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Then fierce the giant's fury blazed
As on Hanúmán's form he gazed,
And shaken by each wild surmise
He spake aloud with flashing eyes:
'Can this be Nandi  2b standing here,
The mighty one whom all revere?
Who once on high Kailása's hill
Pronounced the curse that haunts me still?
Or is the woodland creature one
Of Asur race, or Bali's  3b son?
The wretch with searching question try:
Learn who he is, and whence; and why
He marred the glory of the grove,
And with my captains fiercely strove.'

p. 422

Prahasta heard his lord's behest,
And thus the Vánar chief addressed:
'O monkey stranger, be consoled:
Fear not, and let thy heart be bold.
If thou by Indra's mandate sent
Thy steps to Lanká's isle hast bent,
With fearless words the cause explain,
And freedom thou shalt soon regain.
Or if thou comest as a spy
Despatched by Vishnu in the sky,
Or sent by Yama, or the Lord
Of Riches, hast our town explored;
Proved by the prowess thou hast shown
No monkey save in form alone;
Speak boldly all the truth, and be
Released from bonds, unharmed and free.
But falsehood spoken to our king
Swift punishment of death will bring.'

He ceased: the Vánar made reply;
'Not Indra's messenger am I,
Nor came I hither to fulfil
Kuvera's hest or Vishnu's will.
I stand before the giants here
A Vánar e'en as I appear.
I longed to see the king--'twas hard
To win my way through gate and guard.
And so to gain my wish I laid
In ruin that delightful shade
No fiend, no God of heavenly kind
With bond or chain these herbs may bind.
The Eternal Sire himself of old
Vouchsafed the boon that makes me bold,
From Brahmá's magic shaft released  1
I knew the captor's power had ceased,
The fancied bonds I freely brooked,
And thus upon the king have looked.
My way to Lanká have I won,
A messenger from Raghu's son.'


421:1b Durdhar, or as the Bengal recension reads Mahodara, Prahasta, Mahápárs'va, and Nikumbha.

421:2b The chief attendant of S'iva.

421:3b Bali, not to be confounded with Báli the Vánar, was a celebrated Daitya or demon who had usurped the empire of the three worlds, and who was deprived of two thirds of his dominions by Vishnu in the Dwarf incarnation.

Next: Canto LI.: Hanumán's Reply.