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Meghdutam

 

(Cloud Messenger) by Kalidasa
(Translated from Sanskrit by H. H. Wilson, 1843)


Where Ramagiri's cool, dark woods extend,
And those pure streams, where Sita bathed, descend;
Spoiled of his glories, severed from his wife,
A banished Yaksha passes his lonely life:
Doomed, by his lord's stern sentence, to sustain
Twelve tedious months of solitude and pain.

To these dreary hills through circling days confined,
In dull unvaried grief, the god repined;
And sorrow, withering every youthful charm,
Had slipped the golden bracelet from his arm;
When with Ashada's glooms the air was hung,
And one dark cloud around the mountain clung;
In form, some elephant, whose sportive rage,
ramparts, scarce equal to his might, engage.

Long on the mass of mead-reviving dew
The heavenly exile fixed his eager view;
And still the melancholy tear suppressed,
though bitterest sorrow wrung his heaving breast.
For e'en the happy husband, as he folds
His cherished partner in his arms, beholds
This gathering darkness with a troubled heart:
What must they feel, whom fate and distance part!

Such were the Yaksha's thoughts, but fancy found
Some solace in the glooms that deepened round;
And bade him hail amidst the labouring air,
A friendly envoy to his distant fair;
Who, charged with graceful tidings, might impart
New life and pleasure to her drooping heart.

Cheered with the thought, he culled each budding flower,
And wildly wooed the fertilizing power;
(For who, a prey to agonizing grief,
Explores not idlest sources for relief;
And, as to creatures sensible of pain,
To lifeless nature loves not to complain?)
Due homage offered, and oblations made,
the Yaksha thus the Cloud majestic prayed:-

Hail, friend of Indra, counselor divine,
Illustrious offspring of a glorious line!
Wearer of shapes at will, thy worth I know'
And bold entrust thee with my fated woe:
For, better far, solicitation fail
With high desert, than with the base prevail.

Thou art the wretch'd aid, affliction's friend;
To me, unfortunate, thy succour lend;
My lonely state compassionate behold,
Who mourn the vengeance of the god of Gold;
Condemned amidst these dreary rocks to pine,
and all I wish, and all I love, resign.

Where dwell the Yakshas in their sparkling fields,
And Shiva's crescent groves surrounding gilds,
Direct thy licensed journey, and relate
To her who mourns in Alaka, my fate.
There shalt thou find the partner of my woes,
True to her faith, and stranger to repose;

Her task to weep our destiny severe,
And count the moments of the lingering year:
A painful life she leads, but still she lives,
While hope its aid invigorating gives;
For female hearts, though fragile as the flower,
Are firm, when closed by hope's investing power.

Still, as thou mountest on thine airy flight,
Shall widowed wives behold thee with delight,
With eager gaze, their long locks drawn apart,
Whilst hope re-animates each drooping heart:
Nor less shall husbands, as thy course they trace,
Expect at hand a faithful wife's embrace;
Unless, like me, in servitude they bend,
And on another's lordly will depend.

The gentle breeze shall fan thy stately way,
In sportive wreathes the Crane around thee play;
pleased on thy left the Chataka, along
pursue thy path, and cheer it with his song;
And when thy thunders soothe the parching earth'
And showers, expected, raise her mushroom birth;
The swans for Mount Kailasa shall prepare,
And track thy course attendant through the air.

Short be thy farewell to this hill addressed;
This hill with Rama's holy feet impressed;
Thine ancient friend, whose scorching sorrows mourn
Thy frequent absence and delayed return.
Yet ere thine ear can drink what love inspires,
The lengthened way my guiding aid requires.
Oft on whose path full many a lofty hill
Shall ease thy toils, and many a cooling rill.

Rise from these streams, and seek the upper sky;
Then to the north with daring pinions fly.
The beauteous Sylphs shall mark thee with gaze,
in doubt if by the gale abruptly torn,
Some mountain-peak along the air is borne.
The ponderous Elephants, who prop the skies,
hall view thy form expansive with surprise;
Now first their arrogance exchanged for shame,
Lost in thy bulk their long unrivaled fame.

