Then from the flood Sampáti paid
Due offerings to his brother's shade.
He bathed him when the rites were done.
And spake again to Báli's son:
'Now listen, Prince, while I relate
How first I learned the lady's fate.
Burnt by the sun's resistless might
I fell and lay on Vindhya's height.
Seven nights in deadly swoon I passed,
But struggling life returned at last.
Around I bent my wondering view,
But every spot was strange and new.
I scanned the sea with eager ken,
And rock and brook and lake and glen,
I saw gay trees their branches wave,
And creepers mantling o'er the cave.
I heard the wild birds' joyous song,
And waters as they foamed along,
And knew the lovely hill must be
Mount Vindhya by the southern sea.
Revered by heavenly beings, stood
Near where I lay, a sacred wood,
Where great Nis'akar dwelt of yore
And pains of awful penance bore.
Eight thousand seasons winged their flight
Over the toiling anchorite--
Upon that hill my days were spent,--
And then to heaven the hermit went.
At last, with long and hard assay,
Down from that height I made my way,
And wandered through the mountain pass
Rough with the spikes of Darbha grass.
I with my misery worn, and faint
Was eager to behold the saint:
For often with Jatáyus I
Had sought his home in days gone by.
As nearer to the grove I drew
The breeze with cooling fragrance blew,
And not a tree that was not fair,
With richest flower and fruit was there.
With anxious heart a while I stayed
Beneath the trees' delightful shade,
Aud soon the holy hermit, bright
With fervent penance, came in sight.
Behind him bears and lions, tame
As those who know their feeder, came,
And tigers, deer, and snakes pursued
His steps, a wondrous multitude,
And turned obeisant when the sage
Had reached his shady hermitage.
Then came Nis'ákar to my side
And looked with wondering eyes, and cried:
'I knew thee not, so dire a change
Has made thy form and feature strange.
Where are thy glossy feathers? where
The rapid wings that cleft the air?
Two vulture brothers once I knew:
Each form at will could they endue.
They of the vulture race were kings,
And flew with Mátaris'va's 1 wings.
In human shape they loved to greet
Their hermit friend, and clasp his feet,
The younger was Jatáyus, thou
The elder whom I gaze on now.
Say, has disease or foeman's hate
Reduced thee from thy high estate?
388:1b Mahendra is chain of mountains generally identified with part of the Gháts of the Peninsula.