11 months ago

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 - 140 Anguish filled the father’s bosom and his fleeting senses failed, Till to deeper sorrow wakened Lanka’s monarch wept and wailed: “Greatest of my gallant warriors, dearest to thy father’s heart, Victor over bright Immortals, – art thou slain by Lakshman’s dart, Noble prince whose peerless arrows could the peaks of Mandar stain, And could daunt the Dread Destroyer, – art thou by a mortal slain? But thy valour lends a radiance to elysium’s sunny clime, And thy bright name adds a lustre to the glorious rolls of time, In the skies the bright Immortals lisp thy name with terror pale, On the earth our maids and matrons mourn thy fall with piercing wail! Hark! the voice of lamentation waking in the palace halls, Like the voice of woe in forests when the forest monarch falls, Hark! the wailing widowed princess, mother weeping for her son, Leaving them in tears and anguish, Indrajit, where art thou gone? Full of years, – so oft I pondered, – when the monarch Ravan dies, Indrajit shall watch his bedside, Indrajit shall close his eyes, [153] But the course of nature changes, and the father weeps the son, Youth is fallen, and the aged lives to light the foe alone!” Tears of sorrow, slow and silent, fell upon the monarch’s breast, Then a swelling rage and passion woke within his heaving chest, Like the sun of scorching summer glowed his face in wrathful shame, From his brow and rolling eyeballs issued sparks of living flame! “Perish she!” exclaimed the monarch, “she-wolf Sita dies to-day, Indrajit but cleft her image, Ravan will the woman slay!” Followed by his trembling courtiers, regal robes and garments rent, Ravan shaking in his passion to Asoka’s garden went, Maddened by his wrath and anguish, with his drawn and flaming sword, Sought the shades where soft-eyed Sita silent sorrowed for her lord, Woman’s blood the royal sabre on that fatal day had stained, But his true and faithful courtiers Ravan’s wrathful hand restrained,

X. The War in Ceylon - 141 And the watchful Raksha females girdled round the sorrowing dame, Flung them on the path of Ravan to withstand a deed of shame, “Not against a woman, Ravan, mighty warriors raise their hand, In the battle,” spake the courtiers, “duty bids thee use thy brand, Versed in Vedas and in learning, court not thus a caitiff’s fate, Woman’s blood pollutes our valour, closes heaven’s eternal gate! Leave the woman in her sorrow, mount upon thy battle car, Faithful to our king and leader we will wake the voice of war, ’Tis the fourteenth day auspicious of the dark and waning moon, Glory waiteth thee in battle and thy vengeance cometh soon, All-resistless in the contest slay thy foeman in his pride, Seek as victor of the combat widowed Sita as thy bride!” Slow and sullen, dark and silent, Ravan then his wrath restrained, Vengeance on his son’s destroyer deep within his bosom reigned! VIII. Ravan’s Second Battle and Vengeance [154] Voice of woe and lamentation and the cry of woman’s wail, Issuing from the homes of Lanka did the monarch’s ears assail, And a mighty thought of vengeance waked within the monarch’s heart, And he heaved a sigh of anguish as he grasped his bow and dart: “Arm each chief and gallant Raksha! be our sacred duty done, Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance for his brave and noble son, Mahodar and Virupaksha, Mahaparshwa warrior tall, Arm! this fated day will witness Lakshman’s or your monarch’s fall! Call to mind each slaughtered hero, – Khara, Dushan, slain in fight, Kumbha-karna giant warrior, Indrajit of magic might, Earth nor sky shall hide my foemen nor the ocean’s heaving swell, Scattered ranks of Rama’s forces shall my speedy vengeance tell, Be the red-earth strewn and covered with our countless foemen slain, Hungry wolves and blood-beaked vultures feed upon the ghastly plain,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas