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Canto XCVI. Rávan's Sally.

The groans and cries of dames who wailed
The ears of Lanká's lord assailed,
For from each house and home was sent
The voice of weeping and lament.
In troubled thought his head he bowed,
Then fiercely loosing on the crowd
Of nobles near his throne he broke
The silence, and in fury spoke:
"This day my deadly shafts shall fly,
And Raghu's sons shall surely die.
This day shall countless Vánars bleed
And dogs and kites and vultures feed.
Go, bid them swift my car prepare,
Bring the great bow I long to bear:
And let my host with sword and shield
And spear be ready for the field."

From street to street the captains passed
And Rákshas warriors gathered fast.
With spear and sword to pierce and strike,
And axe and club and mace and pike.

[I omit several weapons for which I cannot find distinctive names, and
among them the _Sataghní_ or _Centicide_, supposed by some to be a kind of
fire-arms or rocket, but described by a commentator on the Mahábhárata as
a stone or cylindrical piece of wood studded with iron spikes.]

Then Rávan's warrior chariot(994) wrought
With gold and rich inlay was brought.
Mid tinkling bells and weapons' clang
The monarch on the chariot sprang,
Which, decked with gems of every hue,
Eight steeds of noble lineage drew.
Mid roars of drum and shell rang out
From countless throats a joyful shout.
As, girt with hosts in warlike pride,
Through Lanká's streets the tyrant hied.
Still, louder than the roar of drums,
Went up the cry "He comes, he comes,
Our ever conquering lord who trod
Beneath his feet both fiend and God."
On to the gate the warriors swept
Where Raghu's sons their station kept.
When Rávan's car the portal passed
The sun in heaven was overcast.
Earth rocked and reeled from side to side
And birds with boding voices cried.
Against the standard of the king
A vulture flapped his horrid wing.
Big gouts of blood before him dropped,
His trembling steeds in terror stopped.
The hue of death was on his cheek,
And scarce his flattering tongue could speak,
When, terrible with flash and flame,
Through murky air a meteor came.
Still by the hand of Death impelled
His onward way the giant held.
The Vánars in the field afar
Heard the loud thunder of his car.
And turned with warriors' fierce delight
To meet the giant in the fight.
He came: his clanging bow he drew
And myriads of the Vánars slew.
Some through the side and heart he cleft,
Some headless on the plain were left.
Some struggling groaned with mangled thighs,
Or broken arms or blinded eyes.

[I omit Cantos XCVII, XCVIII, and XCIX, which describe in the usual way
three single combats between Sugríva and Angad on the Vánar side and
Virúpáksha, Mahodar, and Mahápársva on the side of the giants. The weapons
of the Vánars are trees and rocks; the giants fight with swords, axes, and
bows and arrows. The details are generally the same as those of preceding
duels. The giants fall, one in each Canto.]