to be
The bright waves of a second sea.
Then from the shore the captains gazed
On billows which the breezes raised
To fury, as they dashed in foam
O'er Varuṇ's realm, the Asurs' home:909
The sea that laughed with foam, and danced
With waves whereon the sunbeams glanced:
Where, when the light began to fade,
Huge crocodiles and monsters played;
And, when the moon went up the sky,
The troubled billows rose on high
From the wild watery world whereon
A thousand moons reflected shone:
Where awful serpents swam and showed
Their fiery crests which flashed and glowed,
Illumining the depths of hell,
The prison where the demons dwell.
The eye, bewildered, sought in vain
909The Asurs or demons dwell imprisoned in the depths beneath the sea.
Canto V. Ráma's Lament.
1515
The bounding line of sky and main:
Alike in shade, alike in glow
Were sky above and sea below.
There wave-like clouds by clouds were chased,
Here cloud-like billows roared and raced:
Then shone the stars, and many a gem
That lit the waters answered them.
They saw the great-souled Ocean stirred
To frenzy by the winds, and heard,
Loud as ten thousand drums, the roar
Of wild waves dashing on the shore.
They saw him mounting to defy
With deafening voice the troubled sky.
And the deep bed beneath him swell
In fury as the billows fell.
Canto V. Ráma's Lament.
There on the coast in long array
The Vánars' marshalled legions lay,
Where Níla's care had ordered well
The watch of guard and sentinel,
And Mainda moved from post to post
With Dwivid to protect the host.
1516
The Ramayana
Then Ráma stood by Lakshmaṇ's side,
And mastered by his sorrow cried:
“My brother dear, the heart's distress,
As days wear on, grows less and less.
But my deep-seated grief, alas,
Grows fiercer as the seasons pass.
Though for my queen my spirit longs,
And broods indignant o'er my wrongs,
Still wilder is my grief to know
That her young life is passed in woe.
Breathe, gentle gale, O breathe where she
Lies prisoned, and then breathe on me,
[431]
And, though my love I may not meet,
Thy kiss shall be divinely sweet.
Ah, by the giant's shape appalled,
On her dear lord for help she called,
Still in mine ears the sad cry rings
And tears my heart with poison stings.
Through the long daylight and the gloom
Of night wild thoughts of her consume
My spirit, and my love supplies
The torturing flame which never dies.
Leave me, my brother; I will sleep
Couched on the bosom of the deep,
For the cold wave may bring me peace
And bid the fire of passion cease.
One only thought my stay must be,
That earth, one earth, holds her and me,
To hear, to know my darling lives
Some life-supporting comfort gives,
As streams from distant fountains run
O'er meadows parching in the sun.
Ah when, my foeman at my feet,
Shall I my queen, my glory, meet,
Canto VI. Rávan's Speech.
1517
The blossom of her dear face raise
And on her eyes enraptured gaze,
Press her soft lips to mine again,
And drink a balm to banish pain!
Alas, alas! where lies she now,
My darling of the lovely brow?
On the cold earth, no help at hand,
Forlorn amid the Rákshas band,
King Janak's child still calls on me,
Her lord and love, to set her free.
But soon in glory will she rise
A crescent moon in autumn skies,
And those dark rovers of the night,
Like scattered clouds shall turn in flight.”
Canto VI. Rávan's Speech.
But when the giant king surveyed
His glorious town in ruin laid,
And each dire sign of victory won
By Hanumán the Wind-God's son,
He vailed his angry eyes oppressed
By shame, and thus his lords addressed:
“The Vánar spy has passed the gate
Of Lanká long inviolate,
Eluded watch and ward, and seen
With his bold eyes the captive queen.
My royal roof with flames is red,
The bravest of my lords are dead,
And the fierce Vánar in his hate
Has left our city desolate.
1518
The Ramayana
Now ponder well the work that lies
Before us, ponder and advise.
With deep-observing judgment scan
The peril, and mature a plan.
From counsel, sages say, the root,
Springs victory, most glorious fruit.
First ranks the king, when woe impends
Who seeks the counsel of his friends,
Of kinsmen ever faithful found,
Or those whose hopes with his are bound,
Then with their aid his strength applies,
And triumphs in his enterprise.
Next ranks the prince who plans alone,
No counsel seeks to aid his own,
Weighs loss and gain and wrong and right,
And seeks success with earnest might.
Unwisest he who spurns delays,
Who counts no cost, no peril weighs,
Speeds to his aim, defying fate,
And risks his all, precipitate.
Thus too in counsel sages find
A best, a worst, a middle kind.
When gathered counsellors explore
The way by light of holy lore,
And all from first to last agree,
Is the best counsel of the three.
Next, if debate first waxes high,
And each his chosen plan would try
Till all agree at last, we deem
This counsel second in esteem.
Worst of the three is this, when each
Assails with taunt his fellow's speech;
When all debate, and no consent
Concludes the angry argument.
Canto VII. Rávan Encouraged.
1519
Consult then, lords; my task shall be
To crown with act your wise decree.
With thousands of his wild allies
The vengeful Ráma hither hies;
With unresisted might and speed
Across the flood his troops will lead,
Or for the Vánar host will drain
The channels of the conquered main.”
Canto VII. Rávan Encouraged.
He ceased: they scorned, with blinded eyes,
The foeman and his bold allies,
Raised reverent hands with one accord,
And thus made answer to their lord:
“Why yield thee, King, to causeless fear?
A mighty host with sword and spear
And mace and axe and pike and lance
Waits but thy signal to advance.
Art thou not he who slew of old
The Serpent-Gods, and stormed their hold;
Scaled Mount Kailása and o'erthrew
Kuvera910and his Yaksha crew,
[432]
910The God of Riches, brother and enemy of Rávaṇ and first possessor of
Pushpak the flying car.
1520
The Ramayana
Compelling Śiva's haughty friend
Beneath a mightier arm to bend?
Didst thou not bring from realms afar
The marvel of the magic car,
When they who served Kuvera fell
Crushed in their mountain citadel?
Attracted by thy matchless fame
To thee, a suppliant, Maya came,
The lord of every Dánav band,
And won thee with his daughter's hand.
Thy arm in hell itself was felt,
Where Vásuki911and Śankha dwelt,
And they and Takshak, overthrown,
Were forced thy conquering might to own.
The Gods in vain their blessing gave
To heroes bravest of the brave,
Who strove a year and, sorely pressed,
Their victor's peerless might confessed.
In vain their magic arts they tried,
In vain thy matchless arm defied
King Varuṇ's sons with fourfold force,
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse,
But for a while thy power withstood,
And, conquered, mourned their hardihood.
Thou hast encountered, face to face,
King Yáma912with his murdering mace.
Fierce as the wild tempestuous sea,
What terror had his wrath for thee,
Though death in every threatening form,
And woe and torment, urged the storm?
Thine arm a glorious victory won
911King of the Serpents. Śankha and Takshak are two of the eight Serpent
Chiefs.
912The God of Death, the Pluto of the Hindus.
Canto VIII. Prahasta's Speech.
1521
O'er the dread king who pities none;
And the three worlds, from terror freed,
In joyful wonder praised thy deed.
The tribe of Warriors, strong and dread
As Indra's self, o'er earth had spread;
As giant trees that towering stand
In mountain glens, they filled the land.
Can Raghu's son encounter foes
Fierce, numerous, and strong as those?
Yet, trained in war and practised well,
O'ermatched by thee, they fought and fell,
Stay in thy royal home, nor care
The battle and the toil to share;
But let the easy fight be won
By Indrajít913thy matchless son.
All, all shall die, if thou permit,
Slain by the hand of Indrajít.”
Canto VIII. Prahasta's Speech.
Dark as a cloud of autumn, dread
Prahasta joined his palms and said:
913Literally Indra's conqueror, so called from his victory over that God.
1522
The Ramayana
“Gandharvas, Gods, the hosts who dwell
In heaven, in air, in earth, in hell,
Have yielded to thy might, and how
Shall two weak men oppose thee now?
Hanúmán came, a foe disguised,
And mocked us heedless and surprised,
Or never had he lived to flee
And boast that he has fought with me.
Command, O King, and this right hand
Shall sweep the Vánars from the land,
And hill and dale, to Ocean's shore,
Shall know the death-doomed race no more.
But let my care the means devise
To guard thy city from surprise.”
Then Durmukh cried, of Rákshas race:
“Too long we brook the dire disgrace.
He gave our city to the flames,
He trod the chambers of thy dames.
Ne'er shall so weak and vile a thing
Unpunished brave the giants' king.
Now shall this single arm attack
And drive the daring Vánars back,
Till to the winds of heaven they flee,
Or seek the depths of earth and sea.”
Then, brandishing the mace he bore,
Whose horrid spikes were stained with gore,
While fury made his eyeballs red,
Impetuous Vajradanshṭra said:
Canto VIII. Prahasta's Speech.
1523
“Why waste a thought on one so vile
As Hanúmán the Vánar, while
Sugríva, Lakshmaṇ, yet remain,
And Ráma mightier still, unslain?
This mace to-day shall crush the three,
And all the host will turn and flee.
Listen, and I will speak: incline,
O King, to hear these words of mine,
For the deep plan that I propose
Will swiftly rid thee of thy foes.
Let thousands of thy host assume
The forms of men in youthful bloom,
In war's magnificent array
Draw near to Raghu's son, and say:
“Thy younger brother Bharat sends
This army, and thy cause befriends.”
Then let our legions hasten near
With bow and mace and sword and spear,
And on the Vánar army rain
Our steel and stone till all be slain.
If Raghu's sons will fain believe,
Entangled in the net we weave,
The penalty they both must pay,
And lose their forfeit lives to-day.”
[433]
Then with his warrior soul on fire,
Nikumbha spoke in burning ire:
“I, only I, will take the field,
And Raghu's son his life shall yield.
Within these walls, O Chiefs, abide,
Nor part ye from our monarch's side.”
1524
The Ramayana
Canto IX. Vibhishan's Counsel.
A score of warriors914forward sprang,
And loud the clashing iron rang
Of mace and axe and spear and sword,
As thus they spake unto their lord:
“Their king Sugríva will we slay,
And Raghu's sons, ere close of day,
And strike the wretch Hanúmán down,
The spoiler of our golden town.”
But sage Vibhishaṇ strove to calm
The chieftains' fury; palm to palm
He joined in lowly reverence, pressed915
Before them, and the throng addressed:
914Their names are Nikumbha, Rabhasa, Súryaśatru, Suptaghna, Yajnakopa,
Mahápárśva, Mahodara, Agniketu, Raśmiketu, Durdharsha, Indraśatru, Pra-
hasta, Virúpáksha, Vajradanshṭra, Dhúmráksha, Durmukha, Mahábala.
915Similarly Antenor urges the restoration of Helen:
“Let Sparta's treasures be this hour restored,
And Argive Helen own her ancient lord.
As this advice ye practise or reject,
So hope success, or dread the dire effect,”
POPE'S{FNS Homer's Iliad, Book VII.
Canto IX. Vibhishan's Counsel.
1525
“Dismiss the hope of conquering one
So stern and strong as Raghu's son.
In due control each sense he keeps
With constant care that never sleeps.
Whose daring heart has e'er conceived
The exploit Hanumán achieved,
Across the fearful sea to spring,
The tributary rivers' king?
O Rákshas lords, in time be wise,
Nor Ráma's matchless power despise.
And say, what evil had the son
Of Raghu to our monarch done,
Who stole the dame he loved so well
And keeps her in his citadel;
If Khara in his foolish pride
Encountered Ráma, fought, and died,
May not the meanest love his life
And guard it in the deadly strife?
The Maithil dame, O Rákshas King,
Sore peril to thy realm will bring.
Restore her while there yet is time,
Nor let us perish for thy crime.
O, let the Maithil lady go
Ere the avenger bend his bow
To ruin with his arrowy showers
Our Lanká with her gates and towers.
Let Janak's child again be free
Ere the wild Vánars cross the sea,
In their resistless might assail
Our city and her ramparts scale.
Ah, I conjure thee by the ties
Of brotherhood, be just and wise.
In all my thoughts thy good I seek,
And thus my prudent counsel speak.
1526
The Ramayana
Let captive Sítá be restored
Ere, fierce as autumn's sun, her lord
Send his keen arrows from the string
To drink the life-blood of our king.
This fury from thy soul dismiss,
The bane of duty, peace, and bliss.
Seek duty's path and walk therein,
And joy and endless glory win.
Restore the captive, ere we feel
The piercing point of Ráma's steel.
O spare thy city, spare the lives
Of us, our friends, our sons and wives.”
Thus spake Vibhishaṇ wise and brave:
The Rákshas king no answer gave,
But bade his lords the council close,
And sought his chamber for repose.
Canto X. Vibhishan's Counsel.
Soon as the light of morning broke,
Vibhishaṇ from his slumber woke,
And, duty guiding every thought,
The palace of his brother sought.
Vast as a towering hill that shows
His peaks afar, that palace rose.
Here stood within the monarch's gate
Sage nobles skilful in debate.
There strayed in glittering raiment through
The courts his royal retinue,
Where in wild measure rose and fell
Canto X. Vibhishan's Counsel.
1527
The music of the drum and shell,
And talk grew loud, and many a dame
Of fairest feature went and came
Through doors a marvel to behold,
With pearl inlaid on burning gold:
Therein Gandharvas or the fleet
Lords of the storm might joy to meet.
He passed within the wondrous pile,
Chief glory of the giants' isle:
Thus, ere his fiery course be done,
An autumn cloud admits the sun.
[434]
He heard auspicious voices raise
With loud accord the note of praise,
And sages, deep in Scripture, sing
Each glorious triumph of the king.
He saw the priests in order stand,
Curd, oil, in every sacred hand;
And by them flowers were laid and grain,
Due offerings to the holy train.
Vibhishaṇ to the monarch bowed,
Raised on a throne above the crowd:
Then, skilled in arts of soft address,
He raised his voice the king to bless,
And sate him on a seat where he
Full in his brother's sight should be.
The chieftain there, while none could hear,
Spoke his true speech for Rávaṇ's ear,
And to his words of wisdom lent
The force of weightiest argument:
“O brother, hear! since Ráma's queen
A captive in thy house has been,
Disastrous omens day by day
Have struck our souls with wild dismay.
1528
The Ramayana
No longer still and strong and clear
The flames of sacrifice appear,
But, restless with the frequent spark,
Neath clouds of smoke grow faint and dark.
Our ministering priests turn pale
To see their wonted offerings fail,
And ants and serpents creep and crawl
Within the consecrated hall.916
Dried are the udders of our cows,
Our elephants have juiceless brows,917
Nor can the sweetest pasture stay
The charger's long unquiet neigh.
Big tears from mules and camels flow
Whose staring coats their trouble show,
Nor can the leech's art restore
Their health and vigour as before.
Rapacious birds are fierce and bold:
Not single hunters as of old,
In banded troops they chase the prey,
Or gathering on our temples stay.
Through twilight hours with shriek and howl
Around the city jackals prowl,
And wolves and foul hyænas wait
Athirst for blood at every gate.
One sole atonement still may cure
These evils, and our weal assure.
Restore the Maithil dame, and win
An easy pardon for thy sin.”
916The Agnisálá or room where the sacrificial fire was kept.
917The exudation of a fragrant fluid from the male elephant's temples, espe-
cially at certain seasons, is frequently spoken of in Sanskrit poetry. It is said to
deceive and attract the bees, and is regarded as a sign of health and masculine
vigour.
Canto XI. The Summons.
1529
The Rákshas monarch heard, and moved
To sudden wrath his speech reproved:
“No danger, brother, can I see:
The Maithil dame I will not free.
Though all the Gods for Ráma fight,
He yields to my superior might.”
Thus the tremendous king who broke
The ranks of heavenly warriors spoke,
And, sternly purposed to resist,
His brother from the hall dismissed.
Canto XI. The Summons.
Still Rávaṇ's haughty heart rebelled,
The counsel of the wise repelled,
And, as his breast with passion burned,
His thoughts again to Sítá turned.
Thus, to each sign of danger blind,
To love and war he still inclined.
Then mounted he his car that glowed
With gems and golden net, and rode
Where, gathered at the monarch's call,
The nobles filled the council hall.
A host of warriors bright and gay
With coloured robes and rich array,
With shield and mace and spear and sword,
Followed the chariot of their lord.
Mid the loud voice of shells and beat
Of drums he raced along the street,
And, ere he came, was heard afar
1530
The Ramayana
The rolling thunder of his car.
He reached the doors: the nobles bent
Their heads before him reverent:
And, welcomed with their loud acclaim,
Within the glorious hall he came.
He sat upon a royal seat
With golden steps beneath his feet,
And bade the heralds summon all
His captains to the council hall.
The heralds heard the words he spake,
And sped from house to house to wake
The giants where they slept or spent
The careless hours in merriment.
These heard the summons and obeyed:
From chamber, grove, and colonnade,
On elephants or cars they rode,
Or through the streets impatient strode.
As birds on rustling pinions fly
Through regions of the darkened sky,
Thus cars and mettled coursers through
The crowded streets of Lanká flew.
The council hall was reached, and then,
As lions seek their mountain den,
Through massy doors that opened wide,
With martial stalk the captains hied.
Welcomed with honour as was meet
They stooped to press their monarch's feet,
[435]
And each a place in order found
On stool, on cushion, or the ground.
Nor did the sage Vibhishaṇ long
Delay to join the noble throng.
High on a car that shone like flame
With gold and flashing gems he came,
Drew near and spoke his name aloud,
Canto XII. Rávan's Speech.
1531
And reverent to his brother bowed.
Canto XII. Rávan's Speech.
The king in counsel unsurpassed
His eye around the synod cast,
And fierce Prahasta, first and best
Of all his captains, thus addressed:
“Brave master of each warlike art,
Arouse thee and perform thy part.
Array thy fourfold forces918well
To guard our isle and citadel.”
The captain of the hosts obeyed,
The troops with prudent skill arrayed;
Then to the hall again he hied,
And stood before the king and cried:
“Each inlet to the town is closed
Without, within, are troops disposed.
With fearless heart thine aim pursue
And do the deed thou hast in view.”
918Consisting of warriors on elephants, warriors in chariots, charioteers, and
infantry.
1532
The Ramayana
Thus spoke Prahasta in the zeal
That moved him for the kingdom's weal.
And thus the monarch, who pursued
His own delight, his speech renewed:
“In ease and bliss, in toil and pain,
In doubts of duty, pleasure, gain,
Your proper path I need not tell,
For of yourselves ye know it well.
The Storm-Gods, Moon, and planets bring
New glory to their heavenly king,919
And, ranged about your monarch, ye
Give joy and endless fame to me.
My secret counsel have I kept,
While senseless Kumbhakarṇa slept.
Six months the warrior's slumbers last
And bind his torpid senses fast;
But now his deep repose he breaks,
The best of all our champions wakes.
I captured, Ráma's heart to wring,
This daughter of Videha's king.
And brought her from that distant land920
Where wandered many a Rákshas band.
Disdainful still my love she spurns,
Still from each prayer and offering turns,
Yet in all lands beneath the sun
No dame may rival Sítá, none,
Her dainty waist is round and slight,
Her cheek like autumn's moon is bright,
And she like fruit in graven gold
Mocks her921whom Maya framed of old.
919Indra, generally represented as surrounded by the Maruts or Storm-Gods.
920Janasthán, where Ráma lived as an ascetic.
921Máyá, regarded as the paragon of female beauty, was the creation of Maya
the chief artificer of the Daityas or Dánavs.
Canto XII. Rávan's Speech.
1533
Faultless in form, how firmly tread
Her feet whose soles are rosy red!
Ah, as I gaze her beauty takes
My spirit, and my passion wakes.
Looking for Ráma far away
She sought with tears a year's delay
Nor gazing on her love-lit eye
Could I that earnest prayer deny.
But baffled hopes and vain desire
At length my patient spirit tire.
How shall the sons of Raghu sweep
To vengeance o'er the pathless deep?
How shall they lead the Vánar train
Across the monster-teeming main?
One Vánar yet could find a way
To Lanká's town, and burn and slay.
Take counsel then, remembering still
That we from men need fear no ill;
And give your sentence in debate,
For matchless is the power of fate.
Assailed by you the Gods who dwell
In heaven beneath our fury fell.
And shall we fear these creatures bred
In forests, by Sugríva led?
E'en now on ocean's farther strand,
The sons of Daśaratha stand,
And follow, burning to attack
Their giant foes, on Sítá's track.
Consult then, lords for ye are wise:
A seasonable plan devise.
The captive lady to retain,
And triumph when the foes are slain.
No power can bring across the foam
Those Vánars to our island home;
1534
The Ramayana
Or if they madly will defy
Our conquering might, they needs must die.”
Then Kumbhakarṇa's anger woke,
And wroth at Rávaṇ's words he spoke:
“O Monarch, when thy ravished eyes
First looked upon thy lovely prize,
Then was the time to bid us scan
Each peril and mature a plan.
Blest is the king who acts with heed,
And ne'er repents one hasty deed;
And hapless he whose troubled soul
Mourns over days beyond control.
[436]
Thou hast, in beauty's toils ensnared,
A desperate deed of boldness dared;
By fortune saved ere Ráma's steel
One wound, thy mortal bane, could deal.
But, Rávaṇ, as the deed is done,
The toil of war I will not shun.
This arm, O rover of the night,
Thy foemen to the earth shall smite,
Though Indra with the Lord of Flame,
The Sun and Storms, against me came.
E'en Indra, monarch of the skies,
Would dread my club and mountain size,
Shrink from these teeth and quake to hear
The thunders of my voice of fear.
No second dart shall Ráma cast:
The first he aims shall be the last.
He falls, and these dry lips shall drain
The blood of him my hand has slain;
And Sítá, when her champion dies,
Shall be thine undisputed prize.”
Canto XIII. Rávan's Speech.
1535
Canto XIII. Rávan's Speech.
But Mahápárśva saw the sting
Of keen reproach had galled the king;
And humbly, eager to appease
His anger, spoke in words like these:
“And breathes there one so cold and weak
The forest and the gloom to seek
Where savage beasts abound, and spare
To taste the luscious honey there?
Art thou not lord? and who is he
Shall venture to give laws to thee?
Love thy Videhan still, and tread
Upon thy prostrate foeman's head.
O'er Sítá's will let thine prevail,
And strength achieve if flattery fail.
What though the lady yet be coy
And turn her from the proffered joy?
Soon shall her conquered heart relent
And yield to love and blandishment.
With us let Kumbhakarṇa fight,
And Indrajít of matchless might:
We need not other champions, they
Shall lead us forth to rout and slay.
Not ours to bribe or soothe or part
The foeman's force with gentle art,
Doomed, conquered by our might, to feel
The vengeance of the warrior's steel.”
The Rákshas monarch heard, and moved
By flattering hopes the speech approved:
1536
The Ramayana
“Hear me,” he cried, “great chieftain, tell
What in the olden time befell,—
A secret tale which, long suppressed,
Lies prisoned only in my breast.
One day—a day I never forget—
Fair Punjikasthalá922I met,
When, radiant as a flame of fire,
She sought the palace of the Sire.
In passion's eager grasp I tore
From her sweet limbs the robes she wore,
And heedless of her prayers and cries
Strained to my breast the vanquised prize.
Like Naliní923with soil distained,
The mansion of the Sire she gained,
And weeping made the outrage known
To Brahmá on his heavenly throne.
He in his wrath pronounced a curse,—
That lord who made the universe:
“If, Rávaṇ, thou a second time
Be guilty of so foul a crime,
Thy head in shivers shall be rent:
Be warned, and dread the punishment.”
Awed by the threat of vengeance still
I force not Sítá's stubborn will.
Terrific as the sea in might:
My steps are like the Storm-Gods' flight;
But Ráma knows not this, or he
Had never sought to war with me.
Where is the man would idly brave
The lion in his mountain cave,
And wake him when with slumbering eyes
Grim, terrible as Death, he lies?
922One of the Nymphs of Indra's heaven.
923The Lotus River, a branch of the heavenly Gangá.
Canto XIV. Vibhishan's Speech.
1537
No, blinded Ráma knows me not:
Ne'er has he seen mine arrows shot;
Ne'er marked them speeding to their aim
Like snakes with cloven tongues of flame.
On him those arrows will I turn,
Whose fiery points shall rend and burn.
Quenched by my power when I assail
The glory of his might shall fail,
As stars before the sun grow dim
And yield their feeble light to him.”
Canto XIV. Vibhishan's Speech.
He ceased: Vibhishaṇ ill at ease
Addressed the king in words like these:
“O Rávaṇ, O my lord, beware
Of Sítá dangerous as fair,
Nor on thy heedless bosom hang
This serpent with a deadly fang.
O King, the Maithil dame restore
To Raghu's matchless son before
Those warriors of the woodlands, vast
As mountain peaks, approaching fast,
Armed with fierce teeth and claws, enclose
Thy city with unsparing foes.
O, be the Maithil dame restored
Ere loosened from the clanging cord
[437]
1538
The Ramayana
The vengeful shafts of Ráma fly,
And low in death thy princes lie.
In all thy legions hast thou one
A match in war for Raghu's son?
Can Kumbhakarṇa's self withstand,
Or Indrajít, that mighty hand?
In vain with Ráma wilt thou strive:
Thou wilt not save thy soul alive
Though guarded by the Lord of Day
And Storm-Gods' terrible array,
In vain to Indra wilt thou fly,
Or seek protection in the sky,
In Yáma's gloomy mansion dwell,
Or hide thee in the depths of hell.”
He ceased; and when his lips were closed
Prahasta thus his rede opposed:
“O timid heart, to counsel thus!
What terrors have the Gods for us?
Can snake, Gandharva, fiend appal
The giants' sons who scorn them all?
And shall we now our birth disgrace,
And dread a king of human race?”
Thus fierce Prahasta counselled ill:
But sage Vibhishaṇ's constant will
The safety of the realm ensued;
Who thus in turn his speech renewed:
Canto XV. Indrajít's Speech.
1539
“Yes, when a soul defiled with sin
Shall mount to heaven and enter in,
Then, chieftain, will experience teach
The truth of thy disdainful speech.
Can I, or thou, or these or all
Our bravest compass Ráma's fall,
The chief in whom all virtues shine,
The pride of old Ikshváku'a line,
With whom the Gods may scarce compare
In skill to act, in heart to dare?
Yea, idly mayst thou vaunt thee, till
Sharp arrows winged with matchless skill
From Ráma's bowstring, fleet and fierce
As lightning's flame, thy body pierce.
Nikumbha shall not save thee then,
Nor Rávaṇ, from the lord of men.
O Monarch, hear my last appeal,
My counsel for thy kingdom's weal.
This sentence I again declare:
O giant King, beware, beware!
Save from the ruin that impends
Thy town, thy people, and thy friends;
O hear the warning urged once more:
To Raghu's son the dame restore.”
Canto XV. Indrajít's Speech.
He ceased: and Indrajít the pride
Of Rákshas warriors thus replied:
1540
The Ramayana
“Is this a speech our king should hear,
This counsel of ignoble fear?
A scion of our glorious race
Should ne'er conceive a thought so base,
But one mid all our kin we find,
Vibhishaṇ, whose degenerate mind
No spark of gallant pride retains,
Whose coward soul his lineage stains.
Against one giant what can two
Unhappy sons of Raghu do?
Away with idle fears, away!
Matched with our meanest, what are they?
Beneath my conquering prowess fell
The Lord of earth and heaven and hell.924
Through every startled region dread
Of my resistless fury spread;
And Gods in each remotest sphere
Confessed the universal fear.
Rending the air with roar and groan,
Airávat925to the earth was thrown.
From his huge head the tusks I drew,
And smote the Gods with fear anew.
Shall I who tame celestials' pride,
By whom the fiends are terrified,
Now prove a weakling little worth,
And fail to slay those sons of earth?”
He ceased: Vibhishaṇ trained and tried
In war and counsel thus replied
924Trilokanátha, Lord of the Three Worlds, is a title of Indra.
925The celestial elephant that carries Indra.
Canto XVI. Rávan's Speech.
1541
“Thy speech is marked with scorn of truth,
With rashness and the pride of youth.
Yea, to thy ruin like a child
Thou pratest, and thy words are wild.
Most dear, O Indrajít, to thee
Should Rávaṇ's weal and safety be,
For thou art called his son, but thou
Art proved his direst foeman now,
When warned by me thou hast not tried
To turn the coming woe aside.
Both thee and him 'twere meet to slay,
Who brought thee to this hall to-day,
And dared so rash a youth admit
To council where the wisest sit.
Presumptuous, wild, devoid of sense,
Filled full of pride and insolence,
Thy reckless tongue thou wilt not rule
That speaks the counsel of a fool.
Who in the fight may brook or shun
The arrows shot by Raghu's son
With flame and fiery vengeance sped,
Dire as his staff who rules the dead?
O Rávaṇ, let thy people live,
And to the son of Raghu give
Fair robes and gems and precious ore,
And Sítá to his arms restore.”
[438]
Canto XVI. Rávan's Speech.
1542
The Ramayana
Then, while his breast with fury swelled,
Thus Rávaṇ spoke, as fate impelled:
“Better with foes thy dwelling make,
Or house thee with the venomed snake,
Than live with false familiar friends
Who further still thy foeman's ends.
I know their treacherous mood, I know
Their secret triumph at thy woe.
They in their inward hearts despise
The brave, the noble, and the wise,
Grieve at their bliss with rancorous hate,
And for their sorrows watch and wait:
Scan every fault with curious eye,
And each slight error magnify.
Ask elephants who roam the wild
How were their captive friends beguiled.
“For fire,” they cry, “we little care,
For javelin and shaft and snare:
Our foes are traitors, taught to bind
The trusting creatures of their kind.”
Still, still, shall blessings flow from cows,926
And Bráhmans love their rigorous vows;
Still woman change her restless will,
And friends perfidious work us ill.
What though with conquering feet I tread
On every prostrate foeman's head;
What though the worlds in abject fear
Their mighty lord in me revere?
This thought my peace of mind destroys
And robs me of expected joys.
The lotus of the lake receives
926As producers of the ghi, clarified butter or sacrificial oil, used in fire-offer-
ings.
Canto XVI. Rávan's Speech.
1543
The glittering rain that gems its leaves,
But each bright drop remains apart:
So is it still with heart and heart.
Deceitful as an autumn cloud
Which, though its thunderous voice be loud,
On the dry earth no torrent sends,
Such is the race of faithless friends.
No riches of the bloomy spray
Will tempt the wandering bee to stay
That loves from flower to flower to range;
And friends like thee are swift to change.
Thou blot upon thy glorious line,
If any giant's tongue but thine
Had dared to give this base advice,
He should not live to shame me twice.”
Then just Vibhishaṇ in the heat
Of anger started from his seat,
And with four captains of the band
Sprang forward with his mace in hand;
Then, fury flashing from his eye,
Looked on the king and made reply:
“Thy rights, O Rávaṇ, I allow:
My brother and mine elder thou.
Such, though from duty's path they stray,
We love like fathers and obey,
But still too bitter to be borne
Is thy harsh speech of cruel scorn.
The rash like thee, who spurn control,
Nor check one longing of the soul,
Urged by malignant fate repel
The faithful friend who counsels well.
A thousand courtiers wilt thou meet,
1544
The Ramayana
With flattering lips of smooth deceit:
But rare are they whose tongue or ear
Will speak the bitter truth, or hear.
Unclose thy blinded eyes and see
That snares of death encompass thee.
I dread, my brother, to behold
The shafts of Ráma, bright with gold,
Flash fury through the air, and red
With fires of vengeance strike thee dead.
Lord, brother, King, again reflect,
Nor this mine earnest prayer reject,
O, save thyself, thy royal town,
Thy people and thine old renown.”
Canto XVII. Vibhishan's Flight.
Soon as his bitter words were said,
To Raghu's sons Vibhishaṇ fled.927
Their eyes the Vánar leaders raised
And on the air-borne Rákhshas gazed,
Bright as a thunderbolt, in size
Like Meru's peak that cleaves the skies.
In gorgeous panoply arrayed
Like Indra's self he stood displayed,
And four attendants brave and bold
927This desertion to the enemy is somewhat abrupt, and is narrated with
brevity not usual with Válmíki. In the Bengal recension the preceding speakers
and speeches differ considerably from those given in the text which I follow.
Vibhishaṇ is kicked from his seat by Rávaṇ, and then, after telling his mother
what has happened, he flies to Mount Kailása where he has an interview with
Śiva, and by his advice seeks Ráma and the Vánar army.
Canto XVII. Vibhishan's Flight.
1545
Shone by their chief in mail and gold.
Sugríva then with dark surmise
Bent on their forms his wondering eyes,
And thus in hasty words confessed
The anxious doubt that moved his breast:
“Look, look ye Vánars, and beware:
That giant chief sublime in air
With other four in bright array
Comes armed to conquer and to slay.”
[439]
Soon as his warning speech they heard,
The Vánar chieftains undeterred
Seized fragments of the rock and trees,
And made reply in words like these:
“We wait thy word: the order give,
And these thy foes shall cease to live.
Command us, mighty King, and all
Lifeless upon the earth shall fall.”
Meanwhile Vibhishaṇ with the four
Stood high above the ocean shore.
Sugríva and the chiefs he spied,
And raised his mighty voice and cried:
“From Rávaṇ, lord of giants, I
His brother, named Vibhishaṇ, fly.
From Janasthán he stole the child
Of Janak by his art beguiled,
And in his palace locked and barred
Surrounds her with a Rákshas guard.
