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Though grief and woe his utterance broke
They trusted not the words he spoke;
But, looking still for secret guile,
Reflected in their hearts a while:
'If on our mangled limbs he feed,
We gain the death ourselves decreed.'
   Then rose the Vánar chiefs, and lent
Their arms to aid the bird's descent;
And Angad spake: There lived of yore
A noble Vánar king who bore
The name of Riksharajas, great
And brave and strong and fortunate.
His sons were like their father: fame
Knows Báli and Sugríva's name.
Praised in all lands, a glorious king
Was Báli, and from him I spring.
Brave Ráma, Das'aratha's heir,
A glorious prince beyond compare,
His sire and duty's law obeyed,
And sought the depths of Dandaks' shade
Sítá his well-beloved dame,
And Lakshman, with the wanderer came.
A giant watched his hour, and stole
The sweet delight of Ráma's soul.
Jatáyus, Das'aratha's friend,
Swift succour to the dame would lend.
Fierce Rávan from his car he felled,
And for a time the prize withheld.
But bleeding, weak with years, and tired,
Beneath the demon's blows expired,
Due rites at Ráma's hands obtained,
And bliss that ne'er shall minish, gained.
Then Ráma with Sugríva made
A covenant for mutual aid,
And Báli, to the field defied,
By conquering Ráma's arrow died.
Sugríva then, by Ráma's grace,
Was monarch of the Vánar race.
By his command a mighty host
Seeks Ráma's queen from coast to coast.
Sent forth by him, in every spot
We looked for her, but find her not.
Vain is the toil, as though by night
We sought to find the Day-God's light.
In lands unknown at length we found
A spacious cavern under ground,
Whose vaults that stretch beneath the hill
Were formed by Maya's magic skill.
Through the dark maze our steps were bent,
And wandering there a month we spent,

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And lost, in fruitless error, thus
The days our king allotted us.
Thus we though faithful have transgressed,
And failed to keep our lord's behest.
No chance of safety can we see,
No lingering hope of life have we.
Sugriva's wrath and Ráma's hate
Press on our souls with grievous weight;
And we, because 'tis vain to fly,
Resolve at length to fast and die.'

Next: Canto LVIII: Tidings of Sitá.