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When Rávan saw his darts repelled,
With double rage his bosom swelled.
He summoned, wroth but undismayed,
A mightier charm to lend its aid.
And, fierce as fire before the blast,
A storm of missiles thick and fast,
Spear, pike and javelin, mace and brand,
Came hurtling from the giant's hand.
But, mightier still, the arms employed
By Raghu's son their force destroyed,
And every dart fell dulled and spent
By powers the bards of heaven had lent.
With his huge mace Vibhíshan slew
The steeds that Ravan'a chariot drew.

p. 490

Then Rávan hurled in deadly ire
A ponderous spear that flashed like fire:
But Ráma's arrows checked its way,
And harmless on the earth it lay,
The giant seized a mightier spear,
Which Death himself would shun with fear.
Vibhíshan with the stroke had died,
But Lakshman'a hand his bowstring plied,
And flying arrows thick as hail
Smote fiercely on the giant's mail.
Then Rávan turned his aim aside,
On Lakshman looked and fiercely cried:
'Thou, thou again my wrath hast braved,
And from his death Vibhíshan saved.
Now in his stead this spear receive
Whose deadly point thy heart shall cleave.'

He ceased: he hurled the mortal dart
By Maya forged with magic art.
The spear, with all his fury flung.
Swift, flickering like a serpent's tongue,
Adorned with many a tinkling bell,
Smote Lakshman, and the hero fell.
When Ráma saw, he heaved a sigh,
A tear one moment dimmed his eye.
But tender grief was soon repressed
And thoughts of vengeance filled his breast.
The air around him flashed and gleamed
As from his bow the arrows streamed;
And Lanká's lord, the foeman's dread,
O'erwhelmed with terror turned and fled.


489:1 It is not very easy to see the advantage of having arrows headed in the way mentioned. Fanciful names for war-engines and weapons derived from their resemblance to various animals are not confined to India. The "War-wolf" was used by Edward I. at the siege of Brechin, the "Cat-house" and the "Sow" were used by Edwaid III. at the siege of Dunbar.

Next: Canto CII.: Lakshman Healed.