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The Ramayan of Válmíki translated into English verse by Ralph T.H. Griffith .. online

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How Baghti's son is fierce and bold,
To Lanka's shore has bridged his way,
And hither leads his wild array.
I know your might, in battle tried,
Fighting and conquering by my side.
Why now, when such a foe is near,
Looks eye to eye in silent fear I '

He ceased : his mother's sire, well known
For wisdom in the council shown.
Malyavan, sage and faithful guide,
Thus to the monarch's speech replied:
'Long reigns the king in safe repose,
Unmoved by fear of vanquished foes,
Whose feet by saving knowledge led
In justice path delight to tread :
Who knows to sheath the sword or wield,
To offer neace. to strike or vield :



Prefers, when foes are stronger, peace,
And bids a doubtful conflict cease.
Now, King, the choice before thee lies,
Make peace with Rama, and be wise.
This day the captive queen restore
Who brings the foe to Lanka's shore.
The Sire by whom the worlds are swayed
Of yore the Gods and demons made.
With these Injustice sided ; those
Fair Justice for her champions chose.
Still Justice dwells with Gods above ;
Injustice, fiends and giants love.
Thou, through the worlds that fear thee,

long

Hast scorned the right and loved the wrong,
And Justice, with thy foes allied,
Gives might resistless to their side.
Thou, guided by thy wicked will,
Hast found delight in deeds of ill,
And sages in their holy rest
Have trembled, by thy power oppressed.
But they, who check each vain desire,
Are clothed with might which burns like

fire.

In them the power and glory live
Which zeal and saintly fervour give.
Their constant task, their sole delight
Is worship and each holy rite,
To chant aloud the Veda hymn,
Nor let the sacred fires grow dim.
Now through the air like thunder ring
The echoes of the chants they sing.
The vapours of their incense rise
And veil with cloudy pall the skies,
And Rakshas might grows weak and faint
Killed by the power of sage and saint.
By Brahma's boon thy life was screened
From God. Gandharva, Yaksha, tiend ;
But Vanars, men, and bears, arrayed
Against thee now, thy shores invade.
Red meteors, heralds of despair,
Flash frequent through the lurid air,
Foretelling to my troubled mind
The ruin of the Rakshas kind.
With awful thunderings overhead
Clouds black as night are densely spread,
And oozing from the gloomy pall
Great drops of blood on Lanka fall.
Dogs roam through house and shrine to

steal

The sacred oil and curd and meal.
Cats pair with tigers, hounds with swine,
And asses' foals are born of kine.
In these and countless signs I trace
The ruin of the giant race.
'Tis Vishnu's self who comes to storm
Thy city, clothed in Rama's form ;
For, well I ween, no mortal hand
The ocean with a bridge has spanned.
O giant King, the dame release,
And sue to Radiu's son for peace.'



Canto XXXVII.



THE RAMAYAN.



455



CANTO XXXVI.



RA'VAN'S REPLY.

But Ravan's breast with fury swelled,
And thus he spake by Death impelled,
While, under brows in anger bent,
Fierce glances from his eyes were sent:
' The bitter words which thou, misled
By friendly thought, hast fondly said,
Which praise the foe and counsel fear,
Unheeded fall upon mine ear.
How canst thou deem a mighty foe
This Rama who. in stress of woe,
Seeks, banished as his sire decreed,
Assistance from the Vanar breed ?
Am I so feeble in thine eyes,
Though feared by dwellers of the skies,
Whose might in many a battle shown
The glorious race of giants own ?
Shall I for fear of him restore
The lady whom I hither bore,
Exceeding fair like Beauty's Queen 1
Without her well-loved lotus seen ?
Around the chief let Lakshman stand,
Sugriva, and each Vanar band,*
Soon, Malyavan, thine eyes will see
This boasted Kama slain by me.
I in the brunt of war defy
The mightiest warriors of the sky ;
And if I stoop to combat men,
Shall I be weak and tremble then ?
This mangled trunk the foe may rend,
But Ravan ne'er can yield or bend,
And be it vice or virtue, I
This nature never will belie.
What marvel if he bridged the sea?
Why should this deed disquiet thee ?
This, only this, I surely know,
Back \yith his life he shall not go.'

