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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 89

Canto LXXXIX. 
The Passage Of Gangá.
That night the son of Raghu lay

On Gangá's bank till break of day:

Then with the earliest light he woke

And thus to brave Śatrughna spoke.

“Rise up, Śatrughna, from thy bed:

Why sleepest thou the night is fled.

See how the sun who chases night

Wakes every lotus with his light.

Arise, arise, and first of all

The lord of Śringavera call,

For he his friendly aid will lend

Our army o'er the flood to send.”

Thus urged, Śatrughna answered: “I,

Remembering Ráma, sleepless lie.”

As thus the brothers, each to each,

The lion-mettled, ended speech,

Came Guha, the Nishádas' king,

And spoke with kindly questioning:

“Hast thou in comfort passed,” he cried,

“The night upon the river side?

With thee how fares it? and are these,

Thy soldiers, healthy and at ease?”

Thus the Nishádas' lord inquired

In gentle words which love inspired,

And Bharat, Ráma's faithful slave,

Thus to the king his answer gave:

“The night has sweetly passed, and we

Are highly honoured, King, by thee.

Now let thy servants boats prepare,

Our army o'er the stream to bear.”

The speech of Bharat Guha heard,

And swift to do his bidding stirred.

Within the town the monarch sped

And to his ready kinsmen said:

“Awake, each kinsman, rise, each friend!

May every joy your lives attend.

Gather each boat upon the shore

And ferry all the army o'er.”

Thus Guha spoke: nor they delayed,

But, rising quick, their lord obeyed,

And soon, from every side secured,

Five hundred boats were ready moored.

Some reared aloft the mystic sign,363

And mighty bells were hung in line:

Of firmest build, gay flags they bore,

And sailors for the helm and oar.

One such King Guha chose, whereon,

Of fair white cloth, an awning shone,

And sweet musicians charmed the ear,—

And bade his servants urge it near.

Then Bharat swiftly sprang on board,

And then Śatrughna, famous lord,

To whom, with many a royal dame,

Kauśalyá and Sumitrá came.

The household priest went first in place,

The elders, and the Bráhman race,

And after them the monarch's train

Of women borne in many a wain.

Then high to heaven the shouts of those

Who fired the army's huts,364 arose,

With theirs who bathed along the shore,

Or to the boats the baggage bore.

Full freighted with that mighty force

The boats sped swiftly on their course,

By royal Guha's servants manned,

And gentle gales the banners fanned.

Some boats a crowd of dames conveyed,

In others noble coursers neighed;

Some chariots and their cattle bore,

Some precious wealth and golden store.

Across the stream each boat was rowed,

There duly disembarked its load,

And then returning on its way,

Sped here and there in merry play.

Then swimming elephants appeared

With flying pennons high upreared.

And as the drivers urged them o'er,

The look of winged mountains wore.

Some men in barges reached the strand,

Others on rafts came safe to land:

Some buoyed with pitchers crossed the tide,

And others on their arms relied.

Thus with the help the monarch gave

The army crossed pure Gangá's wave:

Then in auspicious hour it stood

Within Prayága's famous wood.

The prince with cheering words addressed

His weary men, and bade them rest

Where'er they chose and he,

With priest and deacon by his side,

To Bharadvája's dwelling hied

That best of saints to see.