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Márícha gave attentive ear
The ruler of the fiends to hear:
Then, trained in all the rules that teach
The eloquent, began his speech:
''Tis easy task, O King, to find
Smooth speakers who delight the mind.
But they who urge and they who do
Distasteful things and wise, are few.
Thou hast not learnt, by proof untaught,
And borne away by eager thought,
That Ráma, formed for high emprise,
With Varun or with Indra vies.
Still let thy people live in peace,
Nor let their name and lineage cease,
For Ráma with his vengeful hand
Can sweep the giants from the land.
0, let not Janak's daughter bring
Destruction on the giant king.
Let not the lady Sítá wake
A tempest, on thy head to break.
Still let the dame, by care untried,
Be happy by her husband's side,
Lest swift avenging ruin fall
On glorious Lanká, thee, and all.
Men such as thou with wills unchained,
Advised by sin and unrestrained,
Destroy themselves, the king, the state,
And leave the people desolate.
Ráma, in bonds of duty held,
Was never by his sire expelled.
He is no wretch of greedy mind,
Dishonour of his Warrior kind.
Free from all touch of rancorous spite,
All creatures' good is his delight.
He saw his sire of truthful heart
Deceived by Queen Kaikeyí's art,
And said, a true and duteous son,
'What thou hast promised shall be done.'
To gratify the lady's will,
His father's promise to fulfil,
He left his realm and all delight
For Dandak wood, an anchorite.
No cruel wretch, no senseless fool
Is Ráma, unrestrained by rule.
This groundless charge has ne'er been heard,
Nor shouldst thou speak the slanderous word.
Ráma in truth and goodness bold
Is Virtue's self in human mould,
The sovereign of the world confessed
As Indra rules among the Blest.
And dost thou plot from him to rend
The darling whom his arms defend?
Less vain the hope to steal away
The glory of the Lord of Day.

p. 273

O Rávan, guard thee from the fire
Of vengeful Ráma's kindled ire,--
Each spark a shaft with deadly aim,
While bow and falchion feed the flame.
Cast not away in hopeless strife
Thy realm, thy bliss, thine own dear life.
O Rávan of his might beware,
A God of Death who will not spare.
That bow he knows so well to draw
Is the destroyer's flaming jaw,
And with his shafts which flash and glow
He slays the armies of the foe.
Thou ne'er canst win--the thought forego--
From the safe guard of shaft and bow
King Janak's child, the dear delight
Of Ráma unapproached in might.
The spouse of Raghu's son, confessed
Lion of men with lion chest,--
Dearer than life, through good and ill
Devoted to her husband's will,
The slender-waisted, still must be
From thy polluting touches free.
Far better grasp with venturous hand
The flame to wildest fury fanned.
What, King of giants, canst thou gain
From this attempt so wild and vain?
If in the fight his eye he bend
Upon thee, Lord, thy days must end.
So life and bliss and royal sway,
Lost beyond hope, will pass away.
Summon each lord of high estate,
And chief, Vibhíshan 1 to debate.
With peers in lore of counsel tried
Consider, reason, and decide
Scan strength and weakness, count the cost,
What may be gained and what be lost.
Examine and compare aright
Thy proper power and Ráma's might,
Then if thy weal be still thy care.
Thou wilt be prudent and forbear.
O giant King, the contest shun,
   Thy force is all too weak
The lord of Kosál's mighty son
   In deadly fray to seek.
King of the hosts that rove at night,
   O hear what I advise:
My prudent counsel do not slight;
   Be patient and be wise.'


273:1 'The younger brother of the giant Rávan; when he and his brother had practiced austerities for a long series of years, Brahmá appeared to offer them boons: Vibhíshana asked that he might never meditate any unrighteousness.... On the death of Rávan Vibhíshana was installed as Rája of Lanká.' GARRETT'S Classical Dictionary of India.

Next: Canto XXXVIII.: Márícha's Speech.