Thus in loud tones the king exclaimed,
And mute stood Malyavan ashamed.
His reverend head he humbly bent,
And slowly to his mansion went.
But Ravan stayed, and deep in care
Held counsel with his nobles there,
All entrance to secure and close,
And guard the city from their foes.
He bade the chief Prahasta wait,
Commander at the eastern gate.
To fierce Mahodar, strong and brave,
To keep the southern gate, he gave,
Where Mahaparsva's might should aid
The chieftain with his hosts arrayed.
To guard the west no chief more fit-
He placed the warrior Indrajit,



1 Lakshmi is the Goddess both of
beauty and fortune, and is represented
with a lotus in her hand.
30



His son, the giant's joy and boast,
Surrounded by a Rakshas host :
And mighty Saran hastened forth
With Suka to protect the north. 1
1 1 will myself,' the monarch cried,
'Be present on the northern side.'
These orders for the walls' defence
The tyrant gave, then parted thence,
And, by the hope of victory fired,
To chambers far within, retired.

CANTO XXXVII.

PREPARATIONS.

Lords of the legions of the wood,
The chieftains with Vibhishan stood,
And, strangers in the foeman's land,
Their hopes and fears in council scanned:
' See, see where Lanka's tovvers ascend,
Which Ravan's power and might defend,
Which Gods, Gandharvas, fiends would fail
To conquer, if they durst assail.
How shall our legions pass within,
The city of the foe to win,
With massive walls and portals barred
Which R&van keeps with surest guard?'
With anxious looks the walls they eyed :
And sage Vibhishan thus replied :
' These lords of mine* can answer : they
Within the walls have found their way,
The foeman's plan and order learned,
And hither to my side returned.
Now, Rama, let my tongue declare
How Ravan's hosts are stationed there.
Prahasta heads, in warlike state,
His legions at the eastern gate.
To guard the southern portal stands
Mahodar, girt by Rakshas Lands,
Where mighty Mahaparsva, sent
By Ravan's hest, his aid has lent.
Guard of the gate that fronts the west
Is valiant Indrajit, the best
Of warriors, Ravan's joy and pride ;
And by the youthful chieftain's side
Are giants, armed for fierce attacks
With sword and mace and battle-axe.
North, where approach is dreaded most,
The king, encompassed with a host
Of giants trained in war, whose hands
Wield maces, swords and lances, stands.

1 The poet appears to have forgotten
that Suka and Saran were dismissed with
ignominy in Canto XXIX., and have not
been reinstated.

* The four who fled with him. Their
names are Anala, Panasa, Sampati, and
Pramati,



456



THE RAM AY AN.



Book VI.



All these are chiefs whom Ravan chose
As mightiest to resist his foes ;
And each a countless army 1 leads
With elephants and cars and steeds.'

Then Rama, while his spirit burned
For battle, words like these returned :
' The eastern gate be Nila's care,
Opponent of Prahasta there.
The southern gate, with troops arrayed
Let Angad, Bali's son, invade.
The gate that fronts the falling sun
Shall be by brave Hanuman won ;
Soon through its portals shall he lead
His myriads of Vanar breed.
The gate that fronts the north shall be
Assailed by Lakshman and by me.
For I myself have sworn to kill
The tyrant who delights in ill.
Armed with the boon which Brahma gave,
The Gods of heaven he loves to brave. ^
And through the trembling worlds he flies,
Oppressor of the just and wise.
Thou, Jambavan, and thou. O King
Of Vanars, all your bravest bring,
And with your hosts in dense array
Straight to the centre force your way.
But let no Vanar in the storm
Disguise him in a human form.
Ye chiefs who change your shapes at will,
Retain your Vanar semblance still.
Thus, when we battle with the foe,
Both men and Vanars will ye know,
In human form will seven appear ;
Myself, my brother Lakshman here ;
Vibhishan, and the four he led
From Lanka's city when he fled.'

