When Ráma and the host he led
Across the sea had safely sped,
Thus Rávan, moved by wrath and pride,
To Suka and to Sáran cried:
"O counsellors, the Vánar host
Has passed the sea from coast to coast,
And Dasaratha's son has wrought
A wondrous deed surpassing thought.
And now in truth I needs must know
The strength and number of the foe.
Go ye, to Ráma's host repair
And count me all the legions there.
Learn well what power each captain leads
His name and fame for warlike deeds.
Learn by what artist's wondrous aid
That bridge athwart the sea was made;
Learn how the Vánar host came o'er
And halted on the island shore.
Mark Ráma son of Raghu well;
His valour, strength, and weapons tell.
Watch his advisers one by one,
And Lakshman, Raghu's younger son.
Learn with observant eyes, and bring
"Unerring tidings to your king.
He ceased: then swift in Vánar guise
Forth on their errand sped the spies.
They reached the Vánars, and, dismayed,
Their never-ending lines surveyd:
Nor would they try, in mere despair,
To count the countless legions there,
That crowded valley, plain and hill,
That pressed about each cave and rill.
Though sea-like o'er the land were spread
The endless hosts which Ráma led,
The bridge by thousands yet was lined,
And eager myriads pressed behind.
But sage Vibhishan's watchful eyes
Had marked the giants in disguise.
He gave command the pair to seize,
And told the tale in words like these:
"O Ráma these, well known erewhile,
Are giant sons of Lanká's isle,
Two counsellors of Rávan sent
To watch the invading armament."
Vibhishan ceased: at Ráma's look
The Rákshas envoys quailed and shook;
Then suppliant hand to hand they pressed
And thus Ikshváku's son addressed:
"O Ráma, bear the truth we speak:
Our monarch Rávan bade us seek
The Vánar legions and survey
Their numbers, strength, and vast array."
Then Ráma, friend and hope and guide
Of suffering creatures, thus replied:
"Now giants, if your eyes have scanned
Our armies, numbering every band,
Marked lord and chief, and gazed their fill,
Return to Rávan when ye will.
If aught remain, if aught anew
Ye fain would scan with closer view,
Vibhishan, ready at your call,
Will lead you forth and show you all.
Think not of bonds and capture; fear
No loss of life, no peril here:
For, captive, helpless and unarmed,
An envoy never should be harmed.
Again to Lanká's town repair,
Speed to the giant monarch there,
And be these words to Rávan told,
Fierce brother of the Lord of Gold:
"Now, tyrant, tremble for thy sin:
Call up thy friends, thy kith and kin,
And let the power and might be seen
Which made thee bold to steal my queen.
To-morrow shall thy mournful eye
Behold thy bravest warriors die,
And Lanká's city, tower and wall,
Struck by my fiery shafts, will fall.
Then shall my vengeful blow descend
Its rage on thee and thine to spend,
Fierce as the fiery bolt that flew
From heaven against the Dánav crew,
Mid those rebellious demons sent
By him who rules the firmament."
Thus spake Ikshváku's son, and ceased:
The giants from their bonds released
Lauded the King with glad accord,
And hasted homeward to their lord.
Before the tyrant side by side
Suka and Sáran stood and cried:
"Vibhishan seized us, King, and fain
His helpless captives would have slain.
But glorious Ráma saw us; he,
Great-hearted hero, made us free.
There in one spot our eyes beheld
Four chiefs on earth unparalleled,
Who with the guardian Gods may vie
Who rule the regions of the sky.
There Ráma stood, the boast and pride
Of Raghu's race, by Lakshman's side.
There stood the sage Vibhishan, there
Sugríva strong beyond compare.
These four alone can batter down
Gate, rampart, wall, and Lanká's town.
Nay, Ráma matchless in his form,
A single foe, thy town would storm:
So wondrous are his weapons, he
Needs not the succour of the three.
Why speak we of the countless train
That fills the valley, hill and plain,
The millions of the Vánar breed
Whom Ráma and Sugríva lead?
O King, be wise, contend no more,
And Sítá to her lord restore."