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What thing on earth shall be so richly blest?
The fruit thy dear hand gives me there to eat,
Little or much, shall be, like amrit, sweet.
Ne'er will I murmur at my lot, or grieve
For mother, father, or the home I leave.
My food shall be wild fruit, the flower, the weed :
I will not vex thee by a word or deed.
With thee is heaven, where'er thou art not, hell :
O, lead me hence that I in heaven may dwell."
Then with a bitter cry her arms she flung
Round Rama's neck, and there in anguish clung :
While from her eyes pure floods, as from a pair
Of lotuses, poured down at every prayer,

He gently held her, raised her drooping head, And staid the sweet soul that had wellnigh fled : "Not heaven shall bribe me from my wife to part. I knew not, love, the strength of thy fond heart; And hence in doubt thy prayer I first denied, Though naught can harm thee by thy Rama's side. Yea, thou wast formed by Heaven to share my fate, To soothe my sorrows and divide their weight. As powerless I to leave my love behind,

As a high saint his pity for mankind.
And now my duty leads me far away :
My sire commands it and I must obey.
Whate'er the order that my parents give,
I yield obedience, or must cease to live.

No, Sita, not the sacrificial blaze,

True heart, or liberal hand, or lip of praise,
Will with such lasting joy the spirit fill
As glad obedience to a father's will.
Come to the wood and aid my duties there,
But first at home thy helping hand prepare.
Arise, dear wife, nor let thy steps be slow,
Scatter our treasures quickly ere we go.
Bring forth thy corn and oil the poor to feast,
Give gold and jewels to each white-robed priest;
Gems and rich raiment, all thou hast beside,
Among thy maidens and the men divide."

Then Lakshman's


generous tears o'erflowed, As his breast laboured with its grievous load. He with fond touch his brother's feet carest,

And thus the hero and his wife addrest :

“Is such the purpose of thy changeless mind?

I with my trusty bow will walk behind.
Thy distant way through forest wilds will lead,
Where many a bird and gallant stag may bleed.
I would not leave tbee to arise a God,
Though heaven and earth and hell obeyed my nod.”

“Dear as my life, my good and faithful friend, Mine own dear brother," Rama cried, "attend.

Then were Sumitra of her hope bereft,

And sad Kausalya with no guardian left.
He who rains gifts, as Indra rains above,
Lies a poor captive in the snares of love;
And she, proud captor, now a queen indeed,
Will reck but little of her rivals' need.

Thine be the sacred duty to protect
Our honoured mothers from the queen's neglect.”

"O Rama, fear not:” Lakshman thus replied ; "In Bharat's love and Bharat's care confide.

If through his crime the kingdom suffer ill,
My vengeful hand the traitor's blood shall spill.
Yea, though auxiliar worlds were ranged in aid,
They should not save him : be not thou afraid :
For queen Kausalya, from her ample stores,

Can raise a host like me to guard her doors :
Her thousand hamlets, rich with golden grain,
Will keep her nobly and a regal-train.
Turn me not back : allow the earnest claim

Which all will own and hardly thou canst blame.
I shall rejoice, and thou wilt fain confess
Thy brother's presence makes thy labour less.
For in my hand I'll bear my shafts and bow,
A spade and basket o'er my shoulder throw.
I'll go before thee, and with watchful care

for Sita and for thee prepare.
I'll fetch thee roots and berries, ripe and sweet,
And the best fruits that gentle hermits eat.
Thou shalt with Sita on the slopes recline,
And all the labour shall be only mine."

And Rama answered, joying at his speech : "Then seek thy friends and bid farewell to each 2; And those two bows of heavenly fabric bring Which ocean's lord erst gave Videha's king ;' Those death-fraught quivers, coats of steel-proof mail, And swords whose flashes make the sunbeams pale.”

| Janaka, father of Sita.


Rama, his wife, and brother walk through the streets, crowded with mourning citizens, to the palace of Dasaratha. They bid the king farewell, and then leave Ayodhya amid the tears and lamentations of the people.

Their gold and gems among the Brahmans shared,
The bows were brought, the swords and mail prepared,
On which fair Sita with her faultless hand,

Set here a flower, there tied a silken band.

Then to the palace walked the royal three,
For the last time the aged king to see,
Through crowds that filled, as for a festive show,
Street, balcony, and roof, and portico.

“Ah! look, our hero, ever wont to ride,
Leading an army in its pomp and pride,-
Now only Lakshman, faithful to the end,
And his true wife, his weary steps attend.
Though his bright soul has known the sweets of power,
Though his free hand poured gifts in endless shower,

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