The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 59 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 59

Canto LIX. 
Dasaratha's Lament.
As thus Sumantra, best of peers,

Told his sad tale with many tears,

The monarch cried, “I pray thee, tell

At length again what there befell.”

Sumantra, at the king's behest,

Striving with sobs he scarce repressed,

His trembling voice at last controlled,

And thus his further tidings told:

“Their locks in votive coils they wound,

Their coats of bark upon them bound,

To Gangá's farther shore they went,

Thence to Prayág their steps were bent.

I saw that Lakshmaṇ walked ahead

To guard the path the two should tread.

So far I saw, no more could learn,

Forced by the hero to return.

Retracing slow my homeward course,

Scarce could I move each stubborn horse:

Shedding hot tears of grief he stood

When Ráma turned him to the wood.333

As the two princes parted thence

I raised my hands in reverence,

Mounted my ready car, and bore

The grief that stung me to the core.

With Guha all that day I stayed,

Still by the earnest hope delayed

That Ráma, ere the time should end,

Some message from the wood might send.

Thy realms, great Monarch, mourn the blow,

And sympathize with Ráma's woe.

Each withering tree hangs low his head,

And shoot, and bud, and flower are dead.

Dried are the floods that wont to fill

The lake, the river, and the rill.

Drear is each grove and garden now,

Dry every blossom on the bough.

Each beast is still, no serpents crawl:

A lethargy of woe on all.

The very wood is silent: crushed

With grief for Ráma, all is hushed.

Fair blossoms from the water born,

Gay garlands that the earth adorn,

And every fruit that gleams like gold,

Have lost the scent that charmed of old.

Empty is every grove I see,

Or birds sit pensive on the tree.

Where'er I look, its beauty o'er,

The pleasance charms not as before.

I drove through fair Ayodhyá's street:

None flew with joy the car to meet.

They saw that Ráma was not there,

And turned them sighing in despair.

The people in the royal way

Wept tears of bitter grief, when they

Beheld me coming, from afar,

No Ráma with me in the car.

From palace roof and turret high

Each woman bent her eager eye;

She looked for Ráma, but in vain;

Gazed on the car and shrieked for pain.

Their long clear eyes with sorrow drowned

They, when this common grief was found,

Looked each on other, friend and foe,

In sympathy of levelling woe:

No shade of difference between

Foe, friend, or neutral, there was seen.

Without a joy, her bosom rent

With grief for Ráma's banishment,

Ayodhyá like the queen appears

Who mourns her son with many tears.”

He ended: and the king, distressed.

With sobbing voice that lord addressed:

“Ah me, by false Kaikeyí led,

Of evil race, to evil bred,

I took no counsel of the sage,

Nor sought advice from skill and age,

I asked no lord his aid to lend,

I called no citizen or friend.

Rash was my deed, bereft of sense

Slave to a woman's influence.

Surely, my lord, a woe so great

Falls on us by the will of Fate;

It lays the house of Raghu low,

For Destiny will have it so.

I pray thee, if I e'er have done

An act to please thee, yea, but one,

Fly, fly, and Ráma homeward lead:

My life, departing, counsels speed.

Fly, ere the power to bid I lack,

Fly to the wood: bring Ráma back.

I cannot live for even one

Short hour bereaved of my son.

But ah, the prince, whose arms are strong,

Has journeyed far: the way is long:

Me, me upon the chariot place,

And let me look on Ráma's face.

Ah me, my son, mine eldest-born,

Where roams he in the wood forlorn,

The wielder of the mighty bow,

Whose shoulders like the lion's show?

O, ere the light of life be dim,

Take me to Sítá and to him.

O Ráma, Lakshmaṇ, and O thou

Dear Sítá, constant to thy vow,

Beloved ones, you cannot know

That I am dying of my woe.”

The king to bitter grief a prey,

That drove each wandering sense away,

Sunk in affliction's sea, too wide

To traverse, in his anguish cried:

“Hard, hard to pass, my Queen, this sea

Of sorrow raging over me:

No Ráma near to soothe mine eye,

Plunged in its lowest deeps I lie.

Sorrow for Ráma swells the tide,

And Sítá's absence makes it wide:

My tears its foamy flood distain,

Made billowy by my sighs of pain:

My cries its roar, the arms I throw

About me are the fish below,

Kaikeyí is the fire that feeds

Beneath: my hair the tangled weeds:

Its source the tears for Ráma shed:

The hump-back's words its monsters dread:

The boon I gave the wretch its shore,

Till Ráma's banishment be o'er.334

Ah me, that I should long to set

My eager eyes to-day

On Raghu's son, and he be yet

With Lakshmaṇ far away!”

Thus he of lofty glory wailed,

And sank upon the bed.

Beneath the woe his spirit failed,

And all his senses fled.