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Canto LXI. The Vánars' Alarm.

The son of Raghu near the wall
Saw, proudly towering over all,
The mighty giant stride along
Attended by the warrior throng;
Heard Kumbhakarna's heavy feet
Awake the echoes of the street;
And, with the lust of battle fired,
Turned to Vibhishan and inquired:
"Vibhishan, tell that chieftain's name
Who rears so high his mountain frame;
With glittering helm and lion eyes,
Preëminent in might and size
Above the rest of giant birth,
He towers the standard of the earth;
And all the Vánars when they see
The mighty warrior turn and flee."

"In him," Vibhishan answered, "know
Visravas' son, the Immortals' foe,
Fierce Kumbhakarna, mightier far
Than Gods and fiends and giants are.
He conquered Yáma in the fight,
And Indra trembling owned his might.
His arm the Gods and fiends subdued,
Gandharvas and the serpent brood.
The rest of his gigantic race
Are wondrous strong by God-giving grace;
But nature at his birth to him
Gave matchless power and strength of limb.
Scarce was he born, fierce monster, when
He killed and ate a thousand men.
The trembling race of men, appalled,
On Indra for protection called;
And he, to save the suffering world,
His bolt at Kumbhakarna hurled.
So awful was the monster's yell
That fear on all the nations fell,
He, rushing on with furious roar,
A tusk from huge Airávat tore,
And dealt the God so dire a blow
That Indra reeling left his foe,
And with the Gods and mortals fled
To Brahmá's throne dispirited.
"O Brahmá," thus the suppliants cried,
"Some refuge for this woe provide.
If thus his maw the giant sate
Soon will the world be desolate."
The Self-existent calmed their woe,
And spake in anger to their foe:
"As thou wast born, Pulastya's son,
That worlds might weep by thee undone,
Thou like the dead henceforth shalt be:
Such is the curse I lay on thee."
Senseless he lay, nor spoke nor stirred;
Such was the power of Brahmá's word.
But Rávan, troubled for his sake,
Thus to the Self-existent spake:
"Who lops the tree his care has reared
When golden fruit has first appeared?
Not thus, O Brahmá, deal with one
Descended from thine own dear son.(971)
Still thou, O Lord, thy word must keep,
He may not die, but let him sleep.
Yet fix a time for him to break
The chains of slumber and awake."
He ceased: and Brahmá made reply;
"Six months in slumber shall he lie
And then arising for a day
Shall cast the numbing bonds away."
Now Rávan in his doubt and dread
Has roused the monster from his bed,
Who comes in this the hour of need
On slaughtered Vánars flesh to feed.
Each Vánar, when his awe-struck eyes
Behold the monstrous chieftain, flies.
With hopeful words their minds deceive,
And let our trembling hosts believe
They see no giant, but, displayed,
A lifeless engine deftly made."

Then Ráma called to Níla: "Haste,
Let troops near every gate be placed,
And, armed with fragments of the rock
And trees, each lane and alley block."
Thus Ráma spoke: the chief obeyed,
And swift the Vánars stood arrayed,
As when the black clouds their battle form,
The summit of a hill to storm.