The Ramayana/Book II/Canto LXXVIII: Manthará Punished
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Canto LXXVIII: Manthará Punished
|The Ramayana/Book II/Canto LXXIX: Bharat's Commands→|
Satrughna thus to Bharat spake
Who longed the forest road to take:
'He who in woe was wont to give
Strength to himself and all that live--
Dear Ráma, true and pure in heart,
Is banished by a woman's art.
Yet here was Lakshman, brave and strong,
Could not his might prevent the wrong?
Could not his arm the king restrain,
Or make the banished free again?
One loving right and fearing crime
Had checked the monarch's sin in time,
When, vassal of a woman's will,
His feet approached the path of ill.'
While Lakshman's younger brother, dread
S'atrughna, thus to Bharat said,
Came to the fronting door, arrayed
In glittering robes, the hump-back maid.
There she, with sandal-oil besmeared,
In garments meet for queens appeared:
And lustre to her form was lent
By many a gem and ornament.
She girdled with her broidered zone,
And many a chain about her thrown,
Showed like a female monkey round
Whose body many a string is bound.
When on that cause of evil fell
The quick eye of the sentinel,
He grasped her in his ruthless hold,
And hastening in, S'atrughna told:
'Here is the wicked pest,' he cried,
'Through whom the king thy father died,
And Ráma wanders in the wood:
Do with her as thou deemest good.'
The warder spoke: and every word
S'atrughna's breast to fury stirred:
He called the servants all and each.
And spake in wrath his hasty speech:
'This is the wretch my sire who slew,
And misery on my brothers drew:
Let her this day obtain the meed,
Vile sinner, of her cruel deed.'
He spake; and moved by fury laid
His mighty hand upon the maid,
Who as her fellows ringed her round.
Made with her cries the hall resound,
Soon as the gathered women viewed
S'atrughna in his angry mood,
Their hearts disturbed by sudden dread,
They turned and from his presence fled.
'His rage,' they cried, 'on us will fall,
And ruthless, he will slay us all.
Come, to Kaus'alyá let us flee:
Our hope, our sure defence is she,
Approved by all, of virtuous mind,
Compassionate, and good, and kind.'
His eyes with burning wrath aglow,
S'atrughna, shatterer of the foe,
Dragged on the ground the hump-back maid
Who shrieked aloud and screamed for aid.
This way and that with no remorse
He dragged her with resistless force,
And chains and glittering trinkets burst
Lay here and there with gems dispersed,
Till like the sky of Autumn shone
The palace floor they sparkled on.
The lord of men, supremely strong,
Haled in his rage the wretch along:
Where Queen Kaikeyí dwelt he came,
And sternly then addressed the dame.
Deep in her heart Kaikeyí felt
The stabs his keen reproaches dealt,
And of S'atrughna's ire afraid,
To Bharat flew and cried for aid.
He looked and saw the prince inflamed
With burning rage, and thus exclaimed:
'Forgive! thine angry arm restrain:
A woman never may be slain,
My hand Kaikeyí's blood would spill,
The sinner ever bent on ill,
But Ráma, long in duty tried,
Would hate the impious matricide:
And if he knew thy vengeful blade
Had slaughtered e'en this hump-back maid,
Never again, be sure, would he
Speak friendly word to thee or me."
When Bharat's speech S'atrughna heard
He calmed the rage his breast that stirred,
Releasing from her dire constraint
The trembling wretch with terror faint.
Then to Kaikeyí's feet she crept,
And prostrate in her misery wept.
Kaikeyí on the hump-back gazed,
And saw her weep and gasp.
Still quivering, with her senses dazed,
From fierce S'atrughna's grasp.
With gentle words of pity she
Assuaged her wild despair.
Even as a tender hand might free
A curlew from the snare.