He ceased: Vibhíshan ill at ease
Addressed the king in words like these:
O Rávan, O my lord, beware
Of Sitá dangerous as fair,
Nor on thy heedless bosom hang
This serpent with a deadly fang.
O King, the Maithil dame restore
To Raghu's matchlees son before
Those warriors of the woodlands, vast
As mountain peaks, approaching fast,
Armed with fierce teeth and claws, enclose
Thy city with unsparing foes.
O, be the Maithil dame restored
Ere loosened from the clanging cord
The vengeful shafts of Ráma fly,
And low in death thy princes lie.
In all thy legions hast thou one
A match in war for Raghu's son?
Can Kumbhakarna's self withstand,
Or Indrajit, that mighty hand?
In vain with Ráma wilt thou strive:
Thou wilt not save thy soul alive
Though guarded by the Lord of Day
And Storm-Gods' terrible array,
In vain to Indra wilt thou fly,
Or seek protection in the sky,
In Yama's gloomy mansion dwell,
Or hide thee in the depths of hell.'
He ceased; and when his lips were closed
Prahasta thus his rede opposed:
'O timid heart, to counsel thus!
What terrors have the Gods for us?
Can snake, Gandharva, fiend appal
The giants' sons who scorn them all?
And shall we now our birth disgrace,
And dread a king of human race?'
Thus fierce Prahasta counselled ill;
But sage Vibhíshan's constant will
The safety of the realm ensued;
Who thus in turn his speech renewed:
'Yes, when a soul defiled with sin
Shall mount to heaven and enter in,
Then, chieftain, will experience teach
The truth of thy disdainful speech.
Can I, or thou, or these or all
Our bravest compass Ráma's fall,
The chief in whom all virtues shine,
The pride of old Ikshváku'a line,
With whom the Gods may scarce compare
In skill to act, in heart to dare?
Yea, idly mayst thou vaunt thee, till
Sharp arrows winged with matchless skill
From Ráma's bowstring, fleet and fierce
As lightning's flame, thy body pierce.
Nikumbha shall not save thee then,
Nor Rávan, from the lord of men.
O Monarch, hear my last appeal,
My counsel for thy kingdom's weal,
This sentence I again declare:
O giant King, beware, beware!
Save from the ruin that impends
Thy town, thy people, and thy friends;
O hear the warning urged once more:
To Raghu's son the dame restore.'
436:1 One of the Nymphs of Indra's heaven.
436:2 The Lotus River, a branch of the heavenly Gangá.