Eastward, where various gems, with blending ray,
In Indra's bow o'er yonder hillock play,
And on thy shadowy form such radiance shed,
As peacock's plumes around a krishna spread,
Direct thy course: to Malas smiling ground,
Where fragment tillage breathes the fields around;
Thy fertile gifts, which looks of love reward,
Where bright-eyed peasants tread the verdant sward.

Thence sailing north, and veering to the west,
On Amrakuta's lofty ridges rest;
Oft have thy showers the mountain's flames allayed,
Then fear not wearied to demand it's aid.
Not e'en the basest, when a failing friend
Solicits help it once was his to lend,
The aid that gratitude exacts denies:
much less shall noble minds the claim despise.

When o'er the wooded mountain's towering head
Thy hovering shades like flowing tresses spread,
Its form shall shine with charms unknown before,
That heavenly hosts may gaze at, and adore;
This earth's round breast, bright swelling from the ground,
And with thy orb as with a nipple crowned.

Next bending downwards from thy lofty flight,
On Chitrakuta's humbler peak alight;
O'er the tall hill thy weariness forego,
And quenching rain-drops on its flames bestow;
For speedy fruits are certain to await
Assistance yielded to the good and great.

Thence journeying onwards, Vindhya's ridgy chain,
And Reva's rill, that bathes its foot, attain;
Whose slender streams upon the brown hill's side,
Like painted streaks upon the dusky hide
Of the tall Elephant--in bright display,
Through stones and rocks wind slow their arduous way.

Here the soft dews thy path has lost resume,
And sip the gelid current's rich perfume,
Where the wild Elephant delights to shed
The juice exuding fragrant from his head.
Then swift proceed, nor shall the blast have force
To check with empty gusts thy ponderous course.

Reviving nature bounteous shall dispense,
To cheer thy journey, every charm of sense;
Blossoms, with blended green and russet hue,
And opening buds, shall smile upon thy view,
Earth's blazing woods in incense shall arise,
And warbling birds with music fill the skies.

Respectful Demigods shall curious count
The chattering storks in lengthening order mount:
Shall mark the Chataka's, who, in thy train,
Expect impatiently the dropping rain.
And, when thy muttering thunders speak thee near,
Shall clasp their brides, half ecstasy, half fear.

Ah! much I dread the long-protected way,
Where charms so numerous spring to tempt delay:
Will not the frequent hill retard thy flight,
Nor flowery plain persuade prolonged delight?
Or can the Peacock's animated hail,
The bird with lucid eyes, to lure thee fail?

Lo! Where awhile the Swans reluctant cower,
Dasarna's fields await the coming shower.
Then shall their groves diffuse profounder gloom,
And brighter buds the deepening shade illume;
Then shall the ancient tree, whose branches wear
The marks of village reverence and care,
Shake through each leaf, as birds profanely wrest
The reverend boughs to form the rising nest.

Where royal Vidisa confers renown
Thy warmest wish shall fruit delightful crown:
There, Vetravati's stream ambrosial laves
A gentle bank, with mildly murmuring waves;
And there, her rippling brow and polished face
Invite thy smiles, and sue for thy embrace.

Next, o'er the lesser hills thy flight suspend,
And growth erect to drooping flowerets lend;
While sweeter fragrance breathes from each recess,
Than rich perfumes the hireling wanton's dress.

On Naga Nadi's banks thy waters shed,
And raise the feeble jasmine's languid head;
Grant for a while thy interposing shroud,
To where those damsels woo the friendly Cloud;
As, while the garland's flowery stores they seek,
The scorching sunbeams singe the tender check,
The ear-hung lotus fades: and vain they chase,
Fatigued and faint, the drops that dew the face.

What though to northern climes thy journey lay,
Consent to track a shortly devious way;
To fair Ujjain's palaces and pride,
And beauteous daughters, turn awhile aside.
Those glancing eyes, those lightning looks unseen,
Dark are thy days, and thou in vain hast been.

Diverging thither now the road proceeds,
Where eddying waters fair Nirvindhya leads,
Who speaks the language amorous maids devise,
The lore of signs, the eloquence of eyes;
And seeks, with lavish beauty, to arrest
Thy course, and woo thee to her bridal breast.

The torrent passed, behold the Sindhu glide,
As though the hair-band bound the slender tide;
Bleached with the withered foliage, that the breeze
has showered rude from overhanging trees:
To thee she looks for succour, to restore
Her lagging waters, and her leafy shore.

