"O Ráma, great delight I feel,
Pleased, Lakshman, with thy faithful zeal,
That you within these shades I see
With Sítá come to honour me.
But wandering through the rough rude wild
Has wearied Janak's gentle child:
With labours of the way oppressed
The Maithil lady longs for rest.
Young, delicate, and soft, and fair,
Such toils as these untrained to bear,
Her wifely love the dame has led
The forest's troubled ways to tread.
Here, Ráma, see that naught annoy
Her easy hours of tranquil joy:
A glorious task has she assayed,
To follow thee through woodland shade.
Since first from Nature's hand she came,
A woman's mood is still the same,
When Fortune smiles, her love to show,
And leave her lord in want and woe.
No pity then her heart can feel,
She arms her soul with warrior's steel,
Swift as the storm or Feathered King,
Uncertain as the lightning's wing.
Not so thy spouse: her purer mind
Shrinks from the faults of womankind;
Like chaste Arundhatí(441) above,
A paragon of faithful love.
Let these blest shades, dear Ráma, be
A home for Lakshman, her, and thee."
With raised hands reverently meek
He heard the holy hermit speak,
And humbly thus addressed the sire
Whose glory shone like kindled fire:
"How blest am I, what thanks I owe
That our great Master deigns to show
His favour, that his heart can be
Content with Lakshman, Sítá, me.
Show me, I pray, some spot of ground
Where thick trees wave and springs abound,
That I may raise my hermit cell
And there in tranquil pleasure dwell."
Then thus replied Agastya, best
Of hermits, to the chief's request:
When for a little he had bent
His thoughts, upon that prayer intent:
"Beloved son, four leagues away
Is Panchavatí bright and gay:
Thronged with its deer, most fair it looks
With berries, fruit, and water-brooks.
There build thee with thy brother's aid
A cottage in the quiet shade,
And faithful to thy sire's behest,
Obedient to the sentence, rest.
For well, O sinless chieftain, well
I know thy tale, how all befell:
Stern penance and the love I bore
Thy royal sire supply the lore.
To me long rites and fervid zeal
The wish that stirs thy heart reveal,
And hence my guest I bade thee be,
That this pure grove might shelter thee.
So now, thereafter, thus I speak:
The shades of Panchavatí seek;
That tranquil spot is bright and fair,
And Sítá will be happy there.
Not far remote from here it lies,
A grove to charm thy loving eyes,
Godávarí's pure stream is nigh:
There Sítá's days will sweetly fly.
Pure, lovely, rich in many a charm,
O hero of the mighty arm,
'Tis gay with every plant and fruit,
And throngs of gay buds never mute.
Thou, true to virtue's path, hast might
To screen each trusting anchorite,
And wilt from thy new home defend
The hermits who on thee depend.
Now yonder, Prince, direct thine eyes
Where dense Madhúka(442) woods arise:
Pierce their dark shade, and issuing forth
Turn to a fig-tree on the north:
Then onward up a sloping mead
Flanked by a hill the way will lead:
There Panchavatí, ever gay
With ceaseless bloom, thy steps will stay."
The hermit ceased: the princely two
With seemly honours bade adieu:
With reverential awe each youth
Bowed to the saint whose word was truth,
And then, dismissed with Sítá, they
To Panchavatí took their way.
Thus when each royal prince had grasped
His warrior's mighty bow, and clasped
His quiver to his side,
With watchful eyes along the road
The glorious saint Agastya showed,
Dauntless in fight the brothers strode,
And Sítá with them hied.