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But, best of youths, until thou hence art fled,

Thy sire will neither bathe nor call for bread.”

“Woe! woe !" the monarch murmured, with a groan, Deep 'neath the waves of whelming anguish thrown; Then in exceeding grief he swooned away, And on the gold-wrought couch all senseless lay. Then Rama raised him, while Kaikeyi's tongue Still urged him, like a horse by lashes stung. Unmoved he answered : “Queen, I strive to do My duty only, like the sages true; Nor would I, with a soul athirst for gain, False to my promise, in the world remain. All I can do to please my father, think Already done : from death I would not shrink : One duty, paramount of duties still, Is that a son should do his father's will.

By him unbidden, if the word thou give,
Will I an exile in the forest live.

Couldst thou no virtue in my nature see

That thou must crave of him, not ask of me?
This day I go in Dandak's wilds to dwell :
First to my mother I must bid farewell,

And comfort Sita. Thine the charge must rest

That Bharat listen to his sire's behest,

And keep the kingdom happy and secure :

This is the law that ever shall endure.”

In speechless woe the hapless father heard, And wept with bitter cry, but spoke no word. Then bowing at the senseless monarch's feet, And stern Kaikeyi's, for such love unmeet, Once round the pair his circling steps he bent, Then from the bower the glorious exile went. Him followed Lakshman, sweet Sumitra's child, With angry weeping eyes so sad and wild. And Rama saw, nor turned his eyes away, The sacred vessels ranged for that great day; And golden chalices, whose waters poured Upon his head would have ordained him lord. He saw, and round them in due honour paced, His eye po anguish showed, his foot no haste. Still on his brow, with lofty hope o'erthrown, Shone the great glory which was all his own; So doth the moon, through the world's love, retain Delicious splendour in the days of wane,


Rama goes from the presence of his afflicted father and exulting stepmother to pay a farewell visit to Kausalya, who is full of joyful anticipations on her son's account.

On to his mother's splendid bower he went,
And found the queen on holy rites intent.
There oil, and rice, and brimming vases stood,
With wreaths of flowers, and curds, and cates, and wood.
She with her thin cheek pale with many a fast,
And many a night in painful vigil past,
In linen robes of purest white arrayed,
To Lakshmi, Queen of Heaven, her offerings made.
Soon as she saw the darling of her soul,
As a fond mare who springs to meet her foal,
To greet her son, unseen so long, she flew,
And round his neck her tender arms she threw :

May all the glories of thy royal line,"
She cried, with kisses on his brow, “be thine.
Be wise and mighty like thy sires of old,
Be good and noble, pious, lofty souled.


This day thy father's faithful love is shown :
This day he sets thee on his ancient throne.”

Then answered Rama, “Dearest lady, know
That danger threatens, fraught with mighty woe.
My father's choice this day makes Bharat heir ;
And I must hence to Dandak's wood, and there
Living on fruit and honey, hermit's food,
Pass twice seven dreary years in solitude."

Swift as a Sal branch, by the woodman lopt
In some primeval grove, the lady dropt
And lay upon the ground. So falls a mare

Beneath the load she strives in vain to bear.

And Rama raised her


and brusht away

The dust that on her arms and shoulders lay.
“A grief more sore” she cried, “I ne'er could mourn
If thou had never, O my son, been born;
Yet, well I know, their childless fate, to those
Who pine for offspring, is the crown of woes.
I, eldest queen, to those I scorn, must bend,
And let my rival's taunt my bosom rend.


What woman's lot can be so hard as mine,

In endless woe and mourning doomed to pine ? Have they not scorned me when my son was near ?

And death will follow when thou art not here.

'Twas ne'er my lot my husband's love to gain,
And now I'm mockt by proud Kaikeyi's train ;
And those who served me once, a faithless band,
Now far aloof in gloomy silence stand.
How shall I brook her scolding tongue to hear,
And, better far than she, her anger fear?
Since thou wast born ('tis seventeen years ago),
I've lookt to thee one day to end my woe.
Now what remains but shame and grief, a share
Of trouble heavier than my soul can bear!
How will my gloomy days go darkly by
Without thy moon-bright face to cheer mine eye?
Alas! my cares thy tender years to train,

And all my vows and fasts and prayers were vain !

Hard is my heart; or surely it had burst

When the wild rush of sorrow reacht it first;

As in the Rains no river bank can hold

The headlong torrent from the mountains rolled.

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