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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
O Brahma, mighty by thy tendered grace
And Indra, lord of Gods, would fain defy.
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 :
“ O Vishnu, Lord divine, thine aid we crave,
Shrined in the bodies of four children, spring