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The cries of startled birds, the sound
Of tall trees crashing to the ground,
Struck with amaze each giant's ear.
And filled the isle with sudden fear.
Then, wakened by the crash and cries,
The fierce shefiends unclosed their eyes,
And saw the Vánar where he stood
Amid the devastated wood.
The more to scare them with the view
To size immense the Vánar grew;
And straight the Rákshas warders cried
Janak's daughter terrified
Whose envoy, whence, and who is he,
Why has he come to talk with thee?
Speak, lady of the lovely eyes,
And let not fear thy joy disguise.'
   Then thus replied the Maithil dame
Of noble soul and perfect frame.
'Can I discern, with scanty skill,
These fiends who change their forms at will?
'Tis yours to say: your kin you meet;
A serpent knows a serpent's feet.
   I weet not who he is: the sight
Has filled my spirit with affright.'
Some pressed round Sítá in a ring;
Some bore the story to their king:
'A mighty creature of our race,
In monkey form, has reached the place.
He came within the grove,' they cried,
'He stood and talked by Sítá's side,
He comes from Indra's court to her,
Or is Kuvera's messenger;
Or Ráma sent the spy to seek
His consort, and her wrongs to wreak.
His crushing arm, his trampling feet
Have marred and spoiled that dear retreat,
And all the pleasant place which thou
So lovest is a ruin now.
The tree where Sítá sat alone
Is spared where all are overthrown.
Perchance he saved the dame from harm:
Perchance the toil had numbed his arm.'
   Then flashed the giant's eye with fire
Like that which lights the funeral pyre.
He bade his bravest Kinkars  1b speed

p. 418

And to his feet the spoiler lead.
Forth from the palace, at his hest,
Twice forty thousand warriors pressed.
Burning for battle, strong and fierce,
With clubs to crush and swords to pierce,
They saw Hanúmán near a porch,
And, thick as moths around a torch,
Rushed on the foe with wild attacks
Of mace and club and battle-axe.
As round him pressed the Rákshas crowd,
The wondrous monkey roared aloud,
That birds fell headlong from the sky:
Then spake he with a mighty cry:
'Long life to Das'aratha's heir,
And Lakshman, ever-glorious pair
Long life to him who rules our race,
Preserved by noblest Ráma's grace
I am the slave of Kosal's king, 1
Whose wondrous deeds the minstrels sing.
Hanúmán I, the Wind-God's seed:
Beneath this arm the foemen bleed.
I fear not, unapproached in might,
A thousand Rávans ranged for fight,
Although in furious hands they rear
The hill and tree for sword and spear,
I will, before the giants' eyes,
Their city and their king chastise;
And, having communed with the dame,
Depart in triumph as I came.'
  At that terrific roar and yell
The heart of every giant fell.
But still their king's command they feared
And pressed around with arms upreared.
Beside the porch a club was laid:
The Vánar caught it up, and swayed
The weapon round his head, and slew
The foremost of the Rákshas crew.
Thus Indra vanquished, thousand-eyed,
The Daityas who the Gods defied.
Then on the porch Hanúmán sprang,
And loud his shout of triumph rang.
The giants looked upon the dead,
And turning to their monarch fled.
And Rávan with his spirit wrought
To frenzy by the tale they brought,
Urged to the fight Prahasta's son,
Of all his chiefs the mightiest one.


417:1b Kinkar means the special servant of a sovereign, who receives his orders immediately p. 418 from his master. The Bengal recension gives these Rákshases an epithet which the Commentator explains 'as generated in the mind of Brahmá.'

418:1 Ráma de jure King of Kosal of which Ayodhyá was the capital.

Next: Canto XLIII.: The Ruin of The Temple.