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Canto VI. The Court.

The palace gates were guarded well
By many a Rákshas sentinel,
And far within, concealed from view,
Were dames and female retinue
For charm of form and face renowned;
Whose tinkling armlets made a sound,
Clashed by the wearers in their glee,
Like music of a distant sea.
The hall beyond the palace gate,
Rich with each badge of royal state,
Where lines of noble courtiers stood,
Showed like a lion-guarded wood.
There the wild music rose and fell
Of drum and tabor and of shell,
Through chambers at each holy tide
By solemn worship sanctified.
Through grove and garden, undismayed,
From house to house the Vánar strayed,
And still his wondering glances bent
On terrace, dome, and battlement:
Then with a light and rapid tread
Prahasta's(807) home he visited,
And Kumbhakarna's(808) courtyard where
A cloudy pile rose high in air;
And, wandering o'er the hill, explored
The garden of each Rákshas lord.
Each court and grove he wandered through,
Then nigh to Rávan's palace drew.
She-demons watched it foul of face,
Each armed with sword and spear and mace,
And warrior fiends of every hue,
A strange and fearful retinue.
There elephants in many a row,
The terror of the stricken foe.
Huge Airávat,(809) deftly trained
In battle-fields, stood ready chained.
Fair litters on the ground were set
Adorned with gems and golden net.
Gay bloomy creepers clothed the walls;
Green bowers were there and picture halls,
And chambers made for soft delight.
Broad banners waved on every height.
And from the roof like Mandar's hill
The peacock's cry came loud and shrill.(810)