Page images


“Nons sommes dans Ayodhya, le séjour des princes de la dynastie solaire. Dasaratha règne. Nons sommes en plein âge d'or, et en lisant les curieuses descriptions de la royale cité, on se fait une haute idée de la civilisation de l'Inde, dans un siècle antérieur à celui de Salomon.”-MLLE. CLARISSE BADER, La Femme dans l'Inde Antique.

On pleasant Sarju’s fertile side

There lies a rich domain,

With countless herds of cattle thronged,

And gay with golden grain. .
There, built by Manu, Prince of men,

That saint by all revered,
Ayodhya, famed through every land,

Her stately towers upreared.
Her vast extent, her structures high,

With every beauty deckt,

The ruins of the ancient capital of Rama and the Children of the Sun may still be traced in the present Ajudbya, near Fyzabad. Ajudhya is the Jerusalem or Mecca of the Hindus.

2 The Sarju or Ghagra, anciently called Sarayu, rises in the Himalayas, and after flowing through the province of Oudh falls into the Ganges.

3 This Manu was the first prince of the Solar dynasty : “ First Manu reigned, revered by every sage.”-Raghuvansa 1. 16.

Like Indra's city,' showed the skill

Of godlike architect.

Or, like a bright creation sprung

From limner's magic art,

She seemed too beautiful for stone :

So fair was every part.

Twelve leagues the queenly city lay

Down the broad river's side, And, guarded well with moat and wall,

The foeman's power defied. Her ample streets were nobly planned,

And streams of water flowed

To keep the fragrant blossoms fresh,

That strewed her royal road. There many a princely palace stood,

In line, on level ground; Here temple, and triumphal arc,

And rampart banner-crowned.
There gilded turrets rose on high

Above the waving green
Of mango-groves and bloomy trees,

And flowery knots between.

1 Indra is the Hindu Jove. The name of his celestial city is Amaravati.

On battlement and gilded spire

The pennon streamed in state ; And warders, with the ready bow,

Kept watch at every gate. She shone a very mine of gems,

The throne of Fortune's Queen :

So many-hued her gay parterres,

So bright her fountains' sheen.
Her pleasure-grounds were filled at eve

With many a happy throng,
And ever echoed with the sound

Of merry feast and song.

For meat and drink of noblest sort

In plenty there were stored :
And all enjoyed their share of wealth,

Nor heaped the miser's hoard.
At morn the blossom-scented air

The clouds of incense stirred,

And blended, with the wreath's perfume,

The sweet fresh smell of curd.

Streamed through her streets, in endless line,

Slow wain and flying car :

Horse, elephant, and merchant train,

And envoys from afar. Her ample arsenals were filled

With sword, and club, and mace : And wondrous engines, dealing death,

Within her towers had place. Nor there unknown the peaceful arts,

That youthful souls entrance, Of player, minstrel, mime, and bard,

And girls that weave the dance. There rose to heaven the Veda-chant,

Here blent the lyre and lute : There rang the stalwart archer's string,

Here softly breathed the flute.

The swiftest horses whirled her cars,

Of noblest form and breed :

Vanayu's mare that mocked the wind,

And Vahli's fiery steed.

i The sataghní, i. e. centicide, or slayer of a hundred, is generally supposed, says Wilson, to be a sort of fire-arms, or the ancient Indian rocket; but it is also described as a stone set round with iron spikes.

2 The situation of Vanayu is not exactly determined : it seems to have lain to the North-West of India.

3 Vahli, or Vahlika, is the modern Balkh.

« PreviousContinue »