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Virádha with a fearful shout
That echoed through the wood, cried out:

'What men are ye, I bid you say,
And whither would ye bend your way?'

To him whose mouth shot fiery flame
The hero told his race and name:
'Two Warriors, nobly bred, are we,
And through this wood we wander free.
But who art thou, how born and styled,
Who roamest here in Dandak's wild?'

To Ráma, bravest of the brave,
His answer thus Virádha gave:
'Hear, Raghu's son, and mark me well,
And I my name and race will tell.
Of S'atahradá born, I spring
From Java as my sire, O King:
Me, of this lofty lineage, all
Giants on earth Virádha call.
The rites austere I long maintained
From Brahmá's grace the boon have gained
To bear a charmed frame which ne'er
Weapon or shaft may pierce or tear.
Go as ye came, untouched by fear,
And leave with me this woman here;
Go, swiftly from my presence fly,
Or by this hand ye both shall die.'

Then Ráma with his fierce eyes red
With fury to the giant said:
'Woe to thee, sinner, fond and weak,
Who madly thus thy death wilt seek!
Stand, for it waits thee in the fray:
With life thou ne'er shalt flee away.'

He spoke, and raised the cord whereon
A pointed arrow flashed and shone,
Then, wild with anger, from his bow,
He launched the weapon on the foe.
Seven times the fatal cord he drew,
And forth seven rapid arrows flew,
Shafts winged with gold that left the wind
And e'en Suparna's  1 self behind.
Full on the giant's breast they smote,
And purpled like the peacock's throat,
Passed through his mighty bulk and came
To earth again like flakes of flame.
The fiend the Maithil dame unclasped;
In his fierce hand his spear he grasped,
And wild with rage, pierced through and through,
At Ráma and his brother flew.
So loud the roar which chilled with fear,
So massy was the monster's spear,
He seemed, like Indra's flagstaff, dread
As the dark God who rules the dead.
On huge Virádha fierce as He  2
Who smites, and worlds have ceased to be,
The princely brothers poured amain
Their fiery flood of arrowy rain.
Unmoved he stood, and opening wide
His dire mouth laughed unterrified,
And ever as the monster gaped
Those arrows from his jaws escaped.
Preserving still his life unharmed,
By Brahmá's saving promise charmed,
His mighty spear aloft in air
He raised, and rushed upon the pair.
From Ráma's bow two arrows flew
And cleft that massive spear in two,

p. 232

Dire as the flaming levin sent
From out the cloudy firmament.
Cut by the shafts he guided well
To earth the giant's weapon fell:
As when from Meru's summit, riven
By fiery bolts, a rock is driven.
Then swift his sword each warrior drew,
Like a dread serpent black of hue,
And gathering fury for the blow
Rushed fiercely on the giant foe.
Around each prince an arm he cast,
And held the dauntless heroes fast:
Then, though his gashes gaped and bled,
Bearing the twain he turned and fled.

Then Ráma saw the giant's plan,
And to his brother thus began:
'O Lakshman, let Virádha still
Hurry us onward as he will,
For look, Sumitra's son, he goes
Along the path we freely chose.'

He spoke: the rover of the night
Upraised them with terrific might,
Till, to his lofty shoulders swung,
Like children to his neck they clung.
Then sending far his fearful roar,
The princes through the wood he bore,--
A wood like some vast cloud to view,
Where birds of every plumage flew,
And mighty trees o'erarching threw
   Dark shadows on the ground;
Where snakes and silvan creates made
Their dwelling, and the jackal strayed
   Through tangled brakes around.


231:1 The King of birds.

231:2 Kálántakayamopamam, resembling Yama the destroyer.

Next: Canto IV.: Virádha's Death.