The Vánar watched concealed: each word
Of Sítá and the fiends he heard,
And in a maze of anxious thought
His quick-conceiving bosom wrought.
'At length my watchful eyes have seen,
Pursued so long, the Maithil queen,
Sought by our Vánar hosts in vain
From east to west, from main to main,
A cautious spy have I explored
The palace of the Rákhshas lord,
And thoroughly learned, concealed from sight,
The giant monarch's power and might.
And now my task must be to cheer
The royal dame who sorrows here.
For if I go, and sooth her not,
A captive in this distant spot,
She, when she finds no comfort nigh,
Will sink beneath her woes and die.
How shall my tale, if unconsoled
I leave her. be to Ráma told?
How shall I answer Raghu's son,
'No message from my darling, none!'
The husband's wrath, to fury fanned,
Will scorch me lifeless where I stand,
Or if I urge my lord the king
To Lanká's isle his hosts to bring,
In vain will be his zeal, in vain
The toil, the danger, and the pain.
Yea, this occasion must I seize
That from her guard the lady frees, 1b
To win her ear with soft address
And whisper hope in dire distress.
Shall I, a puny Vánar, choose
The Sanskrit men delight to use?
If. as a man of Bráhman kind,
I speak the tongue by rules refined.
The lady, yielding to her fears,
Will think 'tis Rávan's voice she hears.
I must assume my only plan--
The language of a common 2b man.
Yet, if the lidy sees me nigh,
second passage, may perhaps be understood
not a language in which words different
from Sanskrit were used, but the employment
of formal and elaborate diction,
MUIR'S Sanskrit Texts, Part II. p. 166.}
In terror she will start and cry;
And all the demon band, alarmed,
Will come with various weapons armed.
With their wild shouts the grove will fill.
And strive to take me, or to kill.
And, at my death or capture, dies
The hope of Ráma's enterprise.
For none can leap, save only me,
A hundred leagues across the sea.
It is a sin in me, I own,
To talk with Janak's child alone.
Yet greater is the sin if I
Be silent, and the lady die.
First I will utter Ráma's name.
And laud the hero's gifts and fame.
Perchance the name she holds so dear
Will soothe the faithful lady's fear.'
411:1 In the south is the region of Yama the God of Death, the place of departed spirits.
411:2 Kumbhakarna was one of Rávan's brothers.
411:3 I omit the 28th and 29th Cantos as an unmistakeable interpolation. Instead of advancing the story it goes back to Canto XVII. containing a lamentation of Sítá after Rávan has left her, and describes the the auspicious signs sent to cheer her, the throbbing of her left eye, arm, and side. The Canto is found in the Bengal recension. Gorresio translates it. and observes: "I think that Chapter XXVIII.--The Auspicious Signs--is an addition, a later interpolation by the Rhapsodists. It has no bond of connexion either with what precedes or follows it, and may be struck out not only without injury to, but positively to the advantage of the poem. The metre in which this chapter is written differs from that which is generally adopted in the course of the poem.'
411:1b The guards are still in the grove, but they are asleep; and Sítá has crept to a tree at some distance from them.
411:2b "As the reason assigned in these passages for not addressing Sítá in Sanskrit such as a Bráhman would use is not that she would not understand it, but that it would alarm her and be unsuitable to the speaker, we must take them as indicating that Sanskrit, if not spoken by women of the upper classes at the time when the Rámáyana was written (whenever that may have been), was at least understood by them, and was commonly spoken by men of the priestly class, and other educated persons, By the Sanskrit proper to p. 412 an [ordinary