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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 67

Canto LXVII. 
The Praise Of Kings.
That night of sorrow passed away,

And rose again the God of Day.

Then all the twice-born peers of state

Together met for high debate.

Jáválí, lord of mighty fame.

And Gautam, and Kátyáyan came,

And Márkandeya's reverend age,

And Vámadeva, glorious sage:

Sprung from Mudgalya's seed the one,

The other ancient Kaśyap's son.

With lesser lords these Bráhmans each

Spoke in his turn his several speech,

And turning to Vaśishṭha, best

Of household priests him thus addressed:

“The night of bitter woe has past,

Which seemed a hundred years to last,

Our king, in sorrow for his son,

Reunion with the Five has won.

His soul is where the blessed are,

While Ráma roams in woods afar,

And Lakshmaṇ, bright in glorious deeds,

Goes where his well-loved brother leads.

And Bharat and Śatrughna, they

Who smite their foes in battle fray,

Far in the realm of Kekaya stay,

Where their maternal grandsire's care

Keeps Rájagriha's city fair.

Let one of old Ikshváku's race

Obtain this day the sovereign's place,

Or havoc and destruction straight

Our kingless land will devastate.

In kingless lands no thunder's voice,

No lightning wreaths the heart rejoice,

Nor does Parjanya's heavenly rain

Descend upon the burning plain.

Where none is king, the sower's hand

Casts not the seed upon the land;

The son against the father strives.

And husbands fail to rule their wives.

In kingless realms no princes call

Their friends to meet in crowded hall;

No joyful citizens resort

To garden trim or sacred court.

In kingless realms no Twice-born care

To sacrifice with text and prayer,

Nor Bráhmans, who their vows maintain,

The great solemnities ordain.

The joys of happier days have ceased:

No gathering, festival, or feast

Together calls the merry throng

Delighted with the play and song.

In kingless lands it ne'er is well

With sons of trade who buy and sell:

No men who pleasant tales repeat

Delight the crowd with stories sweet.

In kingless realms we ne'er behold

Young maidens decked with gems and gold,

Flock to the gardens blithe and gay

To spend their evening hours in play.

No lover in the flying car

Rides with his love to woods afar.

In kingless lands no wealthy swain

Who keeps the herd and reaps the grain,

Lies sleeping, blest with ample store,

Securely near his open door.

Upon the royal roads we see

No tusked elephant roaming free,

Of three-score years, whose head and neck

Sweet tinkling bells of silver deck.

We hear no more the glad applause

When his strong bow each rival draws,

No clap of hands, no eager cries

That cheer each martial exercise.

In kingless realms no merchant bands

Who travel forth to distant lands,

With precious wares their wagons load,

And fear no danger on the road.

No sage secure in self-control,

Brooding on God with mind and soul,

In lonely wanderings finds his home

Where'er at eve his feet may roam.

In kingless realms no man is sure

He holds his life and wealth secure.

In kingless lands no warriors smite

The foeman's host in glorious fight.

In kingless lands the wise no more,

Well trained in Scripture's holy lore,

In shady groves and gardens meet

To argue in their calm retreat.

No longer, in religious fear,

Do they who pious vows revere,

Bring dainty cates and wreaths of flowers

As offerings to the heavenly powers.

No longer, bright as trees in spring,

Shine forth the children of the king

Resplendent in the people's eyes

With aloe wood and sandal dyes.

A brook where water once has been,

A grove where grass no more is green,

Kine with no herdsman's guiding hand—

So wretched is a kingless land.

The car its waving banner rears,

Banner of fire the smoke appears:

Our king, the banner of our pride,

A God with Gods is glorified.

In kingless lands no law is known,

And none may call his wealth his own,

Each preys on each from hour to hour,

As fish the weaker fish devour.

Then fearless, atheists overleap

The bounds of right the godly keep,

And when no royal powers restrain,

Preëminence and lordship gain.

As in the frame of man the eye

Keeps watch and ward, a careful spy,

The monarch in his wide domains

Protects the truth, the right maintains.

He is the right, the truth is he,

Their hopes in him the well-born see.

On him his people's lives depend,

Mother is he, and sire, and friend.

The world were veiled in blinding night,

And none could see or know aright,

Ruled there no king in any state

The good and ill to separate.

We will obey thy word and will

As if our king were living still:

As keeps his bounds the faithful sea,

So we observe thy high decree.

O best of Bráhmans, first in place,

Our kingless land lies desolate:

Some scion of Ikshváku's race

Do thou as monarch consecrate.”