Behold the city whose immortal fame
Glows in Avanti's or Visala's name!
Renowned for deeds that worth and love inspire,
And bards to paint them with poetic fire;
The fairest portion of celestial birth.
Of Indra's paradise transferred to earth;
The last rewards to acts of virtue given;
The only recompense then left to Heaven.

Here, as the early Zephyrs waft along,
In swelling harmony, the woodland song;
They scatter sweetness from the fragrant flower
That joyful opens to the morning hour.
With friendly zeal they sport around the maid
Who early courts their vivifying aid;
And, cool from Sipra's gelid waves embrace
Each languid limb and enervated grace.

Her should thy spirit with toils decay,
rest from the labours of the wearying way:
Round every house the flowery fragrance spreads;
O'er every floor the painted footstep threads;

Breathed through each casement, swell the scented air,
Soft odours shaken from the disheveled hair;
Pleased on each terrace, dancing with delight,
The friendly Peacock hails thy grateful flight:
Delay then! certain in Ujjain to find
And that restores the frame, or cheers the mind.

Hence, with new zeal, to Shiva homage pay,
The god whom earth and hell and heaven obey:
The choir who tend his holy fane shall view
With awe, in thee, his neck's celestial blue:
Soft through the rustling grove the fragrant gale
Shall sweets from Gandhavati's fount exhale;
Where with rich dust the lotus-blossoms teem,
And youthful beauties frolic in the stream.

Here, till the sun has vanished in the west,
Till evening brings its sacred ritual, rest;
Then reap the recompense of holy prayer,
like drums thy thunders echoing in the air.
They who, with burning feet and aching arms,
With wanton gestures and emblazoned charms,

In Mahadeva's fane the measure tread,
Or wave the gorgeous chowrie o'er his head,
Shall turn on thee the grateful speaking eye,
Whose glances gleam, like bees, along the sky,
As from thy presence, showers benign and sweet
Cool the parched earth, and soothe their tender feet.

Nay, more--Bhavani shall herself approve,
And pay thy services with looks of love;
When, as her Shiva's twilight rites begin,
And he would clothe him in the reeking skin,
He deems thy form the sanguinary hide,
And casts his elephants attire aside;

For at his shoulders, like a dusky robe,
mantling, impends thy vast and shadowy globe;
Where ample forests, stretched its skirts below
projecting trees like dangling limbs bestow;
And vermil roses, fiercely blooming, shed
Their rich reflected glow, their blood-resembling red.

Amidst the darkness palpable, that shrouds,
Deep as the touchstone's gloom, the night with clouds,
With glittering lines of yellow lightning break,
And frequent trace in heaven the golden streak:
To those fond fair who tread the royal way,
The path their doubtful feet explore betray,
Those thunders hushed, whose shower-foreboding sound
Would check their ardour, and their hopes confound.

On some cool terrace, where the turtle-dove
In gentlest accents breathes connubial love,
Repose awhile; or plead your amorous vows
Through the long night, the lightning for your souse.
Your path retraced, resumed your promised flight,
When in the east the sun restores the light,
And shun his course; for with the dawning sky
The sorrowing wife dispels the tearful eye,

Her lord returned;--so comes the sun, to chase
The dewy tears that stain the Padma's face;
And ill his eager penitence will bear,
That thou shouldst check his progress through the air.

Now to Gambhira's wave thy shadow flies,
And on the stream's pellucid surface lies,
like some loved image faithfully impressed
Deep in the maiden's pure unsullied breast:
And vain thy struggles to escape her wiles,
Or disappoint those sweetly treacherous smiles,
Which glistening Sapharas insidious dart,
Bright as the lotus, at thy vanquished heart.

What breast so firm unmoved by female charms?
Not thine, my friend: for now her waving arms,
O'erhanging Bayas, in thy grasp enclosed,
Rent her cerulean vest, and charms exposed,
prove how successfully she tempts delay,
And wins thee loitering from the lengthening way.

Thence, satiate, lead along the gentle breeze
That bows the lofty summits of the trees;
And pure with fragrance, that the earth in flowers
Repays profuse to fertilizing showers;
Vocal with sounds the elephants excite
To Devagiri wings its welcome flight.

