THEN he tossed all night upon his bed of leaves, and in the morning he rose, and went out upon the steps, and stood on the edge of the pool, listening to the birds in the trees beginning to awake, and salute by their songs the advent of the lord of the day. And as he stood, he looked along the edge of the pool, and through the trees, but he saw no chétí coming towards him, and he remained alone with the pool and its lotuses and the trees.
Then after a while he said to himself: Doubtless she has fallen asleep, or risen late, or it may be that her mistress required her services: or possibly she could not find a flower. But the day grew older, and still she did not come. And at last, he said to himself: What is it to me, whether she comes or does not come? Are not these trees, and this pool, still what they were, before she came into the wood? and can I not pass my day with them for my companions, as I did before? So he wandered up and clown on the edge of the pool. But no matter what he did, his eyes, as if in spite of him, kept looking to the quarter from which she was accustomed to appear.
And then at last, he said to himself: Something is surely wanting, this morning, to the beauty of this wood: and yet it is very strange. For here are the trees, and the temple, and the pool with its lotuses, and the dawn: and nothing is other than it was, save that the chétí and her flower have not come. Nothing is gone, but a woman and a flower. And can it be, that their absence alone should make such a difference to the wood? Then he sat down on the steps, and gazed into the pool. And he said: Aye! but the flower was very sweet. And the woman? Nay! she is not a woman, but
a child. And yet again, no, rather is she poised, like dusk, and like dawn, on the boundary of two conditions, sharing the beauty and qualities of both, and yet possessing a third belonging to neither. For she is half a child and half a woman, and she resembles those flowers that she carries in her hand, buds newly opened in the dawn. And like them, she carries with her a fragrance of her own, yet in this she is superior, that she possesses motion and a voice: while they are silent, and rooted to the ground. And the sight of her coming towards me in the morning with nimble feet that seem as if they were rejoicing, wrapped in her dark blue mantle that like the mist upon a mountain only renders more beautiful the outline of that which it ineffectually conceals, lingers in the recesses of my eye, and refuses to disappear: and like one that has loitered on the hills in the season of the rains, the noise of the murmur of her voice hangs like that of water in my ear, and mixes with the silence of the wood. O! there is magic in the music of her voice, for it is low, and sweeter than honey k, and carries in it whispers that snare and
take prisoner the listening soul, and distract it from attending to the meaning of her words. And even now, it rustles in my memory like a breeze in the branches of a young bamboo, which sigh and ring with its echo, even after it is gone. For, alas! it is gone, and now I must wait till to-morrow before it comes again. And yet, who knows? for something may prevent her from returning, and to-morrow again she may be absent, just as she was to-day. And he spent that day in wandering about, dissatisfied, and hoping for the morrow, and yet fearing, lest even then she should not reappear.
28:k Kalidas, who was a judge in these matters, resembled Shakspeare in his love for the low and gentle voice (walguwák)