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KUMBHAKARNA.

“Kumbhakarna, the gigantic brother of the titanic Ravan,--named from the size of his ears which could contain a Kumbha or large water-jar-had such an appetite that he used to consume six months' provisions in a single day. Brahma, to relieve the alarm of the world, which had begun to entertain serious apprehensions of being eaten up, decreed that the giant should sleep six months at a time and wake for only one day during which he might consume his six months' allowance without trespassing unduly on the reproductive capabilities of the earth. When Rama invaded the capital of Ravan, the titans requiring all their forces, employed the most violent measures-and eventually with success—to wake the sleeping giant.”

With troubled spirit and with broken pride
Through Lanka's gate the vanquisht Ravan hied,
Crusht like an elephant who falls beneath

The lion's spring, and feels the murderous teeth,
Or like a serpent ’neath the furious wing
And vengeful talons of the feathered king.
Such was the giant's fear and wild alarm
At the swift arrows shot by Rama's arm-
Shafts, with the flame of lightning round them curled,
Like Brahma's fiery bolts that end the world,
At length, supported on his golden throne,
With failing eye he spoke and humbled tone :
“Alas! ye giants, all the toil is vain,

Х

Fruitless my penance and an age of pain,
If I whom Indra's self confest his peer,

Secure of Gods, a mortal victor fear.

My soul remembers-now, alas! too late

The words of Brahma which foretold my fate :
* Tremble, proud Giant,' thus the warning ran-
And fear destruction from unheeded man.

Secure from God and fiend and angel, live,
From faun and serpent, by the boon I give.

Against their power and might thy life is charmed, ,

Against man only is thy soul unarmed'

Too well I know the fated hour is nigh:
Then let each leader to his station fly.
Guard every alley with a chosen band,
Let giant warders on the rampart stand,
And let the terror of immortal eyes,
Great Kumbhakarna, from his trance arise.

He in deep slumber, free from care and pain,
Lulled by a charm for many a month has lain.
Let him arise, our bravest, best of all,

And soon the foemen 'neath his arm will fall.”

The giant hosts their monarch's word obeyed,

And left his presence trembling and afraid.
They carried flowery garlands, sweet and fresh,
And, for his banquet, loads of blood and flesh.
They reacht the cavern where the slumberer lay-
A mighty cave that stretcht a league each way:
But scarce the strongest could an entrance gain,
So fierce the tempest as he breathed amain.
They found the giant lying on his bed
With his huge limbs at all their length outspread.
Before his face they piled his favourite cheer,
The flesh of buffaloes and boars and deer.

With garlands, heavenly fair, they fanned his face,
And clouds of incense sweetened all the place.
Then moon-bright conchs they sounded loud and long,
And the cave echoed with the giants' song

Then on their breasts they smote with thundering blows,

And higher yet the wild commotion rose,
When the loud cymbal vied with drum and horn,

And fiendish war-cries on the gale upborne

Through all the air in hideous discord spread,

And the birds heard the din and fell down dead.

But Kumbhakarna calmly took his rest :

And they smote fiercely on his shaggy chest
With maces, clubs, and pieces of the rock,
But still he moved not yet nor felt the shock.

Then all united in one effort more

With shell, drum, tabor, and redoubled roar;

Club, mace, staff, mallet, with strong arms applied,
Rained vigorous blows upon his breast and side;
And screaming elephants were urged to aid,
And beaten camels groaned and horses neighed.
But Kumbhakarna calmly slumbered still.
Then furious wrath began their breasts to fill :
They drencht his forehead with a hundred pails,
They tore his ears and hair with teeth and nails;
They bound together many a murderous mace,
And beat him wildly on the head and face;
And drove wild elephants, with ponderous tread,
Over his mighty limbs and chest and head.
The unusual weight the giant's slumber broke,
He shook his sides and started and awoke;
And, all regardless of the wounds and blows,
Yawning with thirst and faint with hunger, rose..
His jaws like hell gaped terrible and wide,

Red as the sun when glaring o'er the side
Of Meru. Every burning breath he drew
Roared like a mighty wind that rushes through
The cedars on the mountain. Up he raised
His horse-like head, with eyes that fiercely blazed
Like comets ; horrible as Death in form
When menacing the worlds with fire and storm.
The giants pointed to the reeking store
Of flesh of buffalo and deer and boar,

And the fiend gorged him with the flesh and blood,
Huge jars of marrow and of wine a flood.
He ended; and the giants ventured near,
And bent their heads in reverence and fear,

And Kumbhakarna looked around with eyes

All glazed and heavy in their first surprize,
And drowsy yet from his late troubled rest
He thus the Rovers of the Night addrest :

Why have ye called me from my sleep to wake? None with light cause my rest should dare to break. Say, is it well with Ravan? Or has need

And fear come on ye, that with heedless speed
Ye thus disturb me? mark the words I say,

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