The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 47 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 47

47
Canto XLVII. 
The Citizens' Return.
The people, when the morn shone fair,

Arose to find no Ráma there.

Then fear and numbing grief subdued

The senses of the multitude.

The woe-born tears were running fast

As all around their eyes they cast,

And sadly looked, but found no trace

Of Ráma, searching every place.

Bereft of Ráma good and wise,

With drooping cheer and weeping eyes,

Each woe-distracted sage gave vent

To sorrow in his wild lament:

“Woe worth the sleep that stole our sense

With its beguiling influence,

That now we look in vain for him

Of the broad chest and stalwart limb!

How could the strong-armed hero, thus

Deceiving all, abandon us?

His people so devoted see,

Yet to the woods, a hermit, flee?

How can he, wont our hearts to cheer,

As a fond sire his children dear,—

How can the pride of Raghu's race

Fly from us to some desert place!

Here let us all for death prepare,

Or on the last great journey fare;320

Of Ráma our dear lord bereft,

What profit in our lives is left?

Huge trunks of trees around us lie,

With roots and branches sere and dry,

Come let us set these logs on fire

And throw our bodies on the pyre.

What shall we speak? How can we say

We followed Ráma on his way,

The mighty chief whose arm is strong,

Who sweetly speaks, who thinks no wrong?

Ayodhyá's town with sorrow dumb,

Without our lord will see us come,

And hopeless misery will strike

Elder, and child, and dame alike.

Forth with that peerless chief we came,

Whose mighty heart is aye the same:

How, reft of him we love, shall we

Returning dare that town to see?”

Complaining thus with varied cry

They tossed their aged arms on high,

And their sad hearts with grief were wrung,

Like cows who sorrow for their young.

A while they followed on the road

Which traces of his chariot showed,

But when at length those traces failed,

A deep despair their hearts assailed.

The chariot marks no more discerned,

The hopeless sages backward turned:

“Ah, what is this? What can we more?

Fate stops the way, and all is o'er.”

With wearied hearts, in grief and shame

They took the road by which they came,

And reached Ayodhyá's city, where

From side to side was naught but care.

With troubled spirits quite cast down

They looked upon the royal town,

And from their eyes, oppressed with woe,

Their tears again began to flow.

Of Ráma reft, the city wore

No look of beauty as before,

Like a dull river or a lake

By Garuḍ robbed of every snake.

Dark, dismal as the moonless sky,

Or as a sea whose bed is dry,

So sad, to every pleasure dead,

They saw the town, disquieted.

On to their houses, high and vast,

Where stores of precious wealth were massed,

The melancholy Bráhmans passed,

Their hearts with anguish cleft:

Aloof from all, they came not near

To stranger or to kinsman dear,

Showing in faces blank and drear

That not one joy was left.