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Canto XXVIII. The Rains.

"See, brother, see" thus Ráma cried
On Mályavat's(618) dark-wooded side,
"A chain of clouds, like lofty hills,
The sky with gathering shadow fills.
Nine months those clouds have borne the load
Conceived from sunbeams as they glowed,
And, having drunk the seas, give birth,
And drop their offspring on the earth.
Easy it seems at such a time
That flight of cloudy stairs to climb,
And, from their summit, safely won,
Hang flowery wreaths about the sun.
See how the flash of evening's red
Fringes the fleecy clouds o'erhead
Till all the sky is streaked and lined
With bleeding wounds incarnadined,
Or the wide firmament above
Shows like a lover sick with love
And, pale with cloudlets, heaves a sigh
In the soft breeze that wanders by.
See, by the fervent heat embrowned,
How drenched with recent showers, the ground
Pours out in floods her gushing tears,
Like Sítá wild with torturing fears.
So softly blows this cloud-born breeze
Cool through the boughs of camphor trees
That one might hold it in the cup
Of hollowed hands and drink it up.
See, brother, where that rocky steep,
Where odorous shrubs in rain-drops weep,
Shows like Sugríva when they shed
Tne royal balm upon his head.
Like students at their task appear
These hills whose misty peaks are near:
Black deerskin(619) garments wrought of cloud
Their forms with fitting mantles shroud,
Each torrent from the summit poured
Supplies the place of sacred cord.(620)
And winds that in their caverns moan
Sound like the voice's undertone.(621)
From east to west red lightnings flash,
And, quivering neath the golden lash,
The great sky like a generous steed
Groans inly at each call to speed.
Yon lightning, as it flashes through
The giant cloud of sable hue,
Recalls my votaress Sítá pressed
Mid struggles to the demon's breast.
See, on those mountain ridges stand
Sweet shrubs that bud and bloom expand.
The soft rain ends their pangs of grief,
And drops its pearls on flower and leaf.
But all their raptures stab me through
And wake my pining love anew.(622)
Now through the air no wild bird flies,
Each lily shuts her weary eyes;
And blooms of opening jasmin show
The parting sun has ceased to glow.
No captain now for conquest burns,
But homeward with his host returns;
For roads and kings' ambitious dreams
Have vanished neath descending streams.
This is the watery month(623) wherein
The Sámar's(624) sacred chants begin.
Áshádha(625) past, now Kosal's lord(626)
The harvest of the spring has stored,(627)
And dwells within his palace freed
From every care of pressing need.
Full is the moon, and fierce and strong
Impetuous Sarjú(628) roars along
As though Ayodhyá's crowds ran out
To greet their king with echoing shout.
In this sweet time of ease and rest
No care disturbs Sugríva's breast,
The foe that marred his peace o'erthrown,
And queen and realm once more his own.
Alas, a harder fate is mine,
Reft both of realm and queen to pine,
And, like the bank which floods erode,
I sink beneath my sorrow's load.
Sore on my soul my miseries weigh,
And these long rains our action stay,
While Rávan seems a mightier foe
Than I dare hope to overthrow.
I saw the roads were barred by rain,
I knew the hopes of war were vain;
Nor could I bid Sugríva rise,
Though prompt to aid my enterprise.
E'en now I scarce can urge my friend
On whom his house and realm depend,
Who, after toil and peril past,
Is happy with his queen at last.
Sugríva after rest will know
The hour is come to strike the blow,
Nor will his grateful soul forget
My succour, or deny the debt
I know his generous heart, and hence
Await the time with confidence
When he his friendly zeal will show,
And brooks again untroubled flow."(629)