But Ráma ceased not to upbraid.
His brother for untimely aid,
And thus, while anguish wrung his breast,
The chief with eager question pressed:
'Why, Lakshman, didst thou hurry hence
And leave my wife without defence?
I left her in the wood with thee.
And deemed her safe from jeopardy.
When first thy form appeared in view,
I marked that Sítá come not too.
With woe my troubled soul was rent,
Prophetic of the dire event.
Thy coming steps afar I spied,
I saw no Sítá by thy side.
And felt a sudden throbbing dart
Through my left eye, and arm, and heart.'
Lakshman, with Fortune's marks impressed,
His brother mournfully addressed:
'Not by my heart's free impulse led,
Leaving thy wife to thee I sped;
But by her keen reproaches sent,
O Ráma, to thine aid I went.
She heard afar a mournful cry,
'O save me, Lakshman, or I die.'
The voice that spoke in moving tone
Smote on her ear and seemed thine own.
Soon as those accents reached her ear
She yielded to her woe and fear,
She wept o'ercome by grief, and cried,
'Fly, Lakshman, fly to Ráma's side.'
Though many a time she bade me speed,
Her urgent prayer I would not heed.
I bade her in thy strength confide,
And thus with tender words replied:
'No giant roams the forest shade
From whom thy lord need shrink dismayed.
No human voice, believe me, spoke
Those words thy causeless fear that woke.
Can he whose might can save in woe
The heavenly Gods e'er stoop so low,
And with those piteous accents call
For succour like a caitiff thrall?
And why should wandering giants choose
The accents of thy lord to use,
In alien tones my help to crave,
And cry aloud. O Lakshman, save?
Now let my words thy spirit cheer.
Compose thy thoughts and banish fear.
In hell, in earth, or in the skies
There is not, and there cannot rise
A champion whose strong arm can slay
Thy Ráma in the battle fray.
To heavenly hosts he ne'er would yield
Though Indra led them to the field.
To soothe her thus I vainly sought:
Her heart with woe was still distraught.
While from her eyes the waters ran
Her bitter speech she thus began:
'Too well I see thy dark intent:
Thy lawless thoughts on me are bent.
Thou hopest, but thy hope is vain,
To win my love, thy brother slain.
Not love, but Bharat's dark decree
To share his exile counselled thee,
Or hearing now his bitter cry
Thou surely to his aid wouldst fly.
For love of me, a stealthy foe
Thou choosest by his side to go,
And now thou longest that my lord
Should die, and wilt no help afford.'
Such were the words the lady said:
With angry fire my eyes were red.
With pale lips quivering in my rage
I hastened from the hermitage.'
He ceased; and frenzied by his pain
The son of Raghu spoke again:
'O brother, for thy fault I grieve,
The Maithil dame alone to leave.
Thou knowest that my arm is strong
To save me from the giant throng,
And yet couldst leave the cottage, spurred
To folly by her angry word.
For this thy deed I praise thee not,--
To leave her helpless in the cot,
And thus thy sacred charge forsake
For the wild words a woman spake.
Yea thou art all to blame herein,
And very grievous is thy sin.
That anger swayed thy faithless breast
And made thee false to my behest.
An arrow speeding from my bow
Has laid the treacherous giant low,
Who lured me eager for the chase
Far from my hermit dwelling-place.
The string with easy hand I drew,
The arrow as in pastime flew,
The wounded quarry bled.
The borrowed form was cast away,
Before mine eye a giant lay
With bright gold braceleted.
My arrow smote him in the chest:
The giant by the pain distressed
Raised his loud voice on high.
Far rang the mournful sound: mine own,
It seemed, were accent, voice, and tone,
They made thee leave my spouse alone
And to my rescue fly,'