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Reft of his love, the royal chief,
Weighed down beneath his whelming grief,
Desponding made his brother share
His grievous burden of despair.
Over his sinking bosom rolled
The flood of sorrow uncontrolled.
   And as he wept and sighed,
In mournful accents faint and slow
With words congenial to his woe,
   To Lakshman thus he cried:
'Brother, I ween, beneath the sun,
Of all mankind there lives not one
So full of sin, whose hand has done
   Such cursed deeds as mine.
For my sad heart with misery bleeds,
As, guerdon of those evil deeds,

Still greater woe to woe succeeds
   In never-ending line.
A life of sin I freely chose,
And from my past transgression flows
A ceaseless flood of bitter woes
   My folly to repay.
The fruit of sin has ripened fast.
Through many a sorrow have I passed,
And now the crowning grief at last
   Falls on my head to-day.
From all my faithful friends I fled,
My sire is numbered with the dead,
My royal rank is forfeited,
   My mother far away.
These woes on which I sadly think
Fill, till it raves above the brink,
The stream of grief in which I sink,--
   The flood which naught can stay.
Ne'er, brother, ne'er have I complained;
Though long by toil and trouble pained,
Without a murmur I sustained
   The woes of woodland life.
But fiercer than the flames that rise
When crackling wood the food supplies,--
Flashing a glow through evening skies,--
   This sorrow for my wife.
Some cruel fiend has seized the prey
And torn my trembling love away,
While, as he bore her through the skies,
She shrieked aloud with frantic cries,
It tones of fear which, wild and shrill,
Retained their native sweetness still.
Ah me, that breast so soft and sweet,
For sandal's precious perfume meet,
Now all detained with dust and gore,
Shall meet my fond caress no more.
That face, whose lips with tones so clear
Made pleasant music, sweet to hear,--
With soft locks plaited o'er the brow,--
Some giant's hand is on it now.
It smiles not, us the dear light fails
When Ráhu's jaw the moon assails.
Ah, my true love! that shapely neck
She loved with fairest chains to deck,
The cruel demons rend, and drain
The lifeblood from each mangled vein.
Ah, when the savage monsters came
And dragged away the helpless dame,
'The lady of the long soft eye
Called like a lamb with piteous cry.
Beneath this rock, O Lakshman, see,
My peerless consort sat with me,
And gently talked to thee the while,
Her sweet lips opening with a smile.
Here is that fairest stream which she
Loved ever, bright Godávarí.
Ne'er can the dame have passed this way:
So far alone she would not stray,
Nor has my darling, lotus-eyed,
Sought lilies by the river's side,
For without me she ne'er would go

p. 304

To streamlets where the wild flowers grow,
Tell me not, brother, she has strayed
To the dark forest's distant shade
Where blooming boughs are gay and sweet,
And bright birds love the cool retreat.
Alone my love would never dare,--
My timid love,--to wander there.
   O Lord of Day whose eye sees all
We act and plan, on thee I call:
For naught is hidden from thy sight,--
Great witness thou of wrong and right.
Where is she, lost or torn away?
Dispel my torturing doubt and say.
And O thou Wind who blowest free,
The worlds have naught concealed from thee.
List to my prayer, reveal one trace
Of her, the glory of her race.
Say, is she stolen hence, or dead,
Or do her feet the forest tread?'
   Thus with disordered senses, faint
With woe he poured his sad complaint,
And then, a better way to teach,
Wise Lakshman spoke in seemly speech:
'Up, brother dear, thy grief subdue,
With heart and soul thy search renew.
When woes oppress and dangers threat
Brave effort ne'er was fruitless yet.'
He spoke, but Ráma gave no heed
To valiant Lakshman's prudent rede.
With double force the flood of pain
Rushed o'er his yielding soul again.

Next: Canto LXV.: Rama's Wrath.