The Ramayana/Book II/Canto XXXIV: Ráma In The Palace
The dark incomparable chief
Whose eye was like a lotus leaf,
Cried to the mournful charioteer,
'Go tell my sire that I am here.'
Sumantra, sad and all dismayed,
The chieftain's order swift obeyed,
Within the palace door he hied
And saw the king, who wept and sighed.
Like the great sun when wrapped in shade,
Like fire by ashes overlaid,
Or like a pool with waters dried,
So lay the world's great lord and pride.
Awhile the wise Sumantra gazed
On him whose senses woe has dazed,
Grieving for Ráma. Near he drew
With hands upraised in reverence due.
With blessing first his king he hailed;
Then with a voice that well-nigh failed,
In trembling accents soft and low
Addressed the monarch in his woe:
'The prince of men, thy Ráma, waits
To see thee at the palace gates.
His wealth to Bráhmans he has dealt,
And all who in his home have dwelt.
Admit thy son. His friends have heard
His kind farewell and parting word.
He longs to see thee first, and then
Will seek the wilds, O King of men.
He, with each princely virtue's blaze,
Shines as the sun engirt by rays.'
The truthful king who loved to keep
The law, profound as Ocean's deep,
And stainless as the dark blue sky,
Thus to Sumantra made reply:
Go then, Sumantra, go and call
My wives and ladies one and all,
Drawn round me shall they fill the place
When I behold my Ráma's face.'
Quick to the inner rooms he sped,
And thus to all the women said:
Come, at the summons of the king:
Come all, and make no tarrying.'
Their husband's word,by him conveyed
Soon as they heard, the dames obeyed,
And following his guidance all
Came thronging to the regal hall.
In number half seven hundred, they,
All lovely dames, in long array,
With their bright eyes for weeping red,
To stand around Queen Kauśalyá, sped.
They gathered, and the monarch viewed
One moment all the multitude,
Then to Sumantra spoke and said:
'Now let my son be hither led.'
Sumantra went. Then Ráma came,
And Lakshmaņ, and the Maithil dame,
And, as he led them on, their guide
Straight to the monarch's presence hied.
When yet far off the father saw
His son with raised palms towards him draw,
Girt by his ladies, sick with woes,
Swift from his royal seat he rose.
With all his strength the aged man
To meet his darling Ráma ran,
But trembling, wild with dark despair,
Fell on the ground and fainted there.
And Lakshmaņ, wont in cars to ride,
And Ráma, threw them by the side
Of the poor miserable king,
Half lifeless with sorrow's sting.
Throughout the spacious hall up went
A thousand women's wild lament:
'Ah Ráma!' thus they wailed and wept,
And anklets tinkled as they stepped.
Around his body, weeping, threw
Their loving arms the brothers two,
And then, with Sitá's gentle aid,
The king upon a couch was laid.
At length to earth's imperial lord,
When life and knowledge were restored,
Though seas of woe went o'er his head,
With suppliant hands thus Ráma said:
'Lord of us all, great King, thou art:
Bid me farewell before we part.
To Daņḑak wood this day I go:
One blessing and one look bestow.
Let Lakshmaņ my companion be,
And Sitá also follow me.
With truthful pleas I sought to bend
Their purpose; but no ear they lend.
Now cast this sorrow from thy heart,
And let us all, great King, depart.
As Brahmá sends his children, so
Let Lakshmaņ, me and Sitá go.'
He stood unmoved, and watched intent
Until the King should grant consent.
Upon his son his eyes he cast,
And thus the monarch spake at last:
'O Ráma, by her arts enslaved,
I gave the boons Kaikeyi craved,
Unfit to reign, by her misled:
Be ruler in thy father's stead.'