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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 86

Canto LXXXVI. 
Guha's Speech.
Guha the king, acquainted well

With all that in the wood befell,

To Bharat the unequalled told

The tale of Lakshmaṇ mighty-souled:

“With many an earnest word I spake

To Lakshmaṇ as he stayed awake,

And with his bow and shaft in hand

To guard his brother kept his stand:

“Now sleep a little, Lakshmaṇ, see

This pleasant bed is strewn for thee:

Hereon thy weary body lay,

And strengthen thee with rest, I pray,

Inured to toil are men like these,

But thou hast aye been nursed in ease.

Rest, duteous-minded! I will keep

My watch while Ráma lies asleep:

For in the whole wide world is none

Dearer to me than Raghu's son.

Harbour no doubt or jealous fear:

I speak the truth with heart sincere:

For from the grace which he has shown

Will glory on my name be thrown:

Great store of merit shall I gain,

And duteous, form no wish in vain.

Let me enforced by many a row

Of followers, armed with shaft and bow

For well-loved Ráma's weal provide

Who lies asleep by Sítá's side.

For through this wood I often go,

And all its shades conceal I know:

And we with conquering arms can meet

A four-fold host arrayed complete.”

“With words like these I spoke, designed

To move the high-souled Bharat's mind,

But he upon his duty bent,

Plied his persuasive argument:

“O, how can slumber close mine eyes

When lowly couched with Sítá lies

The royal Ráma? can I give

My heart to joy, or even live?

He whom no mighty demon, no,

Nor heavenly God can overthrow,

See, Guha, how he lies, alas,

With Sítá couched on gathered grass.

By varied labours, long, severe,

By many a prayer and rite austere,

He, Daśaratha's cherished son,

By Fortune stamped, from Heaven was won.

Now as his son is forced to fly,

The king ere long will surely die:

Reft of his guardian hand, forlorn

In widowed grief this land will mourn.

E'en now perhaps, with toil o'erspent,

The women cease their loud lament,

And cries of woe no longer ring

Throughout the palace of the king.

But ah for sad Kauśalyá! how

Fare she and mine own mother now?

How fares the king? this night, I think,

Some of the three in death will sink.

With hopes upon Śatrughna set

My mother may survive as yet,

But the sad queen will die who bore

The hero, for her grief is sore.

His cherished wish that would have made

Dear Ráma king, so long delayed,

“Too late! too late!” the king will cry,

And conquered by his misery die.

When Fate has brought the mournful day

Which sees my father pass away,

How happy in their lives are they

Allowed his funeral rites to pay.

Our exile o'er, with him who ne'er

Turns from the oath his lips may swear,

May we returning safe and well

gain in fair Ayodhyá dwell.”

Thus Bharat stood with many a sigh

Lamenting, and the night went by.

Soon as the morning light shone fair

In votive coils both bound their hair.

And then I sent them safely o'er

And left them on the farther shore.

With Sítá then they onward passed,

Their coats of bark about them cast,

Their locks like hermits' bound,

The mighty tamers of the foe,

Each with his arrows and his bow,

Went over the rugged ground,

Proud in their strength and undeterred

Like elephants that lead the herd,

And gazing oft around.”