Thus Raghu's son the chiefs addressed:
Then, gazing on Suvela's crest,
Transported by the lovely sight,
He longed to climb the mountain height,

CANTO XXXVIII.

THE ASCENT OF SUVELA.

1 Come let us scale,' the hero cried,
4 This hill with various metals dyed.
This night upon the breezy crest
Sugriva, Lakshman, I, will rest,
With sage Vibhishan, faithful friend,
His counsel and his lore to lend.
From those tall peaks each eager eye
The foeman's city shall espy,
Who from the wood my darling stole
And brought long anguish on my soul.'

1 The numbers here are comparatively
moderate : ten thousand elephants, ten
thousand chariots, twenty thousand horses
and ten million giants,



Thus spake the lord of men, and bent
II is footsteps to the steep ascent,
And Lakshman, true in weal and woe,
Next followed with his shafts and bow.
Vibhishan followed, next in place,
The sovereign of the Vanar race,
And hundreds of the forest kind
Thronged with impetuous feet, behind.
The chiefs in wooas and mountains bred
Fast followed to Suvela's head,
And gazed on Lanka bright and fail-
As some gay city in the air.
On glittering gates, on ramparts raised
By giant hands, the chieftains gazed.
They saw the mighty hosts that, skilled
In arts of war, the city filled,
And ramparts with new ramparts lined,
The swarthy hosts that stood behind.
With spirits burning for the fight
They saw the giants from the height,
And from a hundred throats rang out
Defiance and the battle shout.
Then sank the sun with dying flame,
And soft the shades of twilight came,
And the full moon's delicious light
Was shed upon the tranquil night.

CANTO XXXIX.



LANKA'.

They slept secure : the sun arose
And called the chieftains from repose.
Before the wondering Vanars, gay
With grove and garden, Lanka lay,
Where golden buds the Champak showed,
And bright with bloom Asoka glowed,
And palm and Sal and many a tree
With leaf and flower were fair to see.
They looked on wood and lawn and glade
On emerald grass and dusky shade,
Where creepers filled the air with scent,
And luscious fruit the branches bent,
Where bees inebriate loved to throng,
And each sweet bird was loud in song,
The wondering Vanars passed the bound
That circled that enchanting ground,
And as they came a sweet breeze through
The odorous alleys softly blew.
Some Vanars, at their king's behest,
Onward to bannered Lanka pressed,
While, startled by the strangers' tread,
The birds and deer before them fled.
Earth trembled at each step they took,
And Lanka at their shouting shook.
Bright rose before their wondering eyes
Trikuta's peak that kissed the skies,
And, clothed with flowers of every hue,
Afar its golden radiance threw.
Most fair to see, the mountain's head



Canto XLL



THE RAM AY AN.



45/



A hundred leagues in length was spread.
There Ravan's town, securely placed,
The summit* of Trikuta graced.
O'er leagues of land she stretched in pride
A hundred long and twenty wide.
They saw a lofty wall enfold
The city, built of blocks of gold.
They saw the beams of morning fall
On dome and fane within the wall,
Bright with the shine that mansion gives
Where Vishnu in his glory lives.
White-creste'd like the Lord of Snows
Before them Ravan's palace rose.
High on a thousand pillars raised
With gold and precious stone it blazed,
Guarded by giant warders, crown
And ornament of Lanka's town.



CANTO XL.



RA'VAN ATTACKED.

Still stood the son of Raghu where

Suvela's peak rose high in air,

And with Sugriva turned his eye

To scan each quarter of the sky.

There on TrikuU, nobly planned

And built by Visvakarma's hand,

He saw the lovely Lanka, dressed

In all her varied beauty, rest.

High on a tower above the gate

The tyrant stood in kingly state.

The royal canopy displayed

Above him lent its grateful shade,

And servants, from the giant band,

His cheek with jewelled chowries fanned.

Red sandal o'er his breast was spread,

His ornaments and robe were red :

Thus shows a cloud of darksome hue

With golden sunbeams flashing through.

While Rama and the chiefs intent

Upon the king their glances bent,

Up sprang Sugriva from the ground

And reached the turret at a bound.

