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By this, thy fatal shaft, this one, three miserable victims fall,
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!
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.
Thus ignorantly did I slay your child beloved, 0 hermit sage!
“Was not thy mother once, my son, than life itself more dear to thee?
“ The miserable father now with gentle touch each cold limb pressed,
'neath the dark wood by night, a pious reader shall be heard ?
The guerdon to thy virtues meet from that great Judge of men will pray.
“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,
“Ah, Rama! ah, my son!” thus said, or scarcely said, the king of men,
“ 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