There change thy form, and showering roses shed,
Bathed in the dews of heaven, on Skanda's head;
Son of the Crescent's god, whom holy ire
Called from the flame of all devouring fire,
To snatch the Lord of Swarga from despair,
And timely save the trembling hosts of air.

Next bid thy thunders o'er the mountain float,
And echoing caves repeat the pealing note;
Fit music for the bird, whose lucid eye
Gleams like the horned beauty of the sky;
Whose moulting plumes, to love maternal dear,
Lend brilliant pendants to Bhavani's ear.

To him whose youth in Sara thickets strayed
Reared by the nymphs, thy adoration paid,
Resume thy road, and to the world proclaim
The glorious tale of Rantideva's fame,
Sprung from the blood of countless oxen shed,
And a fair river through the regions spread.

Each lute-armed spirit from thy path retires,
Lest drops ungenial damp the tuneful wires.
Celestial couples, bending from the skies,
Turn on thy distant course their downward eyes,
And watch thee lessening in thy long descent,
To rob the river's scanty stores intent;
As clothed in sacred darkness not thine own,
Thine is the azure of the costly stone,
A central sapphire in the loosened girth
Of scattering pearls, that strung the blooming earth.

The streamlet traversed, to the eager sight
Of Dasapura's fair impart delight;
Welcomed with looks that sparkling eyes bestow,
Whose arching brows like graceful creepers glow,
Whose upturned lashes to thy lofty way
The pearly ball and pupil dark display;
Such contrast as the lovely Kunda shows,
When the black bee sits pleased amidst her snows.

Hence to the land of Brahma's favoured sons,
O'er Kuru's fatal field, thy journey runs.
With deepest glooms hang o'er the deadly plain,
Dewed with the blood of mighty warriors slain.
There Arjun's wrath opposing armies felt,
And countless arrows strong Gandhiva dealt.
Thick as thy drops, that in the pelting shower,
Incessant hurtle round the shrinking flower.

O'er Sarasvati's waters wing your course,
And inward prove their purifying force;
Most holy, since, oppressed with heaviest grief,
The ploughshare's mighty Lord here sought relief;
No longer quaffed the wine cup with his wife,
But mourned in solitude o'er kindred strife.

The journey next o'er Kanakhala bends,
Where Jahnu's daughter from the hills descends;
Whose sacred waters, to Bhagirath given,
Conveyed the sons of Sagara to heaven.
She, who with smiling waves disportive strayed
Through Sambhu's locks, and with his tresses played;
Unheeding, as she flowed delighted down,
The gathering storm of Gauri's jealous frown.

Should her clear current tempt thy thirsty lip,
And thou inclining bend the stream to sip;
Thy form, like Indra's Elephant, displayed,
Shall clothe the crystal waves with deepest shade;
With sacred glooms the darkening waves shall glide,
As where the Jumna mixes with the tide.

As Shiva's Bull upon his sacred neck,
Amidst his ermine, owns some sable speck;
So shall thy shade upon the mountain show,
Whose sides are silvered with eternal snow;
Where Ganga leads her purifying waves,
And the Musk Deer spring frequent from the caves.

From writhing boughs should forest flames arise,
Whose breath the air, and brand the Yak supplies;
Instant afford the aid 'tis thine to lend,
And with a thousand friendly streams descend.
Of all the fruits that fortune yields, the best
Is still the power to succour the distressed.

Shame is the fruit of actions indiscreet,
And vain presumption ends but in defeat.
So shall the Sarabhas, who thee oppose,
Themselves to pain and infamy expose;
When round their heads, amidst the lowering sky,
White as a brilliant smile, thy hailstones fly.

Next to the mountain, with the foot impressed
of him who wears the crescent for his crest,
Devoutly pass, and with religious glow
Around the spot in pious circles go:
For there have Saints the sacred altar raised,
And there eternal offerings have blazed,
And blest the faithful worshippers; for they
The stain of sin with life shall cast away,
And, after death, a glad admittance gain
To Shiva's glorious and immortal train.

Here wake the chorus--Bid the thunder's sound,
Deep and reiterated, roll around,
Loud as a hundred drums--while softer strains
The swelling gale breathes sweetly through the canes;
And from the lovely songsters of the skies,
Hymns to the victor of Tripura rise.