Un terrified the Vanar stood,

And wroth, with wondrous hardihood,

The king in bitter words addressed,

And thus his scorn and hate expressed :

* King of the giant race, in me
The friend and slave of Rama see.
Lord of the world, he gives me power
To smite thee in thy fenced tower.'
While through the air his challenge rang,
At Ravan's face the Vanar sprang,
Snatched from his head the kingly crown
And dashed it in his fury down.
Straight at his foe the giant flew,
His mighty arms about him threw,
With strength resistless swung him round
And dashed him panting to the ground,



Unharmed amid the storm of blows
Swift to his feet Sugriva rose.
Again in furious tight they met :
With streams of blood their limbs were wet,
Each grasping his opponent's waist.
Thus with their branches interlaced,
Which, crimson with the flowers of spring,
From side to side the breezes swing,
In furious wrestle you may see
The Kinsuk and the Seemul tree. 1
They fought with fists and hands, alike
Prepared to parry and to strike.
Long time the doubtful combat, waged
With matchless strength and fury, raged.
Each fiercely struck, each guarded well,
Till, closing, from the tower they fell,
And, grasping each the other's throat,
Lay for an instant in the moat.
They rose, and each in fiercer mood
The sanguinary strife renewed.
Wei 1 matched in size and strength and skill
They fought the dubious battle still.
While sweat and blood their limbs bedewed
They met, retreated, and pursued :
Each stratagem and art they tried,
Stood front to front and swerved aside.
His hand a while the giant stayed
And called his magic to his aid.
But brave Sugriva, swift to know
The guileful purpose of the foe,
Gained with light leap the upper air,
And breath and strength and spirit there;
Then, joyous as for victory won,
Returned to Raghu's royal son.

CANTO XLI.
RAMA'S ENVOY.

When Rama saw each bloody trace
On King Sugriva's limbs and face,
Ie cried, while, sorrowing at the view,
His arms about his friend he threw :
Too venturous chieftain, kings like us

ring not their lives in peril thus ;

or, save when counsel shows the need,
tempt so bold, so rash a deed,
lemember. I, Vibhishan, all
lave sorrowed fearing ior.Jtliy fall.
) do not for us all I speak
'hese desperate adventures seek.
I could not,' cried Sugriva, 'brook
Jpon the giant king to look,



The Kinsuk, also called Palasa, is
he Butea Frondosa. a tree that bears
eautiful red crescent-shaped blossoms
nd is deservedly a favourite with poets.
Jhe Seemul or 3almali in the silk-cottoa
ree which also bears red blossoms.



458



THE RAM AY AN.



Boole VI.



Nor challenge to the deadly strife
The fiend who robbed thee of thy wife.'
'Now Lakshman, marshal,' Kama cried,
' Our legions where the woods are wide,
And stand we ready to oppose
The fury of our giant foes.
This day our armies shall ascend
The walls which fiavan's powers defend,
And floods of Rakshas' blood shall stain
The streets encumbered with the slain.'
Down from the peak he came, and viewed
The Vanars' ordered multitude.
Fach captain there for battle burned,
Each fiery eye to Lanka turned.
On, where the royal brothers led
To Lanka's walls the legions sped.
The northern gate, where giant foes
Swarmed round their monarch , Ramachose
Where he in person might direct
The battle, and his troops protect.
What arm but his the post might keep
Where, strong as he who sways the deep, 1
Mid thousands armed with bow and mace,
Stood Ravan mightiest of his race ?
The eastern gate was Nila's post,
Where marshalled stood his Vanar host,
And Mainda with his troops arrayed,
And Dwivid stood to lend him aid.
The southern gate was Angad's care,
Who ranged his bold battalions there.
Hanuman by the port that faced
The setting sun his legions placed,
And King Sugriva held the wood
East of the gate where Ravan stood.
On every side the myriads met,
Arid Lanka's walls of close beset
That scarce the roving gale could win
A passage to the hosts within.
Loud as the angry ocean's roar
When wild waves lash the rocky shore,
Ten thousand thousand throats upsent
A shout that tore the firmament,
And Lanka with each grove and brook
And tower and wall and rampart shook.
The giants heard, and were appalled :
Then Raghu's son to Angad called,
And, led by kingly duty,* gave
This order merciful as brave :
4 Go, Angad, Ravan's presence seek,
And thus my words of warning speak :
' How art thou changed and fallen now,
O Monarch of the giants, thou
Whose impious fury would not spare
Saint, nymph, or spirit of the air ;
Whose foot in haughty triumph trod
On Yaksha, king, and Serpent God :



J Varuna.

