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There elephants, that once had roamed

On Vindhya's mountains, vied With monsters from the bosky dells

That shag Himalaya's side. The best of Brahmans, gathered there,

The flame of worship fed ;

And, versed in all the Vedas' lore,

Their lives of virtue led.

By penance, charity, and truth,

They kept each sense controlled, And, giving freely of their store,

Rivalled the saints of old.

Her dames were peerless for the charm

Of figure, voice, and face : For lovely modesty and truth,

And woman's gentle grace. Their husbands, loyal, wise, and kind,

Were heroes in the field,

And, sternly battling with the foe,

Could die, but never yield.

The poorest man was richly blest

With knowledge, wit, and health ; Each lived contented with his own,

Nor envied other's wealth.

All scorned to lie: no miser there

His buried silver stored :

The braggart and the boast were shunned,

The slanderous tongue abhorred. Each kept his high observances,

And loved one faithful spouse ; And troops of happy children crowned,

With fruit, their holy vows.


“ Lanka, or Ceylon, had fallen under the dominion of a prince named Ravan, who was a demon of such power that by dint of penance he had extorted from the God Brahma a promise that no immortal should destroy him. Such a promise was as relentless as the Greek Fate, from wbich Jove himself could not escape; and Ravan, now deeming himself invulnerable, gave up asceticism and tyrannized over the whole of southern India. At length even the Gods in heaven were distressed at the destruction of holiness and oppression of virtue consequent upon Ravan's tyrannies ; and they called a council in the mansion of Brahma, to consider how the earth could be relieved from such a fiend."- MRS. SPEIR, Life in Ancient India.

Thus to the Lord, by whom the worlds were made
The Gods of Heaven in full assembly prayed :

O Brahma, mighty by thy tendered grace
Fierce Ravan, leader of the giant race,
Torments the Gods, too feeble to withstand
The ceaseless fury of his heavy hand.
From thee well pleased, he gained, in days of old,
That saving gift by which he waxes bold;
And we, obedient to that high behest,
Bear all his outrage, patient and opprest.
He scourges-impious fiend-earth, hell, and sky;

And Indra, lord of Gods, would fain defy.
Mad with thy boon, he vexes in his rage
Fiend, angel, seraph, Brahman, saint, and sage.
From him the sun restrains his wonted glow,
Nor dares the wind upon his face to blow;
And Ocean, necklaced with the wandering wave,
Stills the wild waters till they cease to rave.
O Father, lend us thine avenging aid,
And slay this fiend, for we are sore afraid."

They ceased. Then, pondering in his secret mind, “One way,” He said, “ to stay this scourge, I find. Once, at his prayer, I swore his life to guard From God and angel, fiend, and heavenly bard : But the proud giant, in o'erweening scorn, Recked not of mortal foe, of woman born. Man, only man, this hideous pest may slay : None else can take his charmed life away.”

When Brahma's speech the Gods and sages heard, Their fainting souls with hope reviving stirred. Then, crowned with glory like a mighty flame,

Lord Vishnu timely to the council came :
Shell, mace, and discus in his hands he bore,
And royal raiment, tinged with gold, he wore.
Hailed by the Gods, most glorious to behold,
With shining armlets, forged of burnisht gold,
He rode his eagle through the reverent crowd,
Like the sun borne upon a darksome cloud.
Lost in deep thought he stood by Brahma's side,
While all the Immortals praised his name, and cried :

“ O Vishnu, Lord divine, thine aid we crave,
Friend of the worlds, the ruined worlds to save,
Divide thy godhead, Lord, and for the sake
Of Gods and men man's nature on thee take'

Shrined in the bodies of four children, spring
From the three wives of fair Ayodhya's king :
High rank with saints that godly prince may claim,
And those sweet queens, with Beauty, Grace, and Fame.
Assume man's nature thus, and slay in fight
This common scourge, who laughs at heavenly might:

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