Thence to the snow-clad hills thy course direct,
And Krauncha's celebrated pass select;
That pass the swans in annual light explore;
And erst a Hero's mighty arrows tore.
Winding thy way due north through the defile,
Thy form compressed, with borrowed grace shall smile:
The sable foot that Bali marked with dread,
A god triumphant o'er creation.

Ascended thence, a transient period rest,
Renowned Kailasa's venerated guest.
That mount, whose sides with brightest lustre shine,
A polished mirror, worthy charms divine;
Whose base a Ravan from its centre wrung,
Shaken, not sundered, stable though unstrung;
Whose lofty peaks to distant realms in sight
Present a Siva's smile, a lotus white.

And lo! those peaks, than ivory more clear,
When yet unstained the parted tusks appear,
Beam with new lustre, as around their head
Thy glossy glooms metallic darkness spread;
As shews a Halabhrita's sable vest,
More fair the pallid beauty of his breast.

Haply across thy long and mountain way
In sport may Gauri with her Shiva stray;
Her serpent bracelet from her wrist displaced,
And in her arms the mighty god embraced.
Should thus it fortune, be it thine to lend
A path their holy footsteps may ascend;
Close in thy hollow form thy stores compressed,
While by the touch of feet celestial blessed.

Then shall the nymphs of heaven, a giddy train,
Thy form an instrument of sport detain;
And with the lightning, round each wrist that gleams,
Shall set at liberty thy cooling streams.
But should they seek thy journey to delay--
A grateful solace in the sultry day--
Speak harsh in thunder, and the nymphs shall fly
Alarmed, nor check thy progress through the sky.

Where bright the mountain's crystal glories break,
Explore the golden lotus-covered lake;
Imbibe the dews of Manasa, and spread
A friendly veil round Airavata's head;
Or, life dispensing, with the Zephyrs go,
Where heavenly trees with fainting blossoms blow.

Now on the mountain's side, like some dear friend,
Behold the city of the gods impend;
Thy goal behold, where Ganga's winding rill
Skirts like a costly train the sacred hill;
Where brilliant pearls descend in lucid showers,
And clouds, like tresses, clothe her lofty towers.

There every palace with thy glory vies,
Whose soaring summits kiss the lofty skies;
Whose beauteous inmates bright as lightning glare,
And tabors mock the thunders of the air;
The rainbow flickering gleams along the walls,
And glittering rain in sparkling diamonds falls.

There lovely triflers wanton through the day,
Dress all their care, and all their labour play;
One while, the fluttering Lotus fans the fair,
Or Kunda top-knots crown the jetty hair.

Now, o'er the cheek the Lodh's pale pollen shines,
Now midst their curls the Amaranth entwines.
These graces varying with the varying year,
Sirisha blossoms deck the tender ear;
Or new Kadambas, with thy coming born,
The parted locks and polished front adorn.

Thus graced, they woo the Yakshas to their arms,
And gems, and wine, and music, aid their charms.
The strains divine with art celestial thrill,
And wines from grapes of heavenly growth, distil.
The gems bestrew each terrace of delight,
Like stars that glitter through the shades of night,

There, when the Sun restores the rising day,
What deeds of love his tell-tale beams display!
The withered garlands on the pathway found;
The faded lotus prostrate on the ground;
The pearls, that bursting zones have taught to roam,
Speak of fond maids, and wanderers from home.

Here filled with modest fears, the Yaksha's bride
Her charms from passion's eagerness would hide;
The bold presumption of her lover's hands
To cast aside the loosened vest, withstands;
And, feeble to resist, bewildered turns
Where the rich lamp with lofty radiance burns;
And vainly whelms it with a fragrant cloud
Of scented dust, in hope the light to shroud.

The gale that blows eternally their guide,
High over Alaka the clouds divide
In parted masses, like the issuing smoke
of incense by the lattice-meshes broke:
Scattered they float, as if dispersed by fear,
Or conscious guilt spoke retribution near;
Their just award for showers that lately soiled
Some painted floor, or gilded roof despoiled.

Ere yet thy coming yields opposing gloom,
The moon's white rays the smiling night illume,
And on the moon gem concentrated fall,
That hangs in woven nets in every hall;
Whence cooling dews upon the fair descend,
And life renewed to languid nature lend.

