Guha the king, acquainted well
With all that in the wood befell,
To Bharat the unequalled told
The tale of Lakshman mighty-souled:
"With many an earnest word I spake
To Lakshman as he stayed awake,
And with his bow and shaft in hand
To guard his brother kept his stand:
"Now sleep a little, Lakshman, 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, Dasaratha'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 Kausalyá! 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 Satrughna 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."
Guha the king, acquainted well