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Soon as the night had reached its close
The hermit Vis'vámitra rose;
To both the kings he bade adieu
And to the northern hill withdrew.
Ayodhyá's lord of high renown
Received farewell, and sought his town.
Then as each daughter left her bower
King Janak gave a splendid dower,
Bugs, precious silks, a warrior force,
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse,
Divine to see and well arrayed;
And many a skilful tiring-maid,
And many a young and trusty slave
The father of the ladies gave.
Silver and coral, gold and pearls
He gave to his beloved girls.
These precious gifts the king bestowed
And sped his guest upon his road.
The lord of Mithilá's sweet town
Rode to his court and lighted down.

Ayodhyá's monarch, glad and gay,
Led by the seers pursued his way
With his dear sons of lofty mind:
The royal army marched behind.
As on he fared the voice he heard
Around of many a dismal bird,
And every beast in wild affright
Began to hurry to the right.
The monarch to Vas'ishtha cried:
'What strange misfortune will betide?
Why do the beasts in terror fly,
And birds of evil omen cry?
What is it shakes my heart with dread?
Why is my soul disquieted?'

Soon as he heard, the mighty saint
Thus answered Das'aratha's plaint
In sweetest tone: 'Now, Monarch, mark,
And learn from me the meaning dark.
The voices of the birds of air
Great peril to the host declare:
The moving beasts the dread allay,
So drive thy whelming fear away,'

As he and Das'aratha spoke
A tempest from the welkin broke,
That shook the spacious earth amain
And hurled high trees upon the plain.
The sun grew dark with murky cloud,
And o'er the skies was cast a shroud,
While o'er the army, faint with dread,
A veil of dust and ashes spread.
King, princes, saints their sense retained,
Fear-stupefied the rest remained.
At length, their wits returning, all
Beneath the gloom and ashy pall
Saw Jamadagni's son with dread,
His long hair twisted round his head,
Who, sprung from Bhrigu, loved to beat
The proudest kings beneath his feet.
Firm as Kailása's hill he showed,
Fierce as the fire of doom he glowed.
His axe upon his shoulder lay,
His bow was ready for the fray,
With thirsty arrows wont to fly
Like Lightnings from the angry sky.
A long keen arrow forth he drew,
Invincible like those which flew
From S'iva's ever-conquering bow
And Tripurá in death laid low.

When his wild form, that struck with awe,
Fearful as ravening flame, they saw,
Vas'ishtha and the saints whose care
Was sacrifice and muttered prayer,
Drew close together, each to each,
And questioned thus with bated speech:
'Indignant at his father's fate
Will he on warriors vent his hate,
The slayers of his father slay,
And sweep the loathed race away?
But when of old his fury raged
Seas of their blood his wrath assuaged:

p. 86

So doubtless now he has not planned
To slay all warriors in the land.'

Then with a gift the saints drew near
To Bhrigu's son whose look was fear,
And Ráma! Ráma! soft they cried.
The gift he took, no word replied.
Then Bhrigu's son his silence broke
And thus to Ráma Ráma spoke:


85:1 This is another Ráma, son of Jamadagni, called Paras'uráma, or Ráma with the axe, from the weapon which he carried. He was while he lived the terror ot the Warrior caste, and his name recalls long and fierce struggles between the sacerdotal and military order in which tne latter suffered severely at the hands of their implacable enemy.

Next: Canto LXXV.: The Parle.