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She thought upon her lord and sighed,
And thus in gentle tones replied:
'Beseems thee not, O King, to woo
A matron, to her husband true.
Thus vainly one might hope by sin
And evil deeds success to win.
Shall I, so highly born, disgrace
My husband's house, my royal race?

Shall I, a true and loyal dame,
Defile my soul with deed of shame?'
   Then on the king her back she turned,
And answered thus the prayer she spurned:
'Turn, Rávan, turn thee from thy sin;
Seek virtue's paths and walk therein.
To others dames be honour shown;
Protect them as thou wouldst thine own.
Taught by thyself, from wrong abstain
Which, wrought on thee, thy heart would pain.  1b
Beware: this lawless love of thine
Will ruin thee and all thy line;
And for thy sin, thy sin alone,
Will Lanká perish overthrown.
Dream not that wealth and power can sway
My heart from duty's path to stray
Linked like the Day-God and his shine,
I am my lord's and he is mine.
Repent thee of thine impious deed;
To Ráma's side his consort lead.
Be wise; the hero's friendship gain,
Nor perish in his fury slain.
Go, ask the God of Death to spare,
Or red bolt flashing through the air.
But look in vain for spell or charm
To stay my Ráma's vengeful arm.
Thou, when the hero bends his bow,
Shalt hear the clang that heralds woe,
Loud as the clash when clouds are rent
And Indra's bolt to earth is sent.
Then shall his furious shafts be sped,
Each like a snake with fiery head.
And in their flight shall hiss and flame
Marked with the mighty archer's name.  2b
Then in the fiery deluge all
Thy giants round their king shall fall.'

p. 408


407:1 Janak, king of Mithilá, was Sitá's father.

407:2 Hiranyakas'ipu was a king of the Daityas celebrated for his blasphemous impieties. When his pious son Prahlada praised Vishun the Daitya tried to kill him, when the God appeared in the incarnation of the man-lion and tore the tyrant to pieces.

407:1b Do unto others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee, is a precept frequently occurring in the old Indian poems.

This charity is to embrace not human beings only, but bird and beast as well: "He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small"

407:2b It was the custom of Indian warriors to mark their arrows with their ciphers or names, and it seems to have been regarded as a point of honour to give an enemy the satisfaction of knowing who had shot at him. This passage however contains, if my memory serves me well, the first mention in the poem of this practice, and as arrows have been so frequently mentioned and described with almost every conceivable epithet, its occurrence here seems suspicious. No mention of, or allusion to writing has hitherto occurred in the poem.

Next: Canto XXII.: Rávan's Threat.