I bade him, plied with varied lore,
His hapless prisoner restore.
But he, by Fate to ruin sent,
No credence to my counsel lent,
Mad as the fevered wretch who sees
1546
The Ramayana
And scorns the balm to bring him ease.
He scorned the sage advice I gave,
He spurned me like a base-born slave.
I left my children and my wife,
And fly to Raghu's son for life.
I pray thee, Vánar chieftain, speed
To him who saves in hour of need,
And tell him famed in distant lands
That suppliant here Vibhishaṇ stands.”
The Rákshas ceased: Sugríva hied
To Raghu's noble son and cried:
“A stranger from the giant host,
Borne o'er the sea, has reached the coast;
A secret foe, he comes to slay,
As owls attack their heedless prey.
'Tis thine, O King, in time of need
To watch, to counsel, and to lead,
Our Vánar legions to dispose,
And guard us from our crafty foes.
Vibhishaṇ from the giants' isle,
King Rávaṇ's brother, comes with guile
And, feigning from his king to flee,
Seeks refuge, Raghu's son, with thee.
Arise, O Ráma, and prevent
By bold attack his dark intent.
Who comes in friendly guise prepared
To slay thee by his arts ensnared.”
Canto XVII. Vibhishan's Flight.
1547
Thus urged Sugríva famed for lore
Of moving words, and spoke no more.
Then Ráma thus in turn addressed
The bold Hanúmán and the rest:
“Chiefs of the Vánar legions each
Of you heard Sugríva's speech.
What think ye now in time of fear,
When peril and distress are near,
In every doubt the wise depend
For counsel on a faithful friend.”
They heard his gracious words, and then
Spake reverent to the lord of men:
“O Raghu's son, thou knowest well
All things of heaven and earth and hell.
'Tis but thy friendship bids us speak
The counsel Ráma need not seek.
So duteous, brave, and true art thou,
Heroic, faithful to thy vow.
Deep in the scriptures, trained and tried,
Still in thy friends wilt thou confide.
Let each of us in turn impart
The secret counsel of his heart,
And strive to win his chief's assent,
By force of wisest argument.”
They ceased and Angad thus began:
“With jealous eye the stranger scan:
Not yet with trusting heart receive
Vibhishaṇ, nor his tale believe.
These giants wandering far and wide
Their evil nature falsely hide,
And watching with malignant skill
Assail us when we fear no ill.
1548
The Ramayana
Well ponder every hope and fear
Until thy doubtful course be clear;
Then own his merit or detect
His guile, and welcome or reject.”
Then Śarabha the bold and brave
In turn his prudent sentence gave:
“Yea, Ráma, send a skilful spy
With keenest tact to test and try.
Then let the stranger, as is just,
Obtain or be refused thy trust.”
Then he whose heart was rich in store
Of scripture's life-directing lore,
King Jámbaván, stood forth and cried:
“Suspect, suspect a foe allied
With Rávaṇ lord of Lanká's isle,
And Rákshas sin and Rákshas guile.”
Then Mainda, wisest chief, who knew
The wrong, the right, the false, the true,
Pondered a while, then silence broke,
And thus his sober counsel spoke:
“Let one with gracious speech draw near
And gently charm Vibhishaṇ's ear,
Till he the soothing witchery feel
And all his secret heart reveal.
So thou his aims and hopes shalt know,
And hail the friend or shun the foe.”
Canto XVII. Vibhishan's Flight.
1549
“Not he,” Hanúmán cried, “not he
Who taught the Gods928may rival thee,
Supreme in power of quickest sense,
First in the art of eloquence.
But hear me soothly speak, O King,
And learn the hope to which I cling.
Vibhishaṇ comes no crafty spy:
Urged by his brother's fault to fly.
With righteous soul that loathes the sin,
He fled from Lanká and his kin.
[440]
If strangers question, doubt will rise
And chill the heart of one so wise.
Marred by distrust the parle will end,
And thou wilt lose a faithful friend.
Nor let it seem so light a thing
To sound a stranger's heart, O King.
And he, I ween, whate'er he say,
Will ne'er an evil thought betray.
He comes a friend in happy time,
Loathing his brother for his crime.
His ear has heard thine old renown,
The might that struck King Báli down,
And set Sugríva on the throne.
And looking now to thee alone
He comes thy matchless aid to win
And punish Rávaṇ for his sin.
Thus have I tried thy heart to move,
And thus Vibhishaṇ's truth to prove.
Still in his friendship I confide;
But ponder, wisest, and decide.”
928Vṛihaspati the preceptor of the Gods.
1550
The Ramayana
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Speech.
Then Ráma's rising doubt was stilled,
And friendly thoughts his bosom filled.
Thus, deep in Scripture's lore, he spake:
“The suppliant will I ne'er forsake,
Nor my protecting aid refuse
When one in name of friendship sues.
Though faults and folly blot his fame,
Pity and help he still may claim.”
He ceased: Sugríva bowed his head
And pondered for a while, and said:
“Past number be his faults or few,
What think ye of the Rákshas who,
When threatening clouds of danger rise,
Deserts his brother's side and flies?
Say, Vánars, who may hope to find
True friendship in his faithless kind?”
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Speech.
1551
The son of Raghu heard his speech:
He cast a hasty look on each
Of those brave Vánar chiefs, and while
Upon his lips there played a smile,
To Lakshmaṇ turned and thus expressed
The thoughts that moved his gallant breast:
“Well versed in Scripture's lore, and sage
And duly reverent to age,
Is he, with long experience stored,
Who counsels like this Vánar lord.
Yet here, methinks, for searching eyes
Some deeper, subtler matter lies.
To you and all the world are known
The perils of a monarch's throne,
While foe and stranger, kith and kin
By his misfortune trust to win.
By hope of such advantage led,
Vibhishaṇ o'er the sea has fled.
He in his brother's stead would reign,
And our alliance seeks to gain;
And we his offer may embrace,
A stranger and of alien race.
But if he comes a spy and foe,
What power has he to strike a blow
In furtherance of his close design?
What is his strength compared with mine?
And can I, Vánar King, forget
The great, the universal debt,
Ever to aid and welcome those
Who pray for shelter, friends or foes?
Hast thou not heard the deathless praise
Won by the dove in olden days,
Who conquering his fear and hate
Welcomed the slayer of his mate,
1552
The Ramayana
And gave a banquet, to refresh
The weary fowler, of his flesh?
Now hear me, Vánar King, rehearse
What Kaṇdu929spoke in ancient verse,
Saint Kaṇva's son who loved the truth
And clave to virtue from his youth:
“Strike not the suppliant when he stands
And asks thee with beseeching hands
For shelter: strike him not although
He were thy father's mortal foe.
No, yield him, be he proud or meek,
The shelter which he comes to seek,
And save thy foeman, if the deed
Should cost thy life, in desperate need.”
And shall I hear the wretched cry,
And my protecting aid deny?
Shall I a suppliant's prayer refuse,
And heaven and glory basely lose?
No, I will do for honour sake
E'en as the holy Kaṇdu spake,
Preserve a hero's name from stain,
And bliss in heaven and glory gain.
Bound by a solemn vow I sware
That all my saving help should share
Who sought me in distress and cried,
“Thou art my hope, and none beside.”
Then go, I pray thee, Vánar King,
Vibhishaṇ to my presence bring,
Yea, were he Rávaṇ's self, my vow
Forbids me to reject him now.”
929In Book II, Canto XXI, Kaṇdu is mentioned by Ráma as an example of
filial obedience. At the command of his father he is said to have killed a cow.
Canto XIX. Vibhishan's Counsel.
1553
He ceased: the Vánar king approved;
And Ráma toward Vibhishaṇ moved.
So moves, a brother God to greet,
Lord Indra from his heavenly seat.
[441]
Canto XIX. Vibhishan's Counsel.
When Raghu's son had owned his claim
Down from the air Vibhishaṇ came,
And with his four attendants bent
At Ráma's feet most reverent.
“O Ráma,” thus he cried, “in me
Vibhishaṇ, Rávaṇ's brother see.
By him disgraced thine aid I seek,
Sure refuge of the poor and weak.
From Lanká, friends, and wealth I fly,
And reft of all on thee rely.
On thee, the wretch's firmest friend,
My kingdom, joys, and life depend.”
With glance of favour Ráma eyed
The Rákshas chief and thus replied:
“First from thy lips I fain would hear
Each brighter hope, each darker fear.
Speak, stranger, that I well may know
The strength and weakness of the foe.”
1554
The Ramayana
He ceased: the Rákshas chief obeyed,
And thus in turn his answer made:
“O Prince, the Self-existent gave
This boon to Rávaṇ; he may brave
All foes in fight; no fiend or snake,
Gandharva, God, his life may take.
His brother Kumbhakarṇa vies
In might with him who rules the skies.
The captain of his armies—fame
Perhaps has taught the warrior's name—
Is terrible Prahasta, who
King Maṇibhadra's930self o'erthrew.
Where is the warrior found to face
Young Indrajít, when armed with brace
And guard931and bow he stands in mail
And laughs at spear and arrowy hail?
Within his city Lanká dwell
Ten million giants fierce and fell,
Who wear each varied shape at will
And eat the flesh of those they kill.
These hosts against the Gods he led,
And heavenly might discomfited.”
Then Ráma cried: “I little heed
Gigantic strength or doughty deed.
In spite of all their might has done
The king, the captain, and the son
Shall fall beneath my fury dead,
And thou shalt reign in Rávaṇ's stead.
He, though in depths of earth he dwell,
930A King of the Yakshas, or Kuvera himself, the God of Gold.
931The brace protects the left arm from injury from the bow-string, and the
guard protects the fingers of the right hand.
Canto XIX. Vibhishan's Counsel.
1555
Or seek protection down in hell,
Or kneel before the Sire supreme,
His forfeit life shall ne'er redeem.
Yea, by my brothers' lives I swear,
I will not to my home repair
Till Rávaṇ and his kith and kin
Have paid in death the price of sin.”
Vibhishaṇ bowed his head and cried:
“Thy conquering army will I guide
To storm the city of the foe,
And aid the tyrant's overthrow.”
Thus spake Vibhishaṇ: Ráma pressed
The Rákshas chieftain to his breast,
And cried to Lakshmaṇ: “Haste and bring
Sea-water for the new-made king.”
He spoke, and o'er Vibhishaṇ's head
The consecrating drops were shed
Mid shouts that hailed with one accord
The giants' king and Lanká's lord.
“Is there no way,” Hanúmán cried,
“No passage o'er the boisterous tide?
How may we lead the Vánar host
In triumph to the farther coast?”
“Thus,” said Vibhishaṇ, “I advise:
Let Raghu's son in suppliant guise
Entreat the mighty Sea to lend
His succour and this cause befriend.
His channels, as the wise have told,
By Sagar's sons were dug of old,932
Nor will high-thoughted Ocean scorn
A prince of Sagar's lineage born.”
932The story is told in Book I, Cantos XL, XLI, XLII.
1556
The Ramayana
He ceased; the prudent counsel won
The glad assent of Raghu's son.
Then on the ocean shore a bed
Of tender sacred grass was spread,
Where Ráma at the close of day
Like fire upon an altar lay.
Canto XX. The Spies.
Śárdúla, Rávaṇ's spy, surveyed
The legions on the strand arrayed.
And bore, his bosom racked with fear,
These tidings to the monarch's ear:
“They come, they come. A rushing tide,
Ten leagues they spread from side to side,
And on to storm thy city press,
Fierce rovers of the wilderness.
Rich in each princely power and grace,
The pride of Daśaratha's race,
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ lead their bands,
And halt them on the ocean sands.
O Monarch, rise, this peril meet;
Risk not the danger of defeat.
[442]
Canto XX. The Spies.
1557
First let each wiser art be tried;
Bribe them, or win them, or divide.”
Such was the counsel of the spy:
And Rávaṇ called to Śuka: “Fly,
Sugríva lord of Vánars seek,
And thus my kingly message speak:
“Great power and might and fame are thine,
Brave scion of a royal line,
King Riksharajas' son, in thee
A brother and a friend I see.
How wronged by me canst thou complain?
What profit here pretend to gain?
If from the wood the wife I stole
Of Ráma of the prudent soul,
What cause hast thou to mourn the theft?
Thou art not injured or bereft.
Return, O King, thy steps retrace
And seek thy mountain dwelling-place.
No, never may thy hosts within
My Lanká's walls a footing win.
A mighty town whose strength defies
The gathered armies of the skies.”
He ceased: obedient Śuka heard;
With wings and plumage of a bird
He rose in eager speed and through
The air upon his errand flew.
Borne o'er the sea with rapid wing
He stood above the Vánar king,
And spoke aloud, sublime in air,
The message he was charged to bear.
The Vánar heard the words he spoke,
And quick redoubling stroke on stroke
On head and pinions hemmed him round
1558
The Ramayana
And bore him struggling to the ground.
The Rákshas wounded and distressed
These words to Raghu's son addressed:
“Quick, quick! This Vánar host restrain,
For heralds never must be slain.
To him alone, a wretch untrue,
The punishment of death is due
Who leaves his master's speech unsaid
And speaks another in its stead.”
Moved by the suppliant speech and prayer
Up sprang the prince and cried, forbear.
Saved from his wild assailant's blows
Again the Rákshas herald rose
And borne on light wings to the sky
Addressed Sugríva from on high:
“O Vánar Monarch, chief endued
With power and wonderous fortitude,
What answer is my king, the fear
And scourge of weeping worlds, to hear?”
“Go tell thy lord,” Sugríva cried,
“Thou, Ráma's foe, art thus defied.
His arm the guilty Báli slew;
Thus, tyrant, shalt thou perish too.
Thy sons, thy friends, proud King, and all
Thy kith and kin with thee shall fall;
And, emptied of the giant's brood,
Burnt Lanká be a solitude.
Fly to the Sun-God's pathway, go
And hide thee deep in hell below:
In vain from Ráma shalt thou flee
Though heavenly warriors fight for thee.
Thine arm subdued, securely bold,
The Vulture-king infirm and old:
Canto XX. The Spies.
1559
But will thy puny strength avail
When Raghu's wrathful sons assail?
A captive in thy palace lies
The lady of the lotus eyes:
Thou knowest not how fierce and strong
Is he whom thou hast dared to wrong.
The best of Raghu's lineage, he
Whose conquering hand shall punish thee.”
He ceased: and Angad raised a cry;
“This is no herald but a spy.
Above thee from his airy post
His rapid eye surveyed our host,
Where with advantage he might scan
Our gathered strength from rear to van.
Bind him, Vánars, bind the spy,
Nor let him back to Lanká fly.”
They hurled the Rákshas to the ground,
They grasped his neck, his pinions bound,
And firmly held him while in vain
His voice was lifted to complain.
But Ráma's heart inclined to spare,
He listened to his plaint and prayer,
And cried aloud: “O Vánars, cease;
The captive from his bonds release.”
1560
The Ramayana
Canto XXI. Ocean Threatened.
His hands in reverence Ráma raised
And southward o'er the ocean gazed;
Then on the sacred grass that made
His lowly couch his limbs he laid.
His head on that strong arm reclined
Which Sítá, best of womankind,
Had loved in happier days to hold
With soft arms decked with pearls and gold.
Then rising from his bed of grass,
“This day,” he cried, “the host shall pass
Triumphant to the southern shore,
Or Ocean's self shall be no more.”
Thus vowing in his constant breast
Again he turned him to his rest,
And there, his eyes in slumber closed,
Silent beside the sea reposed.
Thrice rose the Day-God thrice he set,
The lord of Ocean came not yet,
Thrice came the night, but Raghu's son
No answer by his service won.
To Lakshmaṇ thus the hero cried,
His eyes aflame with wrath and pride:
“In vain the softer gifts that grace
The good are offered to the base.
Long-suffering, patience, gentle speech
[443]
Canto XXI. Ocean Threatened.
1561
Their thankless hearts can never reach.
The world to him its honour pays
Whose ready tongue himself can praise,
Who scorns the true, and hates the right,
Whose hand is ever raised to smite.
Each milder art is tried in vain:
It wins no glory, but disdain.
And victory owns no softer charm
Than might which nerves a warrior's arm.
My humble suit is still denied
By Ocean's overweening pride.
This day the monsters of the deep
In throes of death shall wildly leap.
My shafts shall rend the serpents curled
In caverns of the watery world,
Disclose each sunless depth and bare
The tangled pearl and coral there.
Away with mercy! at a time
Like this compassion is a crime.
Welcome, the battle and the foe!
My bow! my arrows and my bow!
This day the Vánars' feet shall tread
The conquered Sea's exhausted bed,
And he who never feared before
Shall tremble to his farthest shore.”
Red flashed his eyes with angry glow:
He stood and grasped his mighty bow,
Terrific as the fire of doom
Whose quenchless flames the world consume.
His clanging cord the archer drew,
And swift the fiery arrows flew
Fierce as the flashing levin sent
By him who rules the firmament.
1562
The Ramayana
Down through the startled waters sped
Each missile with its flaming head.
The foamy billows rose and sank,
And dashed upon the trembling bank.
Sea monsters of tremendous form
With crash and roar of thunder storm.
Still the wild waters rose and fell
Crowned with white foam and pearl and shell.
Each serpent, startled from his rest,
Raised his fierce eyes and glowing crest.
And prisoned Dánavs933where they dwelt
In depths below the terror felt.
Again upon his string he laid
A flaming shaft, but Lakshmaṇ stayed
His arm, with gentle reasoning tried
To soothe his angry mood, and cried:
“Brother, reflect: the wise control
The rising passions of the soul.
Let Ocean grant, without thy threat,
The boon on which thy heart is set.
That gracious lord will ne'er refuse
When Ráma son of Raghu sues.”
He ceased: and voices from the air
Fell clear and loud, Spare, Ráma, spare.
Canto XXII. Ocean Threatened.
933Fiends and enemies of the Gods.
Canto XXII. Ocean Threatened.
1563
With angry menace Ráma, best
Of Raghu's sons, the Sea addressed:
“With fiery flood of arrowy rain
Thy channels will I dry and drain.
And I and all the Vánar host
Will reach on foot the farther coast.
Thou shalt not from destruction save
The creatures of the teeming wave,
And lapse of time shall ne'er efface
The memory of the dire disgrace.”
Thus spoke the warrior, and prepared
The mortal shaft which never spared,
Known mystic weapon, by the name
Of Brahmá, red with quenchless flame.
Great terror, as he strained the bow,
Struck heaven above and earth below.
Through echoing skies the thunder pealed,
And startled mountains rocked and reeled,
The earth was black with sudden night
And heaven was blotted from the sight.
Then ever and anon the glare
Of meteors shot through murky air,
And with a wild terrific sound
Red lightnings struck the trembling ground.
In furious gusts the fierce wind blew:
Tall trees it shattered and o'erthrew,
And, smiting with a giant's stroke,
Huge masses from the mountain broke.
A cry of terror long and shrill
Came from each valley, plain, and hill.
Each ruined dale, each riven peak
Re-echoed with a wail or shriek.
1564
The Ramayana
While Raghu's son undaunted gazed,
The waters of the deep were raised,
And, still uplifted more and more,
Leapt in wild flood upon the shore.
Still Ráma looked upon the tide
And kept his post unterrified.
Then from the seething flood upreared
Majestic Ocean's form appeared,
As rising from his eastern height
Springs through the sky the Lord of Light.
Attendant on their monarch came
Sea serpents with their eyes aflame.
Like lazulite mid burning gold
His form was wondrous to behold.
Bright with each fairest precious stone
A chain about his neck was thrown.
Calm shone his lotus eyes beneath
The blossoms of his heavenly wreath,
And many a pearl and sea-born gem
Flashed in the monarch's diadem.
There Gangá, tributary queen,
And Sindhu934by his lord, were seen,
[444]
And every stream and brook renowned
In ancient story girt him round.
Then, as the waters rose and swelled,
The king with suppliant hands upheld,
His glorious head to Ráma bent
And thus addressed him reverent:
“Air, ether, fire, earth, water, true
To nature's will, their course pursue;
And I, as ancient laws ordain,
Unfordable must still remain.
934The Indus.
Canto XXII. Ocean Threatened.
1565
Yet, Raghu's son, my counsel hear:
I ne'er for love or hope or fear
Will pile my waters in a heap
And leave a pathway through the deep.
Still shall my care for thee provide
An easy passage o'er the tide,
And like a city's paven street
Shall be the road beneath thy feet.”
He ceased: and Ráma spoke again:
“This spell is ne'er invoked in vain.
Where shall the magic shaft, to spend
The fury of its might, descend?”
“Shoot,” Ocean cried, “thine arrow forth
With all its fury to the north,
Where sacred Drumakulya lies,
Whose glory with thy glory vies.
There dwells a wild Abhíra935race,
As vile in act as foul of face,
Fierce Dasyus936who delight in ill,
And drink my tributary rill.
My soul no longer may endure
Their neighbourhood and touch impure.
At these, O son of Raghu, aim
Thine arrow with the quenchless flame.”
Swift from the bow, as Ráma drew
His cord, the fiery arrow flew.
Earth groaned to feel the wound, and sent
A rush of water through the rent;
And famed for ever is the well
Of Vraṇa937where the arrow fell.
935Cowherds, sprung from a Bráhman and a woman of the medical tribe, the
modern Ahírs.
936Barbarians or outcasts.
937Vraṇa means wound or rent.
1566
The Ramayana
Then every brook and lake beside
Throughout the region Ráma dried.
But yet he gave a boon to bless
And fertilize the wilderness:
No fell disease should taint the air,
And sheep and kine should prosper there:
Earth should produce each pleasant root,
The stately trees should bend with fruit;
Oil, milk, and honey should abound,
And fragrant herbs should clothe the ground.
Then spake the king of brooks and seas
To Raghu's son in words like these:
“Now let a wondrous task be done
By Nala, Viśvakarmá's son,
Who, born of one of Vánar race,
Inherits by his father's grace
A share of his celestial art.
Call Nala to perform his part,
And he, divinely taught and skilled,
A bridge athwart the sea shall build.”
He spoke and vanished. Nala, best
Of Vánar chiefs, the king addressed:
“O'er the deep sea where monsters play
A bridge, O Ráma, will I lay;
For, sharer of my father's skill,
Mine is the power and mine the will.
'Tis vain to try each gentler art
To bribe and soothe the thankless heart;
In vain on such is mercy spent;
It yields to naught but punishment.
Through fear alone will Ocean now
A passage o'er his waves allow.
My mother, ere she bore her son,
Canto XXII. Ocean Threatened.
1567
This boon from Viśvakarmá won:
“O Mandarí, thy child shall be
In skill and glory next to me.”
But why unbidden should I fill
Thine ear with praises of my skill?
Command the Vánar hosts to lay
Foundations for the bridge to-day.”
He spoke: and swift at Ráma's hest
Up sprang the Vánars from their rest,
The mandate of the king obeyed
And sought the forest's mighty shade.
Unrooted trees to earth they threw,
And to the sea the timber drew.
The stately palm was bowed and bent,
Aśokas from the ground were rent,
And towering Sáls and light bamboos,
And trees with flowers of varied hues,
With loveliest creepers wreathed and crowned,
Shook, reeled, and fell upon the ground.
With mighty engines piles of stone
And seated hills were overthrown:
Unprisoned waters sprang on high,
In rain descending from the sky:
And ocean with a roar and swell
Heaved wildly when the mountains fell.
Then the great bridge of wondrous strength
Was built, a hundred leagues in length.
Rocks huge as autumn clouds bound fast
With cordage from the shore were cast,
And fragments of each riven hill,
And trees whose flowers adorned them still.
Wild was the tumult, loud the din
As ponderous rocks went thundering in.
1568
The Ramayana
Ere set of sun, so toiled each crew,
Ten leagues and four the structure grew;
The labours of the second day
Gave twenty more of ready way,
And on the fifth, when sank the sun,
The whole stupendous work was done.
O'er the broad way the Vánars sped,
Nor swayed it with their countless tread.
[445]
Exultant on the ocean strand
Vibhishaṇ stood, and, mace in hand,
Longed eager for the onward way,
And chafed impatient at delay.
Then thus to Ráma trained and tried
In battle King Sugríva cried:
“Come, Hanumán's broad back ascend;
Let Angad help to Lakshmaṇ lend.
These high above the sea shall bear
Their burthen through the ways of air.”
So, with Sugríva, borne o'erhead
Ikshváku's sons the legions led.
Behind, the Vánar hosts pursued
Their march in endless multitude.
Some skimmed the surface of the wave,
To some the air a passage gave.
Amid their ceaseless roar the sound
Of Ocean's fearful voice was drowned,
As o'er the bridge by Nala planned
They hastened on to Lanká's strand,
Where, by the pleasant brooks, mid trees
Loaded with fruit, they took their ease.
Canto XXIII. The Omens.
1569
Canto XXIII. The Omens.
Then Ráma, peerless in the skill
That marks each sign of good and ill,
Strained his dear brother to his breast,
And thus with prudent words addressed:
“Now, Lakshmaṇ, by the water's side
In fruitful groves the host divide,
That warriors of each woodland race
May keep their own appointed place.
Dire is the danger: loss of friends,
Of Vánars and of bears, impends.
Distained with dust the breezes blow,
And earth is shaken from below.
The tall hills rock from foot to crown,
And stately trees come toppling down.
In threatening shape, with voice of fear,
The clouds like cannibals appear,
And rain in fitful torrents, red
With sanguinary drops, is shed.
Long streaks of lurid light invest
The evening skies from east to west.
And from the sun at times a ball
Of angry fire is seen to fall.
From every glen and brake is heard
The boding voice of beast and bird:
From den and lair night-prowlers run
And shriek against the falling sun.
Up springs the moon, but hot and red
Kills the sad night with woe and dread;
No gentle lustre, but the gloom
That heralds universal doom.
A cloud of dust and vapour mars
The beauty of the evening stars,
1570
The Ramayana
And wild and fearful is the sky
As though the wreck of worlds were nigh.
Around our heads in boding flight
Wheel hawk and vulture, crow and kite;
And every bird of happy note
Shrieks terror from his altered throat.
Sword, spear and shaft shall strew the plain
Dyed red with torrents of the slain.
To-day the Vánar troops shall close
Around the city of our foes.”
Canto XXIV. The Spy's Return.
As shine the heavens with autumn's moon
Refulgent in the height of noon,
So shone with light which Ráma gave
That army of the bold and brave,
As from the sea it marched away
In war's magnificent array,
And earth was shaken by the beat
And trampling of unnumbered feet.
Then to the giants' ears were borne,
The mingled notes of drum and horn,
And clash of tambours smote the sky,
And shouting and the battle cry.
The sound of martial strains inspired
Each chieftain, and his bosom fired:
While giants from their walls replied,
And answering shouts the foe defied,
Then Ráma looked on Lanká where
Bright banners floated in the air,
Canto XXIV. The Spy's Return.
1571
And, pierced with anguish at the view,
His loving thoughts to Sítá flew.
“There, prisoned by the giant, lies
My lady of the tender eyes,
Like Rohiṇí the queen of stars
O'erpowered by the fiery Mars.”
Then turned he to his brother chief
And cried in agony of grief:
“See on the hill, divinely planned
And built by Viśvakarmá's hand,
The towers and domes of Lanká rise
In peerless beauty to the skies.
Bright from afar the city shines
With gleam of palaces and shrines,
Like pale clouds through the region spread
By Vishṇu's self inhabited.
Fair gardens grow, and woods between
The stately domes are fresh and green,
Where trees their bloom and fruit display,
And sweet birds sing on every spray.
Each bird is mad with joy, and bees
Sing labouring in the bloomy trees
On branches by the breezes bowed,
Where the gay Koïl's voice is loud.”
This said, he ranged with warlike art
Each body of the host apart.
[446]
“There in the centre,” Ráma cried,
“Be Angad's place by Níla's side.
Let Rishabh of impetuous might
Be lord and leader on the right,
And Gandhamádan, next in rank,
Be captain of the farther flank.
Lakshmaṇ and I the hosts will lead,
1572
The Ramayana
And Jámbaván of ursine breed,
With bold Susheṇ unused to fear,
And Vegadarśí, guide the rear.”
Thus Ráma spoke: the chiefs obeyed;
And all the Vánar hosts arrayed
Showed awful as the autumn sky
When clouds embattled form on high.
Their arms were mighty trees o'erthrown,
And massy blocks of mountain stone.
One hope in every warlike breast,
One firm resolve, they onward pressed,
To die in fight or batter down
The walls and towers of Lanká's town.
Those marshalled legions Ráma eyed,
And thus to King Sugríva cried:
“Now, Monarch, ere the hosts proceed,
Let Śuka, Rávaṇ's spy, be freed.”
He spoke: the Vánar gave consent
And loosed him from imprisonment:
And Śuka, trembling and afraid,
His homeward way to Rávaṇ made.
Loud laughed the lord of Lanká's isle:
“Where hast thou stayed this weary while?
Why is thy plumage marred, and why
Do twisted cords thy pinions tie?
Say, comest thou in evil plight
The victim of the Vánars' spite?”
Canto XXIV. The Spy's Return.
1573
He ceased: the spy his fear controlled,
And to the king his story told:
“I reached the ocean's distant shore,
Thy message to the king I bore.
In sudden wrath the Vánars rose,
They struck me down with furious blows;
They seized me helpless on the ground,
My plumage rent, my pinions bound.
They would not, headlong in their ire,
Consider, listen, or inquire;
So fickle, wrathful, rough and rude
Is the wild forest multitude.
There, marshalling the Vánar bands,
King Ráma with Sugríva stands,
Ráma the matchless warrior, who
Virádha and Kabandha slew,
Khara, and countless giants more,
And tracks his queen to Lanká's shore.
A bridge athwart the sea was cast,
And o'er it have his legions passed.
Hark! heralded by horns and drums
The terrible avenger comes.
E'en now the giants' isle he fills
With warriors huge as clouds and hills,
And burning with vindictive hate
Will thunder soon at Lanká's gate.
Yield or oppose him: choose between
Thy safety and the Maithil queen.”
He ceased: the tyrant's eyeballs blazed
With fury as his voice he raised:
“No, if the dwellers of the sky,
Gandharvas, fiends assail me, I
Will keep the Maithil lady still,
1574
The Ramayana
Nor yield her back for fear of ill.
When shall my shafts with iron hail
My foeman, Raghu's son, assail,
Thick as the bees with eager wing
Beat on the flowery trees of spring?
O, let me meet my foe at length,
And strip him of his vaunted strength,
Fierce as the sun who shines afar
Stealing the light of every star.
Strong as the sea's impetuous might
My ways are like the tempest's flight;
But Ráma knows not this, or he
In terror from my face would flee.”
Canto XXV. Rávan's Spies.938
When Ráma and the host he led
Across the sea had safely sped,
Thus Rávaṇ, moved by wrath and pride,
To Śuka and to Sáraṇ cried:
“O counsellors, the Vánar host
Has passed the sea from coast to coast,
And Daśaratha's son has wrought
A wondrous deed surpassing thought.
And now in truth I needs must know
The strength and number of the foe.
Go ye, to Ráma's host repair
And count me all the legions there.
Learn well what power each captain leads
938Here in the Bengal recension (Gorresio's edition), begins Book VI.
Canto XXV. Rávan's Spies.
1575
His name and fame for warlike deeds.
Learn by what artist's wondrous aid
That bridge athwart the sea was made;
Learn how the Vánar host came o'er
And halted on the island shore.
Mark Ráma son of Raghu well;
His valour, strength, and weapons tell.
Watch his advisers one by one,
And Lakshmaṇ, Raghu's younger son.
Learn with observant eyes, and bring
“Unerring tidings to your king.
He ceased: then swift in Vánar guise
Forth on their errand sped the spies.
They reached the Vánars, and, dismayed,
Their never-ending lines surveyd:
Nor would they try, in mere despair,
To count the countless legions there,
[447]
That crowded valley, plain and hill,
That pressed about each cave and rill.
Though sea-like o'er the land were spread
The endless hosts which Ráma led,
The bridge by thousands yet was lined,
And eager myriads pressed behind.
But sage Vibhishaṇ's watchful eyes
Had marked the giants in disguise.
He gave command the pair to seize,
And told the tale in words like these:
“O Ráma these, well known erewhile,
Are giant sons of Lanká's isle,
Two counsellors of Rávaṇ sent
To watch the invading armament.”
1576
The Ramayana
Vibhishaṇ ceased: at Ráma's look
The Rákshas envoys quailed and shook;
Then suppliant hand to hand they pressed
And thus Ikshváku's son addressed:
“O Ráma, bear the truth we speak:
Our monarch Rávaṇ bade us seek
The Vánar legions and survey
Their numbers, strength, and vast array.”
Then Ráma, friend and hope and guide
Of suffering creatures, thus replied:
“Now giants, if your eyes have scanned
Our armies, numbering every band,
Marked lord and chief, and gazed their fill,
Return to Rávaṇ when ye will.
If aught remain, if aught anew
Ye fain would scan with closer view,
Vibhishaṇ, ready at your call,
Will lead you forth and show you all.
Think not of bonds and capture; fear
No loss of life, no peril here:
For, captive, helpless and unarmed,
An envoy never should be harmed.
Again to Lanká's town repair,
Speed to the giant monarch there,
And be these words to Rávaṇ told,
Fierce brother of the Lord of Gold:
“Now, tyrant, tremble for thy sin:
Call up thy friends, thy kith and kin,
And let the power and might be seen
Which made thee bold to steal my queen.
To-morrow shall thy mournful eye
Behold thy bravest warriors die,
Canto XXV. Rávan's Spies.
