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Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.

Thus Tárá with the starry eyes(581)
Her counsel gave with burning sighs.
But Báli, by her prayers unmoved,
Spurned her advice, and thus reproved:
"How may this insult, scathe, and scorn
By me, dear love, be tamely born?
My brother, yea my foe, comes nigh
And dares me forth with shout and cry.
Learn, trembler! that the valiant, they
Who yield no step in battle fray,
Will die a thousand deaths but ne'er
An unavenged dishonour bear.
Nor, O my love, be thou dismayed
Though Ráma lend Sugríva aid,
For one so pure and duteous, one
Who loves the right, all sin will shun,
Release me from thy soft embrace,
And with thy dames thy steps retrace:
Enough already, O mine own,
Of love and sweet devotion shown.
Drive all thy fear and doubt away;
I seek Sugríva in the fray
His boisterous rage and pride to still,
And tame the foe I would not kill.
My fury, armed with brandished trees,
Shall strike Sugríva to his knees:
Nor shall the humbled foe withstand
The blows of my avenging hand,
When, nerved by rage and pride, I beat
The traitor down beneath my feet.
Thou, love, hast lent thine own sweet aid,
And all thy tender care displayed;
Now by my life, by these who yearn
To serve thee well, I pray thee turn.
But for a while, dear dame, I go
To come triumphant o'er the foe."

Thus Báli spake in gentlest tone:
Soft arms about his neck were thrown;
Then round her lord the lady went
With sad steps slow and reverent.
She stood in solemn guise to bless
With prayers for safety and success,
Then with her train her chamber sought
By grief and racking fear distraught.

With serpent's pantings fierce and fast
King Báli from the city passed.
His glance, as each quick breath he drew,
Around to find the foe he threw,
And saw where fierce Sugríva showed
His form with golden hues that glowed,
And, as a fire resplendent, stayed
To meet his foe in arms arrayed.
When Báli, long-armed chieftain, found
Sugríva stationed on the ground,
Impelled by warlike rage he braced
His warrior garb about his waist,
And with his mighty arm raised high
Rushed at Sugríva with a cry.
But when Sugríva, fierce and bold,
Saw Báli with his chain of gold,
His arm he heaved, his hand he closed,
And face to face his foe opposed.
To him whose eyes with fury shone,
In charge impetuous rushing on,
Skilled in each warlike art and plan,
Báli with hasty words began:
"My ponderous hand, to fight addressed
With fingers clenched and arm compressed
Shall on thy death doomed brow descend
And, crashing down, thy life shall end."
He spoke; and wild with rage and pride,
The fierce Sugríva thus replied:
"Thus let my arm begin the strife
And from thy body crush the life."

Then Báli, wounded and enraged,
With furious blows the battle waged.
Sugríva seemed, with blood-streams dyed,
A hill with fountains in his side.
But with his native force unspent
A Sál tree from the earth he rent,
And like the bolt of Indra smote
On Báli's head and chest and throat.
Bruised by the blows he could not shield,
Half vanquished Báli sank and reeled,
As sinks a vessel with her freight
Borne down by overwhelming weight.
Swift as Suparna's(582) swiftest flight
In awful strength they rushed to fight:
So might the sun and moon on high
Encountering battle in the sky.
Fierce and more fierce, as fought the foes,
The furious rage of combat rose.
They warred with feet and arms and knees,
With nails and stones and boughs and trees,
And blows descending fast as rain
Dyed each dark form with crimson stain,
While like two thunder-clouds they met
With battle-cry and shout and threat.
Then Ráma saw Sugríva quail,
Marked his worn strength grow weak and fail.
Saw how he turned his wistful eye
To every quarter of the sky.
His friend's defeat he could not brook,
Bent on his shaft an eager look,
Then burned to slay the conquering foe,
And laid his arrow on the bow.
As to an orb the bow he drew
Forth from the string the arrow flew
Like Fate's tremendous discus hurled
By Yáma(583) forth to end the world.
So loud the din that every bird
The bow-string's clans with terror heard,
And wildly fled the affrighted deer
As though the day of doom were near.
So, deadly as the serpent's fang,
Forth from the string the arrow sprang.
Like the red lightning's flash and flame
It flew unerring to its aim,
And, hissing murder through the air,
Pierced Báli's breast, and quivered there.
Struck by the shaft that flew so well
The mighty Vánar reeled and fell,
As earthward Indra's flag they pull
When Asvíní's fair moon is full.(584)