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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

V. On the Banks

V. On the Banks of the Godavari - 84 IV. Winter in Panchavati Came and passed the golden autumn in the forest’s gloomy shade, And the northern blasts of winter swept along the silent glade, When the chilly night was over, once at morn the prince of fame For his morning’s pure ablutions to the Godavari came, Meek-eyed Sita softly followed with the pitcher in her arms, Gallant Lakshman spake to Rama of the Indian winter’s charms: “Comes the bright and bracing winter to the royal Rama dear, Like a bride the beauteous season doth in richest robes appear, Frosty air and freshening zephyrs wake to life each mart and plain, And the corn in dewdrop sparkling makes a sea of waving green, But the village maid and matron shun the freezing river’s shore, By the fire the village elder tells the stirring tale of yore! With the winter’s ample harvest men perform each pious rite, To the Fathers long departed, to the Gods of holy might, With the rite of agrayana pious men their sins dispel, And with gay and sweet observance songs of love the women tell, And the monarchs bent on conquest mark the winter’s cloudless glow, Lead their bannered cars and forces ’gainst the rival and the foe! Southwards rolls the solar chariot, and the cold and widowed North Reft of ‘bridal mark’ and joyance coldly sighs her sorrows forth, [86] Southward rolls the solar chariot, Himalaya, ‘home of snow,’ True to name and appellation doth in whiter garments glow, Southward rolls the solar chariot, cold and crisp the frosty air, And the wood of flower dismantled doth in russet robes appear! Star of Pushya rules December and the night with rime is hoar, And beneath the starry welkin in the woods we sleep no more, And the pale moon mist-enshrouded sheds a faint and feeble beam, As the breath obscures the mirror, winter mist obscures her gleam,

V. On the Banks of the Godavari - 85 Hidden by the rising vapour faint she glistens on the dale, Like our sun-embrownéd Sita with her toil and penance pale! Sweeping blasts from western mountains through the gorges whistle by And the saras and the curlew raise their shrill and piercing cry, Boundless fields of wheat and barley are with dewdrops moist and wet, And the golden rice of winter ripens like the clustering date, Peopled marts and rural hamlets wake to life and cheerful toil, And the peaceful happy nations prosper on their fertile soil! Mark the sun in morning vapours – like the moon subdued and pale – Brightening as the day advances piercing through the darksome veil, Mark his gay and golden lustre sparkling o’er the dewy lea, Mantling hill and field and forest, painting bush and leaf and tree, Mark it glisten on the green grass, on each bright and bending blade, Lighten up the long drawn vista, shooting through the gloomy glade! Thirst-impelled the lordly tusker still avoids the freezing drink, Wild duck and the tuneful hansa doubtful watch the river’s brink, From the rivers wrapped in vapour unseen cries the wild curlew, Unseen rolls the misty streamlet o’er its sandbank soaked in dew, And the drooping water-lily bends her head beneath the frost, Lost her fresh and fragrant beauty and her tender petals lost! [87] Now my errant fancy wanders to Ayodhya’s distant town, Where in hermit’s barks and tresses Bharat wears the royal crown, Scorning regal state and splendour, spurning pleasures loved of yore, Spends his winter day in penance, sleeps at night upon the floor, Aye! perchance Sarayu’s waters seeks he now, serene and brave, As we seek, when dawns the daylight, Godavari’s limpid wave! Rich of hue, with eye of lotus, truthful, faithful, strong of mind, For the love he bears thee, Rama, spurns each joy of baser kind, ‘False he proves unto his father who is led by mother’s wile’ – Vain this ancient impious adage – Bharat spurns his mother’s guile,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas