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Ramayana, Epic of Rama, Prince of India

An Abbreviated Translation of the Indian Classic, the Ramayana by Romesh Chundar Dutt in 2,000 verses

X. The War in Ceylon -

X. The War in Ceylon - 128 I. Indrajit’s First Battle – The Serpent-Noose Darkly round the leaguered city Rama’s countless forces lay, Far as Ravan cast his glances in the dawning light of day, Wrath and anguish shook his bosom and the gates he opened wide, And with ranks of charging Rakshas sallied with a Raksha’s pride! All the day the battle lasted, endless were the tale to tell, What unnumbered Vanars perished and what countless Rakshas fell, Darkness came, the fiery foemen urged the still unceasing fight, Struggling with a deathless hatred fiercer in the gloom of night! Onward came resistless Rakshas, laid Sugriva’s forces low, Crushed the broken ranks of Vanars, drank the red blood of the foe, Bravely fought the scattered Vanars facing still the tide of war, Struggling with the charging tusker and the steed and battle car, Till at last the gallant Lakshman and the godlike Rama came, And they swept the hosts of Ravan like a sweeping forest flame, And their shafts like hissing serpents on the falt’ring foemen fell, Fiercer grew the sable midnight with the dying shriek and yell! [139] Dust arose like clouds of summer from each thunder-sounding car, From the hoofs of charging coursers, from the elephants of war, Streams of red blood warm and bubbling issued from the countless slain, Flooded battle’s dark arena like the floods of summer rain, Sound of trumpet and of bugle, drum and horn and echoing shell, And the neigh of charging coursers and the tuskers’ dying wail, And the yell of wounded Rakshas and the Vanars’ fierce delight, Shook the earth and sounding welkin, waked the echoes of the night! Six bright arrows Rama thundered from his weapon dark and dread, Iron-toothed Vajra-danshtra and his fainting comrades fled, Dauntless still the serried Rakshas, wave on wave succeeding came, Perished under Rama’s arrows as the moths upon the flame!

X. The War in Ceylon - 129 Indrajit the son of Ravan, Lanka’s glory and her pride, Matchless in his magic weapons came and turned battle’s tide, What though Angad in his fury had his steeds and driver slaved, Indrajit hid in the midnight battled from its friendly shade, Shrouded in a cloud of darkness still he poured his darts like rain, On young Lakshman and on Rama and on countless Vanars slain, Matchless in his magic weapons, then he hurled his Naga-dart, Serpent noose upon his foemen draining life blood from their heart! Vainly then the royal brothers fought the cloud-enshrouded foe, Vainly sought the unseen warrior dealing unresisted blow, Fastened by a noose of Naga forced by hidden foe to yield, Rama and the powerless Lakshman fell and fainted on the field! II. Sita’s Lament [140] Indrajit ere dawned the morning entered in his father’s hall, Spake of midnight’s darksome contest, Rama’s death and Lakshman’s fall, And the proud and peerless Ravan clasped his brave and gallant son, Praised him for his skill and valour and his deed of glory done, And with dark and cruel purpose bade his henchmen yoke his car, Bade them take the sorrowing Sita to the gory field of war! Soon they harnessed royal coursers and they took the weeping wife, Where her Rama, pierced and bleeding, seemed bereft of sense and life, Brother lay beside his brother with their shattered mail and bow, Arrows thick and dark with red blood spake the conquest of the foe, Anguish woke in Sita’s bosom and a dimness filled her eye, And a widow’s nameless sorrow burst in widow’s mournful cry: “Rama, lord and king and husband! didst thou cross the billowy sea, Didst thou challenge death and danger, court thy fate to rescue me, Didst thou hurl a fitting vengeance on the cruel Raksha force, Till the hand of hidden foeman checked thy all-resistless course?

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas