The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 42 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 42

42
Canto XLII. 
Dasaratha's Lament.
While yet the dust was seen afar

That marked the course of Ráma's car,

The glory of Ikshváku's race

Turned not away his eager face.

While yet his duteous son he saw

He could not once his gaze withdraw,

But rooted to the spot remained

With eyes that after Ráma strained.

But when that dust no more he viewed,

Fainting he fell by grief subdued.

To his right hand Kauśalyá went,

And ready aid the lady lent,

While Bharat's loving mother tried

To raise him on the other side.

The king, within whose ordered soul

Justice and virtue held control,

To Queen Kaikeyí turned and said,

With every sense disquieted:

“Touch me not, thou whose soul can plot

All sin. Kaikeyí, touch me not.

No loving wife, no friend to me,

I ne'er again would look on thee;

Ne'er from this day have aught to do

With thee and all thy retinue;

Thee whom no virtuous thoughts restrain,

Whose selfish heart seeks only gain.

The hand I laid in mine, O dame,

The steps we took around the flame,317

And all that links thy life to mine

Here and hereafter I resign.

If Bharat too, thy darling son,

Joy in the rule thy art has won,

Ne'er may the funeral offerings paid

By his false hand approach my shade.”

Then while the dust upon him hung,

The monarch to Kauśalyá clung,

And she with mournful steps and slow

Turned to the palace, worn with woe.

As one whose hand has touched the fire,

Or slain a Bráhman in his ire,

He felt his heart with sorrow torn

Still thinking of his son forlorn.

Each step was torture, as the road

The traces of the chariot showed,

And as the shadowed sun grows dim

So care and anguish darkened him.

He raised a cry, by woe distraught,

As of his son again he thought.

And judging that the car had sped

Beyond the city, thus he said:

“I still behold the foot-prints made

By the good horses that conveyed

My son afar: these marks I see,

But high-souled Ráma, where is he?

Ah me, my son! my first and best,

On pleasant couches wont to rest,

With limbs perfumed with sandal, fanned

By many a beauty's tender hand:

Where will he lie with log or stone

Beneath him for a pillow thrown,

To leave at morn his earthy bed,

Neglected, and with dust o'erspread,

As from the flood with sigh and pant

Comes forth the husband elephant?

The men who make the woods their home

Shall see the long-armed hero roam

Roused from his bed, though lord of all,

In semblance of a friendless thrall.

Janak's dear child who ne'er has met

With aught save joy and comfort yet,

Will reach to-day the forest, worn

And wearied with the brakes of thorn.

Ah, gentle girl, of woods unskilled,

How will her heart with dread be filled

At the wild beasts' deep roaring there,

Whose voices lift the shuddering hair!

Kaikeyí, glory in thy gain,

And, widow queen, begin to reign:

No will, no power to live have I

When my brave son no more is nigh.”

Thus pouring forth laments, the king

Girt by the people's crowded ring,

Entered the noble bower like one

New-bathed when funeral rites are done.

Where'er he looked naught met his gaze

But empty houses, courts, and ways.

Closed were the temples: countless feet

No longer trod the royal street,

And thinking of his son he viewed

Men weak and worn and woe-subdued.

As sinks the sun into a cloud,

So passed he on, and wept aloud,

Within that house no more to be

The dwelling of the banished three,

Brave Ráma, his Vedehan bride,

And Lakshmaṇ by his brother's side:

Like broad still waters, when the king

Of all the birds that ply the wing

Has swooped from heaven and borne away

The glittering snakes that made them gay.

With choking sobs and voice half spent

The king renewed his sad lament:

With broken utterance faint and low

Scarce could he speak these words of woe:

“My steps to Ráma's mother guide,

And place me by Kauśalyá's side:

There, only there my heart may know

Some little respite from my woe.”

The warders of the palace led

The monarch, when his words were said,

To Queen Kauśalyá's bower, and there

Laid him with reverential care.

But while he rested on the bed

Still was his soul disquieted.

In grief he tossed his arms on high

Lamenting with a piteous cry:

“O Ráma, Ráma,” thus said he,

“My son, thou hast forsaken me.

High bliss awaits those favoured men

Left living in Ayodhyá then,

Whose eyes shall see my son once more

Returning when the time is o'er.”

Then came the night, whose hated gloom

Fell on him like the night of doom.

At midnight Daśaratha cried

To Queen Kauśalyá by his side:

“I see thee not, Kauśalyá; lay

Thy gentle hand in mine, I pray.

When Ráma left his home my sight

Went with him, nor returns to-night.”