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When Raghu's son had owned his claim
Down from the air Vibhíshan came,
And with his four attendants bent
At Ráma's feet most reverent.
   'O Ráma,' thus he cried, 'in me
Vibhíshan, Rávan's brother see.
By him disgraced thine aid I seek,
Sure refuge of the poor and weak.
From Lanká, friends, and wealth I fly.
And reft of all on thee rely.
On thee, the wretch's firmest friend,
My kingdom, joys, and life depend.'
   With glance of favour Ráma eyed
The Rákshas chief and thus replied:
   'First from thy lips I fain would hear
Each brighter hope, each darker fear.
Speak, stranger, that I well may know
The strength and weakness of the foe.'
   He ceased: the Rákshas chief obeyed,
And thus in turn his answer made:
   'O Prince, the Self-existent gave
This boon to Rávan; he may brave
All foes in fight; no fiend or snake,
Gandharva, God, his life may take.
His brother Kumbhakarna vies
In might with him who rules the skies.
The captain of his armies--fame
Perhaps has taught the warrior's name--
Is terrible Prahanta, who
King Manibhadra's  1 self o'erthrew.
Where is the warrior found to face
Young Indrajit, when armed with brace
And guard  2 and bow he stands in mail
And laughs at spear and arrowy hail?
Within his city Lanká dwell
Ten million giants fierce and fell,
Who wear each varied shape at will
And eat the flesh of those they kill.
These hosts against the Gods he led.
And heavenly might discomfited.'
   Then Ráma cried: 'I little heed
Gigantic strength or doughty deed.
In spite of all their might has done
The king, the captain, aud the son
Shall fall beneath my fury dead,
And thou shalt reign in Rávan's stead.
He, though in depths of earth he dwell,
Or seek protection down in hell,

Or kneel before the Sire supreme,
His forfeit life shall ne'er redeem.
Yea, by my brothers' lives I swear,
I will not to my home repair
Till Rávan and his kith and kin
Have paid in death the price of sin.'
   Vibhíshan bowed his head and cried:
'Thy conquering army will I guide
To storm the city of the foe,
And aid the tyrant's overthrow.'
Thus spake Vibhíshan: Ráma pressed
The Rákshas chieftain to his breast,
And cried to Lakshman:'Haste and bring
Sea-water for the new-made king.'
He spoke, and o'er Vibhíshan's head
The consecrating drops were shed
Mid shouts that hailed with one accord
The giants' king and Lanká's lord,
   'Is there no way,' Hanúmán cried,
'No passage o'er the boisterous tide?
How may we lead the Vánar host
In triumph to the farther coast?
'Thus,' said Vibhíshan, 'I advise:
Let Raghu's son in suppliant guise
Entreat the mighty Sea to lend
His succour and this cause befriend.
His channels, as the wise have told,
By Sagar's sons were dug of old,  1b
Nor will high-thoughted Ocean scorn
A prince of Sagar's lineage born.'
   He ceased; the prudent counsel won
The glad assent of Raghu's son.
Then on the ocean shore a bed
Of tender sacred grass was spread,
Where Ráma at the close of day
Like fire upon an altar lay.


441:1 A King of the Yakshas, or Kuvera himself, the God of Gold.

441:2 The brace protects the left arm from injury from the bow-string, and the guard protects the fingers of the right hand.

Next: Canto XX.: The Spies.