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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 61

Canto LXI. 
Kausalyá's Lament.
When, best of all who give delight,

Her Ráma wandered far from sight,

Kauśalyá weeping, sore distressed,

The king her husband thus addressed:

“Thy name, O Monarch, far and wide

Through the three worlds is glorified:

Yet Ráma's is the pitying mind,

His speed is true, his heart is kind.

How will thy sons, good lord, sustain

With Sítá, all their care and pain?

How in the wild endure distress,

Nursed in the lap of tenderness?

How will the dear Videhan bear

The heat and cold when wandering there

Bred in the bliss of princely state,

So young and fair and delicate?

The large-eyed lady, wont to eat

The best of finely seasoned meat—

How will she now her life sustain

With woodland fare of self-sown grain?

Will she, with joys encompassed long,

Who loved the music and the song,

In the wild wood endure to hear

The ravening lion's voice of fear?

Where sleeps my strong-armed hero, where,

Like Lord Mahendra's standard, fair?

Where is, by Lakshmaṇ's side, his bed,

His club-like arm beneath his head?

When shall I see his flower-like eyes,

And face that with the lotus vies,

Feel his sweet lily breath, and view

His glorious hair and lotus hue?

The heart within my breast, I feel,

Is adamant or hardest steel,

Or, in a thousand fragments split,

The loss of him had shattered it,

When those I love, who should be blest,

Are wandering in the wood distressed,

Condemned their wretched lives to lead

In exile, by thy ruthless deed.

If, when the fourteen years are past,

Ráma reseeks his home at last,

I think not Bharat will consent

To yield the wealth and government.

At funeral feasts some mourners deal

To kith and kin the solemn meal,

And having duly fed them all

Some Bráhmans to the banquet call.

The best of Bráhmans, good and wise,

The tardy summoning despise,

And, equal to the Gods, disdain

Cups, e'en of Amrit, thus to drain.

Nay e'en when Bráhmans first have fed,

They loathe the meal for others spread,

And from the leavings turn with scorn,

As bulls avoid a fractured horn.

So Ráma, sovereign lord of men,

Will spurn the sullied kingship then:

He born the eldest and the best,

His younger's leavings will detest,

Turning from tasted food away,

As tigers scorn another's prey.

The sacred post is used not twice,

Nor elements, in sacrifice.

But once the sacred grass is spread,

But once with oil the flame is fed:

So Ráma's pride will ne'er receive

The royal power which others leave,

Like wine when tasteless dregs are left,

Or rites of Soma juice bereft.

Be sure the pride of Raghu's race

Will never stoop to such disgrace:

The lordly lion will not bear

That man should beard him in his lair.

Were all the worlds against him ranged

His dauntless soul were still unchanged:

He, dutiful, in duty strong,

Would purge the impious world from wrong.

Could not the hero, brave and bold,

The archer, with his shafts of gold,

Burn up the very seas, as doom

Will in the end all life consume?

Of lion's might, eyed like a bull,

A prince so brave and beautiful,

Thou hast with wicked hate pursued,

Like sea-born tribes who eat their brood.

If thou, O Monarch, hadst but known

The duty all the Twice-born own,

If the good laws had touched thy mind,

Which sages in the Scriptures find,

Thou ne'er hadst driven forth to pine

This brave, this duteous son of thine.

First on her lord the wife depends,

Next on her son and last on friends:

These three supports in life has she,

And not a fourth for her may be.

Thy heart, O King, I have not won;

In wild woods roams my banished son;

Far are my friends: ah, hapless me,

Quite ruined and destroyed by thee.”