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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 84

Canto LXXXIV. 
Guha's Anger.
King Guha saw the host spread o'er

The wide expanse of Gangá's shore,

With waving flag and pennon graced,

And to his followers spoke in haste:

“A mighty army meets my eyes,

That rivals Ocean's self in size:

Where'er I look my very mind

No limit to the host can find.

Sure Bharat with some evil thought

His army to our land has brought.

See, huge of form, his flag he rears,

That like an Ebony-tree appears.

He comes with bonds to take and chain,

Or triumph o'er our people slain:

And after, Ráma will he slay,—

Him whom his father drove away:

The power complete he longs to gain,

And—task too hard—usurp the reign.

So Bharat comes with wicked will

His brother Ráma's blood to spill.

But Ráma's slave and friend am I;

He is my lord and dear ally.

Keep here your watch in arms arrayed

Near Gangá's flood to lend him aid,

And let my gathered servants stand

And line with troops the river strand.

Here let the river keepers meet,

Who flesh and roots and berries eat;

A hundred fishers man each boat

Of the five hundred here afloat,

And let the youthful and the strong

Assemble in defensive throng.

But yet, if, free from guilty thought

'Gainst Ráma, he this land have sought,

The prince's happy host to-day

Across the flood shall make its way.”

He spoke: then bearing in a dish

A gift of honey, meat, and fish,

The king of the Nishádas drew

Toward Bharat for an interview.

When Bharat's noble charioteer

Observed the monarch hastening near,

He duly, skilled in courteous lore,

The tidings to his master bore:

“This aged prince who hither bends

His footsteps with a thousand friends,

Knows, firm ally of Ráma, all

That may in Daṇḍak wood befall:

Therefore, Kakutstha's son, admit

The monarch, as is right and fit:

For doubtless he can clearly tell

Where Ráma now and Lakshmaṇ dwell.”

When Bharat heard Sumantra's rede,

To his fair words the prince agreed:

“Go quickly forth,” he cried, “and bring

Before my face the aged king.”

King Guha, with his kinsmen near,

Rejoiced the summoning to hear:

He nearer drew, bowed low his head,

And thus to royal Bharat said:

“No mansions can our country boast,

And unexpected comes thy host:

But what we have I give thee all:

Rest in the lodging of thy thrall.

See, the Nishádas here have brought

The fruit and roots their hands have sought:

And we have woodland fare beside,

And store of meat both fresh and dried.

To rest their weary limbs, I pray

This night at least thy host may stay:

Then cheered with all we can bestow

To-morrow thou with it mayst go.”