Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/339

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beginning with Dilīpa and his son Raghu. The story of Rāma occupies the next six (x.-xv.), and agrees pretty closely with that in the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, whom Kālidāsa here (xv. 41) speaks of as "the first poet." The following two cantos are concerned with the three nearest descendants of Rāma, while the last two run through the remainder of twenty-four kings who reigned in Ayodhyā as his descendants, ending rather abruptly with the death of the voluptuous King Agnivarṇa. The names of these successors of Rāma agree closely with those in the list given in the Vishṇu-purāṇa.

The narrative in the Raghuvaṃça moves with some rapidity, not being too much impeded by long descriptions. It abounds with apt and striking similes and contains much genuine poetry, while the style, for a Kāvya, is simple, though many passages are undoubtedly too artificial for the European taste. The following stanza, sung by a bard whose duty it is to waken the king in the morning (v. 75), may serve as a specimen—

The flow'rs to thee presented droop and fade,
The lamps have lost the wreath of rays they shed,
Thy sweet-voiced parrot, in his cage confined,
Repeats the call we sound to waken thee.

More than twenty commentaries on the Raghuvaṃça are known. The most famous is the Saṃjīvanī of Mallinātha, who explains every word of the text, and who has the great merit of endeavouring to find out and preserve the readings of the poet himself. He knew a number of earlier commentaries, among which he names with approval those of Dakshiṇāvarta and Nātha. The latter no longer exist. Among the other extant commentaries may be mentioned the Subodhinī, com-