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Canto XXIII. The Demons' Threats.

Then round the helpless Sítá drew
With fiery eyes the hideous crew,
And thus assailed her, all and each,
With insult, taunt, and threatening speech:
"What! can it be thou prizest not
This happy chance, this glorious lot,
To be the chosen wife of one
So strong and great, Pulastya's son?
Pulastya--thus have sages told--
Is mid the Lords of Life(838) enrolled.
Lord Brahmá's mind-born son was he,
Fourth of that glorious company.
Visravas from Pulastya sprang,--
Through all the worlds his glory rang.
And of Visravas, large-eyed dame!
Our king the mighty Rávan came.
His happy consort thou mayst be:
Scorn not the words we say to thee."

One awful demon, fiery-eyed,
Stood by the Maithil queen and cried:
'Come and be his, if thou art wise,
Who smote the sovereign of the skies,
And made the thirty Gods and three,(839)
O'ercome in furious battle, flee.
Thy lover turns away with scorn
From wives whom grace and youth adorn.
Thou art his chosen consort, thou
Shall be his pride and darling now."

Another, Vikatá by name,
In words like these addressed the dame:
"The king whose blows, in fury dealt,
The Nágas(840) and Gandharvas(841) felt,
In battle's fiercest brunt subdued,
Has stood by thee and humbly wooed.
And wilt thou in thy folly miss
The glory of a love like this?
Scared by his eye the sun grows chill,
The wanderer wind is hushed and still.
The rains at his command descend,
And trees with new-blown blossoms bend.
His word the hosts of demons fear,
And wilt thou, dame, refuse to hear?
Be counselled; with his will comply,
Or, lady, thou shalt surely die."