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But Rávan's breast with fury swelled,
And thus he spake by Death impelled,
While, under brows in anger bent,
Fierce glances from his eyes were sent:
'The bitter words which thou, misled
By friendly thought, hast fondly said,
Which praise the foe and counsel fear,
Unheeded fall upon mine ear.
How canst thou deem a mighty foe
This Ráma who, in stress of woe,
Seeks, banished as his sire decreed,
Assistance from the Vánar breed?
Am I so feeble in thine eyes,
Though feared by dwellers of the skies,--
Whose might in many a battle shown
The glorious race of giants own?
Shall I for fear of him restore
The lady whom I hither bore,
Exceeding fair like Beauty's Queen  1
Without her well-loved lotus seen?
Around the chief let Lakshman stand,
Sugríva, and each Vánar band,
Soon, Malyaván, thine eyes will see
This boasted Ráma slain by me.
I in the brunt of war defy
The mightiest warriors of the sky;
And if I stoop to combat men,
Shall I be weak and tremble then?
This mangled trunk the foe may rend,
But Rávan ne'er can yield or bend,
And be it vice or virtue, I
This nature never will belie.
What marvel if he bridged the sea?
Why should this deed disquiet thee?
This, only this, I surely know,
Back with his life he shall not go.'

Thus in loud tones the king exclaimed,
And mute stood Malyaván ashamed,
His reverend head he humbly bent,
And slowly to his mansion went.
But Rávan stayed, and deep in care
Held counsel with his nobles there,
All entrance to secure and close,
And guard the city from their foes.
He bade the chief Prahasta wait
Commander at the eastern gate.
To fierce Mahodar, strong and brave,
To keep the southern gate, he gave,
Where Mahápárs'va's might should aid
The chieftain with his hosts arrayed.
To guard the west--no chief more fit--
He placed the warrior Indrajit,

His son, the giant's joy and boast,
Surrounded by a Rákshas host:
And mighty Sáran hastened forth
With Suka to protect the north.  1b
'I will myself,' the monarch cried,
'Be present on the northern side.'
These orders for the walls' defence
The tyrant gave, then parted thence,
And, by the hope of victory fired,
To chambers far within, retired.


455:1 Lakshmi is the Goddess both of beauty and fortune, and is represented with a lotus in her hand.

Next: Canto XXXVII.: Preparations.