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But when he turned his eye where bled
Both Tris'iras and Dúshan dead,
Fear o'er the giant's spirit came
Of Ráma's might which naught could tame.
He saw his savage legions, those
Whose force no creature dared oppose,--
He saw the leader of his train
By Ráma's single prowess slain.
With burning grief he marked the few
Still left him of his giant crew.
As Namuchi  1b on Indra, so
Rushed the dread demon on his foe.
His mighty bow the monster strained,
And angrily on Ráma rained
His mortal arrows in a flood,
Like serpent fangs athirst for blood.
Skilled in the bowman's warlike art,
He plied the string and poised the dart.
Here, on his car, and there, he rode,
And passages of battle showed,
While all the skyey regions grew
Dark with his arrows as they flew.
Then Ráma seized his ponderous bow,
And straight the heaven was all aglow
With shafts whose stroke no life might bear
That filled with flash and flame the air,
Thick as the blinding torrents sent
Down from Parjanya's  2b firmament.
In space itself no space remained,
But all was filled with arrows rained
Incessantly from each great bow
Wielded by Ráma and his foe.
As thus in furious combat, wrought
To mortal hate, the warriors fought,
The sun himself grew faint and pale,
Obscured behind that arrowy veil.
   As when beneath the driver's steel
An elephant is forced to kneel,
So from the hard and pointed head
Of many an arrow Ráma bled.
High on his car the giant rose
Prepared in deadly strife to close,

p. 262

And all the spirits saw him stand
Like Yama with his noose in hand.
For Khara deemed in senseless pride
That he, beneath whose hand had died
The giant legions, failed at length
Slow sinking with exhausted strength.
But Ráma, like a lion, when
A trembling deer comes nigh his den.
Feared not the demon mad with hate,--
Of lion might and lion gait.
Then in his lofty car that glowed
With sunlike brilliance Khura rode
At Ráma: madly on he came
Like a poor moth that seeks the flame.
His archer skill the fiend displayed,
And at the place where Ráma laid
His hand, an arrow cleft in two
The mighty bow the hero drew.
Seven arrows by the giant sent,
Bright as the bolts of Indra, rent
Their way through mail and harness joints,
And pierced him with their iron points.
On Ráma, hero unsurpassed,
A thousand shafts smote thick and fast,
While as each missile struck, rang out
The giant's awful battle-shout.
His knotted arrows pierced and tore
The sunbright mail the hero wore,
Till, band and buckle rent away,
Glittering on the ground it lay.
Then pierced in shoulder, breast, and side,
Till every limb with blood was dyed,
The chieftain in majestic ire
Shone glorious as the smokeless fire.
Then loud and long the war-cry rose
Of Ráma, terror of his foes,
As, on the giant's death intent.
A ponderous bow he strung and bent,--
Lord Vishnu's own, of wondrous size,--
Agastya gave the heavenly prize.
Then rushing on the demon foe,
He raised on high that mighty bow,
And with his well-wrought shafts, whereon
Bright gold between the feathers shone,
He struck the pennon fluttering o'er
The chariot, and it waved no more.
That glorious flag whose every fold
Was rich with blazonry and gold,
Fell as the sun himself by all
The Gods' decree might earthward fall.
From wrathful Khara's hand, whose art
Well knew each vulnerable part,
Four keenly-piercing arrows flew,
And blood in Ráma's bosom drew,
With every limb distained with gore
From deadly shafts which rent and tore,
From Khara's clanging bowstring shots,
The prince's wrath waxed wondrous hot.
His hand upon his bow that best
Of mighty archers firmly pressed,
And from the well-drawn bowstring, true
Each to its mark, six arrows flew.
One quivered in the giant's head,
With two his brawny shoulders bled;
Three, with the crescent heads they bore,
Deep in his breast a passage tore.
Thirteen, to which the stone had lent
The keenest point, were swiftly sent
On the fierce giant, every one
Destructive, gleaming like the sun.
With four the dappled steeds he slew;
One cleft the chariot yoke in two.
One, in the heat of battle sped,
Smote from the neck the driver's head.
The poles were rent apart by three;
Two broke the splintered axle-tree.
Then from the hand of Ráma, while
Across his lips there came a smile.
The twelfth, like thunderbolt impelled,
Cut the great hand and bow it held.
Then, scarce by Indra's self surpassed,
He pierced the giant with the last.
The bow he trusted cleft in twain.
His driver and his horses slain,
Down sprang the giant, mace in hand,
On foot against the foe to stand.
   The Gods and saints in bright array
     Close gathered in the skies,
   The prince's might in battle-fray
     Beheld with joyful eyes.
   Uprising from their golden seats,
     Their hands in honour raised,
   They looked on Ráma's noble feats,
     And blessed him as they praised.


261:1b 'This Asura was a friend of Indra, and taking advantage of his friend's confidence, he drank up Indra's strength along with a draught of wine and Soma. Indra then told the As'vins and Sarasvatí that Namuchi had drunk up his strength. The As'vins in consequence gave Indra a thunderbolt in the form of a foam, with which he smote off the head of Namuchi.' GARRETT'S Classical Dictionary of India, See also Book I. p. 39.

261:2b Indra.

Next: Canto XXIX.: Khara's Defeat.