1577
And Lanká's city, tower and wall,
Struck by my fiery shafts, will fall.
Then shall my vengeful blow descend
Its rage on thee and thine to spend,
Fierce as the fiery bolt that flew
From heaven against the Dánav crew,
Mid those rebellious demons sent
By him who rules the firmament.”
Thus spake Ikshváku's son, and ceased:
The giants from their bonds released
Lauded the King with glad accord,
And hasted homeward to their lord.
Before the tyrant side by side
Śuka and Sáraṇ stood and cried:
“Vibhishaṇ seized us, King, and fain
His helpless captives would have slain.
But glorious Ráma saw us; he,
Great-hearted hero, made us free.
There in one spot our eyes beheld
Four chiefs on earth unparalleled,
Who with the guardian Gods may vie
Who rule the regions of the sky.
There Ráma stood, the boast and pride
Of Raghu's race, by Lakshmaṇ's side.
There stood the sage Vibhishaṇ, there
Sugríva strong beyond compare.
These four alone can batter down
Gate, rampart, wall, and Lanká's town.
Nay, Ráma matchless in his form,
A single foe, thy town would storm:
So wondrous are his weapons, he
Needs not the succour of the three.
Why speak we of the countless train
1578
The Ramayana
That fills the valley, hill and plain,
The millions of the Vánar breed
Whom Ráma and Sugríva lead?
O King, be wise, contend no more,
And Sítá to her lord restore.”
Canto XXVI. The Vánar Chiefs.
“Not if the Gods in heaven who dwell,
Gandharvas, and the fiends of hell
In banded opposition rise
Against me, will I yield my prize.
Still trembling from the ungentle touch
Of Vánar hands ye fear too much,
And bid me, heedless of the shame,
Give to her lord the Maithil dame.”
Thus spoke the king in stern reproof;
Then mounted to his palace roof
Aloft o'er many a story raised,
And on the lands beneath him gazed.
There by his faithful spies he stood
And looked on sea and hill and wood.
There stretched before him far away
The Vánars' numberless array:
Scarce could the meadows' tender green
Beneath their trampling feet be seen.
He looked a while with furious eye,
Then questioned thus the nearer spy:
“Bend, Sáraṇ, bend thy gaze, and show
The leaders of the Vánar foe.
Canto XXVI. The Vánar Chiefs.
1579
Tell me their heroes' names, and teach
The valour, power and might of each.”
Obedient Sáraṇ eyed the van,
The leaders marked, and thus began:
“That chief conspicuous at the head
Of warriors in the forest bred,
Who hither bends his ruthless eye
And shouts his fearful battle cry:
[448]
Whose voice with pealing thunder shakes
All Lanká, with the groves and lakes
And hills that tremble at the sound,
Is Níla, for his might renowned:
First of the Vánar lords controlled
By King Sugríva lofty-souled.
He who his mighty arm extends,
And his fierce eye on Lanká bends,
In stature like a stately tower,
In colour like a lotus flower,
Who with his wild earth-shaking cries
Thee, Rávaṇ, to the field defies,
Is Angad, by Sugríva's care
Anointed his imperial heir:
In wondrous strength, in martial fire
Peer of King Báli's self, his sire;
For Ráma's sake in arms arrayed
Like Varuṇ called to Śakra's aid.
Behind him, girt by warlike bands,
Nala the mighty Vánar stands,
The son of Viśvakarmá, he
Who built the bridge athwart the sea.
Look farther yet, O King, and mark
That chieftain clothed in Sandal bark.
'Tis Śweta, famed among his peers,
1580
The Ramayana
A sage whom all his race reveres.
See, in Sugríva's ear he speaks,
Then, hasting back, his post reseeks,
And turns his practised eye to view
The squadrons he has formed anew.
Next Kumud stands who roamed of yore
On Gomatí's939delightful shore,
Feared where the waving woods invest
His seat on Mount Sanrochan's crest.
Next him a chieftain strong and dread,
Comes Chaṇḍa at his legions' head;
Exulting in his warrior might
He hastens, burning for the fight,
And boasts that his unaided powers
Shall cast to earth thy walls and towers.
Mark, mark that chief of lion gait,
Who views thee with a glance of hate
As though his very eyes would burn
The city walls to which they turn:
'Tis Rambha, Vánar king; he dwells
In Krishṇagiri's tangled dells,
Where Vindhya's pleasant slopes are spread
And fair Sudarśan lifts his head.
There, listening with erected ears,
Śarabha, mighty chief, appears.
His soul is burning for the strife,
Nor dreads the jeopardy of life.
He trembles as he moves, for ire,
And bends around his glance of fire.
Next, like a cloud that veils the skies,
A chieftain of terrific size,
Conspicuous mid the Vánars, comes
939The Goomtee.
Canto XXVII. The Vánar Chiefs.
1581
With battle shout like rolling drums,
'Tis Panas, trained in war and tried,
Who dwells on Páriyátra's side.
He, far away, the chief who throws
A glory o'er the marshalled rows
That ranged behind their captain stand
Exulting on the ocean strand,
Is Vinata the fierce in fight,
Preëminent like Dardur's height.
That chieftain bending down to drink
On lovely Veṇá's verdant brink,
Is Krathan; now he lifts his eyes
And thee to mortal fray defies.
Next Gavaya comes, whose haughty mind
Scorns all the warriors of his kind.
He comes to trample—such his boast—
On Lanká with his single host.”
Canto XXVII. The Vánar Chiefs.
“Yet more remain, brave chiefs who stake
Their noble lives for Ráma's sake.
See, glorious, golden-coated, one
Who glisters like the morning sun,
Whom thousands of his race surround,
'Tis Hara for his strength renowned.
Next comes a mighty chieftain, he
Whose legions, armed with rock and tree,
Press on, in numbers passing tale,
The ramparts of our town to scale.
O Rávaṇ, see the king advance
1582
The Ramayana
Terrific with his fiery glance,
Girt by the bravest of his train,
Majestic as the God of Rain,
Parjanya, when his host of clouds
About the king, embattled, crowds:
On Rikshaván's high mountain nursed,
In Narmadá940he slakes his thirst,
Dhúmra, proud ursine chief, who leads
Wild warriors whom the forest breeds.
His brother, next in strength and age,
In Jámbaván the famous sage.
Of yore his might and skill he lent
To him who rules the firmament,
And Indra's liberal boons repaid
The chieftain for the timely aid.
There like a gloomy cloud that flies
Borne by the tempest through the skies,
Pramáthí stands: he roamed of yore
The forest wilds on Gangá's shore,
Where elephants were struck with dread
And trembling at his coming fled.
There on his foes he loved to sate
The old hereditary hate.941
[449]
Look, Gaja and Gaváksha show
Their lust of battle with the foe.
See Nala burning for the fray,
And Níla chafing at delay.
Behind the eager captains press
Wild hosts in numbers numberless,
And each for Ráma's sake would fall
940The Anglicized Nerbudda.
941AccordingtoaPauraniklegendKeśaríHanumán'sputativefatherhadkilled
an Asur or demon who appeared in the form of an elephant, and hence arose
the hostility between Vánars and elephants.
Canto XXVIII. The Chieftains.
1583
Or force his way through Lanká's wall.”
Canto XXVIII. The Chieftains.
There Sáraṇ ceased: then Śuka broke
The silence and to Rávaṇ spoke:
“O Monarch, yonder chiefs survey:
Like elephants in size are they,
And tower like stately trees that grow
Where Gangá's nursing waters flow;
Yea, tall as mountain pines that fling
Long shadows o'er the snow-crowned king.
They all in wild Kishkindhá dwell
And serve their lord Sugríva well.
The Gods' and bright Gandharvas' seed,
They take each form that suits their need.
Now farther look, O Monarch, where
Those chieftains stand, a glorious pair,
Conspicuous for their godlike frames;
Dwivid and Mainda are their names.
Their lips the drink of heaven have known,
And Brahmá claims them for his own.
That chieftain whom thine eyes behold
Refulgent like a hill of gold,
Before whose wrathful might the sea
Roused from his rest would turn and flee,
The peerless Vánar, he who came
To Lanká for the Maithil dame,
The Wind-God's son Hanumán; thou
Hast seen him once, behold him now.
Still nearer let thy glance be bent,
1584
The Ramayana
And mark that prince preëminent
Mid chieftains for his strength and size
And splendour of his lotus eyes.
Far through the worlds his virtues shine,
The glory of Ikshváku's line.
The path of truth he never leaves,
And still through all to duty cleaves.
Deep in the Vedas, skilled to wield
The mystic shafts to him revealed:
Whose flaming darts to heaven ascend,
And through the earth a passage rend:
In might like him who rules the sky;
Like Yáma, when his wrath grows high:
Whose queen, the darling of his soul,
Thy magic art deceived and stole:
There royal Ráma stands and longs
For battle to avenge his wrongs.
Near on his right a prince, in hue
Like pure gold freshly burnished, view:
Broad is his chest, his eye is red,
His black hair curls about his head:
'Tis Lakshmaṇ, faithful friend, who shares
His brother's joys, his brother's cares.
By Ráma's side he loves to stand
And serve him as his better hand,
For whose dear sake without a sigh
The warrior youth would gladly die.
On Ráma's left Vibhishaṇ view,
With giants for his retinue:
King-making drops have dewed his head,
Appointed monarch in thy stead.
Behold that chieftain sternly still,
High towering like a rooted hill,
Supreme in power and pride of place,
Canto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.
1585
The monarch of the Vánar race.
Raised high above his woodland kind,
In might and glory, frame and mind,
His head above his host he shows
Conspicuous as the Lord of Snows.
His home is far from hostile eyes
Where deep in woods Kishkindhá lies.
A glistering chain which flowers bedeck
With burnished gold adorns his neck.
Queen Fortune, loved by Gods and kings,
To him her chosen favourite clings.
That chain he owes to Ráma's grace,
And Tárá and his kingly place.
In him the great Sugríva know,
Whom Ráma rescued from his foe.”942
Canto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.
The giant viewed with earnest ken
The Vánars and the lords of men;
Then thus, with grief and anger moved,
In bitter tone the spies reproved:
“Can faithful servants hope to please
Their master with such fates as these?
Or hope ye with wild words to wring
The bosom of your lord and king?
Such words were better said by those
Who come arrayed our mortal foes.
942Here follows the enumeration of Sugríva's forces which I do not attempt to
follow. It soon reaches a hundred thousand billions.
1586
The Ramayana
In vain your ears have heard the sage,
And listened to the lore of age,
Untaught, though lectured many a day,
The first great lesson, to obey,
'Tis marvel Rávaṇ reigns and rules
Whose counsellors are blind and fools.
Has death no terrors that ye dare
To tempt your monarch to despair,
[450]
From whose imperial mandate flow
Disgrace and honour, weal and woe?
Yea, forest trees, when flames are fanned
About their scorching trunks, may stand;
But naught can set the sinner free
When kings the punishment decree.
I would not in mine anger spare
The traitorous foe-praising pair,
But years of faithful service plead
For pardon, and they shall not bleed.
Henceforth to me be dead: depart,
Far from my presence and my heart.”
Thus spoke the angry king: the two
Cried, Long live Rávaṇ, and withdrew,
The giant monarch turned and cried
To strong Mahodar at his side:
“Go thou, and spies more faithful bring.
More duteous to their lord the king.”
Swift at his word Mahodar shed,
And came returning at the head
Of long tried messengers, who bent
Before their monarch reverent.
“Go quickly hence,” said Rávaṇ “scan
With keenest eyes the foeman's plan.
Canto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.
1587
Learn who, as nearest friends, advise
And mould each secret enterprise.
Learn when he wakes and goes to rest,
Sound every purpose of his breast.
Learn what the prince intends to-day:
Watch keenly all, and come away.”
With joy they heard the words he said:
Then with Śárdúla at their head
About the giant king they went
With circling paces reverent.
By fair Suvela's grassy side
The chiefs of Raghu's race they spied,
Where, shaded by the waving wood,
Vibhishaṇ and Sugríva stood.
A while they rested there and viewed
The Vánars' countless multitude.
Vibhishaṇ with observant eyes
Knew at a glance the giant spies,
And bade the warriors of his train
Bind the rash foes with cord and chain:
“Śárdúla's is the sin,” he cried.
He neath the Vánars' hands had died,
But Ráma from their fury freed
The captive in his utmost need,
And, merciful at sight of woe,
Loosed all the spies and bade them go.
Then home to Lanká's monarch fled
The giant chiefs discomfited.
1588
The Ramayana
Canto XXX. Sárdúla's Speech.
They told their lord that Ráma still
Lay waiting by Suvela's hill.
The tyrant, flushed with angry glow,
Heard of the coming of the foe,
And thus with close inquiry pressed
Śárdúla spokesman for the rest:
“Why art thou sad, night-rover? speak:
Has grief or terror changed thy cheek?
Have the wild Vánars' hostile bands
Assailed thee with their mighty hands?”
Śárdúla heard, but scarce might speak;
His trembling tones were faint and weak:
“O Giant King, in vain we try
The purpose of the foe to spy.
Their strength and number none may tell,
And Ráma guards his legions well.
He leaves no hope to prying eyes,
And parley with the chiefs denies:
Each road and path a Vánar guard,
Of mountain size, has closed and barred.
Soon as my feet an entrance found
By giants was I seized and bound,
And wounded sore I fell beneath
Their fists and knees and hands and teeth.
Then trembling, bleeding, wellnigh dead
To Ráma's presence was I led.
He in his mercy stooped to save,
And freedom to the captive gave.
With rocks and shattered mountains he
Has bridged his way athwart the sea,
And he and all his legions wait
Canto XXXI. The Magic Head.
1589
Embattled close to Lanká's gate.
Soon will the host thy wall assail,
And, swarming on, the rampart scale.
Now, O my King, his consort yield,
Or arm thee with the sword and shield.
This choice is left thee: choose between
Thy safety and the Maithil queen.”943
Canto XXXI. The Magic Head.
The tyrant's troubled eye confessed
The secret fear that filled his breast.
With dread of coming woe dismayed
He called his counsellors to aid;
Then sternly silent, deep in thought,
His chamber in the palace sought.
Then, as the surest hope of all,
The monarch bade his servants call
[451]
Vidyujjihva, whom magic skill
Made master of the means of ill.
Then spake the lord of Lanká's isle:
“Come, Sítá with thine arts beguile.
With magic skill and deftest care
A head like Ráma's own prepare.
This head, long shafts and mighty bow,
To Janak's daughter will we show.”
943I omit the rest of this canto, which is mere repetition. Rávaṇ gives in the
same words his former answer that the Gods, Gandharvas and fiends combined
shall not force him to give up Sítá. He then orders Śárdúla to tell him the names
of the Vánar chieftains whom he has seen in Ráma's army. These have already
been mentioned by Śuka and Sáraṇ.
1590
The Ramayana
He ceased: Vidyujjihva obeyed,
And wondrous magic skill displayed;
And Rávaṇ for the art he showed
An ornament of price bestowed.
Then to the grove where Sítá lay
The lord of Lanká took his way.
Pale, wasted, weeping, on the ground
The melancholy queen he found,
Whose thoughts in utmost stress of ill
Were fixed upon her husband still.
The giant king approached the dame,
Declared in tones of joy his name;
Then heeding naught her wild distress
Bespake her, stern and pitiless:
“The prince to whom thy fancies cling
Though loved and wooed by Lanká's king,
Who slew the noble Khara,—he
Is slain by warriors sent by me.
Thy living root is hewn away,
Thy scornful pride is tamed to-day.
Thy lord in battle's front has died,
And Sítá shall be Rávaṇ's bride.
Hence, idle thoughts: thy hope is fled;
What wilt thou, Sítá, with the dead?
Rise, child of Janak, rise and be
The queen of all my queens and me.
Incline thine ear, and I will tell,
Dear lady, how thy husband fell.
He bridged his way across the sea
With countless troops to fight with me.
The setting sun had flushed the west
When on the shore they took their rest.
Weary with toil no watch they kept,
Securely on the sands they slept.
Canto XXXI. The Magic Head.
1591
Prahasta's troops assailed our foes,
And smote them in their deep repose.
Scarce could their bravest prove their might:
They perished in the dark of night.
Axe, spear, and sword, directed well,
Upon the sleeping myriads fell.
First in the fight Prahasta's sword
Reft of his head thy slumbering lord.
Roused at the din Vibhishaṇ rose,
The captive of surrounding foes,
And Lakshmaṇ through the woods that spread
Around him with his Vánars fled.
Hanúmán fell: one deadly stroke
The neck of King Sugríva broke,
And Mainda sank, and Dwivid lay
Gasping in blood his life away.
The Vánars died, or fled dispersed
Like cloudlets when the storm has burst.
Some rose aloft in air, and more
Ran to the sea and filled the shore.
On shore, in woods, on hill and plain
Our conquering giants left the slain.
Thus my victorious host o'erthrew
The Vánars, and thy husband slew:
See, rudely stained with dust, and red
With dropping blood, the severed head.”
Then, turning to a Rákshas slave,
The ruthless king his mandate gave,
And straight Vidyujjihva who bore
The head still wet with dripping gore,
The arrows and the mighty bow,
Bent down before his master low.
“Vidyujjihva,” cried Rávaṇ, “place
1592
The Ramayana
The head before the lady's face,
And let her see with weeping eyes
That low in death her husband lies.”
Before the queen the giant laid
The beauteous head his art had made.
And Rávaṇ cried: “Thine eyes will know
These arrows and the mighty bow.
With fame of this by Ráma strung
The earth and heaven and hell have rung.
Prahasta brought it hither when
His hand had slain thy prince of men.
Now, widowed Queen, thy hopes resign:
Forget thy husband and be mine.”
Canto XXXII. Sítá's Lament.
Again her eyes with tears o'erflowed:
She gazed upon the head he showed,
Gazed on the bow so famed of yore,
The glorious bow which Ráma bore.
She gazed upon his cheek and brows,
The eyes of her beloved spouse;
His lips, the lustre of his hair,
The priceless gem that glittered there.
The features of her lord she knew,
And, pierced with anguish at the view,
She lifted up her voice and cried:
“Kaikeyí, art thou satisfied?
Now all thy longings are fulfilled;
The joy of Raghu's race is killed,
Canto XXXII. Sítá's Lament.
1593
And ruined is the ancient line,
Destroyer, by that fraud of thine.
Ah, what offence, O cruel dame,
What fault in Ráma couldst thou blame,
To drive him clad in hermit dress
With Sítá to the wilderness?”
Great trembling seized her frame, and she
Fell like a stricken plantain tree.
As lie the dead she lay; at length
Slowly regaining sense and strength,
On the dear head she fixed her eye
[452]
And cried with very bitter cry:
“Ah, when thy cold dead cheek I view,
My hero, I am murdered too.
Then first a faithful woman's eyes
See sorrow, when her husband dies.
When thou, my lord, wast nigh to save,
Some stealthy hand thy death wound gave.
Thou art not dead: rise, hero, rise;
Long life was thine, as spake the wise
Whose words, I ween, are ever true,
For faith lies open to their view.
Ah lord, and shall thy head recline
On earth's cold breast, forsaking mine,
Counting her chill lap dearer far
Than I and my caresses are?
Ah, is it thus these eyes behold
Thy famous bow adorned with gold,
Whereon of yore I loved to bind
Sweet garlands that my hands had twined?
And hast thou sought in heaven a place
Amid the founders of thy race,
Where in the home deserved so well
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The Ramayana
Thy sires and Daśaratha dwell?
Or dost thou shine a brighter star
In skies where blest immortals are,
Forsaking in thy lofty scorn
The race wherein thy sires were born?
Turn to my gaze, O turn thine eye:
Why are thy cold lips silent, why?
When first we met as youth and maid,
When in thy hand my hand was laid,
Thy promise was thy steps should be
Through life in duty's path with me.
Remember, faithful still, thy vow,
And take me with thee even now.
Is that broad bosom where I hung,
That neck to which I fondly clung,
Where flowery garlands breathed their scent
By hungry dogs and vultures rent?
Shall no funereal honours grace
The parted lord of Raghu's race,
Whose bounty liberal fees bestowed,
For whom the fires of worship glowed?
Kauśalyá wild with grief will see
One sole survivor of the three
Who in their hermit garments went
To the dark woods in banishment.
Then at her cry shall Lakshmaṇ tell
How, slain by night, the Vánars fell;
How to thy side the giants crept,
And slew the hero as he slept.
Thy fate and mine the queen will know,
And broken-hearted die of woe.
For my unworthy sake, for mine,
Ráma, the glory of his line,
Who bridged his way across the main,
Canto XXXII. Sítá's Lament.
1595
Is basely in a puddle slain;
And I, the graceless wife he wed,
Have brought this ruin on his head.
Me, too, on him, O Rávaṇ, slay:
The wife beside her husband lay.
By his dear body let me rest,
Cheek close to cheek and breast to breast,
My happy eyes I then will close,
And follow whither Ráma goes.”
Thus cried the miserable dame;
When to the king a warder came,
Before the giant monarch bowed
And said that, followed by a crowd
Of counsellors and lords of state,
Prahasta stood before the gate,
And, sent by some engrossing care,
Craved audience of his master there.
The anxious tyrant left his seat
And hastened forth the chief to meet:
Then summoning his nobles all,
Took counsel in his regal hall.
When Lanká's lord had left the queen,
The head and bow no more were seen.
The giant king his nobles eyed,
And, terrible as Yáma, cried:
“O faithful lords, the time is come:
Gather our hosts with beat of drum.
Nigh to the town our foeman draws:
Be prudent, nor reveal the cause.”
1596
The Ramayana
The nobles listened and obeyed:
Swift were the gathered troops arrayed,
And countless rovers of the night
Stood burning for the hour of fight.
Canto XXXIII. Saramá.
But Saramá, of gentler mood,
With pitying eyes the mourner viewed,
Stole to her side and softly told
Glad tidings that her heart consoled,
Revealing with sweet voice and smile
The secret of the giant's guile.
She, one of those who night and day
Watching in turns by Sítá lay,
Though Rákshas born felt pity's touch,
And loved the hapless lady much.
“I heard,” she said, “thy bitter cry,
Heard Rávaṇ's speech and thy reply,
For, hiding in the thicket near,
No word or tone escaped mine ear.
When Rávaṇ hastened forth I bent
My steps to follow as he went,
And learnt the secret cause that drove
The monarch from the Aśoka grove.
Believe me, Queen, thou needst not weep
For Ráma slaughtered in his sleep.
Thy lion lord of men defies
By day attack, by night surprise.
Can even giants slay with ease
Canto XXXIII. Saramá.
1597
Vast hosts who fight with brandished trees,
For whom, with eye that never sleeps,
His constant watch thy Ráma keeps?
[453]
Lord of the mighty arm and chest,
Of earthly warriors first and best,
Whose fame through all the regions rings,
Proud scion of a hundred kings;
Who guards his life and loves to lend
His saving succour to a friend:
Whose bow no hand but his can strain,—
Thy lord, thy Ráma is not slain.
Obedient to his master's will,
A great magician, trained in ill,
With deftest art surpassing thought
That marvellous illusion wrought.
Let rising hope thy grief dispel:
Look up and smile, for all is well,
And gentle Lakshmí, Fortune's Queen,
Regards thee with a favouring mien.
Thy Ráma with his Vánar train
Has thrown a bridge athwart the main,
Has led his countless legions o'er,
And ranged them on this southern shore.
These eyes have seen the hero stand
Girt by his hosts on Lanká's strand,
And breathless spies each moment bring
Fresh tidings to the giant king;
And every peer and lord of state
Is called to counsel and debate.”
She ceased: the sound, long loud and clear,
Of gathering armies smote her ear,
Where call of drum and shell rang out,
The tambour and the battle shout;
1598
The Ramayana
And, while the din the echoes woke,
Again to Janak's child she spoke:
“Hear, lady, hear the loud alarms
That call the Rákshas troops to arms,
From stable and from stall they lead
The elephant and neighing steed,
Brace harness on with deftest care,
And chariots for the fight prepare.
Swift o'er the trembling ground career
Mailed horsemen armed with axe and spear,
And here and there in road and street
The terrible battalions meet.
I hear the gathering near and far,
The snorting steed, the rattling car.
Bold chieftains, leaders of the brave,
Press densely on, like wave on wave,
And bright the evening sunbeams glance
On helm and shield, on sword and lance.
Hark, lady, to the ringing steel,
Hark to the rolling chariot wheel:
Hark to the mettled courser's neigh
And drums' loud thunder far away.
The Queen of Fortune holds thee dear,
For Lanká's troops are struck with fear,
And Ráma with the lotus eyes,
Like Indra monarch of the skies,
With conquering arm will slay his foe
And free his lady from her woe.
Soon will his breast support thy head,
And tears of joy thine eyes will shed.
Soon by his mighty arm embraced
The long-lost rapture wilt thou taste,
And Ráma, meet for highest bliss,
Will gain his guerdon in thy kiss.”
Canto XXXIV. Saramá's Tidings.
1599
Canto XXXIV. Saramá's Tidings.
Thus Saramá her story told:
And Sítá's spirit was consoled,
As when the first fresh rain is shed
The parching earth is comforted.
Then, filled with zeal for Sítá's sake,
Again in gentle tones she spake,
And, skilled in arts that soothe and please,
Addressed the queen in words like these:
“Thy husband, lady, will I seek,
Say the fond words thy lips would speak,
And then, unseen of any eye,
Back to thy side will swiftly fly.
My airy flights are speedier far
Than Garuḍa's and the tempest are.”
Then Sítá spake: her former woe
Still left her accents faint and low:
“I know thy steps, which naught can stay,
Can urge through heaven and hell their way.
Then if thy love and changeless will
Would serve the helpless captive still,
Go forth and learn each plot and guile
Planned by the lord of Lanká's isle.
With magic art like maddening wine
He cheats these weeping eyes of mine,
Torments me with his suit, nor spares
Reproof or flattery, threats or prayers.
These guards surround me night and day;
My heart is sad, my senses stray;
And helpless in my woe I fear
The tyrant Rávaṇ even here.”
1600
The Ramayana
Then Saramá replied: “I go
To learn the purpose of thy foe,
Soon by thy side again to stand
And tell thee what the king has planned.”
She sped, she heard with eager ears
The tyrant speak his hopes and fears,
Where, gathered at their master's call,
The nobles filled the council hall;
Then swiftly, to her promise true,
Back to the Aśoka grove she flew.
The lady on the grassy ground,
Longing for her return, she found;
Who with a gentle smile, to greet
The envoy, led her to a seat.
Through her worn frame a shiver ran
As Saramá her tale began:
“There stood the royal mother: she
Besought her son to set thee free,
[454]
And to her counsel, tears and prayers,
The elder nobles added theirs:
“O be the Maithil queen restored
With honour to her angry lord,
Let Janasthán's unhappy fight
Be witness of the hero's might.
Hanúmán o'er the waters came
And looked upon the guarded dame.
Let Lanká's chiefs who fought and fell
The prowess of the leader tell.”
In vain they sued, in vain she wept,
His purpose still unchanged he kept,
As clings the miser to his gold,
He would not loose thee from his hold.
No, never till in death he lies,
Will Lanká's lord release his prize.
Canto XXXV. Malyaván's Speech.
1601
Soon slain by Ráma's arrows all
The giants with their king will fall,
And Ráma to his home will lead
His black-eyed queen from bondage freed.”
An awful sound that moment rose
From Lanká's fast-approaching foes,
Where drum and shell in mingled peal
Made earth in terror rock and reel.
The hosts within the walls arrayed
Stood trembling, in their hearts dismayed;
Thought of the tempest soon to burst,
And Lanká's lord, their ruin, cursed.
Canto XXXV. Malyaván's Speech.
The fearful notes of drum and shell
Upon the ear of Rávaṇ fell.
One moment quailed his haughty look,
One moment in his fear he shook,
But soon recalling wonted pride,
His counsellors he sternly eyed,
And with a voice that thundered through
The council hall began anew:
“Lords, I have heard—your tongues have told—
How Raghu's son is fierce and bold.
To Lanká's shore has bridged his way
And hither leads his wild array.
I know your might, in battle tried,
Fighting and conquering by my side.
Why now, when such a foe is near,
Looks eye to eye in silent fear?”
1602
The Ramayana
He ceased, his mother's sire well known
For wisdom in the council shown,
Malyaván, sage and faithful guide.
Thus to the monarch's speech replied:
“Long reigns the king in safe repose,
Unmoved by fear of vanquished foes,
Whose feet by saving knowledge led
In justice path delight to tread:
Who knows to sheath the sword or wield,
To order peace, to strike or yield:
Prefers, when foes are stronger, peace,
And bids a doubtful conflict cease.
Now, King, the choice before thee lies,
Make peace with Ráma, and be wise.
This day the captive queen restore
Who brings the foe to Lanká's shore.
The Sire by whom the worlds are swayed
Of yore the Gods and demons made.
With these Injustice sided; those
Fair Justice for her champions chose.
Still Justice dwells with Gods above;
Injustice, fiends and giants love.
Thou, through the worlds that fear thee, long
Hast scorned the right and loved the wrong,
And Justice, with thy foes allied,
Gives might resistless to their side.
Thou, guided by thy wicked will,
Hast found delight in deeds of ill,
And sages in their holy rest
Have trembled, by thy power oppressed.
But they, who check each vain desire,
Are clothed with might which burns like fire.
In them the power and glory live
Which zeal and saintly fervour give.
Canto XXXV. Malyaván's Speech.
1603
Their constant task, their sole delight
Is worship and each holy rite,
To chant aloud the Veda hymn,
Nor let the sacred fires grow dim.
Now through the air like thunder ring
The echoes of the chants they sing.
The vapours of their incense rise
And veil with cloudy pall the skies,
And Rákshas might grows weak and faint
Killed by the power of sage and saint.
By Brahmá's boon thy life was screened
From God, Gandharva, Yaksha, fiend;
But Vánars, men, and bears, arrayed
Against thee now, thy shores invade.
Red meteors, heralds of despair
Flash frequent through the lurid air,
Foretelling to my troubled mind
The ruin of the Rákshas kind.
With awful thundering overhead
Clouds black as night are densely spread,
And oozing from the gloomy pall
Great drops of blood on Lanká fall.
Dogs roam through house and shrine to steal
The sacred oil and curd and meal,
Cats pair with tigers, hounds with swine,
And asses' foals are born of kine.
In these and countless signs I trace
The ruin of the giant race.
'Tis Vishṇu's self who comes to storm
Thy city, clothed in Ráma's form;
For, well I ween, no mortal hand
The ocean with a bridge has spanned.
O giant King, the dame release,
And sue to Raghu's son for peace”
1604
The Ramayana
[455]
Canto XXXVI. Rávan's Reply.
But Rávaṇ's breast with fury swelled,
And thus he spake by Death impelled,
While, under brows in anger bent,
Fierce glances from his eyes were sent:
“The bitter words which thou, misled
By friendly thought, hast fondly said,
Which praise the foe and counsel fear,
Unheeded fall upon mine ear.
How canst thou deem a mighty foe
This Ráma who, in stress of woe,
Seeks, banished as his sire decreed,
Assistance from the Vánar breed?
Am I so feeble in thine eyes,
Though feared by dwellers of the skies,—
Whose might in many a battle shown
The glorious race of giants own?
Shall I for fear of him restore
The lady whom I hither bore,
Exceeding fair like Beauty's Queen944
Without her well-loved lotus seen?
Around the chief let Lakshmaṇ stand,
Sugríva, and each Vánar band,
Soon, Malyaván, thine eyes will see
This boasted Ráma slain by me.
I in the brunt of war defy
944Lakshmí is the Goddess both of beauty and fortune, and is represented with
a lotus in her hand.
Canto XXXVI. Rávan's Reply.
1605
The mightiest warriors of the sky;
And if I stoop to combat men,
Shall I be weak and tremble then?
This mangled trunk the foe may rend,
But Rávaṇ ne'er can yield or bend,
And be it vice or virtue, I
This nature never will belie.
What marvel if he bridged the sea?
Why should this deed disquiet thee?
This, only this, I surely know,
Back with his life he shall not go.”
Thus in loud tones the king exclaimed,
And mute stood Malyaván ashamed,
His reverend head he humbly bent,
And slowly to his mansion went.
But Rávaṇ stayed, and deep in care
Held counsel with his nobles there,
All entrance to secure and close,
And guard the city from their foes.
He bade the chief Prahasta wait,
Commander at the eastern gate,
To fierce Mahodar, strong and brave,
To keep the southern gate, he gave,
Where Mahápárśva's might should aid
The chieftain with his hosts arrayed.
To guard the west—no chief more fit—
He placed the warrior Indrajít,
His son, the giant's joy and boast,
Surrounded by a Rákshas host:
And mighty Sáraṇ hastened forth
With Śuka to protect the north.945
945The poet appears to have forgotten that Śuka and Sáraṇ were dismissed
with ignominy in Canto XXIX, and have not been reinstated.
1606
The Ramayana
“I will myself,” the monarch cried,
“Be present on the northern side.”
These orders for the walls' defence
The tyrant gave, then parted thence,
And, by the hope of victory fired,
To chambers far within, retired.
Canto XXXVII. Preparations.
Lords of the legions of the wood,
The chieftains with Vibhishaṇ stood,
And, strangers in the foeman's land,
Their hopes and fears in council scanned:
“See, see where Lanká's towers ascend,
Which Rávaṇ's power and might defend,
Which Gods, Gandharvas, fiends would fail
To conquer, if they durst assail.
