The piteous tears his eye bedewed
As thus his speech the bird renewed;
'Alas my brother, slain in fight
By Rávan's unresisted might!
I, old and wingless, weak and worn,
O'er his sad fate can only mourn.
Fled is my youth: in life's decline
My former strength no more is mine.
Once on the day when Vritra 1 died,
We brothers, in ambitious pride,
Sought, mounting with adventurous flight,
The Day-God garlanded with light.
On, ever on we urged our way
Where fields of ether round us lay,
Till, by the fervent heat assailed,
My brother's pinions flagged and failed.
I marked his sinking strength, and spread
My stronger wings to screen his head,
Till, all my feathers burnt away,
On Vindhya's hill I fell and lay.
There in my lone and helpless state
I heard not of my brother's fate.'
Thus King Sampáti spoke and sighed:
And royal Angad thus replied:
'If, brother of Jatáyus, thou
Hast heard the tale I told but now,
Obedient to mine earnest prayer
The dwelling of that fiend declare.
O, say where cursed Rávan dwells,
Whom folly to his death impels.'
He ceased. Again Sampáti spoke,
And hope in every breast awoke:
'Though lost my wings, and strength decayed,
Yet shall my words lend Ráma aid.
I know the worlds where Vishnu trod, 1b
I know the realm of Ocean's God;
How Asurs fought with heavenly foes,
And Amrit from the churning rose. 2b
A mighty task before me lies,
To prosper Ráma's enterprise,
A task too hard for one whom length
Of days has rifled of his strength.
I saw the cruel Rávan bear
A gentle lady through the air.
Bright washer form, and fresh and young,
And sparkling gems about her hung.
'O Ráma, Ráma!' cried the dame,
And shrieked in terror Lakshman's name,
As, struggling in the giant's hold,
She dropped her gauds of gems and gold.
Like sun-light on a mountain shone
The silken garments she had on,
And glistened o'er his swarthy form
As lightning flashes through the storm.
That giant Rávan, famed of old,
Is brother of the Lord of Gold. 3b
The southern ocean roars and swells
Round Lanká, where the robber dwells
In his fair city nobly planned
And built by Vis'vakarmá's 4b hand.
Within his bower securely barred,
With monsters round her for a guard,
Still in her silken vesture clad
Lies Sitá, and her heart is sad.
A hundred leagues your course must be
Beyond this margin of the sea.
Still to the south your way pursue,
And there the giant Rávan view.
Then up, O Vánars, and away!
For by my heavenly lore I say,
There will you see the lady's face.
And hither soon your steps retrace.
In the first field of air are borne
The doves and birds that feed on corn.
The second field supports the crows
And birds whose food on branches grows.
Along the third in balanced flight
Sail the keen osprey and the kite.
Swift through the fourth the falcon springs
The fifth the slower vulture wings.
Up to the sixth the gay swans rise,
Where royal Vainateya 1 flies.
We too, O chiefs, of vulture race,
Our line from Vinatá may trace,
Condemned, because we wrought a deed
Of shame, on flesh and blood to feed.
But all Suparna's 2 wondrous powers
And length of keenest sight are ours,
That we a hundred leagues away
Through fields of air descry our prey.
Now from this spot my gazing eye
Can Rávan and the dame descry.
Devise some plan to overleap
This barrier of the briny deep.
Find the Videhan lady there,
And joyous to your home repair.
Me too, O Vánars. to the side
Of Varun's 3 home the ocean, guide,
Where due libations shall be paid
To my great-hearted brother's shade.'
387:1 Vritra, 'the coverer, hider, obstructer (of rain)' is the name of the Vedic personification of an imaginary malignant influence or demon of darkness and drought supposed to take possession of the clouds, causing them to obstruct the clearness of the sky and keep back the waters. Indra is represented as battling with this evil influence, and the pent-up clouds being practically represented as mountains or castles are shattered by his thunderbolt and made to open their receptacle.
387:1b Frequent mention has been made of the three steps of Vishnu typifying the rising, culmination, and setting of the sun.
387:2b For the Churning of the Sea, see Book I, Canto XLV.
387:3b Kuvera, the God of Wealth.
387:4b The Architect of the Gods.