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But Súrpanakhá saw the plain
Spread with the fourteen thousand slain,
Doers of cruel deeds o'erthrown
By Ráma's mighty arm alone,
Add Tris'iras and Dúshan dead,
And Khara, with the hosts they led.
Their death she saw, and mad with pain,
Roared like a cloud that brings the rain,
And fled in anger and dismay
To Lanká, seat of Rávan's sway.
There on a throne of royal state
Exalted sat the potentate,
Begirt with counsellor and peer,
Like Indra with the Storm-Gods near.
Bright as the sun's full splendour shone
The glorious throne he sat upon,
As when the blazing fire is red
Upon a golden altar fed.
Wide gaped his mouth at every breath,
Tremendous as the jaws of Death.
With him high saints of lofty thought,
Gandharvas, Gods, had vainly fought.
The wounds Were on his body yet
From wars where Gods and demons met.
And scars still marked his ample chest
By fierce Airávat's 1 tusk impressed.
A score of arms, ten necks, had he,
His royal gear was brave to see.
His massive form displayed each sign
That marks the heir of kingly line.
In stature like a mountain height,
His arms were strong, his teeth were white,
And all his frame of massive mould
Seemed lazulite adorned with gold.
A hundred seams impressed each *limb*
Where Vishnu's arm had wounded him,
And chest and shoulder bore the print
Of sword and spear and arrow dint,
Where every God had struck a blow
In battle with the giant foe.
His might to wildest rage could wake
The sea whose faith naught else can shake,
Hurl towering mountains to the earth,
And crush e'en foes of heavenly birth.
The bonds of law and right he spurned:
To others' wives his fancy turned.
Celestial arms he used in fight,
And loved to mar each holy rite.
He went to Bhogavatí's town, 2
Where Vásuki was beaten down,
And stole, victorious in the strife,
Lord Takshaka's beloved wife.
Kailása's lofty crest he sought,
And when in vain Kuvera fought,
Stole Pushpak thence,the car that through
The air, as willed the master, flew.
Impelled by furious anger, he
Spoiled Nandan's 3 shade and Naliní,
And Chaitraratha's heavenly grove,
The haunts where Gods delight to rove.
Tall as a hill that cleaves the sky,
He raised his mighty arms on high
To check the blessed moon, and stay
The rising of the Lord of Day.
Ten thousand years the giant spent
On dire austerities intent.
And of his heads an offering, laid
Before the Self-existent, made.
No God or fiend his life could take,
Gandharva, goblin, bird, or snake:
Safe from all fears of death, except
From human arm, that life was kept.
Oft when the priests began to raise
Their consecrating hymns of praise,
He spoiled the Soma's sacred juice
Poured forth by them in solemn use.

p. 268

The sacrifice his hands o'erthrew,
And cruelly the Bráhmans slew.
His was a heart that naught oould melt,
Joying in woes which others felt.

She saw the ruthless monster there,
Dread of the worlds, unused to spare.
In robes of heavenly texture dressed,
Celestial wreaths adorned his breast.
He sat a shape of terror, like
Destruction ere the worlds it strike.
She saw him in his pride of place,
The joy of old Pulastya's 1 race,
Begirt by counsellor and peer,
Rávan, the foeman's mortal fear,
And terror in her features shown,
The giantess approached the throne.
   Then Súrpanakhá bearing yet
     Each deeply printed trace
   Where the great-hearted chief had set
     A mark upon her face,
   Impelled by terror and desire,
     Still fierce, no longer bold,
   To Rávan of the eyes of fire
     Her tale, infuriate, told,


267:1 Indra's elephant.

267:2 Bhogavatí, in Pátála in the regions under the earth, is the capital of the serpent race whose king is Vásuki.

267:3 The grove of Indra.

Next: Canto XXXIII.: Súrpanakhá's Speech.