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The giant viewed with earnest ken
The Vánars and the lords of men;
Then thus, with grief and anger moved,
In bitter tone the spies reproved:
'Can faithful servants hope to please
Their master with such fates as these?
Or hope ye with wild words to wring
The bosom of your lord and king?
Such words were better said by those
Who come arrayed our mortal foes.
In vain your ears have heard the sage,
And listened to the lore of age,
Untaught, though lectured many a day,
The first great lesson, to obey,
'Tis marvel Rávan reigns and rules
Whose counsellors are blind and fools.
Has death no terrors that ye dare
To tempt your monarch to despair,

p. 450

From whose Imperial mandate flow
Disgrace and honour, weal and woe?
Yea, forest trees, when flames are fanned
About their scorching trunks, may stand;
But naught can set the sinner free
When kings the punishment decree.
I would not in mine anger spare
The traitorous foe-praising pair,
But years of faithful service plead
For pardon, and they shall not bleed.
Henceforth to me be dead: depart,
Far from my presence and my heart.'
   Thus spoke the angry king: the two
Cried, Long live Rávan, and withdrew,
The giant monarch turned and cried
To strong Mahodar at his side:
'Go thou, and spies more faithful bring.
More duteous to their lord the king.'
   Swift at his word Mahodar shed,
And came returning at the head
Of long tried messengers, who bent
Before their monarch reverent.
'Go quickly hence,' said Rávan 'scan
With keenest eyes the foeman's plan.
Learn who, as nearest friends, advise
And mould each secret enterprise.
Learn when he wakes and goes to rest,
Sound every purpose of his breast.
Learn what the prince intends to-day:
Watch keenly all, and come away.'
   With joy they heard the words he said:
Then with S'árdúla at their head
About the giant king they went
With circling paces reverent.
By fair Suvela's grassy side
The chiefs of Raghu's race they spied,
Where, shaded by the waving wood,
Vibhíshan and Sugríva stood.
A while they rested there and viewed
The Vánars' countless multitude.
Vibhíshan with observant eyes
Knew at a glance the giant spies,
And bade the warriors of his train
Bind the rash foes with cord and chain:
'S'árdúla's is the sin,' he cried.
He neath the Vánars' hands had died,
But Ráma from their fury freed
The captive in his utmost need,
And, merciful at sight of woe,
Loosed all the spies and bade them go.
Then home to Lanká's monarch fled
The giant chiefs discomfited.


449:1 Here follows the enumeration of Sugríva's forces which I do not attempt to follow. It soon reaches a hundred thousand billions.

Next: Canto XXX.: Sárdúla's Speech.