What though while Shiva with the god of gold
Delights a friendly intercourse to hold;
The Lord of Love, remembering former woe,
Wields not in Alaka his bee-strung bow,
Yet still he triumphs: for each maid supplies
The fatal bow with love-inspiring eyes;
And wanton glances emulate the dart,
That speed unerring to the beauty heart.

Northward from where Kuveras holds his state,
Where Indra's bow surmounts the arching gate;
Where on rich boughs the clustering flower depends,
And low to earth the tall Mandara bends;
Pride of the grove, whose wants my fair supplies,
And nurtures like a child--my dwelling lies.

There is the fountain, emerald steps denote,
Where golden buds on stalks of coral float;
And for whose limpid waves the Swans forsake,
Pleased at thy sight, the mount-encircled lake.

Soft from the pool ascends a shelving ground,
Where shades devoted to delight abound;
Where the cerulean summit towers above
The golden circles of a plaintain-grove
Lamented haunts! Which now in thee I view,
As glittering lightnings girt thy base of blue.

See where the clustering Madhavi entwines,
And bright Kuruvaka the wreath confines;
Profuse, Ashoka sheds its radiant flower,
And budding Kesara adorns the bower:
These are my rivals; for the one would greet,
As I would willingly, my charmer's feet;
And, with my fondness, would the other sip
The grateful nectar of her honeyed lip.

A golden column, on a crystal base,
Begirt with jewels, rises o'er the place.
Here, when the evening twilight shades the skies,
The blue-necked peacock to the summit flies,
And moves in graceful circles to the tone
My fair awakens from her tinkling zone.

These be thy guide--and faithfully preserve
The marks I give thee: or e'en more, observe,
Where painted emblems holy wealth design,
Kuvera's treasures--that abode is mine.

Haply its honours are not now to boast,
Dimmed by my fate, and in my exile lost.
For when the sun withdraws his cheering rays,
Faint are the charms the Kamala displays.

To those loved scenes repaired, that awful size,
Like a young elephant, in haste disguise;
lest terror seize my fair one, as thy form
Hangs o'er the hillock, and portends the storm.

Thence to the inner mansion bend thy sight,
Diffusing round a mild and quivering light;
As when, through evening shades, soft flashes play
Where the bright fire-fly wings his glittering way.
There, in the fane, a beauteous creature stands,
The first best work of the creator's hands;

Whose slender limbs inadequately bear
A full-orbed bosom, and a weight of care;
Whose teeth like pearls, whose lips like Bimbas show,
And fawn-like eyes still tremble as they glow.

Lone as the widowed Chakravaki mourns,
Her faithful memory to her husband turns,
And sad, and silent, shalt thou find my wife,
Half of my soul, and partner of my life,
Nipped by chill sorrow, as the flowers enfold
Their shrinking petals from the withering cold.

I view her now! Long weeping swells her eyes,
And those dear lips are dried by parching sighs.
Sad on her hand her pallid cheek declines,
And half unseen through veiling tresses shines;
As when a darkling night the moon enshrouds,
A few faint rays break straggling through the Clouds.

Now at thy sight I mark fresh sorrows flow,
And sacred sacrifice augments her woe.
I mark her now with Fancy's aid retrace
This wasted figure and this haggard face.
Now from her favourite bird she seeks relief,
And tells the tuneful Sarika her grief;
Mourns o'er the feather'd prisoner's kindred fate,
And fondly questions of its absent mate.

In vain the lute for harmony is strung,
And round the robe-neglected shoulder slung;
And faltering accents strive to catch in vain
Our race's old commemorative strain:
The falling tear, that from reflection springs,
Corrodes incessantly the silvery strings;
Recurring woe still pressing on the heart,
The skillful hand forgets its grateful art,
And, idly wandering, strikes no measured tone,
But wakes a sad wild warbling of its own.

At times, such solace animates her mind
As widowed wives in cheerless absence find;
She counts the flowers, now faded on the floor,
That graced with monthly piety the door.
Thence reckons up the period, since from home,
And far from her, was I compelled to roam;
And deeming, fond, my term of exile run,
Conceives my homeward journey is begun.

