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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 30

Canto XXX. 
The Triumph Of Love.
The daughter of Videha's king,

While Ráma strove to soothe the sting

Of her deep anguish, thus began

Once more in furtherance of her plan:

And with her spirit sorely tried

By fear and anger, love and pride,

With keenly taunting words addressed

Her hero of the stately breast:

“Why did the king my sire, who reigns

O'er fair Videha's wide domains,

Hail Ráma son with joy unwise,

A woman in a man's disguise?

Now falsely would the people say,

By idle fancies led astray,

That Ráma's own are power and might,

As glorious as the Lord of Light.

Why sinkest thou in such dismay?

What fears upon thy spirit weigh,

That thou, O Ráma, fain wouldst flee

From her who thinks of naught but thee?

To thy dear will am I resigned

In heart and body, soul and mind,

As Sávitrí gave all to one,

Satyaván, Dyumatsena's son.304

Not e'en in fancy can I brook

To any guard save thee to look:

Let meaner wives their houses shame,

To go with thee is all my claim.

Like some low actor, deemst thou fit

Thy wife to others to commit—

Thine own, espoused in maiden youth,

Thy wife so long, unblamed for truth?

Do thou, my lord, his will obey

For whom thou losest royal sway,

To whom thou wouldst thy wife confide—

Not me, but thee, his wish may guide.

Thou must not here thy wife forsake,

And to the wood thy journey make,

Whether stern penance, grief, and care,

Or rule or heaven await thee there.

Nor shall fatigue my limbs distress

When wandering in the wilderness:

Each path which near to thee I tread

Shall seem a soft luxurious bed.

The reeds, the bushes where I pass,

The thorny trees, the tangled grass

Shall feel, if only thou be near,

Soft to my touch as skins of deer.

When the rude wind in fury blows,

And scattered dust upon me throws,

That dust, beloved lord, to me

Shall as the precious sandal be.

And what shall be more blest than I,

When gazing on the wood I lie

In some green glade upon a bed

With sacred grass beneath us spread?

The root, the leaf, the fruit which thou

Shalt give me from the earth or bough,

Scanty or plentiful, to eat,

Shall taste to me as Amrit sweet.

As there I live on flowers and roots

And every season's kindly fruits,

I will not for my mother grieve,

My sire, my home, or all I leave.

My presence, love, shall never add

One pain to make the heart more sad;

I will not cause thee grief or care,

Nor be a burden hard to bear.

With thee is heaven, where'er the spot;

Each place is hell where thou art not.

Then go with me, O Ráma; this

Is all my hope and all my bliss.

If thou wilt leave thy wife who still

Entreats thee with undaunted will,

This very day shall poison close

The life that spurns the rule of foes.

How, after, can my soul sustain

The bitter life of endless pain,

When thy dear face, my lord, I miss?

No, death is better far than this.

Not for an hour could I endure

The deadly grief that knows not cure,

Far less a woe I could not shun

For ten long years, and three, and one.”

While fires of woe consumed her, such

Her sad appeal, lamenting much;

Then with a wild cry, anguish-wrung,

About her husband's neck she clung.

Like some she-elephant who bleeds

Struck by the hunter's venomed reeds,

So in her quivering heart she felt

The many wounds his speeches dealt.

Then, as the spark from wood is gained,305

Down rolled the tear so long restrained:

The crystal moisture, sprung from woe,

From her sweet eyes began to flow,

As runs the water from a pair

Of lotuses divinely fair.

And Sítá's face with long dark eyes,

Pure as the moon of autumn skies,

Faded with weeping, as the buds

Of lotuses when sink the floods.

Around his wife his arms he strained,

Who senseless from her woe remained,

And with sweet words, that bade her wake

To life again, the hero spake:

“I would not with thy woe, my Queen,

Buy heaven and all its blissful sheen.

Void of all fear am I as He,

The self-existent God, can be.

I knew not all thy heart till now,

Dear lady of the lovely brow,

So wished not thee in woods to dwell;

Yet there mine arm can guard thee well.

Now surely thou, dear love, wast made

To dwell with me in green wood shade.

And, as a high saint's tender mind

Clings to its love for all mankind,

So I to thee will ever cling,

Sweet daughter of Videha's king.

The good, of old, O soft of frame,

Honoured this duty's sovereign claim,

And I its guidance will not shun,

True as light's Queen is to the Sun.

I cannot, pride of Janak's line,

This journey to the wood decline:

My sire's behest, the oath he sware,

The claims of truth, all lead me there.

One duty, dear the same for aye,

Is sire and mother to obey:

Should I their orders once transgress

My very life were weariness.

If glad obedience be denied

To father, mother, holy guide,

What rites, what service can be done

That stern Fate's favour may be won?

These three the triple world comprise,

O darling of the lovely eyes.

Earth has no holy thing like these

Whom with all love men seek to please.

Not truth, or gift, or bended knee,

Not honour, worship, lordly fee,

Storms heaven and wins a blessing thence

Like sonly love and reverence.

Heaven, riches, grain, and varied lore,

With sons and many a blessing more,

All these are made their own with ease

By those their elders' souls who please.

The mighty-souled, who ne'er forget,

Devoted sons, their filial debt,

Win worlds where Gods and minstrels are,

And Brahmá's sphere more glorious far.

Now as the orders of my sire,

Who keeps the way of truth, require,

So will I do, for such the way

Of duty that endures for aye:

To take thee, love, to Daṇḍak's wild

My heart at length is reconciled,

For thee such earnest thoughts impel

To follow, and with me to dwell.

O faultless form from feet to brows,

Come with me, as my will allows,

And duty there with me pursue,

Trembler, whose bright eyes thrill me through.

In all thy days, come good come ill,

Preserve unchanged such noble will,

And thou, dear love, wilt ever be

The glory of thy house and me.

Now, beauteous-armed, begin the tasks

The woodland life of hermits asks.

For me the joys of heaven above

Have charms no more without thee, love.

And now, dear Sítá, be not slow:

Food on good mendicants bestow,

And for the holy Bráhmans bring

Thy treasures and each precious thing.

Thy best attire and gems collect,

The jewels which thy beauty decked,

And every ornament and toy

Prepared for hours of sport and joy:

The beds, the cars wherein I ride,

Among our followers, next, divide.”

She conscious that her lord approved

Her going, with great rapture moved,

Hastened within, without delay,

Prepared to give their wealth away.