9 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

VI. Sita Lost - 92

VI. Sita Lost - 92 Pardon if an eager longing which befits a woman ill, And an unknown fascination doth my inmost bosom fill, As I mark his skin bespangled and his antlers, sapphire ray, And his coat of starry radiance glowing in the light of day!” Rama bade the faithful Lakshman with the gentle Sita stay, Long through woods and gloomy gorges vainly held his cautious way, Vainly set the snare in silence by the lake and in the dale, ’Scaping every trap, Maricha, pierced by Rama’s arrows fell, Imitating Rama’s accents uttered forth his dying cry: “Speed, my faithful brother Lakshman, helpless in the woods I die!” IV. Lakshman’s Departure “Heardst that distant cry of danger?” questioned Sita in distress, “Woe, to me! who in my frenzy sent my lord to wilderness, Speed, brave Lakshman, help my Rama, doleful was his distant cry, And my fainting bosom falters and a dimness clouds my eye! To the dread and darksome forest with thy keenest arrows speed, Help thy elder and thy monarch, sore his danger and his need, For perchance the cruel Rakshas gather round his lonesome path, As the mighty bull is slaughtered by the lions in their wrath!” Spake the hero: “Fear not, Sita! Dwellers of the azure height, Rakshas nor the jungle-rangers match the peerless Rama’s might, [95] Rama knows no dread or danger, and his mandate still I own, And I may not leave thee, Lady, in this cottage all alone! Cast aside thy causeless terror; in the sky or earth below, In the nether regions, Rama knows no peer or equal foe, He shall slay the deer of jungle, he shall voice no dastard cry, ’Tis some trick of wily Rakshas in this forest dark and high! Sita, thou hast heard my elder bid me in this cottage stay, Lakshman may not leave thee, Lady, for his duty – to obey,

VI. Sita Lost - 93 Ruthless Rakshas roam the forest to revenge their leader slain, Various are their arts and accents; chase thy thought of causeless pain!” Sparkled Sita’s eye in anger, frenzy marked her speech and word, For a woman’s sense is clouded by the danger of her lord: “Markest thou my Rama’s danger with a cold and callous heart, Courtest thou the death of elder in thy deep deceitful art, In thy semblance of compassion doest thou hide a cruel craft, As in friendly guise the foeman hides his death-compelling shaft, Following like a faithful younger in this dread and lonesome land, Seekest thou the death of elder to enforce his widow’s hand? False thy hope as foul thy purpose! Sita is a faithful wife, Sita follows saintly Rama, true in death as true in life!” Quivered Lakshman’s frame in anguish and the tear stood in his eye, Fixed in faith and pure in purpose, calm and bold he made reply: “Unto me a Queen and Goddess, – as a mother to a son, – Answer to thy heedless censure patient Lakshman speaketh none, Daughter of Videha’s monarch, – pardon if I do thee wrong, – Fickle is the faith of woman, poison-dealing is her tongue! [96] And thy censure, trust me, Lady, scathes me like a burning dart, Free from guile is Lakshman’s purpose, free from sin is Lakshman’s heart, Witness ye my truth of purpose, unseen dwellers of the wood, Witness, I for Sita’s safety by my elder’s mandate stood, Duteous to my queen and elder, I have toiled and worked in vain, Dark suspicion and dishonour cast on me a needless stain! Lady! I obey thy mandate, to my elder now I go, Guardian Spirits of the forest watch thee from each secret foe, Omens dark and signs of danger meet my pained and aching sight, May I see thee by thy Rama, guarded by his conquering might!

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas