The Ramayana/Book II/Canto LXXXVII: Guha's Story

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto LXXXVII: Guha's Story

That speech of Guha Bharat heard
With grief and tender pity stirred,
And as his ears the story drank,
Deep in his thoughtful heart it sank.
His large full eyes in anguish rolled,
His trembling limbs grew stiff and cold;
Then fell he, like a tree upturn,
In woe too grievous to be borne.
When Guha saw the long-armed chief
Whose eye was like a lotus leaf,
With lion shoulders strong and fair,
High-mettled, prostrate in despair,--
Pale, bitterly afflicted, he
Reeled as in earthquake reels a tree.
But when S'atrughna standing nigh
Saw his dear brother helpless lie,
Distraught with woe his head he bowed,
Embraced him oft and wept aloud.
Then Bharat's mothers came, forlorn
Of their dear king, with fasting worn,
And stood with weeping eyes around
The hero prostrate on the ground.
Kaus'alyá, by her woe oppressed,
The senseless Bharat's limbs caressed
As a fond cow in love and fear
Caresses oft her youngling dear:
Then yielding to her woe she said,
Weeping and sore disquieted:
'What torments, O my son, are these
Of sudden pain or swift disease?
The lives of us and all the line
Depend, dear child, on only thine.
Ráma and Lakshman forced to flee,
I live by naught but seeing thee:
For as the king has past away
Thou art my only help to-day.
Hast thou, perchance, heard evil news
Of Lakshman, which thy soul subdues,
Or Ráma dwelling with his spouse--
My all is he--neath forest boughs?'
   Then slowly gathering sense and strength
The weeping hero rose at length,
And words like these to Guha spake,
That bade Kaus'alyá comfort take:
'Where lodged the prince that night? and where
Lakshman the brave, and Sítá fair?
Show me the couch whereon he lay,
Tell me the food he ate, I pray.'
   Then Guha the Nishádas' king
Replied to Bharat's questioning:
'Of all I had I brought the best
To serve my good and honoured guest
Food of each varied kind I chose,
And every fairest fruit that grows.
Ráma the hero truly brave
Declined the gift I humbly gave:
His Warrior part he ne'er forgot,
And what I brought accepted not:
'No gifts, my friend, may we accept:
Our law is, Give, and must be kept."
'The high-souled chief, O Monarch, thus
With gracious words persuaded us.
Then calm and still, absorbed in thought,
He drank the water Lakshman brought,
And then, obedient to his vows,
He fasted with his gentle spouse.
So Lakshman too from food abstained,
And sipped the water that remained:
Then with ruled lips, devoutly staid,
The three [1] their evening worship paid.
Then Lakshman with unwearied care
Brought heaps of sacred grass, and there
With his own hands he quickly spread,
For Ráma's rest, a pleasant bed,
And faithful Sitá's too, where they
Reclining each by other lay.
Then Lakshman bathed their feet, and drew
A little distance from the two.
Here stands the tree which lent them shade,
Here is the grass beneath it laid,
Where Ráma and his consort spent
The night together ere they went.
Lakshman, whose arms the foeman quell,
Watched all the night as sentinel,
   And kept his great bow strung:
His hand was gloved, his arm waa braced,
Two well-filled quivers at his waist,
   With deadly arrows, hung.
I took my shafts and trusty bow,
And with that tamer of the foe
   Stood ever wakeful near,
And with my followers, bow in hand,
Behind me ranged, a ready band,
   Kept watch o'er Indra's peer.'


  1. Ráma, Lakshman, and Sumantra.