"Assailed by thirst and hunger, dame,
Within a gloomy vault we came.
We saw the cavern opening wide,
And straight within its depths we hied.
But utterly amazed are we
At all the marvels that we see.
Whose are the golden trees that gleam
With splendour like the morning's beam?
These cates of noblest sort? these roots?
This wondrous store of rarest fruits?
Whose are these calm and cool retreats,
These silver homes and golden seats,
And lattices of precious stones?
Who is the happy lord that owns
The golden trees, of rarest scent,
Neath loads of fruit and blossom bent?
Who, strong in holy zeal, had power
To deck the streams with richest dower,
And bade the lilies bright with gold
The glory of their blooms unfold,
Where fish in living gold below
The sheen of changing colours show?
Thine is the holy power, I ween,
That beautified the wondrous scene;
But if another's, lady, deign
To tell us, and the whole explain."
To him the lady of the cave
In words like these her answer gave:
"Skilled Maya framed in days of old
This magic wood of growing gold.
The chief artificer in place
Was he of all the Dánav race.
He, for his wise enchantments famed,
This glorious dwelling planned and framed
He for a thousand years endured
The sternest penance, and secured
From Brahmá of all boons the best,
The knowledge Usanas(752) possessed.
Lord, by that boon, of all his will,
He fashioned all with perfect skill;
And, with his blissful state content,
In this vast grove a season spent.
By Indra's jealous bolt he fell
For loving Hemá's(753) charms too well.
And Brahmá on that nymph bestowed
The treasures of this fair abode,
Wherein her tranquil days to spend
In happiness that ne'er may end.
Sprung of a lineage old and high,
Merusávarni's(754) daughter, I
Guard ever for that heavenly dame
This home, Svayamprabhá(755) my name,--
For I have loved the lady long,
So skilled in arts of dance and song.
But say what cause your steps has led
The mazes of this grove to tread.
How, strangers did ye chance to spy
The wood concealed from wanderer's eye?
Tell clearly why ye come: but first
Eat of this fruit and quench your thirst."