With joy that sprang from hope restored
To Ráma spake the Vánar lord:
"I know, by wise Hanúmán taught,
Why thou the lonely wood hast sought.
Where with thy brother Lakshman thou
Hast sojourned, bound by hermit vow;
Have heard how Sítá, Janak's child,
Was stolen in the pathless wild,
How by a roving Rákshas she
Weeping was reft from him and thee;
How, bent on death, the giant slew
The vulture king, her guardian true,
And gave thy widowed breast to know
A solitary mourner's woe.
But soon, dear Prince, thy heart shall be
From every trace of sorrow free;
For I thy darling will restore,
Lost like the prize of holy lore.(558)
Yea, though in heaven the lady dwell,
Or prisoned in the depths of hell,
My friendly care her way shall track
And bring thy ransomed darling back.
Let this my promise soothe thy care,
Nor doubt the words I truly swear.
Saints, fiends, and dwellers of the skies
Shall find thy wife a bitter prize,
Like the rash child who rues too late
The treacherous lure of poisoned cate.
No longer, Prince, thy loss deplore:
Thy darling wife will I restore.
'Twas she I saw: my heart infers
That shrinking form was doubtless hers,
Which gaint Rávan, fierce and dread,
Bore swiftly through the clouds o'erhead
Still writhing in his strict embrace
Like helpless queen of serpent race,(559)
And from her lips that sad voice came
Shrieking thine own and Lakshman's name.
High on a hill she saw me stand
With comrades twain on either hand.
Her outer robe to earth she threw,
And with it sent her anklets too.
We saw the glittering tokens fall,
We found them there and kept them all.
These will I bring: perchance thine eyes
The treasured spoils will recognize."
He ceased: then Raghu's son replied
To the glad tale, and eager cried:
"Bring them with all thy speed: delay
No more, dear friend, but haste away."
Thus Ráma spoke. Sugríva hied
Within the mountain's caverned side,
Impelled by love that stirred each thought
The precious tokens quickly brought,
And said to Raghu's son: Behold
This garment and these rings of gold.
In Ráma's hand with friendly haste
The jewels and the robe he placed.
Then, like the moon by mist assailed,
The tear-dimmed eyes of Ráma failed;
That burst of woe unmanned his frame,
Woe sprung from passion for his dame,
And with his manly strength o'erthrown,
He fell and cried, Ah me! mine own!
Again, again close to his breast
The ornaments and robe he pressed,
While the quick pants that shook his frame
As from a furious serpent came.
On his dear brother standing nigh
He turned at length his piteous eye;
And, while his tears increasing ran,
In bitter wail he thus began:
"Look, brother, and behold once more
The ornaments and robe she wore,
Dropped while the giant bore away
In cruel arras his struggling prey,
Dropped in some quiet spot, I ween,
Where the young grass was soft and green;
For still untouched by spot or stain
Their former beauty all retain."
He spoke with many a tear and sigh,
And thus his brother made reply:
"The bracelets thou hast fondly shown,
And earrings, are to me unknown,
But by long service taught I greet
The anklets of her honoured feet."(560)
Then to Sugríva Ráma, best
Of Raghu's sons, these words addressed:
"Say to what quarter of the sky
The cruel fiend was seen to fly,
Bearing afar my captured wife,
My darling dearer than my life.
Speak, Vánar King, that I may know
Where dwells the cause of all my woe;
The fiend for whose transgression all
The giants by this hand shall fall.
He who the Maithil lady stole
And kindled fury in my soul,
Has sought his fate in senseless pride
And opened Death's dark portal wide.
Then tell me, Vánar lord, I pray,
The dwelling of my foe,
And he, beneath this hand, to-day
To Yáma's halls shall go."