Arrived at Panchavatí's shade
Where silvan life and serpents strayed,
Ráma in words like these addressed
Lakshman of vigour unrepressed:
"Brother, our home is here: behold
The grove of which the hermit told:
The bowers of Panchavatí see
Made fair by every blooming tree.
Now, brother, bend thine eyes around;
With skilful glance survey the ground:
Here be some spot selected, best
Approved for gentle hermits' rest,
Where thou, the Maithil dame, and I
May dwell while seasons sweetly fly.
Some pleasant spot be chosen where
Pure waters gleam and trees are fair,
Some nook where flowers and wood are found
And sacred grass and springs abound."
Then Lakshman, Sítá standing by,
Raised reverent hands, and made reply:
"A hundred years shall flee, and still
Will I obey my brother's will:
Select thyself a pleasant spot;
Be mine the care to rear the cot."
The glorious chieftain, pleased to hear
That loving speech that soothed his ear,
Selected with observant care
A spot with every charm most fair.
He stood within that calm retreat,
A shade for hermits' home most meet,
And thus Sumitrá's son addressed,
While his dear hand in his he pressed:
"See, see this smooth and lovely glade
Which flowery trees encircling shade:
Do thou, beloved Lakshman rear
A pleasant cot to lodge us here.
I see beyond that feathery brake
The gleaming of a lilied lake,
Where flowers in sunlike glory throw
Fresh odours from the wave below.
Agastya's words now find we true,
He told the charms which here we view:
Here are the trees that blossom o'er
Godávarí's most lovely shore.
Whose pleasant flood from side to side
With swans and geese is beautified,
And fair banks crowded with the deer
That steal from every covert near.
The peacock's cry is loud and shrill
From many a tall and lovely hill,
Green-belted by the trees that wave
Full blossoms o'er the rock and cave.
Like elephants whose huge fronts glow
With painted streaks, the mountains show
Long lines of gold and silver sheen
With copper's darker hues between.
With every tree each hill is graced,
Where creepers blossom interlaced.
Look where the Sál's long branches sway,
And palms their fanlike leaves display;
The date-tree and the Jak are near,
And their long stems Tamálas rear.
See the tall Mango lift his head,
Asokas all their glory spread,
The Ketak her sweet buds unfold,
And Champacs hang their cups of gold.(450)
The spot is pure and pleasant: here
Are multitudes of birds and deer.
O Lakshman, with our father's friend
What happy hours we here shall spend!"
He spoke: the conquering Lakshman heard,
Obedient to his brother's word.
Raised by his toil a cottage stood
To shelter Ráma in the wood,
Of ample size, with leaves o'erlaid,
Of hardened earth the walls were made.
The strong bamboos his hands had felled
For pillars fair the roof upheld,
And rafter, beam, and lath supplied
Well interwrought from side to side.
Then Samí(451) boughs he deftly spread
Enlaced with knotted cord o'erhead,
Well thatched above from ridge to eaves
With holy grass, and reed, and leaves.
The mighty chief with careful toil
Had cleared the ground and smoothed the soil
Where now, his loving labour done,
Rose a fair home for Raghu's son.
Then when his work was duly wrought,
Godávarís sweet stream he sought,
Bathed, plucked the lilies, and a store
Of fruit and berries homeward bore.
Then sacrifice he duly paid,
And wooed the Gods their hopes to aid,
And then to Ráma proudly showed
The cot prepared for his abode.
Then Raghu's son with Sítá gazed
Upon the home his hands had raised,
And transport thrilled his bosom through
His leafy hermitage to view.
The glorious son of Raghu round
His brother's neck his arms enwound,
And thus began his sweet address
Of deep-felt joy and gentleness:
"Well pleased am I, dear lord, to see
This noble work performed by thee.
For this,--sole grace I can bestow,--
About thy neck mine arms I throw.
So wise art thou, thy breast is filled
With grateful thoughts, in duty skilled,
Our mighty father, free from stain,
In thee, his offspring, lives again."
Thus spoke the prince, who lent a grace
To fortune, pride of Raghu's race;
Then in that spot whose pleasant shade
Gave store of fruit, content he stayed.
With Lakshman and his Maithil spouse
He spent his day's neath sheltering boughs,
As happy as a God on high
Lives in his mansion in the sky.