Lightened by tasks like these, the day proceeds;
But much I dread bitterer night succeeds,
When thou shalt view her on the earth's cold breast,
Or lonely couch of separation rest,
Disturbed by tears those pallid cheeks that burn,
And visions of her dearer half's return.
Now seeking sleep, a husband to restore;
And waking now, his absence to deplore;
Deprived of slumber by returning woes,
Or mocked by idle phantoms of repose;
Till her slight form, consumed by ceaseless pain,
Shews like the moon, fast hastening to its wane.
Crisp from the purifying wave, her hair
Conceals the charms, no more her pleasing care;
And, with neglected nails, her fingers chase,
Fatigued, the tresses wandering o'er her face.

Firm winds the fillet, as it first was wove,
When fate relentless forced me from my love;
And never flowery wreaths, nor costly pearls,
Must hope to decorate the fetter'd curls;
Loosed by no hand, until, the law divine
Accomplished, that delighted hand is mine.

Dull as the flower when clouds through ether sweep,
Not wholly waking, nor resigned to sleep,
Her heavy eyelids languidly unclose
To where the moon its silvery radiance throws
Mild through the chamber: once a welcome light;
Avoided now; and hateful to her sight.

Those charms that glittering ornaments oppress,
Those restless slumbers that proclaim distress,
That slender figure worn by grief severe,
Shall surely gain thy sympathizing tear.
For the soft breast is swift to overflow,
In moist compassion, at the claims of woe.

The same fond wife as when compelled to part,
Her love was mine, I still possess her heart.
Her well-known faith this confidence affords,
Nor vain conceit suggests unmeaning words.
No boaster I! and time shall quickly teach,
With observation joined, how just my speech.

O'er her left limbs shall glad pulsations play,
And signs auspicious indicate the way;
And like the lotus trembling on the tide,
While its deep roots the sportive fish divide,
So tremulous throbs the eye's enchanting ball,
Loose o'er whose lids neglected tresses fall.

Soothed by expected bliss, should gentle sleep
O'er her soft limbs and frame exhausted creep,
Delay thy tidings, and suspend thy flight,
And watch in silent patience through the night.
Withhold thy thunders, lest the awful sound
Her slumber banish, and her dreams confound;
Where her fond arms, like winding shrubs, she flings
Around my neck, and to my bosom clings.

Behold her rising with the early morn,
Fair as the flower that opening buds adorn;
And strive to animate her drooping mind
With cooling rain-drops and refreshing wind;
Restrain thy lightnings, as her timid gaze
Shrinks from bright intolerable blaze;
And murmuring softly, gentle sounds prepare,
With words like these to raise from despair--

'Oh, wife adored! Whose lord still lives for thee;
'Behold his friend and messenger in me;
'Who now approach thy beauteous presence, fraught
'With many a tender and consoling thought!
'Such tasks are mine:--where absent lovers stray,
'I speed the wanderer lightly on his way;
'And, with my thunders, teach his lagging mind
'New hopes the braid of absence to unbind.

As beauteous Mathili with glad surprise
Bent on the Son of air her opening eyes,
So my fair partner's pleased uplifted gaze
Thy friendly presence with delight surveys.
She smiles, she speaks, her misery foregoes,
And deep attention on thy words bestows;
For such dear tidings happiness impart,
Scarce less than mutual meeting to the heart.

Being, of years protracted, ail thy friend,
And with my words thine own suggestions blend!
Say thus: 'Thy lord o'er Rama's mountain strays,
'Nor cares but those of absence blight his days.
'His only wish by me his friend to know,
'If he is blest with health, that thou art so:
'For still this fear especially must wait
'On every creature of our passing state.

'What though to distance driven by wrath divine,
'Imagination joins his form with thine.
'Such as I view, is his emaciate frame;
'Such his regrets; his scorching pangs the same;
'To every sigh of thine his sigh replies,
'And tears responsive trickle from his eyes.

'By thee unheard, by those bright eyes unseen,
'Since fate resists, and regions intervene,
'To me the message of his love consigned
'Portrays the sufferings of his constant mind.
'Oh! Where he present, fondly would he seek,
'In secret whisper, that inviting cheek;
'Woo thee in close approach, his words to hear,
'And breathe these tender accents in thine ear.'

