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They stood where trees of densest green
Wove round their forms a veiling screen.
O'er all the garden's pleasant shade
The eyes of King Sugríva strayed,

p. 341

And, as on grass and tree he gazed,
The fires of wrath within him blazed.
Then like a mighty cloud on high,
When roars the tempest through the sky,
Girt by his friends he thundered out
His dread sky-rending battle-shout
Like some proud lion in his gait,
Or as the sun begins his state,
Sugríva let his quick glance rest
On Ráma whom he thus addressed:
'There is the seat of Báli's sway.
Where flags on wall and turret play,
Which mighty bands of Vánars hold,
Rich in all arms and store of gold.
Thy promise to thy mind recall
That Báli by thy hand shall fall.
As kindly fruits adorn the bough.
So give my hopes their harvest now.'
   In suppliant tone the Vánar prayed,
And Raghu's son his answer made
'By Lakshman''s hand this flowery twine
Was wound about thee for a sign.
The wreath of giant creeper throws
About thy form its brillant glows,
As though about the sun were set
The bright stars for a coronet.
One shaft of mine this day, dear friend,
Thy sorrow and thy fear shall end.
And, from the bowstring freed, shall be
Giver of freedom, King, to thee.
Then come, Sugríva, quickly show,
Where'er he lie, thy bitter foe;
And let my glance the wretch descry
Whose deeds, a brother's name belie.
Yea, soon in dust and blood o'erthrown
Shall Báli fall and gasp and groan.
Once let this eye the foeman see,
Then, if he live to turn and flee,
Despise my puny strength and shame
With foul opprobrium Ráma's name.
Hast thou not seen his hand, O King,
Through seven tall trees one arrow wing?
Stili in that strength securely trust,
And deem thy foeman in the dust,
In all my days, though surely tried
By grief and woe, I ne'er have lied;
And still by duty's law restrained
Will ne'er with falsehood's charge be stained.
Cast doubt away: the oath I sware
Its kindly fruit shall quickly bear,
As smiles the land with golden grain
By mercy of the Lord of rain.
Oh, warrior to the gate I defy
Thy foe with shout and battle-cry.
Till Báli with his chain of gold
Come speeding from his royal hold.
Blood hearts, with warlike fire aglow,
Brook not the challenge of a foe:
Each on his power and might relies,
And most before his fathers eyes.

King Báli loves the fray too well
To linger in his citadel,
And, when he hears thy battle-shout,
All wild for war will hasten out.'
   He spoke. Sugríva raised a cry
That shook and rent the echoing sky,
A shout so fierce and loud and dread
That stately bulls in terror fled,
Like dames who fly from threatened stain
In some ignoble monarch's reign.
The deer in wild confusion ran
Like horses turned in battle's van.
Down fell the birds, like Gods who fall
When merits fail, 1, at that dread call.
So fiercely, boldened for the fray,
The offspring of the Lord of Day
Sent forth his furious shout as loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud,
Or, where the gale blows fresh and free,
The roaring of the troubled sea.


340:1 Called respectively Gárhapatra, Áhavaniya, and Dakshina, household, sacrificial, and southern.

Next: Canto XV.: Tará.