51 The duty of a king to save the lives
of his people arid avoid bloodshed until
milder methods have been tried in vain.



How art thou fallen from thy pride
Which Brahma's favour fortified 1
With myriads at thy Lanka's gate
I stand my righteous ire to sate,
And punish thee with sword and flame,
The tyrant fiend who stole my darne.
Now show the might, employ the guile,
O Monarch of the giants isle,
Which stole a helpless dame away :
Call up thy power and strength to-day.
Once more I warn thee. Kakshas King,
This hour the Maithil lady bring.
And, yielding while there yet is time,
Seek, suppliant, pardon for the crime,
Or I will leave beneath the sun
No living Rakshas, no, not one.
In vain from battle wilt thou fly,
Or borne on piniona seek the sky ;
The hand of llama shall not spare ;
His fiery shaft shall smite thee there.'

He ceased: and Angad bowed his head;
Thence like embodied flame he sped,
And lighted from his airy road
Within the Rakshas king's abode.
There sate, the centre of a ring
Of counsellors, the giant king.
Swift through the circle Angad pressed,
And spoke with fury in his breast ;
* Sent by the lord of Kosal's land,
His envoy here, O King, I stand,
Angad the ^on of Bali ; fame
Has haply taught thine ears my name.
Thus in the words of Kama I
Am come to warn thee or defy :
Come forth, and fighting in the van
Display the spirit of a man.
This arm shall slay thee, tyrant : all
Thy nobles, kith and kin shall fall:
And earth and heaven, from terror freed,
Shall joy to see the oppressor bleed.
Vibhishan, "when his foe is slain,
Anointed'king in peace shall reign.
Once more I counsel thee : repent,
Avoid the mortal punishment.
With honour due the dame restore,
And pardon for thy sin implore.'

Loud rose the king's infuriate cry:
' Seize, seize the Vanar : let him die.'
Four of his band their lord obeyed,
And eager hands on Angad laid.
He purposing his strength to show
Gave no resistance to the foe,
But swiftly round his captors cast
His mighty arms and held them fast.
Fierce shout and cry around him rang :
Light to the palace roof he sprang,
There his detaining arms unwound,
And hurled the giants to the ground.
Then, smiting with a fearful stroke,
A turret from the roof he broke,
As when the fiery levin sent



Canto XLI1I.



THE RA MAYAN.



459



By Indra from the clonds has rent
The proud peak of the Lord of Snow,
And flung the stony mass below.
Attain with loud terrific cry
He sprang exulting to the sky,
And. joyous for his errand done,
Stood by the side of Raghu's son.



CANTO XLIL



THE SALLY.

Still was the cry, * The Vanar foes
Around the leaguered, city close.'
King Ravan from the terrace gazed
And saw, with eyes where fury blazed,
The Vanar host in serried ranks
Press to the moat and line the banks,
And, first in splendour and in place,
The lion lord of Raghu's race.
And Rama looked on Lanka where
Gay flags were streaming to the air,
And, while keen sorrow pierced him

through,
His loving thoughts to Sita flew :

* There, there in deep affliction lies
My darling with the fawn-lil^e eyes.
There on the cold bare ground she keeps
Sad vigil and for Rama weeps.'

Mad with the thought, ' Charge, charge,'
he cried.

Let earth with Rakshas blood be dyed.'

Responsive to his call rang out
A loud, a universal shout,
As myriads filled the moat with stone,
Trees, rocks, and mountains overthrown,
And charging at their leader's call
Pressed forward furious to the wall.
Some in their headlong ardour scaled
The rampart's height, the guard assailed,
And many a ponderous fragment rent
From portal, tower, and battlement.
Huge gates adorned with burnished gold
Were loosed and lifted from their hold ;
And post and pillar, with a sound
Like thunder, fell upon the ground.
At every portal, east and west
And north and south, the chief tains pressed
Each in his post appointed led
His myriads in the forest bred.

