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There from the circling rampart's height
He gazed upon the wondrous sight;
Broad gates with burnished gold displayed,
And courts with turkises inlaid;
With gleaming silver, gems, and rows
Of crystal stairs and porticoes.
In semblance of a Rakshas dame
The city's guardian Goddess came,--
For she with glances sure and keen
The entrance of a foe had seen,--
And thus with fury in her eye
Addressed him with an angry cry:
'Who art thou? what has led thee, say,
Within these walls to find thy way?
Thou mayst not enter here in spite
Of Ravan and his warriors' might.
'And who art thou?' the Vanar cried,
By form and frown unterrified,
'Why hast thou met me by the gate,
And chid me thus infuriate?'
   He ceased: andd Lanka made reply:
'The guardian of the town am I,
Who watch for ever to fulfil
My lord the Rakshas monarch's will.
But thou shalt fall this hour, and deep
Shall be thy never-ending sleep.
Again he spake:'In spite of thee
This golden city will I see.
Her gates and towers, and all the pride
Of street and square from side to side,
And freely wander where I please
Amid her groves of flowering trees;
On all her beauties sate mine eye.
Then, as I came, will homeward hie.'
   Swift with an angry roar she smote
With her huge hand the Vanar's throat.
The smitten Vanar, rage-impelled,
With fist upraised the monster felled:
But quick repented, stirred with shame
And pity for a vanquished dame,
When with her senses troubled, weak
With terror, thus she strove to speak:
'O spare me thou whose arm is strong:
O spare me, and forgive the wrong.

The brave that law will ne'er transgress
That spares a woman's helplessness.
Hear, best of Vanars, brave and bold,
What Brahma's self of yore foretold;
'Beware,' he said, 'the fatal hour
When tbou shalt own a Vanar's power.
Then is the giants' day of fear,
For terror and defeat are near.'
Now, Vanar chief, o'ercome by thee,
I own the truth of heaven's decree.
For Sita's sake will ruin fall
On Ravan, and his town, and all.'


398:1 So in Paradise Lost Satan when he has stealthily entered the garden of Eden assumes the form of a cormorant.

Next: Canto IV.: Within The City.