His hands in reverence Ráma raised
And southwared o'er the ocean gazed:
Then on the sacred grass that made
His lowly couch* his limbs* he laid,
His head on that strong arm reclined
Which Sitá, best of womankind,
Had loved in happier days to hold
With soft arms decked* with pearls and gold.
Then rising from his bed of grass,
'This day,' he cried, 'the host shall pass
Triumphant to the southern shore,
Or Ocean's self shall be no more *.'
Thus vowing in his constant breast
Again he turned him to his rest,
And there, his eyes in slumber closed,
Silent beside the sea reposed.
Thrice rose the Day-God thrice he set,
The lord of Ocean came not yet,
Thrice came the night, but Raghu's son
No answer by his service won.
To Lakshman thus the hero cried,
His eyes aflame with wrath and pride:
'In vain the softer gifts that grace
The good are offered to the base. *
Long-suffering, patience, gentle speech
Their thankless hearts can never reach.
The world to him its honour pays
Whose ready tongue himself can praise.
Who scorns the true, and hates the right,
Whose hand is ever raised to smite.
Each milder art is tried in vain:
It wins no glory, but disdain.
And victory owns no softer charm
Than might which nerves a warrior's arm.
My humble suit is still denied
By Ocean's overweening pride.
This day the monsters of the deep
In throes of death shall wildly leap.
My shafts shall rend the serpents curled
In caverns of the watery world,
Disclose each sunless depth and bare
The tangled pearl and coral there.
Away with mercy! at a time
Like this compassion is a crime.
Welcom, the battle and the foe!
My bow! my arrows and my bow!
This day the Vánars' feet shall tread
The conquered Sea's exhausted bed,
And he who never feared before
Shall tremble to his farthest shore."
Red flashed his eyes with angry glow;
He stood and grasped his mighty bow,
Terrific as the fire of doom
Whose quenchless flames the world consume.
His clanging cord the archer drew.
And swift the fiery arrows flew
Fierce as the flashing levin sent
By him who rules the firmament.
Down through the startled waters sped
Each missile with its flaming head.
The foamy billows rose and sank,
And dashed upon the trembling bank
Sea monsters of tremendous form
With crash and roar of thunder storm.
Still the wild waters rose and fell
Crowned with white foam and pearl and shell.
Each serpent, startled from his rest,
Raised his fierce eyes and glowing crest.
And prisoned Dánavs 1 where they dwelt
In depths below the terror felt.
Again upon his string he laid
A flaming shaft, but Lakshman stayed
His arm, with gentle reasoning tried
To soothe his angry mood, and cried:
'Brother, reflect: the wise control
The rising passions of the soul.
Let Ocean grant, without thy threat,
The boon on which thy heart is set.
That gracious lord will ne'er refuse
When Ráma son of Raghu sues.'
He ceased: and voices from the air
Fell clear and loud, Spare, Ráma, spare.
443:1 Fiends and enemies of the Gods.