صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

By this, thy fatal shaft, this one, three miserable victims fall,
The sire, the mother, and the son - ah why? and unoffending all.
How vain my father's life austere, the Veda's studied page how vain,
He knew not with prophetic fear his son would fall untimely slain.
But had he known, to one as he, so weak, so blind, 't were bootless all,
No tree can save another tree by the sharp hatchet marked to fall.
But to my father's dwelling haste, O Raghu's son, lest in his ire
Thy head with burning curse he blast, as the dry forest tree the fire.
Thee to my father's lone retreat will quickly lead yon onward path,
Oh, haste his pardon to entreat, or ere he curse thee in his wrath.
Yet first that gently I may die, draw forth the barbèd steel from hence,
Allay thy fears, no Brahmin I, not thine of Brahmin blood the offence.
My sire, a Brahmin hermit he, my mother was of Sudra race.'
So spake the wounded boy, on me while turned his unreproaching face.
As from his palpitating breast I gently drew the mortal dart,
He saw me trembling stand, and blest that boy's pure spirit seemed to

As died that holy hermit's son, from me my glory seemed to go,
With troubled mind I stood, cast down t' inevitable endless woe.
That shaft that seemed his life to burn like serpent venom, thus drawn

out, I, taking up his fallen urn, this father's dwelling took my route. There miserable, blind, and old, of their sole helpmate thus forlorn, His parents did these eyes behold, like two sad birds with pinions shorn. Of him in fond discourse they sate, lone, thinking only of their son, For his return so long, so late, impatient, oh by me undone. My footsteps' sound he seemed to know, and thus the aged hermit said, "O Yajnadatta, why so slow? — haste, let the cooling draught be shed. Long on the river's cooling brink hast thou been sporting in thy joy. Thy mother's fainting spirits sink in fear for thee; but thou, my boy, If aught to grieve thy gentle heart thy mother or thy sire do wrong, Bear with us, nor, when next we part, on the slow way thus linger long, The feet of those that cannot move, of those that cannot see the eye, Our spirits live but in thy love, - oh wherefore, dearest, no reply?' “My throat thick swollen with bursting tears, my power of speech that

seemed to choke, With hands above my head, my fears breaking my quivering voice, I spoke :

The Kshatriya Dasaratha I, O hermit sage, 't is not thy son!
Most holy ones, unknowingly a deed of awful guilt I've done.
With bow in hand I took my way along Sarayu's pleasant brink,
The savage buffalo to slay, or elephant come down to drink.
“A sound came murmuring to my ear, -'t was of the urn that slowly

filled, I deemed some savage wild-beast near, - my erring shaft thy son had killed. A feeble groan I heard, his breast was pierced by that dire arrow keen: All trembling to the spot I pressed, lo there thy hermit boy was seen. Flew to the sound my arrow, meant the wandering elephant to slay, Toward the river brink it went, - and there thy son expiring lay. The fatal shaft when forth I drew, to heaven his parting spirit soared, Dying he only thought of you, long, long, your lonely lot deplored.

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Thus ignorantly did I slay your child beloved, 0 hermit sage!
Turn thou on me, whose fated day is come, thy all-consuming rage!'
He heard my dreadful tale at length, he stood all lifeless, motionless ;
Then deep he groaned, and gathering strength, me the meek suppliant did

Kshatriya, 't is well that thou hast turned, thy deed of murder to rehearse,
Else over all thy land had burned the fire of my wide-wasting curse.
If with premeditated crime the unoffending blood thou ’dst spilt,
The Thunderer on his throne sublime had shaken at such tremendous guilt.
Against the anchorite's sacred head, hadst, knowing, aimed thy shaft

In th' holy Vedas deeply read, thy skull in seven wide rents had burst.
But since, unwitting, thou hast wrought that deed of death, thou livest still,
O son of Taghu, from thy thought dismiss all dread of instant ill.
Oh lead me to that doleful spot where my poor boy expiring lay,
Beneath the shaft thy fell hand shot, of my blind age the staff, the stay.
On the cold earth 't were yet a joy to touch my perished child again,
(So long if I may live) my boy in one last fond embrace to strain
His body all bedewed with gore, his locks in loose disorder thrown,
Let me, let her but touch once more, to the dread realm of Yama gone.'
Then to that fatal place I brought alone that miserable pair ;
His sightless hands and hers I taught to touch their boy that slumbered there.
Nor sooner did they feel him lie, on the moist herbage coldly thrown,
But with a shrill and feeble cry upon the body cast them down.
The mother as she lay and groaned, addressed her boy with quivering

And like a heifer sadly moaned, just plundered of her new-dropped young :

“Was not thy mother once, my son, than life itself more dear to thee?
Why the long way thou hast begun, without one gentle word to me?
One last embrace, and then, beloved, upon thy lonely journey go !
Alas! with anger art thou moved, that not a word thou wilt bestow?'

“ The miserable father now with gentle touch each cold limb pressed,
And to the dead his words of woe, as to his living son addressed :
'I too, my son, am I not here? — thy sire with thy sad mother stands;
Awake, arise, my child, draw near, and clasp each neck with loving hands.

