Rama heard her impious purpose and a gentle smile repressed,
To the foul and forward female thus his mocking words addressed:
‘List, O passion-smitten maiden! Sita is my honoured wife,
With a rival loved and cherished cruel were thy wedded life!
But no consort follows Lakshman, peerless is his comely face,
Dauntless is his warlike valour, matchless is his courtly grace,
And he leads no wife or consort to this darksome woodland grove,
With no rival to thy passion seek his ample-hearted love! ‘
Surpa-nakha passion-laden then on Lakshman turned her eye,
But in merry mocking accents smiling Lakshman made reply.
Ruddy in thy youthful beauty like the lotus in her pride,
I am slave of royal Rama, would’st thou be a vassal’s bride?
Rather be his younger consort, banish Sita from his arms,
Spurning Sita’s faded beauty let him seek thy fresher charms,
Spurning Sita’s faded graces let him brighter pleasures prove,
Wearied with a woman’s dalliance let him court a Raksha’s love!’
Wrath of unrequited passion raged like madness in her breast,
Torn by anger strong as tempest thus her answer she addrest:
Are these mocking accents uttered, Rama, to insult my flame,
Feasting on her faded beauty dost thou still revere thy dame?
But beware a Raksha’s fury and an injured female’s wrath,
Surpa-nakha slays thy consort, bears no rival in her path!’
Fawn-eyed Sita fell in terror as the Raksha rose to slay,
So beneath the flaming meteor sinks Rohini’s softer ray,
And like Demon of Destruction furious Surpa -nakha came,
Rama rose to stop the slaughter and protect his helpless dame.
‘Brother, we have acted wrongly, for with those of savage breed,
Word in jest is courting danger,-this the penance of our deed,
Death perchance or death-like stupor hovers o’er my lovéd dame,
Let me wake to life my Sita, chase this female void of shame!’
Lakshman’s anger leaped like lightning as the female hovered near.
With his sword the wrathful warrior cleft her nose and either ear,
Surpa-nakha in her anguish raised her accents shrill and high,
And the rocks and wooded valleys answered back the dismal cry,
Khara and the doughty Dushan heard the far-resounding wail,
Saw her red disfigured visage, heard her sad and woeful tale!