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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 71

Canto LXXI. 
Bharat's Return.
Then Bharat's face was eastward bent

As from the royal town he went.

He reached Sudámá's farther side,

And glorious, gazed upon the tide;

Passed Hládiní, and saw her toss

Her westering billows hard to cross.

Then old Ikshváku's famous son

O'er Śatadrú348 his passage won,

Near Ailadhána on the strand,

And came to Aparparyat's land.

O'er Śilá's flood he hurried fast,

Akurvatí's fair stream he passed,

Crossed o'er Ágneya's rapid rill,

And Śalyakartan onward still.

Śilávahá's swift stream he eyed,

True to his vows and purified,

Then crossed the lofty hills, and stood

In Chaitraratha's mighty wood.

He reached the confluence where meet

Sarasvatí349 and Gangá fleet,

And through Bháruṇḍa forest, spread

Northward of Viramatsya, sped.

He sought Kálinda's child, who fills

The soul with joy, begirt by hills,

Reached Yamuná, and passing o'er,

Rested his army on the shore:

He gave his horses food and rest,

Bathed reeking limb and drooping crest.

They drank their fill and bathed them there,

And water for their journey bare.

Thence through a mighty wood he sped

All wild and uninhabited,

As in fair chariot through the skies,

Most fair in shape a Storm-God flies.

At Anśudhána Gangá, hard

To cross, his onward journey barred,

So turning quickly thence he came

To Prágvaṭ's city dear to fame.

There having gained the farther side

To Kuṭikoshṭiká he hied:

The stream he crossed, and onward then

To Dharmavardhan brought his men.

Thence, leaving Toraṇ on the north,

To Jambuprastha journeyed forth.

Then onward to a pleasant grove

By fair Varútha's town he drove,

And when a while he there had stayed,

Went eastward from the friendly shade.

Eastward of Ujjiháná where

The Priyak trees are tall and fair,

He passed, and rested there each steed

Exhausted with the journey's speed.

There orders to his men addressed,

With quickened pace he onward pressed,

A while at Sarvatírtha spent,

Then o'er Uttániká he went.

O'er many a stream beside he sped

With coursers on the mountains bred,

And passing Hastiprishṭhak, took

The road o'er Kuṭiká's fair brook.

Then, at Lohitya's village, he

Crossed o'er the swift Kapívatí,

Then passed, where Ekaśála stands,

The Stháṇumatí's flood and sands,

And Gomatí of fair renown

By Vinata's delightful town.

When to Kalinga near he drew,

A wood of Sal trees charmed the view;

That passed, the sun began to rise,

And Bharat saw with happy eyes,

Ayodhyá's city, built and planned

By ancient Manu's royal hand.

Seven nights upon the road had passed,

And when he saw the town at last

Before him in her beauty spread,

Thus Bharat to the driver said:

“This glorious city from afar,

Wherein pure groves and gardens are,

Seems to my eager eyes to-day

A lifeless pile of yellow clay.

Through all her streets where erst a throng

Of men and women streamed along,

Uprose the multitudinous roar:

To-day I hear that sound no more.

No longer do mine eyes behold

The leading people, as of old,

On elephants, cars, horses, go

Abroad and homeward, to and fro.

The brilliant gardens, where we heard

The wild note of each rapturous bird,

Where men and women loved to meet,

In pleasant shades, for pastime sweet,—

These to my eyes this day appear

Joyless, and desolate, and drear:

Each tree that graced the garden grieves,

And every path is spread with leaves.

The merry cry of bird and beast,

That spake aloud their joy, has ceased:

Still is the long melodious note

That charmed us from each warbling throat.

Why blows the blessed air no more,

The incense-breathing air that bore

Its sweet incomparable scent

Of sandal and of aloe blent?

Why are the drum and tabour mute?

Why is the music of the lute

That woke responsive to the quill,

Loved by the happy, hushed and still?

My boding spirit gathers hence

Dire sins of awful consequence,

And omens, crowding on my sight,

Weigh down my soul with wild affright.

Scarce shall I find my friends who dwell

Here in Ayodhyá safe and well:

For surely not without a cause

This crushing dread my soul o'erawes.”

Heart sick, dejected, every sense

Confused by terror's influence,

On to the town he quickly swept

Which King Ikshváku's children kept.

He passed through Vaijayanta's gate,

With weary steeds, disconsolate,

And all who near their station held,

His escort, crying Victory, swelled,

With heart distracted still he bowed

Farewell to all the following crowd,

Turned to the driver and began

To question thus the weary man:

“Why was I brought, O free from blame,

So fast, unknown for what I came?

Yet fear of ill my heart appals,

And all my wonted courage falls.

For I have heard in days gone by

The changes seen when monarchs die;

And all those signs, O charioteer,

I see to-day surround me here:

Each kinsman's house looks dark and grim,

No hand delights to keep it trim:

The beauty vanished, and the pride,

The doors, unkept, stand open wide.

No morning rites are offered there,

No grateful incense loads the air,

And all therein, with brows o'ercast,

Sit joyless on the ground and fast.

Their lovely chaplets dry and dead,

Their courts unswept, with dust o'erspread,

The temples of the Gods to-day

No more look beautiful and gay.

Neglected stands each holy shrine,

Each image of a Lord divine.

No shop where flowery wreaths are sold

Is bright and busy as of old.

The women and the men I mark

Absorbed in fancies dull and dark,

Their gloomy eyes with tears bedewed,

A poor afflicted multitude.”

His mind oppressed with woe and dread,

Thus Bharat to his driver said,

Viewed the dire signs Ayodhyá showed,

And onward to the palace rode.