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That o'er thy head with whelming fury flow.
For after Rama Rama's son will reign,
Nor hope of kingship for thy child remain.
One heir is monarch when a monarch dies,
Else wild confusion in the state would rise :
And be he good or bad, the power will fall
To him, the eldest born, and lord of all.
Know, tender mother, that thy boy must flee,
A wretched outcast, from his home and thee.
For Rama's hand thy darling son will drive
An exile hence, if haply left alive.
Come take the counsel that is wise and good,
And banish Rama to the distant wood.
Then we who serve thee well, a faithful train,
Will hail with joy Prince Bharat's happier reign.
How shall he, worthy of a nobler fate,
From birth the object of his brother's hate,
Poor and despised, his wealthy tyrant's scorn,
Obey the mandates of the elder born?
Arise, sweet queen, to save thy child, arise!
Prostrate beneath his brother's feet he lies;
Like some young elephant, who, proud to lead
His trooping consorts through the woods to feed,
Meets with a hungry lion in the way,
And sinks in death, hís ruthless victor's prey.”
Then flasht the fury from Kaikeyi's eyes, As thus she spake with long and burning sighs : “This day my son upon the throne shall see,
And Rama banisht to the wood shall flee.
But aid me, damsel, and some plan declare
To drive him hence and make my child the heir.”
“Hast thou forgotten?” thus the maid replied,
“Or dost thou love thy secret thoughts to hide ?
Or dost thou wish, gay queen, to hear me tell
An ancient story which thou knowest well ?
Then I will speak: Lady, be thine to hear,
And mark my counsel with attentive ear.
In days of yore the Gods thy husband chose
To aid their arms against their demon foes.
Thou, of thy love, didst follow where he led,
And thou wast near him when he fought and bled.
Thy care preserved him, when in desperate strife
He sank exhausted, and restored his life.
Grateful for this, thy loving husband sware
To grant two boons, thy first and second prayer.
Then come, remind him of his ancient oath,
Recall the promised gifts and claim them both.
For thine own son, thy well-loved Bharat, claim
The right of heirship and the Regent's name,
And pray that Rama in the woods may roam,
Twice seven long years an exile from his home.
Once more attend : the gloomy chamber' seek,
Rage in thine eye and tears upon thy cheek ;
With robes disordered and dishevelled hair,
Fall on the cold ground and lie prostrate there.
When the king comes, still sad and speechless lie,
Give him no answer, lift not up thine
Well do I know that thou hast ever been,
And more than ever art, his favourite queen.
For thy dear sake he'd dare, 0 well-loved dame,
To cast his body to the burning flame :
Such death were welcome, but he ne'er will brook
To anger thee or bear thine angry look.
Literally, the chamber of wrath, a small, low, dark, unfurnished room, to which, it seems, the wives and ladies of the king used to betake themselves when offended, with a view to work more effectually upon the feelings of their lord.
Fain will be offer gems and pearls and gold :
Heed not his gifts: be silent, stern, and cold.
Then to bis mind those promised boons recall,
And claim them boldly : he will grant thee all.
When he has raised his darling from the floor,
And sworn again to grant as first he swore,
Then for thy son demand the royal sway,
And drive Prince Rama to the woods away.
Hope, and be bold : the king is well inclined,
And this the hour to move his easy
Then queen Kaikeyi, full of joy and pride, Thus to her maid in gladsome tone replied : “Good is the plan thy ready wits devise, Sagest of damsels, true and deep and wise ! Without thy constant care, thy faithful aid, Unknown to me the king his plot had laid. The crook-backt race are hideous to the sight, Deformed, malicious, born for guile and spite : Far other thou, with features formed to please, A lovely lotus bending to the breeze. Thy hump, dear damsel, too, becomes thee well,
For there the arts of noble warriors dwell;
And when Kausalya’s son makes way for mine,
Around that hump a chain of gold shall shine.
Yes, I will deck thee on that happy day
When Rama banisht takes my fears away:
With finest gold these hands thy hump shall deck,
And fling rich pearls around thy graceful neck.
A precious frontlet, wrought with utmost care,
Bound on thy brow, shall make thy face more fair;
And thou shalt move along in bright attire,
Each woman's envy and each man's desire :
Fair as a lovely Goddess shalt thou be,
And challenge the sweet moon to rival thee.”
Her lady's praise with joy the damsel heard,
And thus again with wiles her spirit stirred,
As the queen lay upon her sumptuous bed
Like sacred fire upon the altar fed:
“ Mistress, arise, the glorious plot complete :
Let the king find thee in thy dark retreat,
No prudent builder will the bridge delay
Till the wild waters shall have rolled away,'