Page images

Thus I lay my curse upon thee;- for this slaughter done

to-day, Thou for a dear son shalt sorrow, and thy life the debt shall



After Dasarath's death Bharata refused to accept the insignia of royalty, which according to Hindu law was the heritage of his elder brother. We are not told how his mother behaved when he thus refused to aid ber wicked schemes for his advancement; but the Council resolved, that if he would not be King himself, he must go in pursuit of Rama, and persuade him to return and assume the sovereignty. The meeting between the brothers shows the utmost delicacy and generosity of feeling; Bharata lamenting bis mother's ill. conduct, and entreating Rama to return ; Rama declining because unless he keeps his father's vow he cannot secure his father's happiness in heaven : he therefore adjures his brother to return to Ayodhya and “console the people and the twice-born. I with Sita and Lakshman will enter the forest of Dandaka. Be thou the King of men, I will be sovereign of wild beasts. Let the umbrella shade thy head, I will take refuge in the shade of the wood, 'a MRS. SPEIR, Life in Ancient India,

“Urge me no more: thy words are fair, But virtue's garb they falsely wear. With pleasing art thy tongue misleads, And lures me to ignoble deeds. For what is might or ancient race, The pomp of wealth, the pride of place? 'Tis virtue marks the line between

The great and good, the low and mean:

And he from virtue's path who strays,

To wander in forbidden ways,

Whate'er his birth, must hope in vain
The praises of the good to gain.
Shall I the righteous path forsake,
The laws of duty faully break;
Be scorned by all the good and just,
And lay mine honour in the dust?
Shall Rama stain his soul with sin,

And lose the heaven he lives to win?

Nor would the crime with Rama end

For countless lives on him depend.

The people in their prince behold

Their best example, guide, and mould,

And, by his vice or virtue led,

The path he walks they strive to tread. That truth and mercy still must be Beloved of kings, is Heaven's decree ; Upheld by truth the monarch reigns; Nay, truth the very world sustains,

Truth evermore has been the love

Of saints below and Gods above ;

And endless bliss by truth is won In Brahma's world beyond the sun. For holy truth is root and spring Of virtue and each lovely thing : A mighty Lord, supreme on earth, Peerless for beauty, power, and worth : A crown of glory, still more fair Than sacrifice and praise and prayer. Shall I this heavenly gem despise, Attracted by an earthly prize? Shall I, misled by lust of sway, My father's order disobey ; And, folly's dupe or passion's slave,

Force him to break the oath he gave ?

Shall I, to gain my royal right,
The clear command of duty slight:
With lying lips my glory stain,
And basely sin for paltry gain?
For not alone by hand and thought
The soul of man with crime is fraught:
Sin's meanest tool I count the third,

The tongue that speaks the lying word.

« PreviousContinue »