* Charge, let the gates be opened wide :
' Charge, charge, my giants,' Ravan cried.
They heard his voice, and loud and long
Rang the wild clamour of the throng,
And shell and drum their notes upsent,
And every martial instrument.
Forth, at the bidding of their lord
From every gate the giants poured,
^s, when the waters rise and swell,
waves preceding waves impel.



Again from every Vanar throat
A scream of fierce defiance smote
The welkin : earth and sea and sky
Reechoed with the awful cry.
| The roar of elephants, the neigh
Of horses eager for the fray,
The frequent clash of warriors' steel,
The rattling of the chariot wheel.
Fierce was the deadly fight : opposed
In terrible array they closed,
As when the Gods of heaven enraged
With rebel fiends wild battle waged.
Axe, spear, and mace were wielded well ;
At every blow a Vanar fell.
But shivered rock and brandished tree
Brought many a giant on his knee,
To perish in his turn beneath
The deadly wounds of nails and teeth.



CANTO XLIII.



THE SINGLE COMBATS.

Brave chiefs of each opposing side

Their strength in single combat tried.

Fierce Indrajit the tight began

With Angad in the battle's van.

Sampati, strongest of his race,

Stood with Prajangha face to face.

Hanuman, Jambumali met

In mortal opposition set.

Vibhishan, brother of the lord

Of Lanka, raised his threatening sword,

And singled out, with eyes aglow

With wrath, $atrughna for his foe.

The mighty Gaja Tapan sought,

A nd Nila with Nikumbha fought.

Sugriva, Vanar king, defied

Fierce Praghas long in battle tried,

And Lakshman fearless in the fight

Encountered Virupaksha's might.

To meet the royal Rama came

Wild Agniketu fierce as flame ;

Mitraghana, he who loved to strike

His foeman and his friend alike ;

With Rasmiketu, known and feared

Where'er his ponderous flag was reared ;

And Yajnakopa whose delight

Was ruin of the sacred rite.

These met and fought, with thousands

more,

And trampled earth was red with gore,
Swift as the bolt which Indra sends
When fire from heaven the mountain rends
Smote Indrajit with furious blows
On Angad queller of his foes.
But Angad from his foeman tore
T he murderous mace the warrior bore,



460



THE RAM AY AN.



Boole VI.



And low in dust his coursers rolled,
His driver, and his car of gold.
Struck by the shafts Prajangha sped,
The Vanar chief Sampati bled,
But, heedless of his gashes, he
Crushed down the giant with a tree.
Then car-borne Jambumali smote
Hanuman on the chest and throat ;
But at the car the Vanar rushed,
And chariot, steeds, and rider crushed.
Sugriva whirled a huge tree round,
And struck fierce Praghas to the ground.
One arrow shot from Lakshman's bow
Laid mighty Virupaksha low.
His giant foes round Rama pressed
And shot their shafts at head and breast ;
But, when the iron shower was spent,
Four arrows from his bow he sent,
And every missile, deftly sped ;
Cleft from the trunk a giant head. 1

CANTO XLIV.

THE NIGHT.

The lord of Light had sunk and set :
Night came ; the foeman struggled yet ;
And fiercer for the gloom of night
Grew the wild fury of the fight.
Scarce could each warrior's eager eye
The foeman from the friend descry.

Rakshas or Vanar ? say;' cried each,
And foe knew foeman oy his speech.

' Why wilt thou fly ? O warrior, stay :

Turn on the foe. and rend and slay :'
Such were the cries, such words of fear
Smote through thegloom each listeningear.
Each swarthy rover of the night
Whose golden armour flashed with light,
Showed like a towering hill embraced
By burning woods about his waist.

The giants at the Vanars flew,
And ravening ate the foes they slew :
With mortal bite like serpent's fang,
The Vanars at the giants sprang,
And car and steeds and they who bore



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