The labouring dawn gave out the child of light
Whose infant became played O'er the river's breast
And woke the bees asleep in lotus bowers,
While from Godavary's bank in merry whirls
A thousand pigeons starred the morning sky.
"Mine that, that farthest speck," one cries; "And mine
Is out of sight," another; but a third,
"Mine surely wheels the best"; and many so
Scanned with their weary eyes, like flying hopes
Their favourite birds. The prince at last as if
He said, "let all that be, now see now mine
Doth wheel," with one warm kiss left his. At once
Rose over the air one deafening cheer; all eyes
Were up, when lo ! no flight, no merry whirl,
The frightened bird rushed onward as if mad
And perched himself upon the palace heights.
The prince, concerned, his min'ster comrade called,
And said, "Didst thou not mark my pigeon perch
Upon those spires gilt by the morning sun ?
They are the Queen's; and shall fetch it back."
But, then the boy-dewan held by the robe
Prince Saranga, and whispered in his ear
"The King's abroad to hunt and thou art fails."
Fool !" thought the prince as on he rushed, "to
Breed Such thought like this."
But at his sight up rose
Chittrangi, once his bride destined but whom
A father's love his mother made, and said,
"O Sir what favour this ! sooner we though
Could sampang blooms invite the bee, than thee
These mansions poor. Pray seat thyself upon
This silken throne." She slowly washed his feet
With waters pure in golden vessels held,
And washing, "Many a way the presence here
This day, gives bundless joy to me. They sire
To try his aged strength in youthful sports,
To hunt is gone; and in thy beauteous form
I see the king to lusty youth transformed."
Then softly pressing dry with robes she wore
His feet, with smile on lip and blush on cheek,
"What interest one may feel in these, that once
Was bride destined ?" Then flashed through the Prince's mind.
"The King's abroad to hunt and art fair."
But yet he thought "That may not be."
And she went on, "To whom but one beloved
I pride would feel to show my pleasure groves
The talk of the world ? Pray rise and come.
And thou shalt see a hundred fountains leap
Bright in the morning sun, and Nature fair
All night in calm repose now gives herself
To mirth and jollity."
Cood mother ? for me it would ill - become
To tarry long, while all my comrades wait
Upon the river's bank, whereas we flew
Our pigeons, mine - "Tis safe," she interposed,
And dragged him by the arm through several gates
And left him at bright pool's brink and shut
A gate or two and slipt.
And he like one
From midnight slumbers snatched to moonlight bowers
In persian values, by some lover - sick Peri,
With wonder looked around at seenes the like
He never saw before. All over the park
A hundred fountains flew with rainbows decked
And full of golden foam; a Jessamine sea
About him spread, and at his feet a pond
Now one by one her colored lilies closed.
More varied lay the scene beyond, where spread
As far as eye could reach an endless grove.
With raptured eve the prince surveyed the scene
And took his way to where one water broad
Shone in the morning sun, and stood reclined
To a youthful tree that kissed the water's face
He was a learned youth' and not to him
Unknown the magic realms that poets trod
Before; and spake to him each bird and bloom
Some poetic tale or moral sweet. He mused
And musing stood, lost in a world of charms.
But lo ! Presently at his side the queeen,
Her ringlets flying to the morning breeze,
Like water nymph or forest Drayd stepped;
And looked steadfast with eye unlided like
Some modern mesmerist over his subject,
At that fair prince. But he like one in trance
Mesmeric, stood absorbed.
And she advantaged by his absent mood,
Stole softly round his neck her snowy arm
And softly thus began, "Makest thou prince
How now the Lord of Day from every bud
Kisses the sleep away, that blushing wakes
And opens her fairy lids ? The butterfly
Robbed in his gandy silks wooes every bloom,
But Wooes to quit - reckless wanton he !
And lo ! that Malati twinning as it does
The Kulaya's tall and aged trunk hold up
Her odorous blossms to frolic Zephyr's kiss,
In nature all his playful, all his mirth,
And beauteous things to beauteous things are linked."
And here a meaning look she cast at him,
But he ghastly look returned, and slipped
From her side as if to pluck a lotus
That at the margin below.
