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The Rákshas monarch, thus addressed,
His hands a while together pressed,
And straight before her startled eyes
Stood monstrous in his giant size.
Then to the lady, with the lore
Of eloquence, he spoke once more:
'Thou scarce,' he cried, 'hast heard aright
The glories of my power and might,
I borne sublime in air can stand
And with these arms upheave the land,
Drink the deep flood of Ocean dry
And Death with conquering force defy.
Pierce the great sun with furious dart
And to her depths cleave earth apart.
See, thou whom love and beauty blind,
I wear each form as wills my mind."
   As thus he spake in burning ire,
His glowing eyes were red with fire.
His gentle garb aside was thrown
And all his native shape was shown.
Terrific, monstrous, wild, and dread
As the dark God who rules the dead,
His fiery eyes in fury rolled,
His limbs were decked with glittering gold.
Like some dark cloud the monster showed,
And his fierce breast with fury glowed.
The ten-faced rover of the night,
With twenty arms exposed to sight,
His saintly guise aside had laid
And all his giant height displayed.

p. 287

Attired in robes of crimson dye
He stood and watched with angry eye
The lady in her bright array
Resplendent as the dawn of day
When from the east the sunbeams break,
And to the dark-haired lady spake:
'If thou would call that lord thine own
Whose fame in every world is known,
Look kindly on my love, and be
Bride of a consort meet for thee.
With me let blissful years be spent,
For ne'er thy choice shalt thou repent.
No deed of mine shall e'er displease
My darling as she lives at ease.
Thy love for mortal man resign,
And to a worthier lord incline.
Ah foolish lady, seeming wise
In thine own weak and partial eyes,
By what fair graces art thou held
To Ráma from his realm expelled?
Misfortunes all his life attend.
And his brief days are near their end.
Unworthy prince, infirm of mind!
A woman spoke and he resigned
His home and kingdom and withdrew
From troops of friends and retinue.
And sought this forest dark and dread
By savage beasts inhabited.'
Thus Rávan urged the lady meet
For love, whose words were soft and sweet.
Near and more near the giant pressed
As love's hot fire inflamed his breast.
The leader of the giant crew
His arm around the lady threw:
Thus Budha  1 with ill-omened might
Steals Rohini's delicious light.
One hand her glorious tresses grasped,
One with its ruthless pressure clasped
The body of his lovely prize,
The Maithil dame with lotus eyes.
The silvan Gods in wild alarm
Marked his huge teeth and ponderous arm,
And from that Death-like presence fled,
Of mountain size and towering head.
Then seen was Rávan's magic car
Aglow with gold which blazed afar,--
The mighty car which asses drew
Thundering as it onward flew.
He spared not harsh rebuke to chide
The lady as she moaned and cried,
Then with his arm about her waist
His captive in the car he placed.
In vain he threatened: long and shrill
Rang out her lamentation still,
O Ráma! which no fear could stay:
But her dear lord was far away
Then rose the fiend, and toward the skies
Bore his poor helpless struggling prize:

Hurrying through the air above
The dame who loathed his proffered love
So might a soaring eagle bear
A serpent's consort through the air.
As on he bore her through the sky
She shrieked aloud her bitter cry.
As when some wretch's lips complain
In agony of maddening pain;
'O Lakshman, thou whose joy is still
To do thine eider brother's will,
This fiend, who all disguises wears,
From Ráma's side his darling tears.
Thou who couldst leave bliss, fortune, all,
Yea life itselt at duty's call,
Dost thou not see this outrage done
To hapless me, O Raghu's son?
'Tis thine, O victor of the foe,
To bring the haughtiest spirit low,
How canst thou such an outrage see
And let the guilty fiend go free?
Ah, seldom in a moment's time
Comes bitter fruit of sin and crime,
But in the day of harvest pain
Comes like the ripening of the grain.
So thou whom fate and folly lead
To ruin for this guilty deed,
Shalt die by Ráma's arm ere long
A dreadful death for hideous wrong.
Ah, too successful in their ends
Are Queen Kaikeyí and her friends,
When virtuous Ráma, dear to fame,
Is mourning for his ravished dame.
Ah me, ah me! a long farewell
To lawn and glade and forest dell
In Janasthán's wild region, where
The Cassia trees are bright and fair
With all your tongues to Ráma say
That Rávan bears his wife away.
Farewell, a long farewell to thee,
O pleasant stream Godávari,
Whose rippling waves are ever stirred
By many a glad wild water bird!
All ye to Ráma's ear relate
The giant's deed and Sítá's fata.
O all ye Gods who love this ground
Where trees of every leaf abound,
Tell Ráma I am stolen hence,
I pray you all with reverence.
On all the living things beside
That these dark boughs and coverts hide,
Ye flocks of birds ye troops of deer,
I call on you my prayer to hear.
All we to Ráma's ear proclaim
That Rávan tears away his dame
Witn forceful arms--his darling wife,
Dearer to Ráma than his life.
O, if he knew I dwelt in hell,
My mighty lord, I know full well,
Would bring me, conqueror, back to-day,
Though Yama's self reclaimed his prey.'
Thus from the air the lady sent

p. 288

With piteous voice her last lament,
And as she wept she chanced to see
The vulture on a lofty tree.
As Rávan bore her swiftly by,
On the dear bird she bent her eye,
And with a voice which woe made faint
Renewed to him her wild complaint:
'O see, the king who rules the race
Of giants, cruel, fierce and base,
Rávan the spoiler bears me hence
The helpless prey of violence.
This fiend who roves in midnight shade
By thee, dear bird, can ne'er be stayed,
For he is armed and fierce and strong
Triumphant in the power to wrong.
For thee remains one only task,
To do, kind friend, the thing I ask.
To Ráma's ear by thee be borne
How Sítá from her home is torn,
And to the valiant Lakshman tell
The giant's deed and what befell.'


287:1 Mercury: to be carefully distinguished hum Buddha.

Next: Canto L.: Jatáyus.