The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 48 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 48

48
Canto XLVIII. 
The Women's Lament.
When those who forth with Ráma went

Back to the town their steps had bent,

It seemed that death had touched and chilled

Those hearts which piercing sorrow filled.

Each to his several mansion came,

And girt by children and his dame,

From his sad eyes the water shed

That o'er his cheek in torrents spread.

All joy was fled: oppressed with cares

No bustling trader showed his wares.

Each shop had lost its brilliant look,

Each householder forbore to cook.

No hand with joy its earnings told,

None cared to win a wealth of gold,

And scarce the youthful mother smiled

To see her first, her new-born child.

In every house a woman wailed,

And her returning lord assailed

With keen taunt piercing like the steel

That bids the tusked monster kneel:

“What now to them is wedded dame,

What house and home and dearest aim,

Or son, or bliss, or gathered store,

Whose eyes on Ráma look no more!

There is but one in all the earth,

One man alone of real worth,

Lakshmaṇ, who follows, true and good,

Ráma, with Sítá, through the wood.

Made holy for all time we deem

Each pool and fountain, lake and stream,

If great Kakutstha's son shall choose

Their water for his bath to use.

Each forest, dark with lovely trees,

Shall yearn Kakutstha's son to please;

Each mountain peak and woody hill,

Each mighty flood and mazy rill,

Each rocky height, each shady grove

Where the blest feet of Ráma rove,

Shall gladly welcome with the best

Of all they have their honoured guest.

The trees that clustering blossoms bear,

And bright-hued buds to gem their hair,

The heart of Ráma shall delight,

And cheer him on the breezy height.

For him the upland slopes will show

The fairest roots and fruit that grow,

And all their wealth before him fling

Ere the due hour of ripening.

For him each earth-upholding hill

Its crystal water shall distil,

And all its floods shall be displayed

In many a thousand-hued cascade.

Where Ráma stands is naught to fear,

No danger comes if he be near;

For all who live on him depend,

The world's support, and lord, and friend.

Ere in too distant wilds he stray,

Let us to Ráma speed away,

For rich reward on those will wait

Who serve a prince of soul so great.

We will attend on Sítá there;

Be Raghu's son your special care.”

The city dames, with grief distressed,

Thus once again their lords addressed:

“Ráma shall be your guard and guide,

And Sítá will for us provide.

For who would care to linger here,

Where all is sad and dark and drear?

Who, mid the mourners, hope for bliss

In a poor soulless town like this?

If Queen Kaikeyí's treacherous sin,

Our lord expelled, the kingdom win,

We heed not sons or golden store,

Our life itself we prize no more.

If she, seduced by lust of sway,

Her lord and son could cast away,

Whom would she leave unharmed, the base

Defiler of her royal race?

We swear it by our children dear,

We will not dwell as servants here;

If Queen Kaikeyí live to reign,

We will not in her realm remain.

Bowed down by her oppressive hand,

The helpless, lordless, godless land,

Cursed for Kaikeyí's guilt will fall,

And swift destruction seize it all.

For, Ráma forced from home to fly,

The king his sire will surely die,

And when the king has breathed his last

Ruin will doubtless follow fast.

Sad, robbed of merits, drug the cup

And drink the poisoned mixture up,

Or share the exiled Ráma's lot,

Or seek some land that knows her not.

No reason, but a false pretence

Drove Ráma, Sítá, Lakshmaṇ hence,

And we to Bharat have been given

Like cattle to the shambles driven.”

While in each house the women, pained

At loss of Ráma, still complained,

Sank to his rest the Lord of Day,

And night through all the sky held sway.

The fires of worship all were cold,

No text was hummed, no tale was told,

And shades of midnight gloom came down

Enveloping the mournful town.

Still, sick at heart, the women shed,

As for a son or husband fled,

For Ráma tears, disquieted:

No child was loved as he.

And all Ayodhyá, where the feast,

Music, and song, and dance had ceased,

And merriment and glee,

Where every merchant's store was closed

That erst its glittering wares exposed,

Was like a dried up sea.