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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 22

Canto XXII. 
Lakshman Calmed.
So Ráma kept unshaken still

His noble heart with iron will.

To his dear brother next he turned,

Whose glaring eyes with fury burned,

Indignant, panting like a snake,

And thus again his counsel spake:

“Thine anger and thy grief restrain,

And firm in duty's path remain.

Dear brother, lay thy scorn aside,

And be the right thy joy and pride.

Thy ready zeal and thoughtful care

To aid what rites should grace the heir,—

These 'tis another's now to ask;

Come, gird thee for thy noble task,

That Bharat's throning rites may he

Graced with the things prepared for me.

And with thy gentle care provide

That her fond heart, now sorely tried

With fear and longing for my sake,

With doubt and dread may never ache.

To know that thoughts of coming ill

One hour that tender bosom fill

With agony and dark despair

Is grief too great for me to bear.

I cannot, brother, call to mind

One wilful fault or undesigned,

When I have pained in anything

My mothers or my sire the king.

The right my father keeps in view,

In promise, word, and action true;

Let him then all his fear dismiss,

Nor dread the loss of future bliss.

He fears his truth herein will fail:

Hence bitter thoughts his heart assail.

He trembles lest the rites proceed,

And at his pangs my heart should bleed.

So now this earnest wish is mine,

The consecration to resign,

And from this city turn away

To the wild wood with no delay.

My banishment to-day will free

Kaikeyí from her cares, that she,

At last contented and elate,

May Bharat's throning celebrate.

Then will the lady's trouble cease,

Then will her heart have joy and peace,

When wandering in the wood I wear

Deerskin, and bark, and matted hair.

Nor shall by me his heart be grieved

Whose choice approved, whose mind conceived

This counsel which I follow. No,

Forth to the forest will I go.

'Tis Fate, Sumitrás son, confess,

That sends me to the wilderness.

'Tis Fate alone that gives away

To other hands the royal sway.

How could Kaikeyí's purpose bring

On me this pain and suffering,

Were not her change of heart decreed

By Fate whose will commands the deed?

I know my filial love has been

The same throughout for every queen,

And with the same affection she

Has treated both her son and me.

Her shameful words of cruel spite

To stay the consecrating rite,

And drive me banished from the throne,—

These I ascribe to Fate alone,

How could she, born of royal race,

Whom nature decks with fairest grace,

Speak like a dame of low degree

Before the king to torture me?

But Fate, which none may comprehend,

To which all life must bow and bend,

In her and me its power has shown,

And all my hopes are overthrown.

What man, Sumitrá's darling, may

Contend with Fate's resistless sway,

Whose all-commanding power we find

Our former deeds alone can bind?

Our life and death, our joy and pain,

Anger and fear, and loss and gain,

Each thing that is, in every state,

All is the work of none but Fate.

E'en saints, inspired with rigid zeal,

When once the stroke of Fate they feel,

In sternest vows no more engage,

And fall enslaved by love and rage.

So now the sudden stroke whose weight

Descends unlooked for, comes of Fate,

And with unpitying might destroys

The promise of commencing joys.

Weigh this true counsel in thy soul:

With thy firm heart thy heart control;

Then, brother, thou wilt cease to grieve

For hindered rites which now I leave.

So cast thy needless grief away,

And strictly my commands obey.

Those preparations check with speed,

Nor let my throning rites proceed.

Those urns that stand prepared to shed

King-making drops upon my head,

Shall, with their pure lustrations now

Inaugurate my hermit's vow.

Yet what have I to do with things

That touch the state and pomp of kings?

These hands of mine shall water take

To sanctify the vow I make.

Now Lakshmaṇ, let thy heart no more

My fortune changed and lost deplore.

A forest life more joys may bring

Than those that wait upon a king,

Now though her arts successful mar

My consecrating rite,

Let not the youngest queen too far

Thy jealous fear excite.

Nor let one thought suggesting ill

Upon our father fall,

But let thy heart remember still

That Fate is lord of all.”