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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 114

Canto CXIV. 
Bharat's Departure.
Deep, pleasant was the chariot's sound

As royal Bharat, far renowned,

Whirled by his mettled coursers fast

Within Ayodhyá's city passed.

There dark and drear was every home

Where cats and owls had space to roam,

As when the shades of midnight fall

With blackest gloom, and cover all:

As Rohiṇí, dear spouse of him

Whom Ráhu hates,396 grows faint and dim,

When, as she shines on high alone

The demon's shade is o'er her thrown:

As burnt by summer's heat a rill

Scarce trickling from her parent hill,

With dying fish in pools half dried,

And fainting birds upon her side:

As sacrificial flames arise

When holy oil their food supplies,

But when no more the fire is fed

Sink lustreless and cold and dead:

Like some brave host that filled the plain,

With harness rent and captains slain,

When warrior, elephant, and steed

Mingled in wild confusion bleed:

As when, all spent her store of worth,

Rocks from her base the loosened earth:

Like a sad fallen star no more

Wearing the lovely light it wore:

So mournful in her lost estate

Was that sad town disconsolate.

Then car-borne Bharat, good and brave,

Thus spake to him the steeds who drave:

“Why are Ayodhyá's streets so mute?

Where is the voice of lyre and lute?

Why sounds not, as of old, to-day

The music of the minstrel's lay?

Where are the wreaths they used to twine?

Where are the blossoms and the wine?

Where is the cool refreshing scent

Of sandal dust with aloe blent?

The elephant's impatient roar,

The din of cars, I hear no more:

No more the horse's pleasant neigh

Rings out to meet me on my way.

Ayodhyá's youths, since Ráma's flight,

Have lost their relish for delight:

Her men roam forth no more, nor care

Bright garlands round their necks to wear.

All grieve for banished Ráma: feast,

And revelry and song have ceased:

Like a black night when floods pour down,

So dark and gloomy is the town.

When will he come to make them gay

Like some auspicious holiday?

When will my brother, like a cloud

At summer's close, make glad the crowd?”

Then through the streets the hero rode,

And passed within his sire's abode,

Like some deserted lion's den,

Forsaken by the lord of men.

Then to the inner bowers he came,

Once happy home of many a dame,

Now gloomy, sad, and drear,

Dark as of old that sunless day

When wept the Gods in wild dismay;

There poured he many a tear.