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Then Ráma with a cheerful mind
The bow to Varun's hand resigned.
Due reverence to the saints he paid,
And thus addressed his sire dismayed:
'As Bhrigu's son is far from view,
Now let the host its march pursue,
And to Ayodhyá's town proceed
In four-fold bands, with thee to lead.'

King Das'aratha thus addressed
His lips to Ráma's forehead pressed,
And held him to his aged breast.
Rejoiced in sooth was he to know
That Bhrigu's son had parted so,
And hailed a second life begun
For him and his victorious son.
He urged the host to speed renewed,
And soon Ayodhyá's gates he viewed.
High o'er the roofs gay pennons played;
Tabour and drum loud music made;
Fresh water cooled the royal road,
And flowers in bright profusion glowed.
Glad crowds with garlands thronged the ways
Rejoicing on their king to gaze
And all the town was bright and gay
Exalting in the festive day.
People and Bráhmans flocked to meet
Their monarch ere he gained the street.
The glorious king amid the throng
Rode with his glorious sons along,
And passed within his dear abode
That like Himálaya's mountain showed.
And there Kausalyá, noble queen,
Sumitrá with her lovely mien,
Kaikeyí of the dainty waist,
And other dames his bowers who graced,
Stood in the palace side by side
And welcomed home each youthful bride:
Fair Sítá, lofty-fated dame,
Urmilá of the glorious fame,
And Kus'adhwaja's children fair,
With joyous greeting and with prayer,
As all in linen robes arrayed
With offerings at the altars prayed,
Due reverence paid to God above.
Each princess gave her soul to love,
And hidden in her inmost bower
Passed with her lord each blissful hour.
The royal youths, of spirit high,
With whom in valor none shall vie,
Lived each within his palace bounds
Bright as Kuvera's pleasure-grounds,
With riches, troops of faithful friends,
And bliss that wedded life attends:
Brave princes trained in warlike skill,
And duteous to their father's will.
At length the monarch called one morn
Prince Bharat, of Kaikeyí born,
And cried: 'My son, within our gates
Lord Yudhájit thine uncle waits.
The son of Kekaya's king is he,
And came, my child, to summon thee.'

Then Bharat for the road prepared,
And with S'atrughna forth he fared.
First to his sire he bade adieu,
Brave Ráma, and his mothers too.
Lord Yudhájit with joyful pride
Went forth, the brothers by his side,
And reached the city where he dwelt:
And mighty joy his father felt.

Ráma and Lakshman honoured still
Their godlike sire with duteous will.
Two constant guides for Ráma stood,
His father's wish, the people's good.
Attentive to the general weal
He thought and wrought to please and heal,
His mothers too he strove to please
With love and sonly courtesies.
At every time, in every spot,
His holy guides he ne'er forgot.
So for his virtues kind and true
Dearer and dearer Ráma grew
To Das'aratha, Bráhmans, all
In town and country, great and small.
And Ráma by his darling's side
Saw many a blissful season glide,
Lodged in her soul, each thought on her,
Lover, and friend, and worshipper.
He loved her for his father's voice
Had given her and approved the choice:
He loved her for each charm she wore
And her sweet virtues more and more.
So he her lord and second life
Dwelt in the bosom of his wife,
In double form, that, e'en apart,
Each heart could commune free with heart.

Still grew that child of Janak's race,
More goddess-fair in form and face,
The loveliest wife that e'er was seen,
In mortal mould sweet Beauty's Queen.
Then shone the son Kaus'alyá bore,
   With this bright dame allied,
Like Vishnu whom the Gods adore,
   With Lakshmi by his side.

Next: Book II