"Softly my prince I
Disturb not so the amours of the pair
Of ruddy geese, from nights' separation sore,
That lately met. 'Tis but a dreary waste
This mortal world, unless Love strew the scene
With freshening flowers. And O ! the pain one feels,
That feverish flame that creeps through every nerve...
Not soothed but fanned by Nature's cooling hand...
That anguish deep for one beloved ! Worse than
A brute is he that having power to soothe
Lends not his tender aid ? O ! Save me dear
From yonder black bee puzzing over the bloom
That thou hast pluckt." She drew behind him close
As if for fear, and threw her arms around
His neck, like frightened fawn behind from bush
Of stately growth. I "tremble Prince", she said
In accents choked within an ivory throat.
"There crept into the hollow of that trunk
A frightful snake. Then carry me secure
To yonder summer house that skirts that lake."
She hung upon his arm, and he led on.
At that gate she looked relieved, held firm
The Prince's hand, and in her turn played guide.
"Lo ! Prince," she said a into a room they stepped,
"Upon these walls, a master pencil's work,
It was a smith of learning great, who was
Much favoured at our court. Him brahmins feared;
And once my sire in whimsied mood bade him
Draw these. Become they not a bridal gift ?
The art of love is there laid bare, and if
You read it to the end, why, then, thou learn'st-
Where love is strong there hearts may wed.
You mark the amours of that shephered God
Of million wives ! Did ever a women love
And he not yield to her wish !"
'Mother ! wrongly
You read the sense of all those wondrous works
Of great Gopal. Didst thou not hear it said
That spirit of good husbands the human souls ?"
As if not hearing, she, "Thoeoe in those panes
The amorous God a worthy lesson teach
And saints ! Well ! well ! if there is a heart that burns
With love for thee, respect you not examples
They have set ?"
"I ? Certainly not. One e'en
May read the mystic meaning of the stars;
Make out with daring aim the maker's writ
On naked skulls, or peeb through linkless words
At prophets' hearts; but who, however great
Of learning, can presume to read the sense
Of acts divine ? On commonest things, doubt stamps
Her dismal mark. Why then should one with feet
Unhallowed tread the realms divine ?'
"Well, Prince !
If logic strange like this, befitting more
The broken hearts of forest bowers should come
From youthfull beauty, why then, may not our sex
Petition the Gods against the marks of toys
Useless like us ! The sprightly shape belies
These monkish texts. But I shall preach
Thee now upon a different theme, that must.
If thou art the rock that mocks the iron's edge-
Go home directly to the heart." This then,
She said, removing a screen that careful hung
Upon a drawing drawn to human size,
"This than the text on which was vileness played-
Vileness and grim perfidy by a king-
One, not less worthy than thy sire,"
He started back, like one that meets at night-
some frightful shape, while from his lips escaped,
"Undone ! Undone !" The image over the wall
To echo seemed Speechless he stood, and not
The motion least his form betrayed, as if
The picture walked out of its frame, So like
Were they; for it was his. And knowest thou prince"
She said, "the story of this piece which striges thee dumb
Wich such a perfect beauty that, except
Within thy glass, I trow, you never met ?
At least I didn't; and so when first my eyes
Lighted upon this drawing, which thy sire
Sent as the bridegroom's and falsely sent-
My very heart did weep for joy, and took
The image in. Since then the vision sweet
Haunted my thoughts, till last brought to this Court.
Whom did I meet within the bridal room ?
Oh ! Vilely done-they sire ! and at his sight
Failed joy from me for ever. They say thou art
A man of tender heart; now make amends
For sins thy sire has done, or else no more
Can I endure the pangs of fruitless flame
He tried to speak, bue auger choked
His breath, and, muttering something, "Die than slip
From right." He moved to walk away; but she
Caught Sarang by his cloak, which he, in haste
To fly, left in her grasp, and through the park
Over flower and plant like whirlwind passed and climbed
The garden wall and jumped down. And there
With sweep majestic flowed Godavary's streem.
He stood a moment on its bank, while rolled
Within his brain, like to a horrid dream,
The events late. A moment cast a crazy look
Upon the stream below, and, as if it were
Oblivion's flood, dashed in to the river and reached
The other shore.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1915, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.