How shall our legions pass within,
The city of the foe to win,
With massive walls and portals barred
Which Rávaṇ keeps with surest guard?”
With anxious looks the walls they eyed:
And sage Vibhishaṇ thus replied:
“These lords of mine946can answer: they
Within the walls have found their way,
The foeman's plan and order learned,
And hither to my side returned.
Now, Ráma, let my tongue declare
946The four who fled with him. Their names are Anala, Panasa, Sampáti, and
Pramati.
Canto XXXVII. Preparations.
1607
How Rávaṇ's hosts are stationed there.
Prahasta heads, in warlike state,
His legions at the eastern gate.
To guard the southern portal stands
Mahodar, girt by Rákshas bands,
Where mighty Mahápárśva, sent
By Rávaṇ's hest, his aid has lent.
Guard of the gate that fronts the west
Is valiant Indrajít, the best
Of warriors, Rávaṇ's joy and pride;
And by the youthful chieftain's side
Are giants, armed for fierce attacks
With sword and mace and battle-axe.
North, where approach is dreaded most,
The king, encompassed with a host
Of giants trained in war, whose hands
Wield maces, swords and lances, stands.
[456]
All these are chiefs whom Rávaṇ chose
As mightiest to resist his foes;
And each a countless army947leads
With elephants and cars and steeds.”
Then Ráma, while his spirit burned
For battle, words like these returned:
“The eastern gate be Níla's care,
Opponent of Prahasta there.
The southern gate, with troops arrayed
Let Angad, Báli's son, invade.
The gate that fronts the falling sun
Shall be by brave Hanúmán won;
Soon through its portals shall he lead
His myriads of Vánar breed.
947The numbers here are comparatively moderate: ten thousand elephants, ten
thousand chariots, twenty thousand horses and ten million giants.
1608
The Ramayana
The gate that fronts the north shall be
Assailed by Lakshmaṇ and by me,
For I myself have sworn to kill
The tyrant who delights in ill.
Armed with the boon which Brahmá gave,
The Gods of heaven he loves to brave,
And through the trembling worlds he flies,
Oppressor of the just and wise.
Thou, Jámbaván, and thou, O King
Of Vánars, all your bravest bring,
And with your hosts in dense array
Straight to the centre force your way.
But let no Vánar in the storm
Disguise him in a human form,
Ye chiefs who change your shapes at will,
Retain your Vánar semblance still.
Thus, when we battle with the foe,
Both men and Vánars will ye know,
In human form will seven appear;
Myself, my brother Lakshmaṇ here;
Vibhishaṇ, and the four he led
From Lanká's city when he fled.”
Thus Raghu's son the chiefs addressed:
Then, gazing on Suvela's crest,
Transported by the lovely sight,
He longed to climb the mountain height.
Canto XXXVIII. The Ascent Of Suvela.
Canto XXXVIII. The Ascent Of Suvela.
1609
“Come let us scale,” the hero cried,
“This hill with various metals dyed.
This night upon the breezy crest
Sugríva, Lakshmaṇ, I, will rest,
With sage Vibhishaṇ, faithful friend,
His counsel and his lore to lend.
From those tall peaks each eager eye
The foeman's city shall espy,
Who from the wood my darling stole
And brought long anguish on my soul.”
Thus spake the lord of men, and bent
His footsteps to the steep ascent,
And Lakshmaṇ, true in weal and woe,
Next followed with his shafts and bow.
Vibhishaṇ followed, next in place,
The sovereign of the Vánar race,
And hundreds of the forest kind
Thronged with impetuous feet, behind.
The chiefs in woods and mountains bred
Fast followed to Suvela's head,
And gazed on Lanká bright and fair
As some gay city in the air.
On glittering gates, on ramparts raised
By giant hands, the chieftains gazed.
They saw the mighty hosts that, skilled
In arts of war, the city filled,
And ramparts with new ramparts lined,
The swarthy hosts that stood behind.
With spirits burning for the fight
They saw the giants from the height,
And from a hundred throats rang out
Defiance and the battle shout.
Then sank the sun with dying flame,
1610
The Ramayana
And soft the shades of twilight came,
And the full moon's delicious light
Was shed upon the tranquil night.
Canto XXXIX. Lanká.
They slept secure: the sun arose
And called the chieftains from repose.
Before the wondering Vánars, gay
With grove and garden, Lanká lay,
Where golden buds the Champak showed,
And bright with bloom Aśoka glowed,
And palm and Sál and many a tree
With leaf and flower were fair to see.
They looked on wood and lawn and glade,
On emerald grass and dusky shade,
Where creepers filled the air with scent,
And luscious fruit the branches bent,
Where bees inebriate loved to throng,
And each sweet bird was loud in song.
The wondering Vánars passed the bound
That circled that enchanting ground,
And as they came a sweet breeze through
The odorous alleys softly blew.
Some Vánars, at their king's behest,
Onward to bannered Lanká pressed,
While, startled by the strangers' tread,
The birds and deer before them fled.
Earth trembled at each step they took,
And Lanká at their shouting shook.
Bright rose before their wondering eyes
Canto XL. Rávan Attacked.
1611
Trikúṭa's peak that kissed the skies,
And, clothed with flowers of every hue,
Afar its golden radiance threw.
Most fair to see the mountain's head
[457]
A hundred leagues in length was spread.
There Rávaṇ's town, securely placed,
The summit of Trikúṭa graced.
O'er leagues of land she stretched in pride,
A hundred long and twenty wide.
They saw a lofty wall enfold
The city, built of blocks of gold,
They saw the beams of morning fall
On dome and fane within the wall,
Bright with the shine that mansion gives
Where Vishṇu in his glory lives.
White-crested like the Lord of Snows
Before them Rávaṇ's palace rose.
High on a thousand pillars raised
With gold and precious stone it blazed,
Guarded by giant warders, crown
And ornament of Lanká's town.
Canto XL. Rávan Attacked.
Still stood the son of Raghu where
Suvela's peak rose high in air,
And with Sugríva turned his eye
To scan each quarter of the sky.
There on Trikúṭa, nobly planned
And built by Viśvakarmá's hand,
He saw the lovely Lanká, dressed
1612
The Ramayana
In all her varied beauty, rest.
High on a tower above the gate
The tyrant stood in kingly state.
The royal canopy displayed
Above him lent its grateful shade,
And servants, from the giant band,
His cheek with jewelled chowries fanned.
Red sandal o'er his breast was spread,
His ornaments and robe were red:
Thus shows a cloud of darksome hue
With golden sunbeams flashing through.
While Ráma and the chiefs intent
Upon the king their glances bent,
Up sprang Sugríva from the ground
And reached the turret at a bound.
Unterrified the Vánar stood,
And wroth, with wondrous hardihood,
The king in bitter words addressed,
And thus his scorn and hate expressed:
“King of the giant race, in me
The friend and slave of Ráma see.
Lord of the world, he gives me power
To smite thee in thy fenced tower.”
While through the air his challenge rang,
At Rávaṇ's face the Vánar sprang.
Snatched from his head the kingly crown
And dashed it in his fury down.
Straight at his foe the giant flew,
His mighty arms about him threw.
With strength resistless swung him round
And dashed him panting to the ground.
Unharmed amid the storm of blows
Swift to his feet Sugríva rose.
Canto XL. Rávan Attacked.
1613
Again in furious fight they met:
With streams of blood their limbs were wet,
Each grasping his opponent's waist.
Thus with their branches interlaced,
Which, crimson with the flowers of spring,
From side to side the breezes swing,
In furious wrestle you may see
The Kinśuk and the Seemal tree.948
They fought with fists and hands, alike
Prepared to parry and to strike.
Long time the doubtful combat, waged
With matchless strength and fury, raged.
Each fiercely struck, each guarded well,
Till, closing, from the tower they fell,
And, grasping each the other's throat,
Lay for an instant in the moat.
They rose, and each in fiercer mood
The sanguinary strife renewed.
Well matched in size and strength and skill
They fought the dubious battle still.
While sweat and blood their limbs bedewed
They met, retreated, and pursued:
Each stratagem and art they tried,
Stood front to front and swerved aside.
His hand a while the giant stayed
And called his magic to his aid.
But brave Sugríva, swift to know
The guileful purpose of the foe,
Gained with light leap the upper air,
And breath and strength and spirit there;
Then, joyous as for victory won,
948TheKinśuk, alsocalledPaláśa, isButeaFrondosa, atreethatbearsbeautiful
red crescent shaped blossoms and is deservedly a favorite with poets. The
Seemal or Śálmalí is the silk cotton tree which also bears red blossoms.
1614
The Ramayana
Returned to Raghu's royal son.
Canto XLI. Ráma's Envoy.
When Ráma saw each bloody trace
On King Sugríva's limbs and face,
He cried, while, sorrowing at the view,
His arms about his friend he threw:
“Too venturous chieftain, kings like us
Bring not their lives in peril thus;
Nor, save when counsel shows the need,
Attempt so bold, so rash a deed.
Remember, I, Vibhishaṇ all
Have sorrowed fearing for thy fall.
O do not—for us all I speak—
These desperate adventures seek.”
“I could not,” cried Sugríva, “brook
Upon the giant king to look,
[458]
Nor challenge to the deadly strife
The fiend who robbed thee of thy wife.”
“Now Lakshmaṇ, marshal,” Ráma cried,
“Our legions where the woods are wide,
And stand we ready to oppose
The fury of our giant foes.
This day our armies shall ascend
The walls which Rávaṇ's powers defend,
And floods of Rákshas blood shall stain
The streets encumbered with the slain.”
Down from the peak he came, and viewed
The Vánars' ordered multitude.
Each captain there for battle burned,
Canto XLI. Ráma's Envoy.
1615
Each fiery eye to Lanká turned.
On, where the royal brothers led
To Lanká's walls the legions sped.
The northern gate, where giant foes
Swarmed round their monarch, Ráma chose
Where he in person might direct
The battle, and his troops protect.
What arm but his the post might keep
Where, strong as he who sways the deep,949
Mid thousands armed with bow and mace,
Stood Rávaṇ mightiest of his race?
The eastern gate was Níla's post,
Where marshalled stood his Vánar host,
And Mainda with his troops arrayed,
And Dwivid stood to lend him aid.
The southern gate was Angad's care,
Who ranged his bold battalions there.
Hanúmán by the port that faced
The setting sun his legions placed,
And King Sugríva held the wood
East of the gate where Rávaṇ stood.
On every side the myriads met,
And Lanká's walls of close beset
That scarce the roving gale could win
A passage to the hosts within.
Loud as the angry ocean's roar
When wild waves lash the rocky shore,
Ten thousand thousand throats upsent
A shout that tore the firmament,
And Lanká with each grove and brook
And tower and wall and rampart shook.
The giants heard, and were appalled:
949Varuṇa.
1616
The Ramayana
Then Raghu's son to Angad called,
And, led by kingly duty,950gave
This order merciful as brave:
“Go, Angad, Rávaṇ's presence seek,
And thus my words of warning speak:
“How art thou changed and fallen now,
O Monarch of the giants, thou
Whose impious fury would not spare
Saint, nymph, or spirit of the air;
Whose foot in haughty triumph trod
On Yaksha, king, and Serpent God:
How art thou fallen from thy pride
Which Brahmá's favour fortified!
With myriads at thy Lanká's gate
I stand my righteous ire to sate,
And punish thee with sword and flame,
The tyrant fiend who stole my dame.
Now show the might, employ the guile,
O Monarch of the giants' isle,
Which stole a helpless dame away:
Call up thy power and strength to-day.
Once more I warn thee, Rákshas King,
This hour the Maithil lady bring,
And, yielding while there yet is time,
Seek, suppliant, pardon for the crime,
Or I will leave beneath the sun
No living Rákshas, no, not one.
In vain from battle wilt thou fly,
Or borne on pinions seek the sky;
The hand of Ráma shall not spare;
His fiery shaft shall smite thee there.’”
950The duty of a king to save the lives of his people and avoid bloodshed until
milder methods have been tried in vain.
Canto XLI. Ráma's Envoy.
1617
He ceased: and Angad bowed his head;
Thence like embodied flame he sped,
And lighted from his airy road
Within the Rákshas king's abode.
There sate, the centre of a ring
Of counsellors, the giant king.
Swift through the circle Angad pressed,
And spoke with fury in his breast:
“Sent by the lord of Kośal's land,
His envoy here, O King, I stand,
Angad the son of Báli: fame
Has haply taught thine ears my name.
Thus in the words of Ráma I
Am come to warn thee or defy:
Come forth, and fighting in the van
Display the spirit of a man.
This arm shall slay thee, tyrant: all
Thy nobles, kith and kin shall fall:
And earth and heaven, from terror freed,
Shall joy to see the oppressor bleed.
Vibhishaṇ, when his foe is slain,
Anointed king in peace shall reign.
Once more I counsel thee: repent,
Avoid the mortal punishment,
With honour due the dame restore,
And pardon for thy sin implore.”
Loud rose the king's infuriate cry:
“Seize, seize the Vánar, let him die.”
Four of his band their lord obeyed,
And eager hands on Angad laid.
He purposing his strength to show
Gave no resistance to the foe,
But swiftly round his captors cast
1618
The Ramayana
His mighty arms and held them fast.
Fierce shout and cry around him rang:
Light to the palace roof he sprang,
There his detaining arms unwound,
And hurled the giants to the ground.
Then, smiting with a fearful stroke,
A turret from the roof he broke,—
As when the fiery levin sent
[459]
By Indra from the clouds has rent
The proud peak of the Lord of Snow,—
And flung the stony mass below.
Again with loud terrific cry
He sprang exulting to the sky,
And, joyous for his errand done,
Stood by the side of Raghu's son.
Canto XLII. The Sally.
Still was the cry, “The Vánar foes
Around the leaguered city close.”
King Rávaṇ from the terrace gazed
And saw, with eyes where fury blazed,
The Vánar host in serried ranks
Press to the moat and line the banks,
And, first in splendour and in place,
The lion lord of Raghu's race.
And Ráma looked on Lanká where
Gay flags were streaming to the air,
And, while keen sorrow pierced him through,
His loving thoughts to Sítá flew:
“There, there in deep affliction lies
Canto XLII. The Sally.
1619
My darling with the fawn-like eyes.
There on the cold bare ground she keeps
Sad vigil and for Ráma weeps.”
Mad with the thought, “Charge, charge,” he cried.
“Let earth with Rákshas blood be dyed.”
Responsive to his call rang out
A loud, a universal shout,
As myriads filled the moat with stone,
Trees, rocks, and mountains overthrown,
And charging at their leader's call
Pressed forward furious to the wall.
Some in their headlong ardour scaled
The rampart's height, the guard assailed,
And many a ponderous fragment rent
From portal, tower, and battlement.
Huge gates adorned with burnished gold
Were loosed and lifted from their hold;
And post and pillar, with a sound
Like thunder, fell upon the ground.
At every portal, east and west
And north and south, the chieftains pressed
Each in his post appointed led
His myriads in the forest bred.
“Charge, let the gates be opened wide:
Charge, charge, my giants,” Rávaṇ cried.
They heard his voice, and loud and long
Rang the wild clamour of the throng,
And shell and drum their notes upsent,
And every martial instrument.
Forth, at the bidding of their lord
From every gate the giants poured,
As, when the waters rise and swell,
1620
The Ramayana
Huge waves preceding waves impel.
Again from every Vánar throat
A scream of fierce defiance smote
The welkin: earth and sea and sky
Reëchoed with the awful cry.
The roar of elephants, the neigh
Of horses eager for the fray.
The frequent clash of warriors' steel,
The rattling of the chariot wheel.
Fierce was the deadly fight: opposed
In terrible array they closed,
As when the Gods of heaven enraged
With rebel fiends wild battle waged.
Axe, spear, and mace were wielded well:
At every blow a Vánar fell.
But shivered rock and brandished tree
Brought many a giant on his knee,
To perish in his turn beneath
The deadly wounds of nails and teeth.
Canto XLIII. The Single Combats.
Brave chiefs of each opposing side
Their strength in single combat tried.
Fierce Indrajít the fight began
With Angad in the battle's van.
Sampáti, strongest of his race,
Stood with Prajangha face to face.
Hanúmán, Jambumáli met
In mortal opposition set.
Vibhishaṇ, brother of the lord
Canto XLIII. The Single Combats.
1621
Of Lanká, raised his threatening sword
And singled out, with eyes aglow
With wrath, Śatrughna for his foe.
The mighty Gaja Tapan sought,
And Níla with Nikumbha fought.
Sugríva, Vánar king, defied
Fierce Praghas long in battle tried,
And Lakshmaṇ fearless in the fight
Encountered Vírúpáksha's might.
To meet the royal Ráma came
Wild Agniketu fierce as flame;
Mitraghana, he who loved to strike
His foeman and his friend alike:
With Raśmiketu, known and feared
Where'er his ponderous flag was reared;
And Yajnakopa whose delight
Was ruin of the sacred rite.
These met and fought, with thousands more,
And trampled earth was red with gore.
Swift as the bolt which Indra sends
When fire from heaven the mountain rends
Smote Indrajít with furious blows
On Angad queller of his foes.
But Angad from his foeman tore
The murderous mace the warrior bore,
[460]
And low in dust his coursers rolled,
His driver, and his car of gold.
Struck by the shafts Prajangha sped,
The Vánar chief Sampáti bled,
But, heedless of his gashes he
Crushed down the giant with a tree.
Then car-borne Jambumáli smote
Hanumán on the chest and throat;
But at the car the Vánar rushed,
1622
The Ramayana
And chariot, steeds, and rider crushed.
Sugríva whirled a huge tree round,
And struck fierce Praghas to the ground.
One arrow shot from Lakshmaṇ's bow
Laid mighty Vírúpáksha low.
His giant foes round Ráma pressed
And shot their shafts at head and breast;
But, when the iron shower was spent,
Four arrows from his bow he sent,
And every missile, deftly sped;
Cleft from the trunk a giant head.951
Canto XLIV. The Night.
The lord of Light had sunk and set:
Night came; the foeman struggled yet;
And fiercer for the gloom of night
Grew the wild fury of the fight.
Scarce could each warrior's eager eye
The foeman from the friend descry.
“Rákshas or Vánar? say;” cried each,
And foe knew foeman by his speech.
“Why wilt thou fly? O warrior, stay:
Turn on the foe, and rend and slay:”
Such were the cries, such words of fear
Smote through the gloom each listening ear.
Each swarthy rover of the night
Whose golden armour flashed with light,
951I have omitted several of these single combats, as there is little variety in
the details and each duel results in the victory of the Vánar or his ally.
Canto XLIV. The Night.
1623
Showed like a towering hill embraced
By burning woods about his waist.
The giants at the Vánars flew,
And ravening ate the foes they slew:
With mortal bite like serpent's fang,
The Vánars at the giants sprang,
And car and steeds and they who bore
The pennons fell bedewed with gore.
No serried band, no firm array
The fury of their charge could stay.
Down went the horse and rider, down
Went giant lords of high renown.
Though midnight's shade was dense and dark,
With skill that swerved not from the mark
Their bows the sons of Raghu drew,
And each keen shaft a chieftain slew.
Uprose the blinding dust from meads
Ploughed by the cars and trampling steeds,
And where the warriors fell the flood
Was dark and terrible with blood.
Six giants952singled Ráma out,
And charged him with a furious shout
Loud as the roaring of the sea
When every wind is raging free.
Six times he shot: six heads were cleft;
Six giants dead on earth were left.
Nor ceased he yet: his bow he strained,
And from the sounding weapon rained
A storm of shafts whose fiery glare
Filled all the region of the air;
And chieftains dropped before his aim
Like moths that perish in the flame.
952Yajnaśatru, Mahápárśva, Mahodar, Vajradanshṭra, Śuka, and Sáraṇ.
1624
The Ramayana
Earth glistened where the arrows fell,
As shines in autumn nights a dell
Which fireflies, flashing through the gloom,
With momentary light illume.
But Indrajít, when Báli's son953
The victory o'er the foe had won,
Saw with a fury-kindled eye
His mangled steeds and driver die;
Then, lost in air, he fled the fight,
And vanished from the victor's sight.
The Gods and saints glad voices raised,
And Angad for his virtue praised;
And Raghu's sons bestowed the meed
Of honour due to valorous deed.
Compelled his shattered car to quit,
Rage filled the soul of Indrajít,
Who brooked not, strong by Brahmá's grace
Defeat from one of Vánar race.
In magic mist concealed from view
His bow the treacherous warrior drew,
And Raghu's sons were first to feel
The tempest of his winged steel.
Then when his arrows failed to kill
The princes who defied him still,
He bound them with the serpent noose,954
The magic bond which none might loose.
953Angad.
954A mysterious weapon consisting of serpents transformed to arrows which
deprived the wounded object of all sense and power of motion.
Canto XLV. Indrajít's Victory.
1625
Canto XLV. Indrajít's Victory.
Brave Ráma, burning still to know
The station of his artful foe,
[461]
Gave to ten chieftains, mid the best
Of all the host, his high behest.
Swift rose in air the Vánar band:
Each region of the sky they scanned:
But Rávaṇ's son by magic skill
Checked them with arrows swifter still,
When streams of blood from chest and side
The dauntless Vánars' limbs had dyed,
The giant in his misty shroud
Showed like the sun obscured by cloud.
Like serpents hissing through the air,
His arrows smote the princely pair;
And from their limbs at every rent
A stream of rushing blood was sent.
Like Kinśuk trees they stood, that show
In spring their blossoms' crimson glow.
Then Indrajít with fury eyed
Ikshváku's royal sons, and cried:
“Not mighty Indra can assail
Or see me when I choose to veil
My form in battle: and can ye,
Children of earth, contend with me?
The arrowy noose this hand has shot
Has bound you with a hopeless knot;
And, slaughtered by my shafts and bow,
To Yáma's hall this hour ye go.”
1626
The Ramayana
He spoke, and shouted. Then anew
The arrows from his bowstring flew,
And pierced, well aimed with perfect art,
Each limb and joint and vital part.
Transfixed with shafts in every limb,
Their strength relaxed, their eyes grew dim.
As two tall standards side by side,
With each sustaining rope untied,
Fall levelled by the howling blast,
So earth's majestic lords at last
Beneath the arrowy tempest reeled,
And prostrate pressed the battle field.
Canto XLVI. Indrajít's Triumph.
The Vánar chiefs whose piercing eyes
Scanned eagerly the earth and skies,
Saw the brave brothers wounded sore
Transfixed with darts and stained with gore.
The monarch of the Vánar race,
With wise Vibhishaṇ, reached the place;
Angad and Níla came behind,
And others of the forest kind,
And standing with Hanúmán there
Lamented for the fallen pair.
Their melancholy eyes they raised;
In fruitless search a while they gazed.
But magic arts Vibhishaṇ knew;
Not hidden from his keener view,
Though veiled by magic from the rest,
The son of Rávaṇ stood confessed.
Canto XLVI. Indrajít's Triumph.
1627
Fierce Indrajít with savage pride
The fallen sons of Raghu eyed,
And every giant heart was proud
As thus the warrior cried aloud:
“Slain by mine arrows Ráma lies,
And closed in death are Lakshmaṇ's eyes.
Dead are the mighty princes who
Dúshaṇ and Khara smote and slew.
The Gods and fiends may toil in vain
To free them from the binding chain.
The haughty chief, my father's dread,
Who drove him sleepless from his bed,
While Lanká, troubled like a brook
In rain time, heard his name and shook:
He whose fierce hate our lives pursued
Lies helpless by my shafts subdued.
Now fruitless is each wondrous deed
Wrought by the race the forests breed,
And fruitless every toil at last
Like cloudlets when the rains are past.”
Then rose the shout of giants loud
As thunder from a bursting cloud,
When, deeming Ráma, dead, they raised
Their voices and the conqueror praised.
Still motionless, as lie the slain,
The brothers pressed the bloody plain,
No sigh they drew, no breath they heaved,
And lay as though of life bereaved.
Proud of the deed his art had done,
To Lanká's town went Rávaṇ's son,
Where, as he passed, all fear was stilled,
And every heart with triumph filled.
1628
The Ramayana
Sugríva trembled as he viewed
Each fallen prince with blood bedewed,
And in his eyes which overflowed
With tears the flame of anger glowed.
“Calm,” cried Vibhishaṇ, “calm thy fears,
And stay the torrent of thy tears.
Still must the chance of battle change,
And victory still delight to range.
Our cause again will she befriend
And bring us triumph in the end.
This is not death: each prince will break
The spell that holds him, and awake;
Nor long shall numbing magic bind
The mighty arm, the lofty mind.”
He ceased: his finger bathed in dew
Across Sugríva's eyes he drew;
From dulling mist his vision freed,
And spoke these words to suit the need:
“No time is this for fear: away
With fainting heart and weak delay.
Now, e'en the tear which sorrow wrings
From loving eyes destruction brings.
Up, on to battle at the head
Of those brave troops which Ráma led.
Or guardian by his side remain
Till sense and strength the prince regain.
Soon shall the trance-bound pair revive,
And from our hearts all sorrow drive.
Though prostrate on the earth he lie,
[462]
Deem not that Ráma's death is nigh;
Deem not that Lakshmí will forget
Or leave her darling champion yet.
Rest here and be thy heart consoled;
Canto XLVII. Sítá.
1629
Ponder my words, be firm and bold.
I, foremost in the battlefield,
Will rally all who faint or yield.
Their staring eyes betray their fear;
They whisper each in other's ear.
They, when they hear my cheering cry
And see the friend of Ráma nigh,
Will cast their gloom and fears away
Like faded wreaths of yesterday.”
Thus calmed he King Sugríva's dread;
Then gave new heart to those who fled.
Fierce Indrajít, his soul on fire
With pride of conquest, sought his sire,
Raised reverent hands, and told him all,
The battle and the princes' fall.
Rejoicing at his foes' defeat
Upsprang the monarch from his seat,
Girt by his giant courtiers: round
His warrior son his arms he wound,
Close kisses on his head applied,
And heard again how Ráma died.
Canto XLVII. Sítá.
1630
The Ramayana
Still on the ground where Ráma slept
Their faithful watch the Vánars kept.
There Angad stood o'erwhelmed with grief
And many a lord and warrior chief;
And, ranged in densest mass around,
Their tree-armed legions held the ground.
Far ranged each Vánar's eager eye,
Now swept the land, now sought the sky,
All fearing, if a leaf was stirred,
A Rákshas in the sound they heard.
The lord of Lanká in his hall,
Rejoicing at his foeman's fall,
Commanded and the warders came
Who ever watched the Maithil dame.
“Go,” cried the Rákshas king, “relate
To Janak's child her husband's fate.
Low on the earth her Ráma lies,
And dark in death are Lakshmaṇ's eyes.
Bring forth my car and let her ride
To view the chieftains side by side.
The lord to whom her fancy turned
For whose dear sake my love she spurned,
Lies smitten, as he fiercely led
The battle, with his brother dead.
Lead forth the royal lady: go
Her husband's lifeless body show.
Then from all doubt and terror free
Her softening heart will turn to me.”
They heard his speech: the car was brought;
That shady grove the warders sought
Where, mourning Ráma night and day,
The melancholy lady lay.
They placed her in the car and through
Canto XLVIII. Sítá's Lament.
1631
The yielding air they swiftly flew.
The lady looked upon the plain,
Looked on the heaps of Vánar slain,
Saw where, triumphant in the fight,
Thronged the fierce rovers of the night,
And Vánar chieftains, mournful-eyed,
Watched by the fallen brothers' side.
There stretched upon his gory bed
Each brother lay as lie the dead,
With shattered mail and splintered bow
Pierced by the arrows of the foe.
When on the pair her eyes she bent,
Burst from her lips a wild lament
Her eyes o'erflowed, she groaned and sighed
And thus in trembling accents cried:
Canto XLVIII. Sítá's Lament.
“False are they all, proved false to-day,
The prophets of my fortune, they
Who in the tranquil time of old
A blessed life for me foretold,
Predicting I should never know
A childless dame's, a widow's woe,
False are they all, their words are vain,
For thou, my lord and life, art slain.
False was the priest and vain his lore
Who blessed me in those days of yore
By Ráma's side in bliss to reign:
For thou, my lord and life, art slain.
They hailed me happy from my birth,
1632
The Ramayana
Proud empress of the lord of earth.
They blessed me—but the thought is pain—
For thou, my lord and life, art slain.
Ah, fruitless hope! each glorious sign
That stamps the future queen is mine,
With no ill-omened mark to show
A widow's crushing hour of woe.
They say my hair is black and fine,
They praise my brows' continuous line;
My even teeth divided well,
My bosom for its graceful swell.
They praise my feet and fingers oft;
They say my skin is smooth and soft,
And call me happy to possess
The twelve fair marks that bring success.955
But ah, what profit shall I gain?
Thou, O my lord and life, art slain.
The flattering seer in former days
My gentle girlish smile would praise,
[463]
And swear that holy water shed
By Bráhman hands upon my head
Should make me queen, a monarch's bride:
How is the promise verified?
Matchless in might the brothers slew
In Janasthán the giant crew.
And forced the indomitable sea
To let them pass to rescue me.
Theirs was the fiery weapon hurled
By him who rules the watery world;956
Theirs the dire shaft by Indra sped;
Theirs was the mystic Brahmá's Head.957
955On each foot, and at the root of each finger.
956Varuṇ.
957The name of one of the mystical weapons the command over which was
Canto XLVIII. Sítá's Lament.
1633
In vain they fought, the bold and brave:
A coward's hand their death-wounds gave.
By secret shafts and magic spell
The brothers, peers of Indra, fell.
That foe, if seen by Ráma's eye
One moment, had not lived to fly.
Though swift as thought, his utmost speed
Had failed him in the hour of need.
No might, no tear, no prayer may stay
Fate's dark inevitable day.
Nor could their matchless valour shield
These heroes on the battle field.
I sorrow for the noble dead,
I mourn my hopes for ever fled;
But chief my weeping eyes o'erflow
For Queen Kauśalyá's hopeless woe.
The widowed queen is counting now
Each hour prescribed by Ráma's vow,
And lives because she longs to see
Once more her princely sons and me.”
Then Trijaṭá,958of gentler mould
Though Rákshas born, her grief consoled:
“Dear Queen, thy causeless woe dispel:
Thy husband lives, and all is well.
Look round: in every Vánar face
The light of joyful hope I trace.
Not thus, believe me, shine the eyes
Of warriors when their leader dies.
An Army, when the chief is dead,
Flies from the field dispirited.
Here, undisturbed in firm array,
given by Viśvámitra to Ráma, as related in Book I.
958One of Sítá's guard, and her comforter on a former occasion also.
1634
The Ramayana
The Vánars by the brothers stay.
Love prompts my speech; no longer grieve;
Ponder my counsel, and believe.
These lips of mine from earliest youth
Have spoken, and shall speak, the truth.
Deep in my heart thy gentle grace
And patient virtues hold their place.
Turn, lady, turn once more thine eye:
Though pierced with shafts the heroes lie,
On brows and cheeks with blood-drops wet
The light of beauty lingers yet.
Such beauty ne'er is found in death,
But vanishes with parting breath.
O, trust the hope these tokens give:
The heroes are not dead, but live.”
Then Sítá joined her hands, and sighed,
“O, may thy words be verified!”
The car was turned, which fleet as thought
The mourning queen to Lanká brought.
They led her to the garden, where
Again she yielded to despair,
Lamenting for the chiefs who bled
On earth's cold bosom with the dead.
Canto XLIX. Ráma's Lament.
Canto XLIX. Ráma's Lament.
1635
Ranged round the spot where Ráma fell
Each Vánar chief stood sentinel.
At length the mighty hero broke
The trance that held him, and awoke.
He saw his senseless brother, dyed
With blood from head to foot, and cried:
“What have I now to do with life
Or rescue of my prisoned wife,
When thus before my weeping eyes,
Slain in the fight, my brother lies?
A queen like Sítá I may find
Among the best of womankind,
But never such a brother, tried
In war, my guardian, friend, and guide.
If he be dead, the brave and true,
I will not live but perish too.
How, reft of Lakshmaṇ, shall I meet
My mother, and Kaikeyí greet?
My brother's eager question brook,
And fond Sumitrá's longing look?
What shall I say, o'erwhelmed with shame
To cheer the miserable dame?
How, when she hears her son is dead,
Will her sad heart be comforted?
Ah me, for longer life unfit
This mortal body will I quit;
For Lakshmaṇ slaughtered for my sake,
From sleep of death will never wake.
Ah when I sank oppressed with care,
Thy gentle voice could soothe despair.
And art thou, O my brother, killed?
Is that dear voice for ever stilled?
Cold are those lips, my brother, whence
Came never word to breed offence?
1636
The Ramayana
Ah stretched upon the gory plain
My brother lies untimely slain:
Numbed is the mighty arm that slew
The leaders of the giant crew.
Transfixed with shafts, with blood-streams red,
Thou liest on thy lowly bed:
[464]
So sinks to rest, his journey done,
Mid arrowy rays the crimson sun.
Thou, when from home and sire I fled,
The wood's wild ways with me wouldst tread:
Now close to thine my steps shall be,
For I in death will follow thee.
Vibhishaṇ now will curse my name,
And Ráma as a braggart blame,
Who promised—but his word is vain—
That he in Lanká's isle should reign.
Return, Sugríva: reft of me
Lead back thy Vánars o'er the sea,
Nor hope to battle face to face
With him who rules the giant race.
Well have ye done and nobly fought,
And death in desperate combat sought.
All that heroic might can do,
Brave Vánars, has been done by you.
My faithful friends I now dismiss:
Return: my last farewell is this.”
Bedewed with tears was every cheek
As thus the Vánars heard him speak.
Vibhishaṇ on the field had stayed
The Vánar hosts who fled dismayed.
Now lifting up his mace on high
With martial step the chief drew nigh.
The hosts who watched by Ráma's side
Canto L. The Broken Spell.
1637
Beheld his shape and giant stride.
'Tis he, 'tis Rávaṇ's son, they thought:
And all in flight their safety sought.
Canto L. The Broken Spell.
Sugríva viewed the flying crowd,
And thus to Angad cried aloud:
“Why run the trembling hosts, as flee
Storm-scattered barks across the sea?”
“Dost thou not mark,” the chief replied,
“Transfixed with shafts, with bloodstreams dyed,
With arrowy toils about them wound,
The sons of Raghu on the ground?”
That moment brought Vibhishaṇ near.
Sugríva knew the cause of fear,
And ordered Jámbaván, who led
The bears, to check the hosts that fled.
The king of bears his hest obeyed:
The Vánars' headlong flight was stayed.
A little while Vibhishaṇ eyed
The brothers fallen side by side.
His giant fingers wet with dew
Across the heroes' eyes he drew,
Still on the pair his sad look bent,
And spoke these word in wild lament:
“Ah for the mighty chiefs brought low
By coward hand and stealthy blow!
Brave pair who loved the open fight,
Slain by that rover of the night.
1638
The Ramayana
Dishonest is the victory won
By Indrajít my brother's son.
I on their might for aid relied,
And in my cause they fought and died.
Lost is the hope that soothed each pain:
I live, but live no more to reign,
While Lanká's lord, untouched by ill,
Exults in safe defiance still.”
“Not thus,” Sugríva said, “repine,
For Lanká's isle shall still be thine.
Nor let the tyrant and his son
Exult before the fight be done.
These royal chiefs, though now dismayed,
Freed from the spell by Garuḍ's aid,
Triumphant yet the foe shall meet
And lay the robber at their feet.”
His hope the Vánar monarch told,
And thus Vibhishaṇ's grief consoled.
Then to Susheṇ who at his side
Expectant stood, Sugríva cried:
“When these regain their strength and sense,
Fly, bear them to Kishkindhá hence.
Here with my legions will I stay,
The tyrant and his kinsmen slay,
And, rescued from the giant king,
The Maithil lady will I bring,
Like Glory lost of old, restored
By Śakra, heaven's almighty lord.”
Canto L. The Broken Spell.
1639
Susheṇ made answer: “Hear me yet:
When Gods and fiends in battle met,
So fiercely fought the demon crew,
So wild a storm of arrows flew,
That heavenly warriors faint with pain,
Sank smitten by the ceaseless rain.
Vṛihaspati,959with herb and spell,
Cured the sore wounds of those who fell.
And, skilled in arts that heal and save,
New life and sense and vigour gave.
Far, on the Milky Ocean's shore,
Still grow those herbs in boundless store;
Let swiftest Vánars thither speed
And bring them for our utmost need.
Those herbs that on the mountain spring
Let Panas and Sampáti bring,
For well the wondrous leaves they know,
That heal each wound and life bestow.
Beside that sea which, churned of yore,
The amrit on its surface bore,
Where the white billows lash the land,
Chandra's fair height and Droṇa stand.
Planted by Gods each glittering steep
Looks down upon the milky deep.
Let fleet Hanúmán bring us thence
Those herbs of wondrous influence.”
Meanwhile the rushing wind grew loud,
Red lightnings flashed from banks of cloud.
The mountains shook, the wild waves rose,
And smitten with resistless blows
[465]
959The preceptor of the Gods.
1640
The Ramayana
Unrooted fell each stately tree
That fringed the margin of the sea.
All life within the waters feared
Then, as the Vánars gazed, appeared
King Garuḍ's self, a wondrous sight,
Disclosed in flames of fiery light.
From his fierce eye in sudden dread
All serpents in a moment fled.
And those transformed to shaft that bound
The princes vanished in the ground.
On Raghu's sons his eyes he bent,
And hailed the lords armipotent.
Then o'er them stooped the feathered king,
And touched their faces with his wing.
His healing touch their pangs allayed,
And closed each rent the shafts had made.
Again their eyes were bright and bold,
Again the smooth skin shone like gold.
Again within their shell enshrined
Came memory and each power of mind:
And, from those numbing bonds released,
Their spirit, zeal, and strength increased.
Firm on their feet they stood, and then
Thus Ráma spake, the lord of men:
“By thy dear grace in sorest need
From deadly bonds we both are freed.
To these glad eyes as welcome now
As Aja960or my sire art thou.
Who art thou, mighty being? say,
Thus glorious in thy bright array.”
He ceased: the king of birds replied,
While flashed his eye with joy and pride:
960Ráma's grandfather.
Canto LI. Dhúmráksha's Sally.
1641
“In me, O Raghu's son, behold
One who has loved thee from of old:
Garuḍ, the lord of all that fly,
Thy guardian and thy friend am I.
Not all the Gods in heaven could loose
These numbing bonds, this serpent noose,
Wherewith fierce Rávaṇ's son, renowned
For magic arts, your limbs had bound.
Those arrows fixed in every limb
Were mighty snakes, transformed by him.
Blood thirsty race, they live beneath
The earth, and slay with venomed teeth.
On, smite the lord of Lanká's isle,
But guard you from the giants' guile
Who each dishonest art employ
And by deceit brave foes destroy.
So shall the tyrant Rávaṇ bleed,
And Sítá from his power be freed.”
Thus Garuḍ spake: then, swift as thought,
The region of the sky he sought,
Where in the distance like a blaze
Of fire he vanished from the gaze.
Then the glad Vánars' joy rang out
In many a wild tumultuous shout,
And the loud roar of drum and shell
Startled each distant sentinel.
Canto LI. Dhúmráksha's Sally.
1642
The Ramayana
King Rávaṇ, where he sat within,
Heard from his hall the deafening din,
And with a spirit ill at ease
Addressed his lords in words like these:
“That warlike shout, those joyous cries,
Loud as the thunder of the skies,
Upsent from every Vánar throat,
Some new-born confidence denote.
Hark, how the sea and trembling shore
Re-echo with the Vánars' roar.
Though arrowy chains, securely twined
Both Ráma and his brother bind,
Still must the fierce triumphant shout
Disturb my soul with rising doubt.
Swift envoys to the army send,
And learn what change these cries portend.”
Obedient, at their master's call,
Fleet giants clomb the circling wall.
They saw the Vánars formed and led:
They saw Sugríva at their head,
The brothers from their bonds released:
And hope grew faint and fear increased.
Their faces pale with doubt and dread,
Back to the giant king they sped,
And to his startled ear revealed
The tidings of the battle field.
The flush of rage a while gave place
To chilling fear that changed his face:
Canto LII. Dhúmráksha's Death.
1643
“What?” cried the tyrant, “are my foes
Freed from the binding snakes that close
With venomed clasp round head and limb,
Bright as the sun and fierce like him:
The spell a God bestowed of yore,
The spell that never failed before?
If arts like these be useless, how
Shall giant strength avail us now?
Go forth, Dhúmráksha, good at need,
The bravest of my warriors lead:
Force through the foe thy conquering way,
And Ráma and the Vánars slay.”
Before his king with reverence due
Dhúmráksha bowed him, and withdrew.
Around him at his summons came
Fierce legions led by chiefs of fame.
Well armed with sword and spear and mace,
They hurried to the gathering place,
And rushed to battle, borne at speed
By elephant and car and steed.
Canto LII. Dhúmráksha's Death.
The Vánars saw the giant foe
Pour from the gate in gallant show,
[466]
1644
The Ramayana
Rejoiced with warriors' fierce delight
And shouted, longing for the fight.
Near came the hosts and nearer yet:
Dire was the tumult as they met,
As, serried line to line opposed,
The Vánars and the giants closed.
Fierce on the foe the Vánars rushed,
And, wielding trees, the foremost crushed;
But, feathered from the heron's wing,
With eager flight from sounding string,
Against them shot with surest aim
A ceaseless storm of arrows came:
And, pierced in head and chest and side,
Full many a Vánar fell and died.
They perished slain in fierce attacks
With sword and pike and battle-axe;
But myriads following undismayed
Their valour in the fight displayed.
Unnumbered Vánars rent and torn
With shaft and spear to earth were borne.
But crushed by branchy trees and blocks
Of jagged stone and shivered rocks
Which the wild Vánars wielded well
The bravest of the giants fell.
Their trampled banners strewed the fields,
And broken swords and spears and shields;
And, crushed by blows which none might stay,
Cars, elephants, and riders lay.
Dhúmráksha turned his furious eye
And saw his routed legions fly.
Still dauntless, with terrific blows,
He struck and slew his foremost foes.
At every blow, at every thrust,
He laid a Vánar in the dust.
Canto LII. Dhúmráksha's Death.
1645
So fell they neath the sword and lance
In battle's wild Gandharva961dance,
Where clang of bow and clash of sword
Did duty for the silvery chord,
And hoofs that rang and steeds that neighed
Loud concert for the dancers made.
So fiercely from Dhúmráksha's bow
His arrows rained in ceaseless flow,
The Vánar legions turned and fled
To all the winds discomfited.
Hanúmán saw the Vánars fly;
He heaved a mighty rock on high.
His keen eyes flashed with wrathful fire,
And, rapid as the Wind his sire,
Strong as the rushing tempests are,
He hurled it at the advancing car.
Swift through the air the missile sang:
The giant from the chariot sprang,
Ere crushed by that terrific blow
Lay pole and wheel and flag and bow.
Hanúmán's eyes with fury blazed:
A mountain's rocky peak he raised,
Poised it on high in act to throw,
And rushed upon his giant foe.
Dhúmráksha saw: he raised his mace
And smote Hanúmán on the face,
Who maddened by the wound's keen pang
Again upon his foeman sprang;
And on the giant's head the rock
Descended with resistless shock.
Crushed was each limb: a shapeless mass
He lay upon the blood-stained grass.
961The Gandharvas are warriors and Minstrels of Indra's heaven.
1646
The Ramayana
Canto LIII. Vajradanshtra's Sally.
When Rávaṇ in his palace heard
The mournful news, his wrath was stirred;
And, gasping like a furious snake,
To Vajradanshṭra thus he spake:
“Go forth, my fiercest captain, lead
The bravest of the giants' breed.
Go forth, the sons of Raghu slay
And by their side Sugríva lay.”
He ceased: the chieftain bowed his head
And forth with gathered troops he sped.
Cars, camels, steeds were well arrayed,
And coloured banners o'er them played.
Rings decked his arms: about his waist
The life-protecting mail was braced,
And on the chieftain's forehead set
Glittered his cap and coronet.
Borne on a bannered car that glowed
With golden sheen the warrior rode,
And footmen marched with spear and sword
And bow and mace behind their lord.
In pomp and pride of warlike state
They sallied from the southern gate,
But saw, as on their way they sped,
Dread signs around and overhead.
For there were meteors falling fast,
Though not a cloud its shadow cast;
And each ill-omened bird and beast,
Forboding death, the fear increased,
While many a giant slipped and reeled,
Falling before he reached the field.
Canto LIV. Vajradanshtra's Death.
1647
They met in mortal strife engaged,
And long and fierce the battle raged.
Spears, swords uplifted, gleamed and flashed,
And many a chief to earth was dashed.
A ceaseless storm of arrows rained,
And limbs were pierced and blood-distained.
Terrific was the sound that filled
The air, and every heart was chilled,
As hurtling o'er the giants flew
The rocks and trees which Vánars threw.
Fierce as a hungry lion when
Unwary deer approach his den,
[467]
Angad, his eyes with fury red,
Waving a tree above his head,
Rushed with wild charge which none could stay
Where stood the giants' dense array.
Like tall trees levelled by the blast
Before him fell the giants fast,
And earth that streamed with blood was strown
With warriors, steeds, and cars o'erthrown.
Canto LIV. Vajradanshtra's Death.
The giant leader fiercely rained
His arrows and the fight maintained.
Each time the clanging cord he drew
His certain shaft a Vánar slew.
Then, as the creatures he has made
Fly to the Lord of Life for aid,
To Angad for protection fled
The Vánar hosts dispirited.
1648
The Ramayana
Then raged the battle fiercer yet
When Angad and the giant met.
A hundred thousand arrows, hot
With flames of fire, the giant shot;
And every shaft he deftly sent
His foeman's body pierced and rent.
From Angad's limbs ran floods of gore:
A stately tree from earth he tore,
Which, maddened as his gashes bled,
He hurled at his opponent's head.
His bow the dauntless giant drew;
To meet the tree swift arrows flew,
Checked the huge missile's onward way,
And harmless on the earth it lay.
A while the Vánar chieftain gazed,
Then from the earth a rock he raised
Rent from a thunder-splitten height,
And cast it with resistless might.
The giant marked, and, mace in hand,
Leapt from his chariot to the sand,
Ere the rough mass descending broke
The seat, the wheel, the pole and yoke.
Then Angad seized a shattered hill,
Whereon the trees were flowering still,
And with full force the jagged peak
Fell crashing on the giant's cheek.
He staggered, reeled, and fell: the blood
Gushed from the giant in a flood.
Reft of his might, each sense astray,
A while upon the sand he lay.
But strength and wandering sense returned
Again his eyes with fury burned,
And with his mace upraised on high
Canto LIV. Vajradanshtra's Death.
1649
He wounded Angad on the thigh.
Then from his hand his mace he threw,
And closer to his foeman drew.
Then with their fists they fought, and smote
On brow and cheek and chest and throat.
Worn out with toil, their limbs bedewed,
With blood, the strife they still renewed,
Like Mercury and fiery Mars
Met in fierce battle mid the stars.
A while the deadly fight was stayed:
Each armed him with his trusty blade
Whose sheath with tinkling bells supplied,
And golden net, adorned his side;
And grasped his ponderous leather shield
To fight till one should fall or yield.
Unnumbered wounds they gave and took:
Their wearied bodies reeled and shook.
At length upon the sand that drank
Streams of their blood the warriors sank,
But as a serpent rears his head
Sore wounded by a peasant's tread,
So Angad, fallen on his knees,
Yet gathered strength his sword to seize;
And, severed by the glittering blade,
The giant's head on earth was laid.
[I omit Cantos LV, LVI, LVII, and LVIII, which relate how
Akampan and Prahasta sally out and fall. There is little novelty
of incident in these Cantos and the results are exactly the same as
before. In Canto LV, Akampan, at the command of Rávaṇ, leads
forth his troops. Evil omens are seen and heard. The enemies
meet, and many fall on each side, the Vánars transfixed with
arrows, the Rákshases crushed with rocks and trees.
1650
The Ramayana
In Canto LVI Akampan sees that the Rákshases are worsted,
and fights with redoubled rage and vigour. The Vánars fall
fast under his “nets of arrows.” Hanumán comes to the rescue.
He throws mountain peaks at the giant which are dexterously
stopped with flights of arrows; and at last beats him down and
kills him with a tree.
In Canto LVII, Rávaṇ is seriously alarmed. He declares that
he himself, Kumbhakarṇa or Prahasta, must go forth. Prahasta
sallies out vaunting that the fowls of the air shall eat their fill of
Vánar flesh.
In Canto LVIII, the two armies meet. Dire is the conflict;
ceaseless is the rain of stones and arrows. At last Níla meets
Prahasta and breaks his bow. Prahasta leaps from his car, and the
giant and the Vánar fight on foot. Níla with a huge tree crushes
his opponent who falls like a tree when its roots are cut.]
[468]
Canto LIX. Rávan's Sally.
They told him that the chief was killed,
And Rávaṇ's breast with rage was filled.
Then, fiercely moved by wrath and pride,
Thus to his lords the tyrant cried:
“No longer, nobles, may we show
This lofty scorn for such a foe
By whom our bravest, with his train
Of steeds and elephants, is slain.
Myself this day will take the field,
And Raghu's sons their lives shall yield.”
Canto LIX. Rávan's Sally.
1651
High on the royal car, that glowed
With glory from his face, he rode;
And tambour shell and drum pealed out,
And joyful was each giant's shout.
A mighty host, with eyeballs red
Like flames of kindled fire, he led.
He passed the city gate, and viewed,
Arrayed, the Vánar multitude,
Those wielding massy rocks, and these
Armed with the stems of uptorn trees,
And Ráma with his eyes aglow
With warlike ardour viewed the foe,
And thus the brave Vibhishaṇ, best
Of weapon-wielding chiefs, addressed:
“What captain leads this bright array
Where lances gleam and banners play,
And thousands armed with spear and sword
Await the bidding of their lord?”
“Seest, thou,” Vibhishaṇ answered, “one
Whose face is as the morning sun,
Preëminent for hugest frame?
Akampan962is the giant's name.
Behold that chieftain, chariot-borne,
Whom Brahmá's chosen gifts adorn.
He wields a bow like Indra's own;
A lion on his flag is shown,
His eyes with baleful fire are lit:
'Tis Rávaṇ's son, 'tis Indrajít.
There, brandishing in mighty hands
His huge bow, Atikáya stands.
And that proud warrior o'er whose head
962“Itistobeunderstood,”saysthecommentator, “thatthisisnottheAkampan
who has already been slain.”
1652
The Ramayana
A moon-bright canopy is spread:
Whose might, in many a battle tried,
Has tamed imperial Indra's pride;
Who wears a crown of burnished gold,
Is Lanká's lord the lofty-souled.”
He ceased: and Ráma knew his foe,
And laid an arrow on his bow:
“Woe to the wretch,” he cried, “whom fate
Abandons to my deadly hate.”
He spoke, and, firm by Lakshmaṇ's side,
The giant to the fray defied.
The lord of Lanká bade his train
Of warriors by the gates remain,
To guard the city from surprise
By Ráma's forest born allies.
Then as some monster of the sea
Cleaves swift-advancing billows, he
Charged with impetuous onset through
The foe, and cleft the host in two.
Sugríva ran, the king to meet:
A hill uprooted from its seat
He hurled, with trees that graced the height
Against the rover of the night:
But cleft with shafts that checked its way
Harmless upon the earth it lay.
Then fiercer Rávaṇ's fury grew,
An arrow from his side he drew,
Swift as a thunderbolt, aglow
With fire, and launched it at the foe.
Through flesh and bone a way it found,
And stretched Sugríva on the ground.
Susheṇ and Nala saw him fall,
Gaváksha, Gavaya heard their call,
Canto LIX. Rávan's Sally.
1653
And, poising hills, in act to fling
They charged amain the giant king.
They charged, they hurled the hills in vain,
He checked them with his arrowy rain,
And every brave assailant felt
The piercing wounds his missiles dealt,
Then smitten by the shafts that came
Keen, fleet, and thick, with certain aim,
They fled to Ráma, sure defence
Against the oppressor's violence,
Then, reverent palm to palm applied,
Thus Lakshmaṇ to his brother cried:
“To me, my lord, the task entrust
To lay this giant in the dust.”
“Go, then,” said Ráma, “bravely fight;
Beat down this rover of the night.
But he, unmatched in bold emprise,
Fears not the Lord of earth and skies,
Keep on thy guard: with keenest eye
Thy moments of attack espy.
Let hand and eye in due accord
Protect thee with the bow and sword.”
Then Lakshmaṇ round his brother threw
His mighty arms in honour due,
Bent lowly down his reverent head,
And onward to the battle sped.
Hanúmán from afar beheld
How Rávaṇ's shafts the Vánars quelled:
To meet the giant's car he ran,
Raised his right arm and thus began:
“If Brahmá's boon thy life has screened
From Yaksha, God, Gandharva, fiend,
With these contending fear no ill,
1654
The Ramayana
But tremble at a Vánar still.”
With fury flashing from his eye
The lord of Lanká made reply:
“Strike, Vánar, strike: the fray begin,
And hope eternal fame to win.
This arm shall prove thee in the strife
[469]
And end thy glory and thy life.”
“Remember,” cried the Wind-God's son,
“Remember all that I have done,
My prowess, King, thou knowest well,
Shown in the fight when Aksha963fell.”
With heavy hand the giant smote
Hanúmán on the chest and throat,
Who reeled and staggered to and fro,
Stunned for a moment by the blow.
Till, mustering strength, his hand he reared
And struck the foe whom Indra feared.
His huge limbs bent beneath the shock,
As mountains, in an earthquake, rock,
And from the Gods and sages pealed
Shouts of loud triumph as he reeled.
But strength returning nerved his frame:
His eyeballs flashed with fiercer flame.
No living creature might resist
That blow of his tremendous fist
Which fell upon Hanúmán's flank:
And to the ground the Vánar sank,
No sign of life his body showed:
And Rávaṇ in his chariot rode
At Níla; and his arrowy rain
Fell on the captain and his train.
Fierce Níla stayed his Vánar band,
963Rávaṇ's son, whom Hanumán killed when he first visited Lanká.
Canto LIX. Rávan's Sally.
1655
And, heaving with his single hand
A mountain peak, with vigorous swing
Hurled the huge missile at the king.
Hanúmán life and strength regained,
Burned for the fight and thus complained:
“Why, coward giant, didst thou flee
And leave the doubtful fight with me?”
Seven mighty arrows keen and fleet
The giant launched, the hill to meet;
And, all its force and fury stayed,
The harmless mass on earth was laid.
Enraged the Vánar chief beheld
The mountain peak by force repelled,
And rained upon the foe a shower
Of trees uptorn with branch and flower.
Still his keen shafts which pierced and rent
Each flying tree the giant sent:
Still was the Vánar doomed to feel
The tempest of the winged steel.
Then, smarting from that arrowy storm,
The Vánar chief condensed his form,964
And lightly leaping from the ground
On Rávaṇ's standard footing found;
Then springing unimpeded down
Stood on his bow and golden crown.
The Vánar's nimble leaps amazed
Ikshváku's son who stood and gazed.
The giant, raging in his heart,
Laid on his bow a fiery dart;
The Vánar on his flagstaff eyed,
And thus in tones of fury cried:
964Níla was the son of Agni the God of Fire, and possessed, like Milton's
demons, the power of dilating and condensing his form at pleasure.
1656
The Ramayana
“Well skilled in magic lore art thou:
But will thine art avail thee now?
See if thy magic will defend
Thy life against the dart I send.”
Thus Rávaṇ spake, the giant king,
And loosed the arrow from the string.
It pierced, with direst fury sped,
The Vánar with its flaming head.
His father's might, his power innate
Preserved him from the threatened fate.
Upon his knees he fell, distained
With streams of blood, but life remained.
Still Rávaṇ for the battle burned:
At Lakshmaṇ next his car he turned,
And charged amain with furious show,
Straining in mighty hands his bow.
“Come,” Lakshmaṇ cried, “assay the fight:
Leave foes unworthy of thy might.”
Thus Lakshmaṇ spoke: and Lanká's lord
Heard the dread thunder of the cord.
And mad with burning rage and pride
In hasty words like these replied:
“Joy, joy is mine, O Raghu's son:
Thy fate to-day thou canst not shun.
Slain by mine arrows thou shalt tread
The gloomy pathway of the dead.”
Canto LIX. Rávan's Sally.
1657
Thus as he spoke his bow he drew,
And seven keen shafts at Lakshmaṇ flew,
But Raghu's son with surest aim
Cleft every arrow as it came.
Thus with fleet shafts each warrior shot
Against his foe, and rested not.
Then one choice weapon from his store,
By Brahmá's self bestowed of yore,
Fierce as the flames that end the world,
The giant king at Lakshmaṇ hurled.
The hero fell, and racked with pain,
Scarce could his hand his bow retain.
But sense and strength resumed their seat
And, lightly springing to his feet,
He struck with one tremendous stroke
And Rávaṇ's bow in splinters broke.
From Lakshmaṇ's cord three arrows flew
And pierced the giant monarch through.
Sore wounded Rávaṇ closed, and round
Ikshváku's son his strong arms wound.
With strength unrivalled, Brahmá's gift,
He strove from earth his foe to lift.
“Shall I,” he cried, “who overthrow
Mount Meru and the Lord of Snow,
And heaven and all who dwell therein,
Be foiled by one of Ráma's kin?”
But though he heaved, and toiled, and strained,
Unmoved Ikshváku's son remained.
His frame by those huge arms compressed
The giant's God-given force confessed,
But conscious that himself was part
[470]
Of Vishṇu, he was firm in heart.
1658
The Ramayana
The Wind-God's son the fight beheld,
And rushed at Rávaṇ, rage-impelled.
Down crashed his mighty hand; the foe
Full in the chest received the blow.
His eyes grew dim, his knees gave way,
And senseless on the earth he lay.
The Wind-God's son to Ráma bore
Deep-wounded Lakshmaṇ stained with gore.
He whom no foe might lift or bend
Was light as air to such a friend.
The dart that Lakshmaṇ's side had cleft,
Untouched, the hero's body left,
And flashing through the air afar
Resumed its place in Rávaṇ's car;
And, waxing well though wounded sore,
He felt the deadly pain no more.
And Rávaṇ, though with deep wounds pained,
Slowly his sense and strength regained,
And furious still and undismayed
On bow and shaft his hand he laid.
Then Hanumán to Ráma cried:
“Ascend my back, great chief, and ride
Like Vishṇu borne on Garuḍ's wing,
To battle with the giant king.”
So, burning for the dire attack,
Rode Ráma on the Vánar's back,
And with fierce accents loud and slow
Thus gave defiance to the foe,
While his strained bowstring made a sound
Like thunder when it shakes the ground:
“Stay, Monarch of the giants, stay,
The penalty of sin to pay.
Canto LIX. Rávan's Sally.
1659
Stay! whither wilt thou fly, and how
Escape the death that waits thee now?”
No word the giant king returned:
His eyes with flames of fury burned.
His arm was stretched, his bow was bent,
And swift his fiery shafts were sent.
Red torrents from the Vánar flowed:
Then Ráma near to Rávaṇ strode,
And with keen darts that never failed,
The chariot of the king assailed.
With surest aim his arrows flew:
The driver and the steeds he slew.
And shattered with the pointed steel
Car, flag, and pole and yoke and wheel.
As Indra hurls his bolt to smite
Mount Meru's heaven-ascending height,
So Ráma with a flaming dart
Struck Lanká's monarch near the heart,
Who reeled and fell beneath the blow
And from loose fingers dropped his bow.
Bright as the sun, with crescent head,
From Ráma's bow an arrow sped,
And from his forehead, proud no more,
Cleft the bright coronet he wore.
Then Ráma stood by Rávaṇ's side
And to the conquered giant cried:
“Well hast thou fought: thine arm has slain
Strong heroes of the Vánar train.
I will not strike or slay thee now,
For weary, faint with fight art thou.
To Lanká's town thy footsteps bend,
And there the night securely spend.
To-morrow come with car and bow,
1660
The Ramayana
And then my prowess shalt thou know.”
He ceased: the king in humbled pride
Rose from the earth and naught replied.
With wounded limbs and shattered crown
He sought again his royal town.
Canto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.
With humbled heart and broken pride
Through Lanká's gate the giant hied,
Crushed, like an elephant beneath
A lion's spring and murderous teeth,
Or like a serpent 'neath the wing
And talons of the Feathered King.
Such was the giant's wild alarm
At arrows shot by Ráma's arm;
Shafts with red lightning round them curled,
Like Brahmá's bolts that end the world.
Canto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.
1661
Supported on his golden throne,
With failing eye and humbled tone,
“Giants,” he cried, “the toil is vain,
Fruitless the penance and the pain,
If I whom Indra owned his peer,
Secure from Gods, a mortal fear.
My soul remembers, now too late,
Lord Brahmá's words who spoke my fate:
“Tremble, proud Giant,” thus they ran,
“And dread thy death from slighted man.
Secure from Gods and demons live,
And serpents, by the boon I give.
Against their power thy life is charmed,
But against man is still unarmed.”
This Ráma is the man foretold
By Anaraṇya's965lips of old:
“Fear, Rávaṇ, basest of the base:
For of mine own imperial race
A prince in after time shall spring
And thee and thine to ruin bring.
And Vedavatí,966ere she died
Slain by my ruthless insult, cried:
[471]
“A scion of my royal line
Shall slay, vile wretch, both thee and thine.”
She in a later birth became
King Janak's child, now Ráma's dame.
965An ancient king of Ayodhyá said by some to have been Prithu's father.
966The daughter of King Kuśadhwaja. She became an ascetic, and being
insulted by Rávaṇ in the woods where she was performing penance, destroyed
herself by entering fire, but was born again as Sítá to be in turn the destruction
of him who had insulted her.
1662
The Ramayana
Nandíśvara967foretold this fate,
And Umá968when I moved her hate,
And Rambhá,969and the lovely child
Of Varuṇ970by my touch defiled.
I know the fated hour is nigh:
Hence, captains, to your stations fly.
Let warders on the rampart stand:
Place at each gate a watchful band;
And, terror of immortal eyes,
Let mightiest Kumbhakarṇa rise.
He, slumbering, free from care and pain,
By Brahmá's curse, for months has lain.
But when Prahasta's death he hears,
Mine own defeat and doubts and fears,
The chief will rise to smite the foe
And his unrivalled valour show.
Then Raghu's royal sons and all
The Vánars neath his might will fall.”
The giant lords his hest obeyed,
They left him, trembling and afraid,
And from the royal palace strode
To Kumbhakarṇa's vast abode.
They carried garlands sweet and fresh,
And reeking loads of blood and flesh.
967Nandíśvara was Śiva's chief attendant. Rávaṇ had despised and laughed at
him for appearing in the form of a monkey and the irritated Nandíśvara cursed
him and foretold his destruction by monkeys.
968Rávaṇ once upheaved and shook Mount Kailása the favourite dwelling
place of Śiva the consort of Umá, and was cursed in consequence by the
offended Goddess.
969Rambhá, who has several times been mentioned in the course of the poem,
was one of the nymphs of heaven, and had been insulted by Rávaṇ.
970Punjikasthalá was the daughter of Varuṇ. Rávaṇ himself has mentioned
in this book his insult to her, and the curse pronounced in consequence by
Brahmá.
Canto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.
1663
They reached the dwelling where he lay,
A cave that reached a league each way,
Sweet with fair blooms of lovely scent
And bright with golden ornament.
His breathings came so fierce and fast,
Scarce could the giants brook the blast.
They found him on a golden bed
With his huge limbs at length outspread.
They piled their heaps of venison near,
Fat buffaloes and boars and deer.
With wreaths of flowers they fanned his face,
And incense sweetened all the place.
Each raised his mighty voice as loud
As thunders of an angry cloud,
And conchs their stirring summons gave
That echoed through the giant's cave.
Then on his breast they rained their blows,
And high the wild commotion rose
When cymbal vied with drum and horn.
And war cries on the gale upborne.
Through all the air loud discord spread,
And, struck with fear, the birds fell dead.
But still he slept and took his rest.
Then dashed they on his shaggy chest
Clubs, maces, fragments of the rock:
He moved not once, nor felt the shock.
The giants made one effort more
With shell and drum and shout and roar.
Club, mallet, mace, in fury plied,
Rained blows upon his breast and side.
And elephants were urged to aid,
And camels groaned and horses neighed.
They drenched him with a hundred pails,
They tore his ears with teeth and nails.
1664
The Ramayana
They bound together many a mace
And beat him on the head and face;
And elephants with ponderous tread
Stamped on his limbs and chest and head.
The unusual weight his slumber broke:
He started, shook his sides, and woke;
And, heedless of the wounds and blows,
Yawning with thirst and hunger rose,
His jaws like hell gaped fierce and wide,
Dire as the flame neath ocean's tide.
Red as the sun on Meru's crest
The giant's face his wrath expressed,
And every burning breath he drew
Was like the blast that rushes through
The mountain cedars. Up he raised
His awful head with eyes that blazed
Like comets, dire as Death in form
Who threats the worlds with fire and storm.
The giants pointed to their stores
Of buffaloes and deer and boars,
And straight he gorged him with a flood
Of wine, with marrow, flesh, and blood.
He ceased: the giants ventured near
And bent their lowly heads in fear.
Then Kumbhakar[n.]a glared with eyes
Still heavy in their first surprise,
Still drowsy from his troubled rest,
And thus the giant band addressed.
“How have ye dared my sleep to break?
No trifling cause should bid me wake.
Say, is all well? or tell the need
That drives you with unruly speed
To wake me. Mark the words I say,
The king shall tremble in dismay,
[472]
Canto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.
1665
The fire be quenched and Indra slain
Ere ye shall break my rest in vain.”
Yúpáksha answered: “Chieftain, hear;
No God or fiend excites our fear.
But men in arms our walls assail:
We tremble lest their might prevail.
For vengeful Ráma vows to slay
The foe who stole his queen away,
And, matchless for his warlike deeds,
A host of mighty Vánars leads.
Ere now a monstrous Vánar came,
Laid Lanká waste with ruthless flame,
And Aksha, Rávaṇ's offspring, slew
With all his warrior retinue.
Our king who never trembled yet
For heavenly hosts in battle met,
At length the general dread has shared,
O'erthrown by Ráma's arm and spared.”
He ceased: and Kumbhakarṇa spake:
“I will go forth and vengeance take;
Will tread their hosts beneath my feet,
Then triumph-flushed our king will meet.
Our giant bands shall eat their fill
Of Vánars whom this arm shall kill.
The princes' blood shall be my draught,
The chieftains' shall by you be quaffed.”
He spake, and, with an eager stride
That shook the earth, to Rávaṇ hied.
1666
The Ramayana
Canto LXI. The Vánars' Alarm.
The son of Raghu near the wall
Saw, proudly towering over all,
The mighty giant stride along
Attended by the warrior throng;
Heard Kumbhakarṇa's heavy feet
Awake the echoes of the street;
And, with the lust of battle fired,
Turned to Vibhishaṇ and inquired:
“Vibhishaṇ, tell that chieftain's name
Who rears so high his mountain frame;
With glittering helm and lion eyes,
Preëminent in might and size
Above the rest of giant birth,
He towers the standard of the earth;
And all the Vánars when they see
The mighty warrior turn and flee.”
“In him,” Vibhishaṇ answered, “know
Viśravas' son, the Immortals' foe,
Fierce Kumbhakarṇa, mightier far
Than Gods and fiends and giants are.
He conquered Yáma in the fight,
And Indra trembling owned his might.
His arm the Gods and fiends subdued,
Gandharvas and the serpent brood.
The rest of his gigantic race
Are wondrous strong by God-giving grace;
But nature at his birth to him
Gave matchless power and strength of limb.
Scarce was he born, fierce monster, when
He killed and ate a thousand men.
The trembling race of men, appalled,
Canto LXI. The Vánars' Alarm.
1667
On Indra for protection called;
And he, to save the suffering world,
His bolt at Kumbhakarṇa hurled.
So awful was the monster's yell
That fear on all the nations fell,
He, rushing on with furious roar,
A tusk from huge Airávat tore,
And dealt the God so dire a blow
That Indra reeling left his foe,
And with the Gods and mortals fled
To Brahmá's throne dispirited.
“O Brahmá,” thus the suppliants cried,
“Some refuge for this woe provide.
If thus his maw the giant sate
Soon will the world be desolate.”
The Self-existent calmed their woe,
And spake in anger to their foe:
“As thou wast born, Pulastya's son,
That worlds might weep by thee undone,
Thou like the dead henceforth shalt be:
Such is the curse I lay on thee.”
Senseless he lay, nor spoke nor stirred;
Such was the power of Brahmá's word.
But Rávaṇ, troubled for his sake,
Thus to the Self-existent spake:
“Who lops the tree his care has reared
When golden fruit has first appeared?
Not thus, O Brahmá, deal with one
Descended from thine own dear son.971
Still thou, O Lord, thy word must keep,
He may not die, but let him sleep.
Yet fix a time for him to break
971Pulastya was the son of Brahmá and father of Viśravas or Paulastya the
father of Rávaṇ and Kumbhakarṇa.
1668
The Ramayana
The chains of slumber and awake.”
He ceased: and Brahmá made reply;
“Six months in slumber shall he lie
And then arising for a day
Shall cast the numbing bonds away.”
Now Rávaṇ in his doubt and dread
Has roused the monster from his bed,
Who comes in this the hour of need
On slaughtered Vánars flesh to feed.
Each Vánar, when his awe-struck eyes
Behold the monstrous chieftain, flies.
With hopeful words their minds deceive,
And let our trembling hosts believe
They see no giant, but, displayed,
A lifeless engine deftly made.”
Then Ráma called to Níla: “Haste,
Let troops near every gate be placed,
And, armed with fragments of the rock
And trees, each lane and alley block.”
[473]
Thus Ráma spoke: the chief obeyed,
And swift the Vánars stood arrayed,
As when the black clouds their battle form,
The summit of a hill to storm.
Canto LXII. Rávan's Request.
Canto LXII. Rávan's Request.
1669
Along bright Lanká's royal road
The giant, roused from slumber, strode,
While from the houses on his head
A rain of fragrant flowers was shed.
He reached the monarch's gate whereon
Rich gems and golden fretwork shone.
Through court and corridor that shook
Beneath his tread his way he took,
And stood within the chamber where
His brother sat in dark despair.
But sudden, at the grateful sight
The monarch's eye again grew bright.
He started up, forgot his fear,
And drew his giant brother near.
The younger pressed the elder's feet
And paid the King observance meet,
Then cried: “O Monarch, speak thy will,
And let my care thy word fulfil.
What sudden terror and dismay
Have burst the bonds in which I lay?”
Fierce flashed the flame from Rávaṇ's eye,
As thus in wrath he made reply:
“Fair time, I ween, for sleep is this,
To lull thy soul in tranquil bliss,
Unheeding, in oblivion drowned,
The dangers that our lives surround.
Brave Ráma, Daśaratha's son,
A passage o'er the sea has won,
And, with the Vánar monarch's aid,
Round Lanká's walls his hosts arrayed.
Though never in the deadly field
My Rákshas troops were known to yield,
The bravest of the giant train
1670
The Ramayana
Have fallen by the Vánars slain.
Hence comes my fear. O fierce and brave,
Go forth, our threatened Lanká save.
Go forth, a dreadful vengeance take:
For this, O chief, I bade thee wake.
The Gods and trembling fiends have felt
The furious blows thine arm has dealt.
Earth has no warrior, heaven has none
To match thy might, Paulastya's son.”
Canto LXIII. Kumbhakarna's Boast.
Then Kumbhakarṇa laughed aloud
And cried; “O Monarch, once so proud,
We warned thee, but thou wouldst not hear;
And now the fruits of sin appear.
We warned thee, I, thy nobles, all
Who loved thee, in thy council hall.
Those sovereigns who with blinded eyes
Neglect the foe their hearts despise,
Soon, falling from their high estate
Bring on themselves the stroke of fate.
Accept at length, thy life to save,
The counsel sage Vibhishaṇ gave,
The prudent counsel spurned before,
And Sítá to her lord restore.”972
972I omit a tedious sermon on the danger of rashness and the advantages of
prudence, sufficient to irritate a less passionate hearer than Rávaṇ.
Canto LXIII. Kumbhakarna's Boast.
1671
The monarch frowned, by passion moved
And thus in angry words reproved:
“Wilt thou thine elder brother school,
Forgetful of the ancient rule
That bids thee treat him as the sage
Who guides thee with the lore of age?
Think on the dangers of the day,
Nor idly throw thy words away:
If, led astray, by passion stirred,
I in the pride of power have erred;
If deeds of old were done amiss,
No time for vain reproach is this.
Up, brother; let thy loving care
The errors of thy king repair.”
To calm his wrath, his soul to ease,
The younger spake in words like these:
“Yea, from our bosoms let us cast
All idle sorrow for the past.
Let grief and anger be repressed:
Again be firm and self-possessed.
This day, O Monarch, shalt thou see
The Vánar legions turn and flee,
And Ráma and his brother slain
With their hearts' blood shall dye the plain.
Yea, if the God who rules the dead,
And Varuṇ their battalions led;
If Indra with the Storm-Gods came
Against me, and the Lord of Flame,
Still would I fight with all and slay
Thy banded foes, my King, to-day.
If Raghu's son this day withstand
The blow of mine uplifted hand,
Deep in his breast my darts shall sink,
1672
The Ramayana
And torrents of his life-blood drink.
O fear not, in my promise trust:
This arm shall lay him in the dust,
Shall leave the fierce Sugríva dyed
With gore, and Lakshmaṇ by his side,
And strike the great Hanúmán down,
The spoiler of our glorious town.”973
[474]
Canto LXIV. Mahodar's Speech.
He ceased: and when his lips were closed
Mahodar thus his rede opposed:
“Why wilt thou shame thy noble birth
And speak like one of little worth?
Why boast thee thus in youthful pride
Rejecting wisdom for thy guide?
How will thy single arm oppose
The victor of a thousand foes,
Who proved in Janasthán his might
And slew the rovers of the night?
The remnant of those legions, they
Who saw his power that fatal day,
Now in this leaguered city dread
The mighty chief from whom they fled.
And wouldst thou meet the lord of men,
Beard the great lion in his den,
973The Bengal recension assigns a very different speech to Kumbhakarṇa and
makeshimsaythatNáradthemessengeroftheGodshadformerlytoldhimthat
Vishṇu himself incarnate as Daśaratha's son should come to destroy Rávaṇ.
Canto LXIV. Mahodar's Speech.
1673
And, when thine eyes are open, break
The slumber of a deadly snake?
Who may an equal battle wage
With him, so awful in his rage,
Fierce as the God of Death whom none
May vanquish, Daśaratha's son?
But, Rávaṇ, shall the lady still
Refuse compliance with thy will?
No, listen, King, to this design
Which soon shall make the captive thine.
This day through Lanká's streets proclaim
That four of us974of highest fame
With Kumbhakarṇa at our head
Will strike the son of Raghu dead.
Forth to the battle will we go
And prove our prowess on the foe.
Then, if our bold attempt succeed,
No further plans thy hopes will need.
But if in vain our warriors strive,
And Raghu's son be left alive,
We will return, and, wounded sore,
Our armour stained with gouts of gore,
Will show the shafts that rent each frame,
Keen arrows marked with Ráma's name,
And say we giants have devoured
The princes whom our might o'erpowered.
Then let the joyful tidings spread
That Raghu's royal sons are dead.
To all around thy pleasure show,
Gold, pearls, and precious robes, bestow.
Gay garlands round the portals twine,
Enjoy the banquet and the wine.
974Mahodar, Dwijihva, Sanhráda, and Vitardan.
1674
The Ramayana
Then go, the scornful lady seek,
And woo her when her heart is weak.
Rich robes and gold and gems display,
And gently wile her grief away.
Then will she feel her hopeless state,
Widowed, forlorn, and desolate;
Know that on thee her bliss depends,
Far from her country and her friends;
Then, her proud spirit overthrown,
The lady will be all thine own.”
Canto LXV. Kumbhakarna's Speech.
But haughty Kumbhakarṇa spurned
His counsel, and to Rávaṇ turned:
“Thy life from peril will I free
And slay the foe who threatens thee.
A hero never vaunts in vain,
Like bellowing clouds devoid of rain,
Nor, Monarch, be thine ear inclined
To counsellors of slavish kind,
Who with mean arts their king mislead
And mar each gallant plan and deed.
O, let not words like his beguile
The glorious king of Lanká's isle.”
Canto LXV. Kumbhakarna's Speech.
1675
Thus scornful Kumbhakarṇa cried,
And Rávaṇ with a laugh replied:
“Mahodar fears and fain would shun
The battle with Ikshváku's son.
Of all my giant warriors, who
Is strong as thou, and brave and true?
Ride, conqueror, to the battle ride,
And tame the foeman's senseless pride.
Go forth like Yáma to the field,
And let thine arm thy trident wield.
Scared by the lightning of thine eye
The Vánar hosts will turn and fly;
And Ráma, when he sees thee near,
With trembling heart will own his fear.”
The champion heard, and, well content,
Forth from the hall his footsteps bent.
He grasped his spear, the foeman's dread,
Black iron all, both shaft and head,
Which, dyed in many a battle, bore
Great spots of slaughtered victims' gore.
The king upon his neck had thrown
The jewelled chain which graced his own.
And garlands of delicious scent
About his limbs for ornament.
Around his arms gay bracelets clung,
And pendants in his ears were hung.
Adorned with gold, about his waist
His coat of mail was firmly braced,
And like Náráyaṇ975or the God
Who rules the sky he proudly trod.
Behind him went a mighty throng
Of giant warriors tall and strong,
[475]
975A name of Vishṇu.
1676
The Ramayana
On elephants of noblest breeds.
With cars, with camels, and with steeds:
And, armed with spear and axe and sword
Were fain to battle for their lord.976
Canto LXVI. Kumbhakarna's Sally.
In pomp and pride of warlike state
The giant passed the city gate.
He raised his voice: the hills, the shore
Of Lanká's sea returned the roar.
The Vánars saw the chief draw nigh
Whom not the ruler of the sky,
Nor Yáma, monarch of the dead,
Might vanquish, and affrighted fled.
When royal Angad, Báli's son,
Saw the scared Vánars turn and run,
Undaunted still he kept his ground,
And shouted as he gazed around:
“O Nala, Níla, stay nor let
Your souls your generous worth forget,
O Kumud and Gaváksha, why
Like base-born Vánars will ye fly?
Turn, turn, nor shame your order thus:
This giant is no match for us”
976There is so much commonplace repetition in these Sallies of the Rákshas
chieftains that omissions are frequently necessary. The usual ill omens attend
thesallyofKumbhakarṇa, andtheCantoendswithadescriptionoftheterrified
Vánars' flight which is briefly repeated in different words at the beginning of
the next Canto.
Canto LXVI. Kumbhakarna's Sally.
1677
They heard his voice: the flight was stayed;
Again for war they stood arrayed,
And hurled upon the foe a shower
Of mountain peaks and trees in flower.
Still on his limbs their missiles rained:
Unmoved, their blows he still sustained,
And seemed unconscious of the stroke
When rocks against his body broke.
Fierce as the flame when woods are dry
He charged with fury in his eye.
Like trees consumed with fervent heat
They fell beneath the giant's feet.
Some o'er the ground, dyed red with gore,
Fled wild with terror to the shore,
And, deeming that all hope was lost,
Ran to the bridge they erst had crossed.
Some clomb the trees their lives to save,
Some sought the mountain and the cave;
Some hid them in the bosky dell,
And there in deathlike slumber fell.
When Angad saw the chieftains fly
He called them with a mighty cry:
“Once more, O Vánars, charge once more,
On to the battle as before.
In all her compass earth has not,
To hide you safe, one secret spot.
What! leave your arms? each nobler dame
Will scorn her consort for the shame.
This blot upon your names efface,
And keep your valour from disgrace.
Stay, chieftains; wherefore will ye run,
A band of warriors scared by one?”
1678
The Ramayana
Scarce would they hear: they would not stay,
And basely spoke in wild dismay:
“Have we not fought, and fought in vain
Have we not seen our mightiest slain?
The giant's matchless force we fear,
And fly because our lives are dear.”
But Báli's son with gentle art
Dispelled their dread and cheered each heart.
They turned and formed and waited still
Obedient to the prince's will.
Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna's Death.
Thus from their flight the Vánars turned,
And every heart for battle burned,
Determined on the spot to die
Or gain a warrior's meed on high.
Again the Vánars stooped to seize
Their weapons, rocks and fallen trees;
Again the deadly fight began,
And fiercely at the giant ran.
Unmoved the monster kept his place:
He raised on high his awful mace,
Whirled the huge weapon round his head
And laid the foremost Vánars dead.
Eight thousand fell bedewed with gore,
Then sank and died seven hundred more.
Then thirty, twenty, ten, or eight
At each fierce onset met their fate,
And fast the fallen were devoured
Like snakes by Garuḍ's beak o'erpowered.
Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna's Death.
1679
Then Dwivid from the Vánar van,
Armed with an uptorn mountain, ran,
Like a huge cloud when fierce winds blow,
And charged amain the mountain foe.
With wondrous force the hill he threw:
O'er Kumbhakarṇa's head it flew,
And falling on his host afar
Crushed many a giant, steed, and car.
Rocks, trees, by fierce Hanúmán sped,
Rained fast on Kumbhakarṇa's head.
Whose spear each deadlier missile stopped,
And harmless on the plain it dropped.
[476]
Then with his furious eyes aglow
The giant rushed upon the foe,
Where, with a woody hill upheaved,
Hanúmán's might his charge received.
Through his vast frame the giant felt
The angry blow Hanúmán dealt.
He reeled a moment, sore distressed,
Then smote the Vánar on the breast,
As when the War-God's furious stroke
Through Krauncha's hill a passage broke.977
Fierce was the blow, and deep and wide
The rent: with crimson torrents dyed,
Hanúmán, maddened by the pain,
Roared like a cloud that brings the rain,
And from each Rákshas throat rang out
Loud clamour and exultant shout.
Then Níla hurled with mustered might
The fragment of a mountain height;
977KártikeyatheGodofWar, andtheheroandincarnationParaśurámaaresaid
to have cut a passage through the mountain Krauncha, a part of the Himálayan
range, in the same way as the immense gorge that splits the Pyrenees under the
towers of Marboré was cloven at one blow of Roland's sword Durandal.
1680
The Ramayana
Nor would the rock the foe have missed,
But Kumbhakarṇa raised his fist
And smote so fiercely that the mass
Fell crushed to powder on the grass.
Five chieftains of the Vánar race978
Charged Kumbhakarṇa face to face,
And his huge frame they wildly beat
With rocks and trees and hands and feet.
Round Rishabh first the giant wound
His arms and hurled him to the ground,
Where speechless, senseless, wounded sore,
He lay his face besmeared with gore.
Then Níla with his fist he slew,
And Śarabh with his knee o'erthrew,
Nor could Gaváksha's strength withstand
The force of his terrific hand.
At Gandhamádan's eager call
Rushed thousands to avenge their fall,
Nor ceased those Vánars to assail
With knee and fist and tooth and nail.
Around his foes the giant threw
His mighty arms, and nearer drew
The captives subject to his will:
Then snatched them up and ate his fill.
There was no respite then, no pause:
Fast gaped and closed his hell-like jaws:
Yet, prisoned in that gloomy cave,
Some Vánars still their lives could save:
Some through his nostrils found a way,
Some through his ears resought the day.
Like Indra with his thunder, like
The God of Death in act to strike,
978Rishabh, Śarabh, Níla, Gaváksha, and Gandhamádan.
Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna's Death.
1681
The giant seized his ponderous spear,
And charged the foe in swift career.
Before his might the Vánars fell,
Nor could their hosts his charge repel.
Then trembling, nor ashamed to run,
They turned and fled to Raghu's son.
When Báli's warrior son979beheld
Their flight, his heart with fury swelled.
He rushed, with his terrific shout,
To meet the foe and stay the rout.
He came, he hurled a mountain peak,
And smote the giant on the cheek.
His ponderous spear the giant threw:
Fierce was the cast, the aim was true;
But Angad, trained in war and tried,
Saw ere it came, and leapt aside.
Then with his open hand he smote
The giant on the chest and throat.
That blow the giant scarce sustained;
But sense and strength were soon regained.
With force which nothing might resist
He caught the Vánar by the wrist,
Whirled him, as if in pastime, round,
And dashed him senseless on the ground.
There low on earth his foe lay crushed:
At King Sugríva next he rushed,
Who, waiting for the charge, stood still,
And heaved on high a shattered hill,
He looked on Kumbhakarṇa dyed
With streams of blood, and fiercely cried:
“Great glory has thine arm achieved,
979Angad.
The text calls him the son of the son of him who holds the
thunderbolt, i.e. the grandson of Indra.
1682
The Ramayana
And thousands of their lives bereaved.
Now leave a while thy meaner foes,
And brook the hill Sugríva throws.”
He spoke, and hurled the mass he held:
The giant's chest the stroke repelled,
Then on the Vánars fell despair,
And Rákshas clamour filled the air.
The giant raised his arm, and fast
Came the tremendous980spear he cast.
Hanúmán caught it as it flew,
And knapped it on his knee in two.
The giant saw the broken spear:
His clouded eye confessed his fear;
Yet at Sugríva's head he sent
A peak from Lanká's mountain rent.
[477]
The rushing mass no might could stay:
Sugríva fell and senseless lay.
The giant stooped his foe to seize,
And bore him thence, as bears the breeze
A cloud in autumn through the sky.
He heard the sad Immortals sigh,
And shouts of triumph long and loud
Went up from all the Rákshas crowd.
Through Lanká's gate the giant passed
Holding his struggling captive fast,
While from each terrace, house, and tower
Fell on his haughty head a shower
Of fragrant scent and flowery rain,
Blossoms and leaves and scattered grain.981
980Literally, weighing a thousand bháras. The bhára is a weight equal to
2000 palas, the pala is equal to four karśas, and the karśa to 11375 French
grammes or about 176 grains troy. The spear seems very light for a warrior of
Kumbhakarṇa's strength and stature and the work performed with it.
981The custom of throwing parched or roasted grain, with wreaths and flowers,
Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna's Death.
1683
By slow degrees the Vánars' lord
Felt life and sense and strength restored.
He heard the giants' joyful boast:
He thought upon his Vánar host.
His teeth and feet he fiercely plied,
And bit and rent the giant's side,
Who, mad with pain and smeared with gore,
Hurled to the ground the load he bore.
Regardless of a storm of blows
Swift to the sky the Vánar rose,
Then lightly like a flying ball
High overleapt the city wall,
And joyous for deliverance won
Regained the side of Raghu's son.
And Kumbhakarṇa, mad with hate
And fury, sallied from the gate,
The carnage of the foe renewed
And filled his maw with gory food.
Slaying, with headlong frenzy blind,
Both Vánar foes and giant kind.
Nor would Sumitrá's valiant son982
The might of Kumbhakarṇa shun,
Who through his harness felt the sting
Of keen shafts loosened from the string.
His heart confessed the warrior's power,
And, bleeding from the ceaseless shower
That smote him on the chest and side,
With words like these the giant cried:
“Well fought, well fought, Sumitrá's son;
Eternal glory hast thou won,
on the heads of kings and conquerors when they go forth to battle and return is
frequently mentioned by Indian poets.
982Lakshmaṇ.
1684
The Ramayana
For thou in desperate fight hast met
The victor never conquered yet,
Whom, borne on huge Airávat's back,
E'en Indra trembles to attack.
Go, son of Queen Sumitrá, go:
Thy valour and thy strength I know.
Now all my hope and earnest will
Is Ráma in the fight to kill.
Let him beneath my weapons fall,
And I will meet and conquer all.”
The chieftain, of Sumitrá born,
Made answer as he laughed in scorn:
“Yea, thou hast won a victor's fame
From trembling Gods and Indra's shame.
There waits thee now a mightier foe
Whose prowess thou hast yet to know.
There, famous in a hundred lands,
Ráma the son of Raghu stands.”
Straight at the king the giant sped,
And earth was shaken at his tread.
His bow the hero grasped and strained,
And deadly shafts in torrents rained.
As Kumbhakarṇa felt each stroke
From his huge mouth burst fire and smoke;
His hands were loosed in mortal pain
And dropped his weapons on the plain.
Though reft of spear and sword and mace
No terror changed his haughty face.
With heavy hands he rained his blows
And smote to death a thousand foes.
Where'er the furious monster strode
While down his limbs the red blood flowed
Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna's Death.
1685
Like torrents down a mountain's side,
Vánars and bears and giants died.
High o'er his head a rock he swung,
And the huge mass at Ráma flung.
But Ráma's arrows bright as flame
Shattered the mountain as it came.
Then Raghu's son, his eyes aglow
With burning anger, charged the foe,
And as his bow he strained and tried
With fearful clang the cord replied.
Wroth at the bowstring's threatening clang
To meet his foe the giant sprang.
High towering with enormous frame
Huge as a wood-crowned hill he came.
But Ráma firm and self-possessed
In words like these the foe addressed:
“Draw near, O Rákshas lord, draw near,
Nor turn thee from the fight in fear.
Thou meetest Ráma face to face,
Destroyer of the giant race.
Come, fight, and thou shalt feel this hour,
Laid low in death, thy conqueror's power.”
He ceased: and mad with wrath and pride
The giant champion thus replied:
“Come thou to me and thou shalt find
A foeman of a different kind.
No Khara, no Virádha,—thou
Hast met a mightier warrior now.
The strength of Kumbhakarṇa fear,
And dread the iron mace I rear
This mace in days of yore subdued
The Gods and Dánav multitude.
Prove, lion of Ikshváku's line,
1686
The Ramayana
Thy power upon these limbs of mine.
Then, after trial, shalt thou bleed,
And with thy flesh my hunger feed.”
He ceased: and Ráma, undismayed,
Upon his cord those arrows laid
[478]
Which pierced the stately Sál trees through,
And Báli king of Vánars slew.
They flew, they smote, but smote in vain
Those mighty limbs that felt no pain.
Then Ráma sent with surest aim
The dart that bore the Wind-God's name.
The missile from the giant tore
His huge arm and the mace it bore,
Which crushed the Vánars where it fell:
And dire was Kumbhakarṇa's yell.
The giant seized a tree, and then
Rushed madly at the lord of men.
Another dart, Lord Indra's own,
To meet his furious onset thrown,
His left arm from the shoulder lopped,
And like a mountain peak it dropped.
Then from the bow of Ráma sped
Two arrows, each with crescent head;
And, winged with might which naught could stay,
They cut the giant's legs away.
They fell, and awful was the sound
As those vast columns shook the ground;
And sky and sea and hill and cave
In echoing roars their answer gave.
Then from his side the hero drew
A dart that like the tempest flew—
No deadlier shaft has ever flown
Than that which Indra called his own—
Canto LXVIII. Rávan's Lament.
1687
Nor could the giant's mail-armed neck
The fury of the missile check.
Through skin and flesh and bone it smote
And rent asunder head and throat.
Down with the sound of thunder rolled
The head adorned with rings of gold,
And crushed to pieces in its fall
A gate, a tower, a massive wall.
Hurled to the sea the body fell:
Terrific was the ocean's swell,
Nor could swift fin and nimble leap
Save the crushed creatures of the deep.
Thus he who plagued in impious pride
The Gods and Bráhmans fought and died.
Glad were the hosts of heaven, and long
The air re-echoed with their song.983
Canto LXVIII. Rávan's Lament.
983IhaveabridgedthislongCantobyomittingsomevainrepetitions, common-
place epithets and similes and other unimportant matter. There are many verses
in this Canto which European scholars would rigidly exclude as unmistakeably
the work of later rhapsodists. Even the reverent Commentator whom I follow
ventures to remark once or twice: Ayam śloka prak shipta iti bahavah, “This
śloka or verse is in the opinion of many interpolated.”
1688
The Ramayana
They ran to Rávaṇ in his hall
And told him of his brother's fall:
“Fierce as the God who rules the dead,
Upon the routed foe he fed;
And, victor for a while, at length
Fell slain by Ráma's matchless strength.
Now like a mighty hill in size
His mangled trunk extended lies,
And where he fell, a bleeding mass,
Blocks Lanká's gate that none may pass.”
The monarch heard: his strength gave way;
And fainting on the ground he lay.
Grieved at the giants' mournful tale,
Long, shrill was Atikáya's wail;
And Triśirás in sorrow bowed
His triple head, and wept aloud.
Mahodar, Mahápárśva shed
Hot tears and mourned their brother dead.
At length, his wandering sense restored,
In loud lament cried Lanká's lord:
“Ah chief, for might and valour famed,
Whose arm the haughty foeman tamed,
Forsaking me, thy friends and all,
Why hast thou fled to Yáma's hall?
Why hast thou fled to taste no more
The slaughtered foeman's flesh and gore?
Ah me, my life is done to-day:
My better arm is lopped away.
Whereon in danger I relied,
And, fearless, Gods and fiends defied.
How could a shaft from Ráma's bow
The matchless giant overthrow,
Whose iron frame so strong of yore
The crushing bolt of Indra bore?
Canto LXIX. Narántak's Death.
1689
This day the Gods and sages meet
And triumph at their foe's defeat.
This day the Vánar chiefs will boast
And, with new ardour fired, their host
In fiercer onset will assail
Our city, and the ramparts scale.
What care I for a monarch's name,
For empire, or the Maithil dame?
What joy can power and riches give,
Or life that I should care to live,
Unless this arm in mortal fray
The slayer of my brother slay?
For me, of Kumbhakarṇa reft,
Death is the only solace left;
And I will seek, o'erwhelmed with woes,
The realm to which my brother goes.
Ah me ill-minded, not to take
His counsel when Vibhishaṇ spake
When he this evil day foretold
My foolish heart was overbold:
I drove my sage adviser hence,
And reap the fruits of mine offence.”
[479]
Canto LXIX. Narántak's Death.
1690
The Ramayana
Pierced to the soul by sorrow's sting
Thus wailed the evil-hearted king.
Then Triśirás stood forth and cried:
“Yea, father, he has fought and died,
Our bravest: and the loss is sore:
But rouse thee, and lament no more.
Hast thou not still thy coat of mail,
Thy bow and shafts which never fail?
A thousand asses draw thy car
Which roars like thunder heard afar.
Thy valour and thy warrior skill,
Thy God-given strength, are left thee still.
Unarmed, thy matchless might subdued
The Gods and Dánav multitude.
Armed with thy glorious weapons, how
Shall Raghu's son oppose thee now?
Or, sire, within thy palace stay;
And I myself will sweep away
Thy foes, like Garuḍ when he makes
A banquet of the writhing snakes.
Soon Raghu's son shall press the plain,
As Narak984fell by Vishṇu slain,
Or Śambar985in rebellious pride
Who met the King of Gods986and died.”
The monarch heard: his courage grew,
And life and spirit came anew.
Devántak and Narántak heard,
And their fierce souls with joy were stirred;
984Narak was a demon, son of Bhúmi or Earth, who haunted the city Prágjy-
otisha.
985Śambar was a demon of drought.
986Indra.
Canto LXIX. Narántak's Death.
1691
And Atikáya987burned to fight,
And heard the summons with delight;
While from the rest loud rang the cry,
“I too will fight,” “and I,” “and I.”
The joyous king his sons embraced,
With gold and chains and jewels graced,
And sent them forth with stirring speech
Of benison and praise to each.
Forth from the gate the princes sped
And ranged for war the troops they led.
The Vánar legions charged anew,
And trees and rocks for missiles flew.
They saw Narántak's mighty form
Borne on a steed that mocked the storm.
To check his charge in vain they strove:
Straight through their host his way he clove,
As springs a dolphin through the tide:
And countless Vánars fell and died,
And mangled limbs and corpses lay
To mark the chief's ensanguined way,
Sugríva saw them fall or fly
When fierce Narántak's steed was nigh,
And marked the giant where he sped
O'er heaps of dying or of dead.
He bade the royal Angad face
That bravest chief of giant race.
As springs the sun from clouds dispersed,
So Angad from the Vánars burst.
No weapon for the fight he bore
Save nails and teeth, and sought no more.
“Leave, giant chieftain,” thus he spoke,
987Devántak (Slayer of Gods) Narántak (Slayer of Men) Atikáya (Huge of
Frame) and Triśirás (Three Headed) were all sons of Rávaṇ.
1692
The Ramayana
“Leave foes unworthy of thy stroke,
And bend against a nobler heart
The terrors of thy deadly dart.”
Narántak heard the words he spake:
Fast breathing, like an angry snake,
With bloody teeth his lips he pressed
And hurled his dart at Angad's breast.
True was the aim and fierce the stroke,
Yet on his breast the missile broke.
Then Angad at the giant flew,
And with a blow his courser slew:
The fierce hand crushed through flesh and bone,
And steed and rider fell o'erthrown.
Narántak's eyes with fury blazed:
His heavy hand on high he raised
And struck in savage wrath the head
Of Báli's son, who reeled and bled,
Fainted a moment and no more:
Then stronger, fiercer than before
Smote with that fist which naught could stay,
And crushed to death the giant lay.
Canto LXX. The Death Of Trisirás.
Canto LXX. The Death Of Trisirás.
1693
Then raged the Rákshas chiefs, and all
Burned to avenge Narántak's fall.
Devántak raised his club on high
And rushed at Angad with a cry.
Behind came Triśirás, and near
Mahodar charged with levelled spear.
There Angad stood to fight with three:
High o'er his head he waved a tree,
And at Devántak, swift and true
As Indra's flaming bolt, it flew.
But, cut by giant shafts in twain,
With minished force it flew in vain.
A shower of trees and blocks of stone
From Angad's hand was fiercely thrown;
But well his club Devántak plied
And turned each rock and tree aside.
Nor yet, by three such foes assailed,
[480]
The heart of Angad sank or quailed.
He slew the mighty beast that bore
Mahodar: from his head he tore
A bleeding tusk, and blow on blow
Fell fiercely on his Rákshas foe.
The giant reeled, but strength regained,
And furious strokes on Angad rained,
Who, wounded by the storm of blows,
Sank on his knees, but swiftly rose.
Then Triśirás, as up he sprang,
Drew his great bow with awful clang,
And fixed three arrows from his sheaf
Full in the forehead of the chief.
Hanúmán saw, nor long delayed
To speed with Níla to his aid,
Who at the three-faced giant sent
A peak from Lanká's mountain rent.
1694
The Ramayana
But Triśirás with certain aim
Shot rapid arrows as it came:
And shivered by their force it broke
And fell to earth with flash and smoke.
Then as the Wind-God's son came nigh,
Devántak reared his mace on high.
Hanúmán smote him on the head
And stretched the monstrous giant dead.
Fierce Triśirás with fury strained
His bow, and showers of arrows rained
That smote on Níla's side and chest:
He sank a moment, sore distressed;
But quickly gathered strength to seize
A mountain with its crown of trees.
Crushed by the hill, distained with gore,
Mahodar fell to rise no more.
Then Triśirás raised high his spear
Which chilled the trembling foe with fear
And, like a flashing meteor through
The air at Hanúmán it flew.
The Vánar shunned the threatened stroke,
And with strong hands the weapon broke.
The giant drew his glittering blade:
Dire was the wound the weapon made
Deep in the Vánar's ample chest,
Who, for a moment sore oppressed,
Raised his broad hand, regaining might,
And struck the rover of the night.
Fierce was the blow: with one wild yell
Low on the earth the monster fell.
Hanúmán seized his fallen sword
Which served no more its senseless lord,
And from the monster triple-necked
Canto LXXI. Atikáya's Death.
1695
Smote his huge heads with crowns bedecked.
Then Mahápárśva burned with ire;
Fierce flashed his eyes with vengeful fire.
A moment on the dead he gazed,
Then his black mace aloft was raised,
And down the mass of iron came
That struck and shook the Vánar's frame.
Hanúmán's chest was wellnigh crushed,
And from his mouth red torrents gushed:
Yet served one instant to restore
His spirit: from the foe he tore
His awful mace, and smote, and laid
The giant in the dust dismayed.
Crushed were his jaws and teeth and eyes:
Breathless and still he lay as lies
A summit from a mountain rent
By him who rules the firmament.
Canto LXXI. Atikáya's Death.
But Atikáya's wrath grew high
To see his noblest kinsmen die.
He, fiercest of the giant race,
Presuming still on Brahmá's grace;
Proud tamer of the Immortals' pride,
Whose power and might with Indra's vied,
For blood and vengeful carnage burned,
And on the foe his fury turned.
High on a car that flashed and glowed
Bright as a thousand suns he rode.
Around his princely brows was set
1696
The Ramayana
A rich bejewelled coronet.
Gold pendants in his ears he wore;
He strained and tried the bow he bore,
And ever, as a shaft he aimed,
His name and royal race proclaimed.
Scarce might the Vánars brook to hear
His clanging bow and voice of fear:
To Raghu's elder son they fled,
Their sure defence in woe and dread.
Then Ráma bent his eyes afar
And saw the giant in his car
Fast following the flying crowd
And roaring like a rainy cloud.
He, with the lust of battle fired,
Turned to Vibhishaṇ and inquired:
“Say, who is this, of mountain size,
This archer with the lion eyes?
His car, which strikes our host with awe,
A thousand eager coursers draw.
Surrounded by the flashing spears
Which line his car, the chief appears
Like some huge cloud when lightnings play
About it on a stormy day;
And the great bow he joys to hold
Whose bended back is bright with gold,
As Indra's bow makes glad the skies,
That best of chariots glorifies.
O see the sunlike splendour flung
From the great flag above him hung,
Where, blazoned with refulgent lines,
Ráhu988the dreadful Dragon shines.
Full thirty quivers near his side,
988The demon of eclipse who seizes the Sun and Moon.
Canto LXXI. Atikáya's Death.
1697
His car with shafts is well supplied:
[481]
And flashing like the light of stars
Gleam his two mighty scimitars.
Say, best of giants, who is he
Before whose face the Vánars flee?”
Thus Ráma spake. Vibhishaṇ eyed
The giants' chief, and thus replied:
“This Ráma, this is Rávaṇ's son:
High fame his youthful might has won.
He, best of warriors, bows his ear
The wisdom of the wise to hear.
Supreme is he mid those who know
The mastery of sword and bow.
Unrivalled in the bold attack
On elephant's or courser's back,
He knows, beside, each subtler art,
To win the foe, to bribe, or part.
On him the giant hosts rely,
And fear no ill when he is nigh.
This peerless chieftain bears the name
Of Atikáya huge of frame,
Whom Dhanyamáliní of yore
To Rávaṇ lord of Lanká bore.”
Roused by his bow-string's awful clang,
To meet their foes the Vánars sprang.
Armed with tall trees from Lanká's wood,
And rocks and mountain peaks, they stood.
The giant's arrows, gold-bedecked,
The storm of hurtling missiles checked;
And ever on his foemen poured
Fierce tempest from his clanging cord;
Nor could the Vánar chiefs sustain
1698
The Ramayana
His shafts' intolerable rain.
They fled: the victor gained the place
Where stood the lord of Raghu's race,
And cried with voice of thunder: “Lo,
Borne on my car, with shaft and bow,
I, champion of the giants, scorn
To fight with weaklings humbly born.
Come forth your bravest, if he dare,
And fight with one who will not spare.”
Forth sprang Sumitrá's noble child,989
And strained his ready bow, and smiled;
And giants trembled as the clang
Through heaven and earth reëchoing rang.
The giant to his string applied
A pointed shaft, and proudly cried;
“Turn, turn, Sumitrá's son and fly,
For terrible as Death am I.
Fly, nor that youthful form oppose,
Untrained in war, to warriors' blows.
What! wilt thou waste thy childish breath
And wake the dormant fire of death?
Cast down, rash boy, that useless bow:
Preserve thy life, uninjured go.”
He ceased: and stirred by wrath & pride
Sumitrá's noble son replied:
“By warlike deed, not words alone,
The valour of the brave is shown.
Cease with vain boasts my scorn to move,
And with thine arm thy prowess prove.
Borne on thy car, with sword and bow,
With all thine arms, thy valour show.
989Lakshmaṇ.
Canto LXXI. Atikáya's Death.
1699
Fight, and my deadly shafts this day
Low in the dust thy head shall lay,
And, rushing fast in ceaseless flood,
Shall rend thy flesh and drink thy blood.”
His giant foe no answer made,
But on his string an arrow laid.
He raised his arm, the cord he drew,
At Lakshmaṇ's breast the arrow flew.
Sumitrá's son, his foemen's dread,
Shot a fleet shaft with crescent head,
Which cleft that arrow pointed well,
And harmless to the earth it fell.
A shower of shafts from Lakshmaṇ's bow
Fell fast and furious on the foe
Who quailed not as the missiles smote
With idle force his iron coat.
Then came the friendly Wind-God near,
And whispered thus in Lakshmaṇ's ear:
“Such shafts as these in vain assail
Thy foe's impenetrable mail.
A more tremendous missile try,
Or never may the giant die.
Employ the mighty spell, and aim
The weapon known by Brahmá's name.”
He ceased; Sumitrá's son obeyed:
On his great bow the shaft was laid,
And with a roar like thunder, true
As Indra's flashing bolt, it flew.
The giant poured his shafts like rain
To check its course, but all in vain.
With spear and mace and sword he tried
To turn the fiery dart aside.
Winged with a force which naught could check,
1700
The Ramayana
It smote the monster in the neck,
And, sundered from his shoulders, rolled
To earth his head and helm of gold.
Canto LXXII. Rávan's Speech.
The giants bent, in rage and grief,
Their eyes upon the fallen chief:
Then flying wild with fear and pale
To Rávaṇ bore the mournful tale.
He heard how Atikáya died,
Then turned him to his lords, and cried:
“Where are they now—my bravest—where,
Wise to consult and prompt to dare?
Where is Dhúmráksha, skilled to wield
All weapons in the battle field?
Akampan, and Prahasta's might,
And Kumbhakarṇa bold in fight?
These, these and many a Rákshas more,
Each master of the arms he bore,
[482]
Who every foe in fight o'erthrew,
The victors none could e'er subdue,
Have perished by the might of one,
The vengeful arm of Raghu's son.
In vain I cast mine eyes around,
No match for Ráma here is found,
No chief to stand before that bow
Whose deadly shafts have caused our woe.
Now, warriors, to your stations hence;
Provide ye for the wall's defence,
And be the Aśoka garden, where
Canto LXXIII. Indrajít's Victory.
1701
The lady lies, your special care.
Be every lane and passage barred,
Set at each gate a chosen guard.
And with your troops, where danger calls,
Be ready to defend the walls.
Each movement of the Vánars mark;
Observe them when the skies grow dark;
Be ready in the dead of night,
And ere the morning bring the light.
Taught by our loss we may not scorn
These legions of the forest-born.”
He ceased: the Rákshas lords obeyed;
Each at his post his troops arrayed:
And, torn with pangs that pierced him through
The monarch from the hall withdrew.
Canto LXXIII. Indrajít's Victory.
But Indrajít the fierce and bold
With words like these his sire consoled:
“Dismiss, O King, thy grief and dread,
And be not thus disquieted.
Against this numbing sorrow strive,
For Indrajít is yet alive;
And none in battle may withstand
The fury of his strong right hand.
This day, O sire, thine eyes shall see
The sons of Raghu slain by me.”
1702
The Ramayana
He ceased: he bade the king farewell:
Clear, mid the roar of drum and shell,
The clash of sword and harness rang
As to his car the warrior sprang.
Close followed by his Rákshas train
Through Lanká's gate he reached the plain.
Then down he leapt, and bade a band
Of giants by the chariot stand:
Then with due rites, as rules require,
Did worship to the Lord of Fire.
The sacred oil, as texts ordain,
With wreaths of scented flowers and grain,
Within the flame in order due,
That mightiest of the giants threw.
There on the ground were spear and blade,
And arrowy leaves and fuel laid;
An iron ladle deep and wide,
And robes with sanguine colours dyed.
Beside him stood a sable goat:
The giant seized it by the throat,
And straight from the consuming flame
Auspicious signs of victory came.
For swiftly, curling to the right,
The fire leapt up with willing light
Undimmed by smoky cloud, and, red
Like gold, upon the offering fed.
They brought him, while the flame yet glowed,
The dart by Brahmá's grace bestowed,
And all the arms he wielded well
Were charmed with text and holy spell.
Then fiercer for the fight he burned,
And at the foe his chariot turned,
While all his followers lifting high
Canto LXXIII. Indrajít's Victory.
1703
Their maces charged with furious cry.
Dire, yet more dire the battle grew,
As rocks and trees and arrows flew.
The giant shot his shafts like rain,
And Vánars fell in myriads slain,
Sugríva, Angad, Níla felt
The wounds his hurtling arrows dealt.
His shafts the blood of Gaya drank;
Hanúmán reeled and Mainda sank.
Bright as the glances of the sun
Came the swift darts they could not shun.
Caught in the arrowy nets he wove,
In vain the sons of Raghu strove;
And Ráma, by the darts oppressed,
His brother chieftain thus addressed:
“See, first this giant warrior sends
Destruction, mid our Vánar friends,
And now his arrows thick and fast
Their binding net around us cast.
To Brahmá's grace the chieftain owes
The matchless power and might he shows;
And mortal strength in vain contends
With him whom Brahmá's self befriends.
Then let us still with dauntless hearts
Endure this storm of pelting darts.
Soon must we sink bereaved of sense;
And then the victor, hurrying hence,
Will seek his father in his hall
And tell him of his foemen's fall.”
He ceased: o'erpowered by shaft and spell
The sons of Raghu reeled and fell.
The Rákshas on their bodies gazed;
And, mid the shouts his followers raised,
Sped back to Lanká to relate
1704
The Ramayana
In Rávaṇ's hall the princes' fate.
Canto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.
The shades of falling night concealed
The carnage of the battle field,
[483]
Which, bearing each a blazing brand,
Hanúmán and Vibhishaṇ scanned,
Moving with slow and anxious tread
Among the dying and the dead.
Sad was the scene of slaughter shown
Where'er the torches' light was thrown.
Here mountain forms of Vánars lay
Whose heads and limbs were lopped away,
Arms, legs and fingers strewed the ground,
And severed heads lay thick around.
The earth was moist with sanguine streams,
And sighs were heard and groans and screams.
There lay Sugríva still and cold,
There Angad, once so brave and bold.
There Jámbaván his might reposed,
There Vegadarśí's eyes were closed;
There in the dust was Nala's pride,
And Dwivid lay by Mainda's side.
Where'er they looked the ensanguined plain
Was strewn with myriads of the slain;990
They sought with keenly searching eyes
King Jámbaván supremely wise.
990In such cases as this I am not careful to reproduce the numbers of the poet,
which in the text which I follow are 670000000; the Bengal recension being
content with thirty million less.
Canto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.
1705
His strength had failed by slow decay,
And pierced with countless shafts he lay.
They saw, and hastened to his side,
And thus the sage Vibhishaṇ cried:
“Thee, monarch of the bears, we seek:
Speak if thou yet art living, speak.”
Slow came the aged chief's reply;
Scarce could he say with many a sigh:
“Torn with keen shafts which pierce each limb,
My strength is gone, my sight is dim;
Yet though I scarce can raise mine eyes,
Thy voice, O chief, I recognize.
O, while these ears can hear thee, say,
Has Hanúmán survived this day?”
“Why ask,” Vibhishaṇ cried, “for one
Of lower rank, the Wind-God's son?
Hast thou forgotten, first in place,
The princely chief of Raghu's race?
Can King Sugríva claim no care,
And Angad, his imperial heir?”
“Yea, dearer than my noblest friends
Is he on whom our hope depends.
For if the Wind-God's son survive,
All we though dead are yet alive.
But if his precious life be fled
Though living still we are but dead:
He is our hope and sure relief.”
Thus slowly spoke the aged chief:
Then to his side Hanúmán came,
And with low reverence named his name.
Cheered by the face he longed to view
The wounded chieftain lived anew.
1706
The Ramayana
“Go forth,” he cried, “O strong and brave,
And in their woe the Vánars save.
No might but thine, supremely great,
May help us in our lost estate.
The trembling bears and Vánars cheer,
Calm their sad hearts, dispel their fear.
Save Raghu's noble sons, and heal
The deep wounds of the winged steel.
High o'er the waters of the sea
To far Himálaya's summits flee.
Kailása there wilt thou behold,
And Rishabh, with his peaks of gold.
Between them see a mountain rise
Whose splendour will enchant thine eyes;
His sides are clothed above, below,
With all the rarest herbs that grow.
Upon that mountain's lofty crest
Four plants, of sovereign powers possessed,
Spring from the soil, and flashing there
Shed radiance through the neighbouring air.
One draws the shaft: one brings again
The breath of life to warm the slain;
One heals each wound; one gives anew
To faded cheeks their wonted hue.
Fly, chieftain, to that mountain's brow
And bring those herbs to save us now.”
Hanúmán heard, and springing through
The air like Vishṇu's discus991flew.
The sea was passed: beneath him, gay
With bright-winged birds, the mountains lay,
And brook and lake and lonely glen,
991The discus or quoit, a sharp-edged circular missile is the favourite weapon
of Vishṇu.
Canto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.
1707
And fertile lands with toiling men.
On, on he sped: before him rose
The mansion of perennial snows.
There soared the glorious peaks as fair
As white clouds in the summer air.
Here, bursting from the leafy shade,
In thunder leapt the wild cascade.
He looked on many a pure retreat
Dear to the Gods' and sages' feet:
The spot where Brahmá dwells apart,
The place whence Rudra launched his dart;992
Vishṇu's high seat and Indra's home,
And slopes where Yáma's servants roam.
There was Kuvera's bright abode;
There Brahmá's mystic weapon glowed.
There was the noble hill whereon
[484]
Those herbs with wondrous lustre shone,
And, ravished by the glorious sight,
Hanúmán rested on the height.
He, moving down the glittering peak,
The healing herbs began to seek:
But, when he thought to seize the prize,
They hid them from his eager eyes.
Then to the hill in wrath he spake:
“Mine arm this day shall vengeance take,
If thou wilt feel no pity, none,
In this great need of Raghu's son.”
He ceased: his mighty arms he bent
And from the trembling mountain rent
His huge head with the life it bore,
Snakes, elephants, and golden ore.
992To destroy Tripura the triple city in the sky, air and earth, built by Maya for
a celebrated Asur or demon, or as another commentator explains, to destroy
Kandarpa or Love.
1708
The Ramayana
O'er hill and plain and watery waste
His rapid way again he traced.
And mid the wondering Vánars laid
His burthen through the air conveyed,
The wondrous herbs' delightful scent
To all the host new vigour lent.
Free from all darts and wounds and pain
The sons of Raghu lived again,
And dead and dying Vánars healed
Rose vigorous from the battle field.
Canto LXXV. The Night Attack.
Sugríva spake in words like these:
“Now, Vánar lords, the occasion seize.
For now, of sons and brothers reft,
To Rávaṇ little hope is left:
And if our host his gates assail
His weak defence will surely fail.”
Canto LXXV. The Night Attack.
1709
At dead of night the Vánar bands
Rushed on with torches in their hands.
Scared by the coming of the host
Each giant warder left his post.
Where'er the Vánar legions came
Their way was marked with hostile flame
That spread in fury to devour
Palace and temple, gate and tower.
Down came the walls and porches, down
Came stately piles that graced the town.
In many a house the fire was red,
On sandal wood and aloe fed.
And scorching flames in billows rolled
O'er diamonds and pearls and gold.
On cloth of wool, on silk brocade,
On linen robes their fury preyed.
Wheels, poles and yokes were burned, and all
The coursers' harness in the stall;
And elephants' and chariots' gear,
The sword, the buckler, and the spear.
Scared by the crash of falling beams,
Mid lamentations, groans and screams,
Forth rushed the giants through the flames
And with them dragged bewildered dames,
Each, with o'erwhelming terror wild,
Still clasping to her breast a child.
The swift fire from a cloud of smoke
Through many a gilded lattice broke,
And, melting pearl and coral, rose
O'er balconies and porticoes.
The startled crane and peacock screamed
As with strange light the courtyard gleamed,
And fierce unusual glare was thrown
On shrinking wood and heated stone.
1710
The Ramayana
From burning stall and stable freed
Rushed frantic elephant and steed,
And goaded by the driving blaze
Fled wildly through the crowded ways.
As earth with fervent heat will glow
When comes her final overthrow;
From gate to gate, from court to spire
Proud Lanká was one blaze of fire,
And every headland, rock and bay
Shone bright a hundred leagues away.
Forth, blinded by the heat and flame
Ran countless giants huge of frame;
And, mustering for fierce attack,
The Vánars charged to drive them back,
While shout and scream and roar and cry
Reëchoed through the earth and sky.
There Ráma stood with strength renewed,
And ever, as the foe he viewed,
Shaking the distant regions rang
His mighty bow's tremendous clang.
Then through the gates Nikumbha hied,
And Kumbha by his brother's side,
Sent forth—the bravest and the best—
To battle by the king's behest.
There fought the chiefs in open field,
And Angad fell and Dwivid reeled.
Sugríva saw: by rage impelled
He crushed the bow which Kumbha held.
About his foe Sugríva wound
His arms, and, heaving from the ground
The giant hurled him o'er the bank;
And deep beneath the sea he sank.
Like mandar hill with furious swell
Up leapt the waters where he fell.
Canto LXXV. The Night Attack.
1711
Again he rose: he sprang to land
And raised on high his threatening hand:
Full on Sugríva's chest it came
And shook the Vánar's massy frame,
But on the wounded bone he broke
His wrist—so furious was the stroke.
With force that naught could stay or check,
Sugríva smote him neath the neck.
The fierce blow crashed through flesh and bone
And Kumbha lay in death o'erthrown.
Nikumbha saw his brother die,
And red with fury flashed his eye.
He dashed with mighty sway and swing
[485]
His axe against the Vánar king;
But shattered on that living rock
It split in fragments at the shock.
Sugríva, rising to the blow,
Raised his huge hand and smote his foe.
And in the dust the giant lay
Gasping in blood his soul away.
[IhavebrieflydespatchedKumbhaandNikumbha,eachofwhom
has in the text a long Canto to himself. When they fall Rávaṇ
sends forth Makaráksha or Crocodile-Eye, the son of Khara who
was slain by Ráma in the forest before the abduction of Sítá.
The account of his sallying forth, of his battle with Ráma and
of his death by the fiery dart of that hero occupies two Cantos
which I entirely pass over. Indrajít again comes forth and, ren-
dered invisible by his magic art slays countless Vánars with his
unerring arrows. He retires to the city and returns bearing in his
chariot an effigy of Sítá, the work of magic, weeping and wailing
by his side. He grasps the lovely image by the hair and cuts
it down with his scimitar in the sight of the enraged Hanúmán
and all the Vánar host. At last after much fighting of the usual
kind Indrajít's chariot is broken in pieces, his charioteer is slain,
1712
The Ramayana
and he himself falls by Lakshmaṇ's hand, to the inexpressible
delight of the high-souled saints, the nymphs of heaven and other
celestial beings.]
Canto XCIII. Rávan's Lament.
They sought the king, a mournful train,
And cried, “My lord, thy son is slain.
By Lakshmaṇ's hand, before these eyes,
The warrior fell no more to rise.
No time is this for vain regret:
Thy hero son a hero met;
And he whose might in battle pressed
Lord Indra and the Gods confessed,
Whose power was stranger to defeat,
Has gained in heaven a blissful seat.”
The monarch heard the mournful tale:
His heart was faint, his cheek was pale;
His fleeting sense at length regained,
In trembling tones he thus complained:
“Ah me, my son, my pride: the boast
And glory of the giant host.
Could Lakshmaṇ's puny might defeat
The foe whom Indra feared to meet?
Could not thy deadly arrows split
Proud Mandar's peaks, O Indrajít,
And the Destroyer's self destroy?
And wast thou conquered by a boy?
I will not weep: thy noble deed
Has blessed thee with immortal meed
Canto XCIII. Rávan's Lament.
1713
Gained by each hero in the skies
Who fighting for his sovereign dies.
Now, fearless of all meaner foes,
The guardian Gods993will taste repose:
But earth to me, with hill and plain,
Is desolate, for thou art slain.
Ah, whither hast thou fled, and left
Thy mother, Lanká, me bereft;
Left pride and state and wives behind,
And lordship over all thy kind?
I fondly hoped thy hand should pay
Due honours on my dying day:
And couldst thou, O beloved, flee
And leave thy funeral rites to me?
Life has no comfort left me, none,
O Indrajít my son, my son.”
Thus wailed he broken by his woes:
But swift the thought of vengeance rose.
In awful wrath his teeth he gnashed,
And from his eyes red lightning flashed.
Hot from his mouth came fire and smoke,
As thus the king in fury spoke:
993The Lokapálas are sometimes regarded as deities appointed by Brahmá at
the creation of the word to act as guardians of different orders of beings, but
more commonly they are identified with the deities presiding over the four
cardinal and four intermediate points of the compass, which, according to
Manu V. 96, are 1, Indra, guardian of the East; 2, Agni, of the South-east;
3, Yáma, of the South; 4, Súrya, of the South-west; 5, Varuṇa, of the West;
6, Pavana or Váyu, of the North-west; 7, Kuvera, of the North; 8, Soma or
Chandra, of the North-east.
1714
The Ramayana
“Through many a thousand years of yore
The penance and the pain I bore,
And by fierce torment well sustained
The highest grace of Brahmá gained,
His plighted word my life assured,
From Gods of heaven and fiends secured.
He armed my limbs with burnished mail
Whose lustre turns the sunbeams pale,
In battle proof gainst heavenly bands
With thunder in their threatening hands.
Armed in this mail myself will go
With Brahmá's gift my deadly bow,
And, cleaving through the foes my way,
The slayers of my son will slay.”
Then, by his grief to frenzy wrought,
The captive in the grove he sought.
Swift through the shady path he sped:
Earth trembled at his furious tread.
Fierce were his eyes: his monstrous hand
Held drawn for death his glittering brand.
[486]
There weeping stood the Maithil dame:
She shuddered as the giant came.
Near drew the rover of the night
And raised his sword in act to smite;
But, by his nobler heart impelled,
One Rákshas lord his arm withheld:
“Wilt thou, great Monarch,” thus he cried,
“Wilt thou, to heavenly Gods allied,
Blot for all time thy glorious fame,
The slayer of a gentle dame?
What! shall a woman's blood be spilt
To stain thee with eternal guilt,
Thee deep in all the Veda's lore?
Canto XCVI. Rávan's Sally.
1715
Far be the thought for evermore.
Ah look, and let her lovely face
This fury from thy bosom chase.”
He ceased: the prudent counsel pleased
The monarch, and his wrath appeased;
Then to his council hall in haste
The giant lord his steps retraced.
[I omit two Cantos in the first of which Ráma with an enchanted
Gandharva weapon deals destruction among the Rákshases sent
out by Rávaṇ, and in the second the Rákshas dames lament the
slain and mourn over the madness of Rávaṇ.]
Canto XCVI. Rávan's Sally.
The groans and cries of dames who wailed
The ears of Lanká's lord assailed,
For from each house and home was sent
The voice of weeping and lament.
In troubled thought his head he bowed,
Then fiercely loosing on the crowd
Of nobles near his throne he broke
The silence, and in fury spoke:
“This day my deadly shafts shall fly,
And Raghu's sons shall surely die.
This day shall countless Vánars bleed
And dogs and kites and vultures feed.
Go, bid them swift my car prepare,
Bring the great bow I long to bear:
And let my host with sword and shield
And spear be ready for the field.”
1716
The Ramayana
From street to street the captains passed
And Rákshas warriors gathered fast.
With spear and sword to pierce and strike,
And axe and club and mace and pike.
[I omit several weapons for which I cannot find distinctive
names, and among them the Sataghní or Centicide, supposed
by some to be a kind of fire-arms or rocket, but described by a
commentator on the Mahábhárata as a stone or cylindrical piece
of wood studded with iron spikes.]
Then Rávaṇ's warrior chariot994wrought
With gold and rich inlay was brought.
Mid tinkling bells and weapons' clang
The monarch on the chariot sprang,
Which, decked with gems of every hue,
Eight steeds of noble lineage drew.
Mid roars of drum and shell rang out
From countless throats a joyful shout.
As, girt with hosts in warlike pride,
Through Lanká's streets the tyrant hied.
Still, louder than the roar of drums,
Went up the cry “He comes, he comes,
Our ever conquering lord who trod
Beneath his feet both fiend and God.”
On to the gate the warriors swept
Where Raghu's sons their station kept.
When Rávaṇ's car the portal passed
The sun in heaven was overcast.
Earth rocked and reeled from side to side
And birds with boding voices cried.
994The chariots of Rávaṇ's present army are said to have been one hundred
and fifty million in number with three hundred million elephants, and twelve
hundred million horses and asses. The footmen are merely said to have been
“unnumbered.”
Canto C. Rávan In The Field.
1717
Against the standard of the king
A vulture flapped his horrid wing.
Big gouts of blood before him dropped,
His trembling steeds in terror stopped.
The hue of death was on his cheek,
And scarce his flattering tongue could speak,
When, terrible with flash and flame,
Through murky air a meteor came.
Still by the hand of Death impelled
His onward way the giant held.
The Vánars in the field afar
Heard the loud thunder of his car.
And turned with warriors' fierce delight
To meet the giant in the fight.
He came: his clanging bow he drew
And myriads of the Vánars slew.
Some through the side and heart he cleft,
Some headless on the plain were left.
Some struggling groaned with mangled thighs,
Or broken arms or blinded eyes.
[I omit Cantos XCVII, XCVIII, and XCIX, which describe in
the usual way three single combats between Sugríva and Angad
on the Vánar side and Virúpáksha, Mahodar, and Mahápárśva on
the side of the giants. The weapons of the Vánars are trees and
rocks; the giants fight with swords, axes, and bows and arrows.
The details are generally the same as those of preceding duels.
The giants fall, one in each Canto.]
[487]
Canto C. Rávan In The Field.
1718
The Ramayana
The plain with bleeding limbs was spread,
And heaps of dying and of dead.
His mighty bow still Ráma strained,
And shafts upon the giants rained.
Still Angad and Sugríva, wrought
To fury, for the Vánars fought.
Crushed with huge rocks through chest and side
Mahodar, Mahápárśva died,
And Virúpáksha stained with gore
Dropped on the plain to rise no more.
When Rávaṇ saw the three o'erthrown
He cried aloud in furious tone:
“Urge, urge the car, my charioteer,
The haughty Vánars' death is near.
This very day shall end our griefs
For leaguered town and slaughtered chiefs.
Ráma the tree whose lovely fruit
Is Sítá, shall this arm uproot,—
Whose branches with protecting shade
Are Vánar lords who lend him aid.”
Thus cried the king: the welkin rang
As forth the eager coursers sprang,
And earth beneath the chariot shook
With flowery grove and hill and brook.
Fast rained his shafts: where'er he sped
The conquered Vánars fell or fled,
On rolled the car in swift career
Till Raghu's noble sons were near.
Then Ráma looked upon the foe
And strained and tried his sounding bow,
Till earth and all the region rang
Re-echoing to the awful clang.
His bow the younger chieftain bent,
Canto C. Rávan In The Field.
1719
And shaft on shaft at Rávaṇ sent.
He shot: but Rávaṇ little recked;
Each arrow with his own he checked,
And headless, baffled of its aim,
To earth the harmless missile came;
And Lakshmaṇ stayed his arm o'erpowered
By the thick darts the giant showered.
Fierce waxed the fight and fiercer yet,
For Rávaṇ now and Ráma met,
And each on other poured amain
The tempest of his arrowy rain.
While all the sky above was dark
With missiles speeding to their mark
Like clouds, with flashing lightning twined
About them, hurried by the wind.
Not fiercer was the wondrous fight
When Vritra fell by Indra's might.
All arts of war each foeman knew,
And trained alike, his bowstring drew.
Red-eyed with fury Lanká's king
Pressed his huge fingers on the string,
And fixed in Ráma's brows a flight
Of arrows winged with matchless flight.
Still Raghu's son endured, and bore
That crown of shafts though wounded sore.
O'er a dire dart a spell he spoke
With mystic power to aid the stroke.
In vain upon the foe it smote
Rebounding from the steelproof coat.
The giant armed his bow anew,
And wondrous weapons hissed and flew,
Terrific, deadly, swift of flight,
Beaked like the vulture and the kite,
Or bearing heads of fearful make,
1720
The Ramayana
Of lion, tiger, wolf and snake.995
Then Ráma, troubled by the storm
Of flying darts in every form
Shot by an arm that naught could tire,
Launched at the foe his dart of fire,
Which, sacred to the Lord of Flame,
Burnt and consumed where'er it came.
And many a blazing shaft beside
The hero to his string applied.
With fiery course of dazzling hue
Swift to the mark each missile flew,
Some flashing like a shooting star,
Some as the tongues of lightning are;
One like a brilliant plant, one
In splendour like the morning sun.
Where'er the shafts of Ráma burned
The giant's darts were foiled and turned.
Far into space his weapons fled,
But as they flew struck thousands dead.
Canto CI. Lakshman's Fall.
When Rávaṇ saw his darts repelled,
With double rage his bosom swelled.
He summoned, wroth but undismayed,
A mightier charm to lend its aid.
995It is not very easy to see the advantage of having arrows headed in the way
mentioned. Fanciful names for war-engines and weapons derived from their
resemblance to various animals are not confined to India. The “War-wolf” was
used by Edward I. at the siege of Brechin, the “Cat-house” and the “Sow” were
used by Edward III. at the siege of Dunbar.
Canto CI. Lakshman's Fall.
1721
And, fierce as fire before the blast,
A storm of missiles thick and fast,
Spear, pike and javelin, mace and brand,
Came hurtling from the giant's hand.
But, mightier still, the arms employed
By Raghu's son their force destroyed,
And every dart fell dulled and spent
By powers the bards of heaven had lent.
With his huge mace Vibhishaṇ slew
The steeds that Rávaṇ's chariot drew.
[488]
Then Rávaṇ hurled in deadly ire
A ponderous spear that flashed like fire:
But Ráma's arrows checked its way,
And harmless on the earth it lay,
The giant seized a mightier spear,
Which Death himself would shun with fear.
Vibhishaṇ with the stroke had died,
But Lakshmaṇ's hand his bowstring plied,
And flying arrows thick as hail
Smote fiercely on the giant's mail.
Then Rávaṇ turned his aim aside,
On Lakshmaṇ looked and fiercely cried:
“Thou, thou again my wrath hast braved,
And from his death Vibhishaṇ saved.
Now in his stead this spear receive
Whose deadly point thy heart shall cleave.”
He ceased: he hurled the mortal dart
By Maya forged with magic art.
The spear, with all his fury flung,
Swift, flickering like a serpent's tongue,
Adorned with many a tinkling bell,
Smote Lakshmaṇ, and the hero fell.
When Ráma saw, he heaved a sigh,
1722
The Ramayana
A tear one moment dimmed his eye.
But tender grief was soon repressed
And thoughts of vengeance filled his breast.
The air around him flashed and gleamed
As from his bow the arrows streamed;
And Lanká's lord, the foeman's dread,
O'erwhelmed with terror turned and fled.
Canto CII. Lakshman Healed.
But Ráma, pride of Raghu's race,
Gazed tenderly on Lakshmaṇ's face,
And, as the sight his spirit broke,
Turned to Susheṇ and sadly spoke:
“Where is my power and valour? how
Shall I have heart for battle now,
When dead before my weeping eyes
My brother, noblest Lakshmaṇ, lies?
My tears in blinding torrents flow,
My hand unnerved has dropped my bow.
The pangs of woe have blanched my cheek,
My heart is sick, my strength is weak.
Ah me, my brother! Ah, that I
By Lakshmaṇ's side might sink and die:
Life, war and conquest, all are vain
If Lakshmaṇ lies in battle slain.
Why will those eyes my glances shun?
Hast thou no word of answer, none?
Ah, is thy noble spirit flown
And gone to other worlds alone?
Couldst thou not let thy brother seek
Canto CII. Lakshman Healed.
1723
Those worlds with thee? O speak, O speak!
Rise up once more, my brother, rise,
Look on me with thy loving eyes.
Were not thy steps beside me still
In gloomy wood, on breezy hill?
Did not thy gentle care assuage
Thy brother's grief and fitful rage?
Didst thou not all his troubles share,
His guide and comfort in despair?”
As Ráma, vanquished, wept and sighed
The Vánar chieftain thus replied:
“Great Prince, unmanly thoughts dismiss,
Nor yield thy soul to grief like this.
In vain those burning tears are shed:
Our glory Lakshmaṇ is not dead.
Death on his brow no mark has set,
Where beauty's lustre lingers yet.
Clear is the skin, and tender hues
Of lotus flowers his palms suffuse.
O Ráma, cheer thy trembling heart;
Not thus do life and body part.
Now, Hanumán, to thee I speak:
Hie hence to tall Mahodaya's996peak
Where herbs of sovereign virtue grow
Which life and health and strength bestow
Bring thou the leaves to balm his pain,
And Lakshmaṇ shall be well again.”
996Apparently a peak of the Himalaya chain.
1724
The Ramayana
He ceased: the Wind-God's son obeyed
Swift through the clouds his way he made.
He reached the hill, nor stayed to find
The wondrous herbs of healing kind,
From its broad base the mount he tore
With all the shrubs and trees it bore,
Sped through the clouds again and showed
To wise Susheṇ his woody load.997
Susheṇ in wonder viewed the hill,
And culled the sovereign salve of ill.
Soon as the healing herb he found,
The fragrant leaves he crushed and ground.
Then over Lakshmaṇ's face he bent,
Who, healed and strengthened by the scent
Of that blest herb divinely sweet,
Rose fresh and lusty on his feet.
Canto CIII. Indra's Car.
Then Raghu's son forgot his woe:
Again he grasped his fallen bow
And hurled at Lanká's lord amain
The tempest of his arrowy rain.
[489]
997This exploit of Hanumán is related with inordinate prolixity in the Bengal
recension(Gortesio'stext). Amongotheradventureshenarrowlyescapesbeing
shot by Bharat as he passes over Nandigrama near Ayodhyá. Hanumán stays
Bharat in time, and gives him an account of what has befallen Ráma and Sítá
in the forest and in Lanká.
Canto CIII. Indra's Car.
1725
Drawn by the steeds his lords had brought,
Again the giant turned and fought.
And drove his glittering chariot nigh
As springs the Day-God through the sky.
Then, as his sounding bow he bent,
Like thunderbolts his shafts were sent,
As when dark clouds in rain time shed
Fierce torrents on a mountain's head.
High on his car the giant rode,
On foot the son of Raghu strode.
The Gods from their celestial height
Indignant saw the unequal fight.
Then he whom heavenly hosts revere,
Lord Indra, called his charioteer:
“Haste, Mátali,” he cried, “descend;
To Raghu's son my chariot lend.
With cheering words the chief address;
And all the Gods thy deed will bless.”
He bowed; he brought the glorious car
Whose tinkling bells were heard afar;
Fair as the sun of morning, bright
With gold and pearl and lazulite.
He yoked the steeds of tawny hue
That swifter than the tempest flew.
Then down the slope of heaven he hied
And stayed the car by Ráma's side.
“Ascend, O Chief,” he humbly cried,
“The chariot which the Gods provide.
The mighty bow of Indra see,
Sent by the Gods who favour thee;
Behold this coat of glittering mail,
And spear and shafts which never fail.”
1726
The Ramayana
Cheered by the grace the Immortals showed
The chieftain on the chariot rode.
Then as the car-borne warriors met
The awful fight raged fiercer yet.
Each shaft that Rávaṇ shot became
A serpent red with kindled flame,
And round the limbs of Ráma hung
With fiery jaws and quivering tongue.
But every serpent fled dismayed
When Raghu's valiant son displayed
The weapon of the Feathered King,998
And loosed his arrows from the string.
But Rávaṇ armed his bow anew,
And showers of shafts at Ráma flew,
While the fierce king in swift career
Smote with a dart the charioteer.
An arrow shot by Rávaṇ's hand
Laid the proud banner on the sand,
And Indra's steeds of heavenly strain
Fell by the iron tempest slain.
On Gods and spirits of the air
Fell terror, trembling, and despair.
The sea's white billows mounted high
With froth and foam to drench the sky.
The sun by lurid clouds was veiled,
The friendly lights of heaven were paled;
And, fiercely gleaming, fiery Mars
Opposed the beams of gentler stars.
998As Garuḍ the king of birds is the mortal enemy of serpents the weapon
sacred to him is of course best calculated to destroy the serpent arrows of
Rávaṇ.
Canto CVI. Glory To The Sun.
1727
Then Ráma's eyes with fury blazed
As Indra's heavenly spear he raised.
Loud rang the bells: the glistering head
Bright flashes through the region shed.
Down came the spear in swift descent:
The giant's lance was crushed and bent.
Then Rávaṇ's horses brave and fleet
Fell dead beneath his arrowy sleet.
Fierce on his foeman Ráma pressed,
And gored with shafts his mighty breast.
And spouting streams of crimson dyed
The weary giant's limbs and side.
[I omit Cantos CIV and CV in which the fight is renewed and
Rávaṇ severely reprimands his charioteer for timidity and want
of confidence in his master's prowess, and orders him to charge
straight at Ráma on the next occasion.]
Canto CVI. Glory To The Sun.
There faint and bleeding fast, apart
Stood Rávaṇ raging in his heart.
Then, moved with ruth for Ráma's sake,
Agastya999came and gently spake:
“Bend, Ráma, bend thy heart and ear
The everlasting truth to hear
Which all thy hopes through life will bless
And crown thine arms with full success.
The rising sun with golden rays,
999The celebrated saint who has on former occasions assisted Ráma with his
gifts and counsel.
1728
The Ramayana
Light of the worlds, adore and praise:
The universal king, the lord
By hosts of heaven and fiends adored.
He tempers all with soft control,
He is the Gods' diviner soul;
And Gods above and fiends below
And men to him their safety owe.
He Brahmá, Vishṇu, Śiva, he
Each person of the glorious Three,
Is every God whose praise we tell,
The King of Heaven,1000the Lord of Hell:1001
Each God revered from times of old,
The Lord of War,1002the King of Gold:1003
[490]
Mahendra, Time and Death is he,
The Moon, the Ruler of the Sea.1004
He hears our praise in every form,—
The manes,1005Gods who ride the storm,1006
The Aśvins,1007Manu,1008they who stand
Round Indra,1009and the Sádhyas'1010band
He is the air, and life and fire,
1000Indra.
1001Yáma.
1002Kártikeya.
1003Kubera.
1004Varuṇ.
1005The Pitris, forefathers or spirits of the dead, are of two kinds, either the
spirits of the father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers of an individual or the
progenitors of mankind generally, to both of whom obsequial worship is paid
and oblations of food are presented.
1006The Maruts or Storm-Gods.
1007The Heavenly Twins, the Castor and Pollux of the Hindus.
1008The Man par excellence, the representative man and father of the human
race regarded also as God.
1009The Vasus, a class of deities originally personifications of natural phenom-
ena.
1010A class of celestial beings who dwell between the earth and the sun.
Canto CVI. Glory To The Sun.
1729
The universal source and sire:
He brings the seasons at his call,
Creator, light, and nurse of all.
His heavenly course he joys to run,
Maker of Day, the golden sun.
The steeds that whirl his car are seven,1011
The flaming steeds that flash through heaven.
Lord of the sky, the conqueror parts
The clouds of night with glistering darts.
He, master of the Vedas' lore,
Commands the clouds' collected store:
He is the rivers' surest friend;
He bids the rains, and they descend.
Stars, planets, constellations own
Their monarch of the golden throne.
Lord of twelve forms,1012to thee I bow,
Most glorious King of heaven art thou.
O Ráma, he who pays aright
Due worship to the Lord of Light
Shall never fall oppressed by ill,
But find a stay and comfort still.
Adore with all thy heart and mind
This God of Gods, to him resigned;
And thou his saving power shalt know
Victorious o'er thy giant foe.”
[This Canto does not appear in the Bengal recension. It comes in
awkwardly and may I think be considered as an interpolation, but
I paraphrase a portion of it as a relief after so much fighting and
carnage, and as an interesting glimpse of the monotheistic ideas
which underlie the Hindu religion. The hymn does not readily
lend itself to metrical translation, and I have not attempted here
1011The seven horses are supposed to symbolize the seven days of the week.
1012One for each month in the year.
1730
The Ramayana
to give a faithful rendering of the whole. A literal version of the
text and the commentary given in the Calcutta edition will be
found in the Additional Notes.
A canto is here omitted. It contains fighting of the ordinary
kind between Ráma and Rávaṇ, and a description of sights and
sounds of evil omen foreboding the destruction of the giant.]
Canto CVIII. The Battle.
He spoke, and vanished: Ráma raised
His eyes with reverence meet, and praised
The glorious Day-God full in view:
Then armed him for the fight anew.
Urged onward by his charioteer
The giant's foaming steeds came near,
And furious was the battle's din
Where each resolved to die or win.
The Rákshas host and Vánar bands
Stood with their weapons in their hands,
And watched in terror and dismay
The fortune of the awful fray.
The giant chief with rage inflamed
His darts at Ráma's pennon aimed;
But when they touched the chariot made
By heavenly hands their force was stayed.
Then Ráma's breast with fury swelled;
He strained the mighty bow he held,
And straight at Rávaṇ's banner flew
An arrow as the string he drew—
A deadly arrow swift of flight,
Like some huge snake ablaze with light,
Canto CIX. The Battle.
1731
Whose fury none might e'er repel,—
And, split in twain, the standard fell.
At Ráma's steeds sharp arrows, hot
With flames of fire, the giant shot.
Unmoved the heavenly steeds sustained
The furious shower the warrior rained,
As though soft lotus tendrils smote
Each haughty crest and glossy coat.
Then volleyed swift by magic art,
Tree, mountain peak and spear and dart,
Trident and pike and club and mace
Flew hurtling straight at Ráma's face.
But Ráma with his steeds and car
Escaped the storm which fell afar
Where the strange missiles, as they rushed
To earth, a thousand Vánars crushed.
[491]
Canto CIX. The Battle.
With wondrous power and might and skill
The giant fought with Ráma still.
Each at his foe his chariot drove,
And still for death or victory strove.
The warriors' steeds together dashed,
And pole with pole reëchoing clashed.
Then Ráma launching dart on dart
Made Rávaṇ's coursers swerve and start.
Nor was the lord of Lanká slow
To rain his arrows on the foe,
1732
The Ramayana
Who showed, by fiery points assailed,
No trace of pain, nor shook nor quailed.
Dense clouds of arrows Ráma shot
With that strong arm which rested not,
And spear and mace and club and brand
Fell in dire rain from Rávaṇ's hand.
The storm of missiles fiercely cast
Stirred up the oceans with its blast,
And Serpent-Gods and fiends who dwell
Below were troubled by the swell.
The earth with hill and plain and brook
And grove and garden reeled and shook:
The very sun grew cold and pale,
And horror stilled the rising gale.
God and Gandharva, sage and saint
Cried out, with grief and terror faint:
“O may the prince of Raghu's line
Give peace to Bráhmans and to kine,
And, rescuing the worlds, o'erthrow
The giant king our awful foe.”
Then to his deadly string the pride
Of Raghu's race a shaft applied.
Sharp as a serpent's venomed fang
Straight to its mark the arrow sprang,
And from the giant's body shred
With trenchant steel the monstrous head.
There might the triple world behold
That severed head adorned with gold.
But when all eyes were bent to view,
Swift in its stead another grew.
Again the shaft was pointed well:
Again the head divided fell;
But still as each to earth was cast
Canto CX. Rávan's Death.
1733
Another head succeeded fast.
A hundred, bright with fiery flame,
Fell low before the victor's aim,
Yet Rávaṇ by no sign betrayed
That death was near or strength decayed.
The doubtful fight he still maintained,
And on the foe his missiles rained.
In air, on earth, on plain, on hill,
With awful might he battled still;
And through the hours of night and day
The conflict knew no pause or stay.
Canto CX. Rávan's Death.
Then Mátali to Ráma cried:
“Let other arms the day decide.
Why wilt thou strive with useless toil
And see his might thy efforts foil?
Launch at the foe thy dart whose fire
Was kindled by the Almighty Sire.”
He ceased: and Raghu's son obeyed:
Upon his string the hero laid
An arrow, like a snake that hissed.
Whose fiery flight had never missed:
The arrow Saint Agastya gave
And blessed the chieftain's life to save
That dart the Eternal Father made
The Monarch of the Gods to aid;
By Brahmá's self on him bestowed
When forth to fight Lord Indra rode.
'Twas feathered with the rushing wind;
1734
The Ramayana
The glowing sun and fire combined
To the keen point their splendour lent;
The shaft, ethereal element,
By Meru's hill and Mandar, pride
Of mountains, had its weight supplied.
He laid it on the twisted cord,
He turned the point at Lanká's lord,
And swift the limb-dividing dart
Pierced the huge chest and cleft the heart,
And dead he fell upon the plain
Like Vritra by the Thunderer slain.
The Rákahas host when Rávaṇ fell
Sent forth a wild terrific yell,
Then turned and fled, all hope resigned,
Through Lanká's gates, nor looked behind.
His voice each joyous Vánar raised,
And Ráma, conquering Ráma, praised.
Soft from celestial minstrels came
The sound of music and acclaim.
Soft, fresh, and cool, a rising breeze
Brought odours from the heavenly trees,
And ravishing the sight and smell
A wondrous rain of blossoms fell:
And voices breathed round Raghu's son:
“Champion of Gods, well done, well done.”
Canto CXI. Vibhishan's Lament.
Canto CXI. Vibhishan's Lament.
1735
Vibhishaṇ saw his brother slain,
Nor could his heart its woe contain.
O'er the dead king he sadly bent
And mourned him with a loud lament:
“O hero, bold and brave,” he cried,
“Skilled in all arms, in battle tried.
Spoiled of thy crown, with limbs outspread,
[492]
Why wilt thou press thy gory bed?
Why slumber on the earth's cold breast,
When sumptuous couches woo to rest?
Ah me, my brother over bold,
Thine is the fate my heart foretold:
But love and pride forbade to hear
The friend who blamed thy wild career.
Fallen is the sun who gave us light,
Our lordly moon is veiled in night.
Our beacon fire is dead and cold
A hundred waves have o'er it rolled.
What could his light and fire avail
Against Lord Ráma's arrowy hail?
Woe for the giants' royal tree,
Whose stately height was fair to see.
His buds were deeds of kingly grace,
His bloom the sons who decked his race.
With rifled bloom and mangled bough
The royal tree lies prostrate now.”
“Nay, idly mourn not,” Ráma cried,
“The warrior king has nobly died,
Intrepid hero, firm through all,
So fell he as the brave should fall;
And ill beseems it chiefs like us
To weep for those who perish thus.
Be firm: thy causeless grief restrain,
And pay the dues that yet remain.”
1736
The Ramayana
Again Vibhishaṇ sadly spoke:
“His was the hero arm that broke
Embattled Gods' and Indra's might,
Unconquered ere to-day in fight.
He rushed against thee, fought and fell,
As Ocean, when his waters swell,
Hurling his might against a rock,
Falls spent and shattered by the shock.
Woe for our king's untimely end,
The generous lord the trusty friend:
Our sure defence when fear arose,
A dreaded scourge to stubborn foes.
O, let the king thy hand has slain
The honours of the dead obtain.”
Then Ráma answered. “Hatred dies
When low in dust the foeman lies.
Now triumph bids the conflict cease,
And knits us in the bonds of peace.
Let funeral rites be duly paid.
And be it mine thy toil to aid.”
Canto CXII. The Rákshas Dames.
High rose the universal wail
That mourned the monarch's death, and, pale
With crushing woe, her hair unbound,
Her eyes in floods of sorrow drowned,
Forth from the inner chambers came
With trembling feet each royal dame,
Heedless of those who bade them stay
Canto CXIII. Mandodarí's Lament.
1737
They reached the field where Rávaṇ lay;
There falling by their husband's side,
“Ah, King! ah dearest lord!” they cried.
Like creepers shattered by the storm
They threw them on his mangled form.
One to his bleeding bosom crept
And lifted up her voice and wept.
About his feet one mourner clung,
Around his neck another hung,
One on the giant's severed head,
Her pearly tears in torrents shed
Fast as the drops the summer shower
Pours down upon the lotus flower.
“Ah, he whose arm in anger reared
The King of Gods and Yáma feared,
While panic struck their heavenly train,
Lies prostrate in the battle slain.
Thy haughty heart thou wouldst not bend,
Nor listen to each wiser friend.
Ah, had the dame, as they implored,
Been yielded to her injured lord,
We had not mourned this day thy fall,
And happy had it been for all.
Then Ráma and thy friends content
In blissful peace their days had spent.
Thine injured brother had not fled,
Nor giant chiefs and Vánars bled.
Yet for these woes we will not blame.
Thy fancy for the Maithil dame,
Fate, ruthless Fate, whom none may bend
Has urged thee to thy hapless end.”
1738
The Ramayana
Canto CXIII. Mandodarí's Lament.
While thus they wept, supreme in place,
The loveliest for form and face,
Mandodarí drew near alone,
Looked on her lord and made her moan:
“Ah Monarch, Indra feared to stand
In fight before thy conquering hand.
From thy dread spear the Immortals ran;
And art thou murdered by a man?
Ah, 'twas no child of earth, I know,
That smote thee with that mortal blow.
'Twas Death himself in Ráma's shape,
That slew thee: Death whom none escape.
Or was it he who rules the skies
Who met thee, clothed in man's disguise?
Ah no, my lord, not Indra: he
In battle ne'er could look on thee.
One only God thy match I deem:
'Twas Vishṇu's self, the Lord Supreme,
Whose days through ceaseless time extend
And ne'er began and ne'er shall end:
He with the discus, shell, and mace,
Brought ruin on the giant race.
Girt by the Gods of heaven arrayed
Like Vánar hosts his strength to aid,
He Ráma's shape and arms assumed
[493]
And slew the king whom Fate had doomed.
In Janasthán when Khara died
With giant legions by his side,
No mortal was the unconquered foe
In Ráma's form who struck the blow.
When Hanumán the Vanár came
And burnt thy town with hostile flame,
Canto CXIII. Mandodarí's Lament.
1739
I counselled peace in anxious fear:
I counselled, but thou wouldst not hear.
Thy fancy for the foreign dame
Has brought thee death and endless shame.
Why should thy foolish fancy roam?
Hadst thou not wives as fair at home?
In beauty, form and grace could she,
Dear lord, surpass or rival me?
Now will the days of Sítá glide
In tranquil joy by Ráma's side:
And I—ah me, around me raves
A sea of woe with whelming waves.
With thee in days of old I trod
Each spot beloved by nymph and God;
I stood with thee in proud delight
On Mandar's side and Meru's height;
With thee, my lord, enchanted strayed
In Chaitraratha's1013lovely shade,
And viewed each fairest scene afar
Transported in thy radiant car.
But source of every joy wast thou,
And all my bliss is ended now.”
Then Ráma to Vibhishaṇ cried:
“Whate'er the ritual bids, provide.
Obsequial honours duly pay,
And these sad mourners' grief allay.”
Vibhishaṇ answered, wise and true,
For duty's changeless law he knew:
“Nay one who scorned all sacred vows
And dared to touch another's spouse,
Fell tyrant of the human race,
With funeral rites I may not grace.”
1013The garden of Kuvera, the God of Riches.
1740
The Ramayana
Him Raghu's royal son, the best
Of those who love the law, addressed:
“False was the rover of the night,
He loved the wrong and scorned the right.
Yet for the fallen warrior plead
The dauntless heart, the valorous deed.
Let him who ne'er had brooked defeat,
The chief whom Indra feared to meet,
The ever-conquering lord, obtain
The honours that should grace the slain.”
Vibhishaṇ bade his friends prepare
The funeral rites with thoughtful care.
Himself the royal palace sought
Whence sacred fire was quickly brought,
With sandal wood and precious scents
And pearl and coral ornaments.
Wise Bráhmans, while the tears that flowed
Down their wan cheeks their sorrow sowed,
Upon a golden litter laid
The corpse in finest ropes arrayed.
Thereon were flowers and pennons hung,
And loud the monarch's praise was sung.
Then was the golden litter raised,
While holy fire in order blazed.
And first in place Vibhishaṇ led
The slow procession of the dead,
Behind, their cheeks with tears bedewed,
Came sad the widowed multitude.
Where, raised as Bráhmans ordered, stood
Piled sandal logs, and scented wood,
The body of the king was set
High on a deerskin coverlet.
Then duly to the monarch's shade
The offerings for the dead they paid,
Canto CXIV. Vibhishan Consecrated.
1741
And southward on the eastern side
An altar formed and fire supplied.
Then on the shoulder of the dead
The oil and clotted milk were shed.
All rites were done as rules ordain:
The sacrificial goat was slain.
Next on the corpse were perfumes thrown
And many a flowery wreath was strown;
And with Vibhishaṇ's ready aid
Rich vesture o'er the king was laid.
Then while the tears their cheeks bedewed
Parched grain upon the dead they strewed;
Last, to the wood, as rules require,
Vibhishaṇ set the kindling fire.
Then having bathed, as texts ordain,
To Lanká went the mourning train.
Vibhishaṇ, when his task was done,
Stood by the side of Raghu's son.
And Ráma, freed from every foe,
Unstrung at last his deadly bow,
And laid the glittering shafts aside,
And mail by Indra's love supplied.
Canto CXIV. Vibhishan Consecrated.
1742
The Ramayana
Joy reigned in heaven where every eye
Had seen the Lord of Lanká die.
In cars whose sheen surpassed the sun's
Triumphant rode the radiant ones:
And Rávaṇ's death, by every tongue,
And Ráma's glorious deeds were sung.
They praised the Vánars true and brave,
The counsel wise Sugríva gave.
The deeds of Hanúmán they told,
The valiant chief supremely bold,
The strong ally, the faithful friend,
And Sítá's truth which naught could bend.
To Mátali, whom Indra sent,
His head the son of Raghu bent:
And he with fiery steeds who clove
The clouds again to Swarga drove.
[494]
Round King Sugríva brave and true
His arms in rapture Ráma threw,
Looked on the host with joy and pride,
And thus to noble Lakshmaṇ cried:
“Now let king-making drops be shed,
Dear brother, on Vibhishaṇ's head
For truth and friendship nobly shown,
And make him lord of Rávaṇ's throne.”
This longing of his heart he told:
And Lakshmaṇ took an urn of gold
And bade the wind-fleet Vánars bring
Sea water for the giants' king.
The brimming urn was swiftly brought:
Then on a throne superbly wrought
Vibhishaṇ sat, the giants' lord,
And o'er his brows the drops were poured.
Canto CXV. Sítá's Joy.
1743
As Raghu's son the rite beheld
His loving heart with rapture swelled:
But tenderer thoughts within him woke,
And thus to Hanúmán he spoke:
“Go to my queen: this message give:
Say Lakshmaṇ and Sugríva live.
The death of Lanká's monarch tell,
And bid her joy, for all is well.”
Canto CXV. Sítá's Joy.
The Vánar chieftain bowed his head,
Within the walls of Lanká sped,
Leave from the new-made king obtained,
And Sítá's lovely garden gained.
Beneath a tree the queen he found,
Where Rákshas warders watched around.
Her pallid cheek, her tangled hair,
Her raiment showed her deep despair,
Near and more near the envoy came
And gently hailed the weeping dame.
She started up in sweet surprise,
And sudden joy illumed her eyes.
For well the Vánar's voice she knew,
And hope reviving sprang and grew.
1744
The Ramayana
“Fair Queen,” he said, “our task is done:
The foe is slain and Lanká won.
Triumphant mid triumphant friends
Kind words of greeting Ráma sends.
“Blest for thy sake, O spouse most true,
My deadly foe I met and slew.
Mine eyes are strangers yet to sleep:
I built a bridge athwart the deep
And crossed the sea to Lanká's shore
To keep the mighty oath I swore.
Now, gentle love, thy cares dispel,
And weep no more, for all is well.
Fear not in Rávaṇ's house to stay
For good Vibhishaṇ now bears sway,
For constant truth and friendship known
Regard his palace as thine own.”
He greets thee thus thy heart to cheer,
And urged by love will soon be here.”
Then flushed with joy the lady's cheek.
Her eyes o'erflowed, her voice was weak;
But struggling with her sobs she broke
Her silence thus, and faintly spoke:
“So fast the flood of rapture came,
My trembling tongue no words could frame.
Ne'er have I heard in days of bliss
A tale that gave such joy as this.
More precious far than gems and gold
The message which thy lips have told.”
Canto CXV. Sítá's Joy.
1745
His reverent hands the Vánar raised
And thus the lady's answer praised:
“Sweet are the words, O Queen, which thou
True to thy lord, hast spoken now,
Better than gems and pearls of price,
Yea, or the throne of Paradise.
But, lady, ere I leave this place,
Grant me, I pray, a single grace.
Permit me, and this vengeful hand
Shall slay thy guards, this Rákshas band,
Whose cruel insult threat and scorn
Thy gentle soul too long has borne.”
Thus, stern of mood, Hanúmán cried:
The Maithil lady thus replied:
“Nay, be not wroth with servants: they,
When monarchs bid must needs obey.
And, vassals of their lords, fulfil
Each fancy of their sovereign will.
To mine own sins the blame impute,
For as we sow we reap the fruit.
The tyrant's will these dames obeyed
When their fierce threats my soul dismayed.”
She ceased: with admiration moved
The Vánar chief her words approved:
“Thy speech,” he cried, “is worthy one
Whom love has linked to Raghu's son.
Now speak, O Queen, that I may know
Thy pleasure, for to him I go.”
The Vánar ceased: then Janak's child
Made answer as she sweetly smiled:
“'My first, my only wish can be,
O chief, my loving lord to see.”
1746
The Ramayana
Again the Vánar envoy spoke,
And with his words new rapture woke:
“Queen, ere this sun shall cease to shine
Thy Ráma's eyes shall look in thine.
Again the lord of Raghu's race
Shall turn to thee his moon-bright face.
His faithful brother shall thou see
And every friend who fought for thee,
And greet once more thy king restored
Like Śachí1014to her heavenly lord.”
To Raghu's son his steps he bent
And told the message that she sent.
[495]
Canto CXVI. The Meeting.
He looked upon that archer chief
Whose full eye mocked the lotus leaf,
And thus the noble Vánar spake:
“Now meet the queen for whose dear sake
Thy mighty task was first begun,
And now the glorious fruit is won.
O'erwhelmed with woe thy lady lies,
The hot tears streaming from her eyes.
And still the queen must long and pine
Until those eyes be turned to thine.”
1014The consort of Indra.
Canto CXVI. The Meeting.
1747
But Ráma stood in pensive mood,
And gathering tears his eyes bedewed.
His sad looks sought the ground: he sighed
And thus to King Vibhishaṇ cried:
“Let Sítá bathe and tire her head
And hither to my sight be led
In raiment sweet with precious scent,
And gay with golden ornament.”
The Rákshas king his palace sought,
And Sítá from her bower was brought.
Then Rákshas bearers tall and strong,
Selected from the menial throng,
Through Lanká's gate the queen, arrayed
In glorious robes and gems, conveyed.
Concealed behind the silken screen,
Swift to the plain they bore the queen,
While Vánars, close on every side,
With eager looks the litter eyed.
The warders at Vibhishaṇ's hest
The onward rushing throng repressed,
While like the roar of ocean loud
Rose the wild murmur of the crowd.
The son of Raghu saw and moved
With anger thus the king reproved:
“Why vex with hasty blow and threat
The Vánars, and my rights forget?
Repress this zeal, untimely shown:
I count this people as mine own.
A woman's guard is not her bower,
The lofty wall, the fenced tower:
Her conduct is her best defence,
And not a king's magnificence.
At holy rites, in war and woe,
1748
The Ramayana
Her face unveiled a dame may show;
When at the Maiden's Choice1015they meet,
When marriage troops parade the street.
And she, my queen, who long has lain
In prison racked with care and pain,
May cease a while her face to hide,
For is not Ráma by her side?
Lay down the litter: on her feet
Let Sítá come her lord to meet.
And let the hosts of woodland race
Look near upon the lady's face.”
Then Lakshmaṇ and each Vánar chief
Who heard his words were filled with grief.
The lady's gentle spirit sank,
And from each eye in fear she shrank,
As, her sweet eyelids veiled for shame,
Slowly before her lord she came.
While rapture battled with surprise
She raised to his her wistful eyes.
Then with her doubt and fear she strove,
And from her breast all sorrow drove.
Regardless of the gathering crowd,
Bright as the moon without a cloud,
She bent her eyes, no longer dim,
In joy and trusting love on him.
1015The Swayamvara, Self-choice or election of a husband by a princess or
daughter of a Kshatriya at a public assembly of suitors held for the purpose.
For a description of the ceremony see Nala and Damayantí an episode of the
Mahábhárat translated by the late Dean Milman, and Idylls from the Sanskrit.
Canto CXVII. Sítá's Disgrace.
1749
Canto CXVII. Sítá's Disgrace.
He saw her trembling by his side,
And looked upon her face and cried:
“Lady, at length my task is done,
And thou, the prize of war, art won,
This arm my glory has retrieved,
And all that man might do achieved;
The insulting foe in battle slain
And cleared mine honour from its stain.
This day has made my name renowned
And with success my labour crowned.
Lord of myself, the oath I swore
Is binding on my soul no more.
If from my home my queen was reft,
This arm has well avenged the theft,
And in the field has wiped away
The blot that on mine honour lay.
The bridge that spans the foaming flood,
The city red with giants' blood;
The hosts by King Sugríva led
Who wisely counselled, fought and bled;
Vibhishaṇ's love, our guide and stay—
All these are crowned with fruit to-day.
But, lady, 'twas not love for thee
That led mine army o'er the sea.
'Twas not for thee our blood was shed,
Or Lanká filled with giant dead.
No fond affection for my wife
Inspired me in the hour of strife.
I battled to avenge the cause
Of honour and insulted laws.
My love is fled, for on thy fame
Lies the dark blot of sin and shame;
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The Ramayana
And thou art hateful as the light
[496]
That flashes on the injured sight.
The world is all before thee: flee:
Go where thou wilt, but not with me.
How should my home receive again
A mistress soiled with deathless stain?
How should I brook the foul disgrace,
Scorned by my friends and all my race?
For Rávaṇ bore thee through the sky,
And fixed on thine his evil eye.
About thy waist his arms he threw,
Close to his breast his captive drew,
And kept thee, vassal of his power,
An inmate of his ladies' bower.”
Canto CXVIII. Sítá's Reply.
Struck down with overwhelming shame
She shrank within her trembling frame.
Each word of Ráma's like a dart
Had pierced the lady to the heart;
And from her sweet eyes unrestrained
The torrent of her sorrows, rained.
Her weeping eyes at length she dried,
And thus mid choking sobs replied:
“Canst thou, a high-born prince, dismiss
A high-born dame with speech like this?
Such words befit the meanest hind,
Not princely birth and generous mind,
By all my virtuous life I swear
I am not what thy words declare.
Canto CXVIII. Sítá's Reply.
1751
If some are faithless, wilt thou find
No love and truth in womankind?
Doubt others if thou wilt, but own
The truth which all my life has shown.
If, when the giant seized his prey,
Within his hated arms I lay,
And felt the grasp I dreaded, blame
Fate and the robber, not thy dame.
What could a helpless woman do?
My heart was mine and still was true,
Why when Hanúmán sent by thee
Sought Lanká's town across the sea,
Couldst thou not give, O lord of men,
Thy sentence of rejection then?
Then in the presence of the chief
Death, ready death, had brought relief,
Nor had I nursed in woe and pain
This lingering life, alas in vain.
Then hadst thou shunned the fruitless strife
Nor jeopardied thy noble life,
But spared thy friends and bold allies
Their vain and weary enterprise.
Is all forgotten, all? my birth,
Named Janak's child, from fostering earth?
That day of triumph when a maid
My trembling hand in thine I laid?
My meek obedience to thy will,
My faithful love through joy and ill,
That never failed at duty's call—
O King, is all forgotten, all?”
To Lakshmaṇ then she turned and spoke
While sobs and sighs her utterance broke:
“Sumitrá's son, a pile prepare,
1752
The Ramayana
My refuge in my dark despair.
I will not live to bear this weight
Of shame, forlorn and desolate.
The kindled fire my woes shall end
And be my best and surest friend.”
His mournful eyes the hero raised
And wistfully on Ráma gazed,
In whose stern look no ruth was seen,
No mercy for the weeping queen.
No chieftain dared to meet those eyes,
To pray, to question or advise.
The word was passed, the wood was piled
And fain to die stood Janak's child.
She slowly paced around her lord,
The Gods with reverent act adored,
Then raising suppliant hands the dame
Prayed humbly to the Lord of Flame:
“As this fond heart by virtue swayed
From Raghu's son has never strayed,
So, universal witness, Fire
Protect my body on the pyre,
As Raghu's son has idly laid
This charge on Sítá, hear and aid.”
She ceased: and fearless to the last
Within the flame's wild fury passed.
Then rose a piercing cry from all
Dames, children, men, who saw her fall
Adorned with gems and gay attire
Beneath the fury of the fire.
Canto CXIX. Glory To Vishnu.
1753
Canto CXIX. Glory To Vishnu.
The shrill cry pierced through Ráma's ears
And his sad eyes o'erflowed with tears,
When lo, transported through the sky
A glorious band of Gods was nigh.
Ancestral shades,1016by men revered,
In venerable state appeared,
And he from whom all riches flow,1017
And Yáma Lord who reigns below:
King Indra, thousand-eyed, and he
Who wields the sceptre of the sea.1018
The God who shows the blazoned bull,1019
And Brahmá Lord most bountiful
By whose command the worlds were made
All these on radiant cars conveyed,
[497]
Brighter than sun-beams, sought the place
Where stood the prince of Raghu's race,
And from their glittering seats the best
Of blessed Gods the chief addressed:
“Couldst thou, the Lord of all, couldst thou,
Creator of the worlds, allow
Thy queen, thy spouse to brave the fire
And give her body to the pyre?
Dost thou not yet, supremely wise,
Thy heavenly nature recognize?”
They ceased: and Ráma thus began:
“I deem myself a mortal man.
Of old Ikshváku's line, I spring
1016The Pitris or Manes, the spirits of the dead.
1017Kuvera, the God of Wealth.
1018Varuṇ, God of the sea.
1019Mahádeva or Śiva whose ensign is a bull.
1754