The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 11 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 11

11
Canto XI. 
The Queen's Demand.
To him enthralled by love, and blind,

Pierced by his darts who shakes the mind,

Kaikeyí with remorseless breast

Her grand purpose thus expressed:

“O King, no insult or neglect

Have I endured, or disrespect.

One wish I have, and faith would see

That longing granted, lord, by thee.

Now pledge thy word if thou incline

To listen to this prayer of mine,

Then I with confidence will speak,

And thou shalt hear the boon I seek.”

Ere she had ceased, the monarch fell,

A victim to the lady's spell,

And to the deadly snare she set

Sprang, like a roebuck to the net.

Her lover raised her drooping head,

Smiled, playing with her hair, and said:

“Hast thou not learnt, wild dame, till now

That there is none so dear as thou

To me thy loving husband, save

My Ráma bravest of the brave?

By him my race's high-souled heir,

By him whom none can match, I swear,

Now speak the wish that on thee weighs:

By him whose right is length of days,

Whom if my fond paternal eye

Saw not one hour I needs must die,—

I swear by Ráma my dear son,

Speak, and thy bidding shall be done.

Speak, darling; if thou choose, request

To have the heart from out my breast;

Regard my words, sweet love, and name

The wish thy mind thinks fit to frame.

Nor let thy soul give way to doubt:

My power should drive suspicion out.

Yea, by my merits won I swear,

Speak, darling, I will grant thy prayer.”

The queen, ambitious, overjoyed

To see him by her plot decoyed,

More eager still her aims to reach,

Spoke her abominable speech:

“A boon thou grantest, nothing loth,

And swearest with repeated oath.

Now let the thirty Gods and three

My witnesses, with Indra, be.

Let sun and moon and planets hear,

Heaven, quarters, day and night, give ear.

The mighty world, the earth outspread,

With bards of heaven and demons dread;

The ghosts that walk in midnight shade,

And household Gods, our present aid,

A every being great and small

To hear and mark the oath I call.”

When thus the archer king was bound,

With treacherous arts and oaths enwound,

She to her bounteous lord subdued

By blinding love, her speech renewed:

“Remember, King, that long-past day

Of Gods' and demons' battle fray.

And how thy foe in doubtful strife

Had nigh bereft thee of thy life.

Remember, it was only I

Preserved thee when about to die,

And thou for watchful love and care

Wouldst grant my first and second prayer.

Those offered boons, pledged with thee then,

I now demand, O King of men,

Of thee, O Monarch, good and just,

Whose righteous soul observes each trust.

If thou refuse thy promise sworn,

I die, despised, before the morn.

These rites in Ráma's name begun—

Transfer them, and enthrone my son.

The time is come to claim at last

The double boon of days long-past,

When Gods and demons met in fight,

And thou wouldst fain my care requite.

Now forth to Daṇḍak's forest drive

Thy Ráma for nine years and five,

And let him dwell a hermit there

With deerskin coat and matted hair.

Without a rival let my boy

The empire of the land enjoy,

And let mine eyes ere morning see

Thy Ráma to the forest flee.”