Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 


She kissed her lifeless husband's face,
She clasped him in a close embrace,
Laid her soft lips upon his head;
Then words like these the mourner said:

'No words of mine wouldst thou regard,
And now thy bed is cold and hard.
Upon the rude rough ground o'erthrown,
Beneath thee naught but sand and stone.
To thee the earth is dearer far
Than I and my caresses are,
If thou upon her breast wilt lie,
And to my words make no reply.
Ah my beloved, good and brave,
Bold to attack and strong to save,
Fate is Sugriva's thrall, and we
In him our lord and master see.
Lo, by thy bed, a mournful band,
Thy Vánar chiefs lamenting stand.
O hear thy nobles' groans and cries,
O mark thy Angad's Weeping eyes,
O list to my entreaties, break
The chains of slumber and awake.
Ah me, my lord, this lowly bed
Where rest thy limbs and fallen head,
Is the cold couch where smitten lay
Thy foemen in the bloody fray.
O noble heart from blemish free,
Lover of war, beloved by me,
Why hast thou fled away and left
Thy Tárá of all hope bereft!
Unwise the father who allows
His child to be a warrior's spouse,
For, hero, see thy consort's fate,
A widow now moat desolate,
For ever broken is my pride,
My hope of lasting bliss has died,
And sinking in the lowest deep
Of sorrow's sea I pine and weep.
Ah, surely not of earthly mould,
This stony heart is stern and cold,
Or, in a hundred pieces rent,
It had not lingered to lament.
Dead, dead! my husband, friend, and lord
In whom my loving hopes were stored,
First in the field, his foemen's dread,
My own victorious Báli, dead!
A woman when her lord has died,
Though children flourish by her side,
Though stores of gold her coffers fill,
Is called a lonely widow still.
Alas, thy bleeding gashes make
Around thy limbs a purple lake:
Thus slumbering was thy wont to lie
On cushions bright with crimson dye.
Dark streams of welling blood besmear
Thy limbs where dust and mire adhere,
Nor have I strength, weighed down by woe,
Mine arms about thy form to throw.
The issue of this day has brought
Sugriva all his wishes sought,
For Ráma shot one shaft and he
Is freed from fear and jeopardy.
Alas, alas, I may not rest
My head upon thy wounded breast,
Obstructed by the massive dart
Deep buried in thy bleeding heart.'

Then Níla from his bosom drew
The fatal shaft that pierced him through,
Like some tremendous serpent deep
In caverns of a hill asleep.
As from the hero's wound it came,
Shot from the shaft a gleam of flame,
Like the last flashes of the sun
Descending when his course is run.
From the wide rent in crimson flood
Rushed the full stream of Báli's blood,
Like torrents down a mountain's side
With golden ore and copper dyed.
Then Tárá brushed with tender care
The dust of battle from his hair,
While her sad eyes poured down their rain
Upon her lord untimely slain.
Once more she looked upon the dead;
Then to her bright-eyed child she said:
'Turn hither, turn thy weeping eyes
Where low in death thy father lies.
By sinful deed and bitter hate
Our lord has met his mournful fate.
Bright as the sun at early morn
To Yama's halls is Báli borne.
Then go, my child, salute the king,
From whom our bliss and honour spring.

Obedient to his mother's hest
His father's feet he gently pressed

p. 353

With twining arms and lingering hands:
'Father', he cried, there Angad stands.'
    Then Tárá: 'Art thou stern and mute,
Regardless of thy child's salute?
Hast thou no blessing for thy son,
No word for little Angad, none?
O, hero, at thy lifeless feet
Here with my boy I take my seat,
As some sad mother of the herd,
By the fierce lion undeterred,
Lies moaning by the grassy dell
Wherein her lord and leader fell.
How, having wrought that awful rite,
The sacrifice of deadly fight.
Wherein the shaft by Ráma sped
Supplied the place of water shed,
How hast thou bathed thee at the end
Without thy wife her aid to lend?  1
Why do mine eyes no more behold
Thy bright beloved chain of gold,
Which, pleased with thee, the Immortals' King
About thy neck vouchsafed to fling?
Still lingering on thy lifeless face
I see the pride of royal race:
Thus when the sun has set his glow
Still rests upon the Lord of Snow.
Alas my hero! undeterred
Thou wouldst not listen to my word.
With tears and prayers I sued in vain:
Thou wouldst not listen, and art slain.
Gone is my bliss, my glory: I
And Angad now with thee will die.'

Next: Canto XXIV.: Sugríva's Lament.