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Then round the helpless Sítá drew
With fiery eyes the hideous crew,
And thus assailed her, all and each,
With insult, taunt, and threatening speech:
'What! can it be thou prizest not
This happy chance, this glorious lot,
To be the chosen wife of one
So strong and great, Pulastya's son?
Pulastya--thus have sages told--
Is mid the Lords of Life  2b enrolled.
Lord Brahmá's mind-born son was he,
Fourth of that glorious company.
Vis'ravas from Pulastya sprang,--
Through all the worlds his glory rang.
And of Vis'ravas, large-eyed dame!
Our king the mighty Rávan came.
His happy consort thou mayst be:
Scorn not the words we say to thee'
   One awful demon, fiery-eyed,
Stood by the Maithil queen and cried:
'Come and be his, if thou art wise.
Who smote the sovereign of the skies,
And made the thirty Gods and three, 3b
O'ercome in furious battle, flee.

p. 409

Thy lover turns away with scorn
From wives whom grace and youth adorn.
Thou art his chosen consort, thou
Shall be his pride and darling now."
   Another, Vikatá by name,
In words like these addressed the dame:
The king whose blows, in fury dealt,
The Nágas  1 and Gandharvas  2 felt,
In battle's fiercest brunt subdued,
Has stood by thee and humbly wooed.
And wilt thou in thy folly miss
The glory of a love like this?
Scared by his eye the sun grows chill,
The wanderer wind is hushed and still.
The rains at his command descend,
And trees with new-blown blossoms bend.
His word the hosts of demons fear.
And wilt thou, dame, refuse to hear?
Be counselled; with his will comply,
Or, lady, thou shalt surely die.'


408:1b These four lines have occurred before. Book III. Canto LVI.

408:2b Prajápatis are the ten lords of created beings first created by Brahmá; somewhat like the Demiurgi of the Gnostics.

408:3b "This is the number of the Vedic divinities mentioned in the Rig-veda. In p. 409 Ashtaka I. Súkta XXXIV. the Rishi Hiranyastúpa invoking the As'vins says: À Násatyá tribhirekádasair iha devebniryátam: "O Násatyas (As'vins) come hither with the thrice eleven Gods," And in Súkta XLV. the Rishi Praskanva addressing his hymn to Agni (ignis, fire), thus invokes him: "Lord of the red steeds, propitiated by our prayers lead hither the thirty-three Gods." This number must certainly have been the actual number in the early days of the Vedic religion: although it appears probable enough that the thirty-three Vedic divinities could not then be found co-ordinated in so systematic a way as they were arranged more recently by the authors of the Upanishads. In the later ages of Bramanism the number went on increasing without measure by successive mythical and religious creations which peopled the Indian Olympus with abstract beings of every kind. But through lasting veneration of the word of tha Veda the custom regained of giving the name of "the thirty-three Gods" to the immense phalanx of the multiplied deities." GORRESIO.

409:1 Serpent-Gods who dwell in the regions under the earth.

409:2 In the mythology of the epics the Gandharvas are the heavenly singers or musicians who form the orchestra at the banquets of the Gods, and they belong to the heaven of India in whose battles they share.

Next: Canto XXIV.: Sítá's Reply.