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Márícha thus in wild unrest
With bitter words the king addressed.
Then to his giant lord in dread,
'Arise, and let us go,' he said.
'Ah, I have met that mighty lord
Armed with his shafts and bow and sword,
And if again that bow he bend
Our lives that very hour will end.

For none that warrior can provoke
And think to fly his deadly stroke.
Like Yama with his staff is he,
And his dread hand will slaughter thee.
What can I more? My words can find
No passage to thy stubborn mind.
I go, great King, thy task to share,
And my success attend thee there.'
   With that reply and bold consent
The giant king was well content.
He strained Márícha to his breast
And thus with joyful words addressed:
'There spoke a hero dauntless still,
Obedient to his master's will,
Márícha's proper self once more:
Some other took thy shape before.
Come, mount my jewelled car that flies.
Will-governed, through the yielding skies,
These asses, goblin-faced, shall bear
Us quickly through the fields of air.
Attract the lady with thy shape,
Then through the wood, at will, escape.
And I, when she has no defence,
Will seize the dame and bear her thence.
Again Márícha made reply,
Consent and will to signify.
With rapid speed the giants two
From the calm hermit dwelling flew,
Borne in that wondrous chariot, meet
For some great God's celestial seat.
They from their airy path looked down
On many a wood and many a town,
On lake and river, brook and rill,
City and realm and towering hill.
Soon he whom giant hosts obeyed,
Márícha by his side, surveyed
The dark expanse of Dandak wood
Where Ráma s hermit cottage stood.
They left the flying car, whereon
The wealth of gold and jewels shone,
And thus the giant king addressed
Márícha as his hand he pressed:
   'Márícha, look! before our eyes
Round Ráma's home the plantains rise.
His hermitage is now in view:
Quick to the work we came to do!'
   Thus Rávan spoke, Márícha heard
Obedient to his master's word,
Threw off his giant shape and near
The cottage strayed a beauteous deer.
With magic power, by rapid change.
His borrowed form was fair and strange.
A sapphire tipped each horn with light;
His face was black relieved with white.
The turkis and the ruby shed
A glory from his ears and head.
His arching neck was proudly raised,
And lazuares* beneath it blazed.
With roseate bloom his flanks were dyed,
And lotus tints adorned his hide.
His shape was fair*, compact*, and slight;

p. 278

His hoofs--were carven lazulite.
His tail with every changing glow
Displayed the hues of Indra's bow.
With glossy skin so strangely flecked,
With tints of every gem bedecked.
A light o'er Ráma's home he sent,
And through the wood, where'er he went.
The giant clad in that strange dress
That took the soul with loveliness,
To charm the fair Videhan's eyes
With mingled wealth of mineral dyes,
Moved onward, cropping in his way,
The grass and grain and tender spray,
His coat with drops of silver bright,
A form to gaze on with delight,
He raised his fair neck as he went
To browse on bud and filament.
Now in the Cassia grove he strayed,
Now by the cot in plantains' shade.
Slowly and slowly on he came
To catch the glances of the dame,
And the tall deer of splendid hue
Shone full at length in Sítá's view.
He roamed where'er his fancy chose
Where Ráma's leafy cottage rose.
Now near, now far, in careless ease,
He came and went among the trees.
Now with light feet he turned to fly,
Now, reassured, again drew nigh:
Now gambolled close with leap and bound,
Now lay upon the grassy ground:
Now sought the door, devoid of fear,
And mingled with the troop of deer;
Led them a little way, and thence
Again returned with confidence.
Now flying far, now turning back
Emboldened on his former track,
Seeking to win the lady's glance
He wandered through the green expanse.
Then thronging round, the woodland deer
Gazed on his form with wondering fear;
A while they followed where he led,
Then snuffed the tainted gale and fled.
The giant, though he longed to slay
The startled quarry, spared the prey,
And mindful of the shape he wore
To veil his nature, still forbore.
Then Sítá of the glorious eye,
Returning from her task drew nigh;
For she had sought the wood to bring
Each loveliest flower of early spring.
Now would the bright-eyed lady choose
Some gorgeous bud with blending hues,
Now plucked the mango's spray, and now
The bloom from an As'oka bough.
She with her beauteous form, unmeet
For woodland life and lone retreat,
That wondrous dappled deer beheld
Gemmed with rich pearls, unparalleled,
His silver hair the lady saw,
His radiant teeth and lips and jaw,

And gazed with rapture as her eyes
Expanded in their glad surprise.
And when the false deer's glances fell
On her whom Ráma loved so well,
He wandered here and there, and cast
A luminous beauty as be passed;
And Janak's child with strange delight
Kept gazing on the unwonted sight.

Next: Canto XLIII.: The Wondrous Deer.