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Down from the tree Hanumán came
And humbly stood before the dame.
Then joining reverent palm to palm
Addressed her thus with words of balm:
'Why should the tears of sorrow rise,
Sweet lady, to those lovely eyes,
As when the wind-swept river floods
Two half expanded lotus buds?
Who art thou, O most fair of face?
Of Asur, 1 or celestial race?
Did Nága mother give thee birth?
For sure thou art no child of earth.
Do Rudras  2 claim that heavenly form?
Or the swift Gods  3 who ride the storm?
Or art thou Rohiní  4 the blest,
That star more lovely than the rest,--
Reft from the Moon thou lovest well
And doomed a while on earth to dwell?
Or canst thou, fairest wonder, be
The starry queen Arundhatí, 5
Fled in thy wrath or jealous pride
From her dear lord Vas'ishtha's side?
Who is the husband, father, son
Or brother, O thou loveliest one,
Gone from this world in heaven to dwell,
For whom those eyes with weeping swell?
Yet, by the tears those sweet eyes shed,
Yet, by the earth that bears thy tread, 6
By calling on a monarch's name,
No Goddess but a royal dame.
Art thou the queen, fair lady, say,
Whom Rávan stole and bore away?
Yea, by that agony of woe,
That form unrivalled here below,
That votive garb, thou art, I ween,
King Janak's child and Ráma's queen.'

Hope at the name of Ráma woke,
And thus the gentle lady spoke:
'I am that Sítá wooed and won
By Das'aratha's royal son,
The noblest of Ikshváku's line;
And every earthly joy was mine.
But Ráma left his royal home
In Dandak's tangled wilds to roam.
Where with Sumitrá's son and me,
He lived a saintly devotee.
The giant Rávan came with guile
And bore me thence to Lanká's isle.
Some respite yet the fiend allows,
Two months of life, to Ráma's spouse.
Two moons of hopeless woe remain.
And then the captive will be slain.'


413:1 The Asurs were the fierce enemies of the Gods.

413:2 The Rudras are manifestations of S'iva.

413:3 The Maruts or Storm Gods.

413:4 Rohiní is an asterism personified as the daughter of Daksha and the favourite wife of the Moon. The chief star in the constellation is Aldebaran.

413:5 Arundhatí was the wife of the great sage Vas'ishtha, and regarded as the pattern of conjugal excellence. She was raised to the heavens as one of the Pleiades.

413:6 The Gods do not shed tears; nor do they touch the ground when they walk or stand. Similarly Milton's angels marched above the ground and "the passive air upbore their nimble tread."

Virgil's 'vera incessu patuit dea' may refer to the same belief.

Next: Canto XXXIV.: Hanumán's Speech.