The Ramayana/Book II/Canto XI: The Queen's Demand

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto XI: The Queen's Demand

To him enthralled by love, and blind,

Pierced by his darts who shake the mind, [1]
Kaikeyi with remorseless breast

Her grand purpose thus expressed:
"O King, no insult or neglect
Have I endured, or disrespect.
One wish I have, and faith would soe
That longing granted, laid, by thee.
Now pledge thy word if thou incline

To listen to this prayer of mine,
Then I with confidence will speak,
And thou shalt hear the boon I seek.'

Ere she had ceased, the monarch fell,
A victim to the lady's spell,
And to the deadly snare she set
Sprang, like a roebuck to the net.
Her lover raised her drooping head,
Smiled, playing with her hair, and said:
'Hast thou not learnt, wild dame, till now
That there is none so dear as thou'
To me thy loving husband, save
My Rama bravest of the brave!
By him my race's high-souled heir,
By him whom none can match, I swear,
Now speak the wish that on thee weighs:
By him whose right is length of days,
Whom if my fond paternal eye
Saw not one hour I needs must die,--
I swear by Rama myd ear son,
Speak, and thy bidding shall be done.
Speak, darling; if thou choose, request
To have the heart from out my breast;
Regard my words, sweet love, and name
The wish thy mind thinks fit to frame.
Nor let shy soul give way to doubt:
My power should drive suspicion out.
Yea, by my merits won I swear,
Speak, darling, I will grant thy prayer,'

The queen, ambitious, overjoyed
To see him by her plot decoyed.
More eager still her aims to reach,
Spoke her abominable speech:
'A boon thou grantest, nothing loth,
And swearest with repeated oath.
Now let the thirty Gods and three
My witnesses, with Indra, be.
Let sun and moon and planets hear,
Heaven, quarters, day and night, give ear.
The mighty world, the earth outspread,
With birds of heaven and demons regard;
The ghosts that walk in midnight shade,
And household Gods, our present aid,
A every being great and small
To hear and mark the oath I call.'

When this the archer king was bound,
With treacherous arts and oaths unwound,
She to her beauteous lord subdued,
By blinding love, her speech renewed:
'Rememer, King, that long-past day
Of Gods' and demons' battle fray.
And how thy foe in doubtful strife
Had nigh bereft thee of thy life.
Remember, it was only I
Preserved thee when about to die,
And thou for watchful love and care
Wouldst grant my first aud second prayer.
Those offered boons, pledged with thee then,
I now demand, O King of men,

Of thee, O Monarch, good and just,
Whose righteous soul observes each trust.
If thou refuse thy promise sworn,
I die, despised, before the morn.
These rites in Ráma's name begun
Transfer them, and enthrone my son.
The time is come to claim at last
The double boon of days long-past,
When Gods and demons met in fight.
And thou wouldst fain my care requite.
Now forth to Dandak's forest drive
Thy Ráma for nine years and five,
And let him dwell a hermit there
With deerskin coat and matted hair.
Without a rival let my boy
The empire of the land enjoy,
And let mine eyes ere morning see
Thy Ráma to the forest flee.'


  1. Maumatha, Mind-disturber, a name of Kama or Love.