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Sárdúla, Rávan's spy, surveyed
The legions on the strand arrayed.
And bore, his bosom racked with fear,
These tidings to the monarch's ear:
   'They come, they come. A rushing tide,
Ten leagues they spread from side to side,
And on to storm thy citv press,
Fierce rovers of the wilderness.
Rich in each princely power and grace,
The pride of Das'aratha's race,
Ráma and Lakshman lead their bands,
And halt them on the ocean sands.
O Monarch, rise, this peril meet;
Risk not the danger of defeat.

p. 442

First let each wiser art be tried;
Bribe them, or win them, or divide.'
Such was the counsel of the spy:
And Rávan called to S'uka: 'Fly,
Sugríva lord of Vánars seek,
And thus my kingly message speak:
'Great power and might and fame are thine.
Brave scion of a royal line,
King Riksharajuas' son, in thee
A brother and a friend I see.
How wrouged by me canst thou complain?
What profit here pretend to gain?
If from the wood the wife I stole
Of Ráma of the prudent soul,
What cause hast thou to mourn the theft?
Thou art not injured or bereft.
Return, O King, thy steps retrace
And seek thy mountain dwelling-place.
No, never may thy hosts within
My Lanká's walls a footing win.
A mighty town whose strength defies
The gathered armies of the skies.'
   He ceased: obedient S'uka heard;
With wings and plumage of a bird
He rose in eager speed and through
The air upon his errand flew.
Borne o'er the sea with rapid wing
He stood above the Vánar king,
And spoke aloud, sublime in air.
Thu message he was charged so bear.
The Vánar heard the words he spoke,
And quick redoubling stroke on stroke
On head and pinions hemmed him round
And bore him struggling to the grouud.
The Rákshas wounded and distressed
These words to Raghu's son addressed:
   'Quick, quick! This Vánar host * restrain,
For heralds never must be slain.
To him alone, a wretch untrue,
The punishment of death is due
Who leaves his master's speech unsaid
And speaks another word * instead'
Moved by the suppliant speech and praver
Up sprang the prince and cried, forbear.
Saved from his wild assailant's blows
Again the Rákshas herald rose
And borne on light wings to the sky
Addressed Sugríva from on high:
'O Vánar Monarch, chief endued
With power and wonderous fortitude.
What answer is my king the fear
And scourge of weeping worlds, to hear?'
'Go tell thy lord,' Sugríva cried.
'Thou, Ráma's foe, art thus defied.
His arm the guilty Bali slew;
Thus, tyrant, shalt thee perish too,
Thy sons, thy friends, proud King and all
Thy kith and kin with thee shall fall;
And emptied of the giant's brood,
Burnt * Lanká be a solitude.

Fly to the Sun-God's pathway, go
And hide thee deep in hell below:
In vain from Ráma shalt thou flee
Though heavenly warriors fight for thee.
Thine arm subdued, securely bold,
The Vulture-king infirm and old:
But will thy puny strength avail
When Raghu's wrathful sons assail?
A captive in thy palace lies
The lady of the lotus eyes:
Thou knowest not how fierce and strong
Is he whom thou hast dared to wrong.
The best of Raghu's lineage, he
Whose conquering hand shall punish thee.'
   He ceased: and Augad raised a cry;
'This is no herald but a spy.
Above thee from his airy post
His rapid eye surveyed our host,
Where with advantage he might scan
Our gathered strength from rear to van,
Bind him. Vánars, bind the spy,
Nor let him back to Lanká fly.'
   They hurled the Rákshas to the ground,
Thiey grasped his neck, his pinions bound,
And firmly held bear while * in vain
His voice was lifted to complain.
But Ráma's heart inclined to spare,
He listened to his plaint and prayer,
And cried aloud: 'O Vánars, cease;
The captive from his bonds release.'


441:1b The story is told in Book I. Cantos XL., XLI., XLII.

Next: Canto XXI.: Ocean Threatened.