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Thus Saramá her story told:
And Sitá's spirit was consoled.
As when the first fresh rain is shed
The parching earth is comforted.
Then, filled with zeal for Sitá's sake,
Again in gentle tones she spake,
And, skilled in arts that soothe and please,
Addressed the queen in words like these;
'Thy husband, lady, will I seek,
Say the fond words thy lips would apeak,
And then, unseen of any eye,
Back to thy side will swiftly fly.
My airy flights are speedier far
Than Garuda's and the tempest are.'

Then Sitá spake: her former woe
Still left her accents faint and low:
'I know thy steps, which naught can stay,
Can urge through heaven and hell their way.
Then if thy love and changeless will
Would serve the helpless captive still,
Go forth and learn each plot and guile
Planned by the lord of Lanká's isle.
With magic art like maddening wine
He cheats these weeping eyes of mine.
Torments me with his suit, nor spares
Reproof or flattery, threats or prayers.
These guards surround me night and day;
My heart is sad, my senses stray;
And helpless in my woe I fear
The tyrant Rávan even here.'

Then Saramá replied:'I go
To learn the purpose of thy foe,
Soon by thy side again to stand
And tell thee what the king has planned.'
She sped, she heard with eager ears
The tyrant speak his hopes and fears.
Where, gathered at their master's call,
The nobles filled the council hall;
Then swiftly, to her promise true,
Back to the As'oka grove she flew.
The lady on the grassy ground,
Longing for her return, she found;
Who with a gentle smile, to greet
The envoy, led her to a seat
Through her worn frame a shiver ran
As Saramá her tale began:
'There stood the royal mother: she
Besought her son to set thee free,

p. 454

And to her counsel, tears and prayers,
The elder nobles added theirs:
'O be the Maithíl queen restored
With honour to her angry lord.
Let Janasthán's* unhappy fight
Be witness of the hero's might.
Hanuúmán o'er the waters came
And looked upon the guarded dame.
Let Lanká's chiefs who fought and fell
The prowess of the leader tell.'
In vain they sued, in vain she wept,
His purpose still unchanged he kept.
As clings the miser to his gold,
He would not loose thee from his hold.
No, never till in death he lies,
Will Lanká's lord release his prize.
Soon slain by Ráma's arrows all
The giants with their king will fall,
And Ráma to his home will lead
His black-eyed queen from bondage freed.'

An awful sound that moment rose
From Lanká's fast-approaching foes,
Where drum and shell in mingled peal
Made earth in terror rock and reel.
The hosts within the walls arrayed
Stood trembling, in their hearts dismayed;
Thought of the tempest soon to burst,
Aud Lanká's lord, their ruin, cursed.

Next: Canto XXXV.: Malyaván's Speech.