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'Come let us scale,' the hero cried,
'This hill with various metals dyed.
This night upon the breezy crest
Sugríva, Lakshman, I, will rest,
With sage Vibhíshan, faithful friend,
His counsel and his lore to lend.
From these tall* peaks each eager eye
The foeman's city shall espy,
Who from the wood my darling stole
And brought long anguish on my soul.'

Thus spake the lord of men, and bent
His footsteps to the steep ascent,
And Lakshman, true in weal and woe,
Next followed with his shafts and bow.
Vibhíshan followed, next in place,
The sovereign of the Vánar race,
And hundreds of the forest kind
Thronged with impetuous feet, behind.
The chiefs in woods and mountains bred
Fast followed to Suvela's head,
And gazed on Lanká bright and fair
As some gay city in the air.
On glittering gates, on ramparts raised
By giant hands, the chieftains gazed.
They saw the mighty hosts that, skilled
In arts of war, the city filled,
And ramparts with new ramparts lined,
The swarthy hosts that stood behind.
With spirits burning for the fight
They saw the giants from the height,
And from a hundred throats rang out
Defiance and the battle shout.
Then sank the sun with dying flame,
And soft the shades of twilight came,
And the full moon's delicious light
Was shed upon the tranquil night.


456:1 The numbers here are comparatively modern: ten thousand elephants, ten thousand chariots, twenty thousand horses and ten million giants.

Next: Canto XXXIX.: Lanká.