"Goddess beloved! how vainly I explore
"The world, to trace the semblance I adore.
"Thy graceful form the flexible tendril shews,
"And like thy locks the peacock's plumage glows;
"Mild as thy cheeks, the moon's new beams appear,
"And those soft eyes adorn the timid deer;
"In rippling brooks thy curling brows I see,
"But only view combined these charms in thee.

"E'en in these wilds our unrelenting fate
"Proscribes the union, love and art create:
"When, with the colours that the rock supplies,
"O'er the rude stone thy pictured beauties rise,
"Fain would I think, once more we fondly meet,
"And seek to fall in homage at thy feet;
"In vain--for envious tears my purpose blight,
"And veil the lovely image from my sight.

"Why should the god who wields the five-fold dart
"Direct his shafts at this afflicted heart;
"Nor spare to agonize an aching breast,
"By sultry suns and banishment oppressed?
"Oh, that these heavy hours would swiftly fly,
"And lead a happier fate, and milder sky!

"Believe me, dearest, that my doom severe
"Obtains from heavenly eyes the frequent tear;
"And where the spirits of these groves attend
"The pitying drops in pearly showers descend,
"As oft in sleep they mark my outstretched arms,
"That clasp in blissful dreams thy fancied charms,
"Play through the air, and fold in fond embrace
"Impassive matter and ethereal space.

"Soft and delightful to my senses blows
"The breeze that southward wafts Himalaya's snows,
"And rich impregnated with gums divine,
"Exuding fragrant from the shattered pine,
"Diffuses sweets to all, but most to me;
"Has it not touched? Does it not breathe of thee?

"What are my tasks? To speed the lagging night,
"And urge impatiently the rising light:
"The light returned, I sicken at ray,
"And shun as eagerly the shining day:
"Vain are my labours in this lonely state;
"But fate proscribes, and we must bow to fate.

"Let then my firmness save thee from despair,
"Who trust myself, nor sink beneath my care:
"Trust to futurity; for still we view
"The always wretched, always blest, are few:
"Life like a wheel's revolving orb, turns round,
"Now whirled in air, now dragged along the ground.

"When from his serpent couch, that swims the deep,
"Sarangi rises from celestial sleep;
"When four more months, unmarked, have run their course;
"To us all gloom--the curse has lost its force:
"The grief from separation born expires,
"And Autumn's nights reward our chaste desires.

"Once more I view thee, as mine eyes unclose,
"Laid by my side, and lulled by soft repose;
"And now I mark thee startle from thy sleep,
"Loose thy enfolding arms, and wake to weep:
"My anxious love long vainly seeks reply;
"Till, as the smile relumes that lucid eye,
"Thy arch avowal owns, that jealous fear
"Affrighted slumber, and aroused the tear.

"While thus, O goddess with the dark black eyes!
"My fond assurance confidence supplies,
"Let not the tales that idle tattlers bear,
"Subvert thy faith, nor teach thee to despair.
"True love, no time nor distance can destroy;
"And, independent of all present joy,
"It grows in absence, as renewed delight,
"Some dear memorials, some loved lines excite."

Such, vast Dispenser of the dews of heaven!
Such is my suit, and thy promise given:
Fearless, upon thy friendship I rely,
Nor ask that promise, nor expect reply.
To thee the thirsty Chatakas complain;
Thy only answer is the falling rain:
And still such answer from the proceeds,
Who grant our wishes, not in words, but deeds.

Thy task performed, consoled the mourner's mind,
Haste thy return these solitudes to find:
Soar from the mountain, whose exalted brow
The horns of Shiva's bull majestic plough,
And, hither speeding, to my sorrowing heart,
Shrunk like the bud at dawn, relief impart,

With welcome news my woes tumultuous still,
And all my wishes tenderly fulfill!
Then, to whatever scenes invite thy way,
Waft thy rich stores, and grateful glooms convey;
And ne'er may destiny, like mine, divide
Thy brilliant spouse, the lightning, from thy side!

This said, he ceased: the messenger of air
Conveyed to Alaka his wild despair.
The god of wealth, relenting, learnt his state,
And swift curtailed the limit of his fate;
Removed the curse, restored him to his wife,
And blest with ceaseless joy their everlasting life.



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