'neath the dark wood by night, a pious reader shall be heard ?
Whose honeyed voice my ear delight with th’ holy Veda's living word ?
The evening prayer, th' ablution done, the fire adored with worship meet,
Who now shall soothe like thee, my son, with fondling hand, my aged

And who the herb, the wholesome root, or wild fruit from the wood shall

To us the blind, the destitute, with helpless hunger perishing?
Thy blind old mother, heaven-resigned, within our hermit-dwelling lone,
How shall I tend, myself as blind, now all my strength of life is gone?
Oh, stay, my child, oh, part not yet, to Yama's dwelling go not now,
To-morrow forth we all will set, thy mother and myself and thou:
For both, in grief for thee, and both so helpless, ere another day,
From this dark world, but little loath, shall we depart, death's easy prey !
And I myself, by Yama's seat, companion of thy darksome way,

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The guerdon to thy virtues meet from that great Judge of men will pray.
Because, my boy, in innocence, by wicked deed thou hast been slain,
Rise, where the heroes dwell, who thence ne'er stoop to this dark world

Those that to earth return no more, the sense-subdued, the hermits wise,
Priests their sage masters that adore, to their eternal seats arise.
Those that have studied to the last the Veda's, the Vedanga's page,
Where saintly kings of earth have passed, Nahusa and Yayati sage;
The sires of holy families, the true to wedlock's sacred vow;
And those that cattle, gold, or rice, or lands, with liberal hands bestow;
That ope th' asylum to th’ oppressed, that ever love, and speak the truth ;
Up to the dwellings of the blest, th' eternal, soar thou, best-loved youth.
For none of such a holy race within the lowest seat may dwell;
But that will be his fatal place by whom my only offspring fell.'

“So groaning deep, that wretched pair, the hermit and his wife, essayed The meet ablution to prepare, their hands their last faint effort made. Divine, with glorious body bright, in splendid car of heaven elate, Before them stood their son in light, and thus consoled their helpless state: ‘Meed of my duteous filial care, I've reached the wished for realms of joy ; And ye, in those glad realms, prepare to meet full soon your dear-loved

boy. My parents, weep no more for me, yon warrior monarch slew me not, My death was thus ordained to be, predestined was the shaft he shot.' Thus as he spoke, the anchorite's son soared up the glowing heaven afar, In air his heavenly body shone, while stood he in his gorgeous car. But they, of that lost boy so dear the last ablution meetly made, Thus spoke to me that holy seer, with folded hands above his head. • Albeit by thy unknowing dart iny blameless boy untimely fell, A curse I lay upon thy heart, whose fearful pain I know too well. As sorrowing for my son I bow, and yield up my unwilling breath, So, sorrowing for thy son shalt thou at life's last close repose in death.' That curse dread sounding in mine ear, to mine own city forth I set, Nor long survived that hermit seer, to mourn his child in lone regret. This day that Brahmin curse fulfilled hath fallen on my devoted head, In anguish for my parted child have all my sinking spirits fled. No more my darkened eyes can see, my clouded memory is o'ercast, Dark Yama's heralds summon me to his deep, dreary realm to haste. Mine eye no more my Rama sees, and grief-o'erborne, my spirits sink, As the swoln stream sweeps down the trees that grow upon the crumbling

brink. Oh, felt I Rama's touch, or spake one word his home-returning voice, Again to life I should awake, as quaffing nectar draughts, rejoice, But what so sad could e'er have been, celestial partner of my heart, As Rama's beauteous face unseen, from life untimely to depart? His exile in the forest o'er, him home returned to Oude's high town, Oh happy those, that see once more, like Indra from the sky come down. No mortal men, but gods I deem, - moonlike, before whose wondering sight My Rama's glorious face shall beam, from the dark forest bursting bright. Happy that gaze on Rama's face with beauteous teeth and smile of love, Like the blue lotus in its grace, and like the starry king above.

Like to the full autumnal moon, and like the lotus in its bloom,
That youth who sees returning soon,- - how blest shall be that mortal's doom."
Dwelling in that sweet memory, on his last bed the monarch lay,
And slowly, softly seemed to die, as fades the moon at dawn away.

“Ah, Rama! ah, my son!” thus said, or scarcely said, the king of men,
His gentle hapless spirit filed in sorrow for his Rama then,
The shepherd of his people old at midnight on his bed of death,
The tale of his son's exile told, and breathed away his dying breath.

Milman's Translation.


“ It is a deep and noble forest, abounding in delicious fruits and fragrant flowers, shaded and watered by perennial springs."


"HOUGH parts of the Mahâ-Bhârata, or story of the

great war, are of great antiquity, the entire poem was undoubtedly collected and re-written in the first or second century A. D. Tradition ascribes the Mahâ-Bhârata to the Brahman Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa.

The Mahâ-Bhârata, unlike the Râmâyana, is not the story of some great event, but consists of countless episodes, legends, and philosophical treatises, strung upon the thread of a single story. These episodes are called Upakhiyanani, and the five most beautiful are called, in India, the five precious stones.

Its historical basis is the strife between the Aryan invaders of India and the original inhabitants, illustrated in the strife between the sons of the Raja Pandu and the blind Raja, Dhrita-rashtra, which forms the main story of the poem.

Though marred by the exaggerations peculiar to the Hindu, the poem is a great treasure house of Indian history, and from it the Indian poets, historical writers, and philosophers have drawn much of their material.

The Mahâ-Bhârata is written in the Sanskrit language ; it is the longest poem ever written, its eighteen cantos containing two hundred thousand lines.

It is held in even higher regard than the Râmâyana, and the reading of it is supposed to confer upon the happy reader every good and perfect gift.

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE MAHÂ-BHẬRATA. G. W. Cox's Mythology and Folklore, 1881, p. 313; John

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