Ravan watched the happy moment burning with a vengeful spite,
Came to sad and sorrowing Sita in the guise of anchorite,
Tufted hair and russet garment, sandals on his feet he wore.
And depending from his shoulders on a staff his vessel bore.
And he came to lonely Sita, for each warlike chief was gone,
As the darkness comes to evening lightless from the parted Sun,
And he cast his eyes on Sita, as a graha casts its shade
On the beauteous star Rohini when the bright Moon’s glories fade.
Quaking Nature knew the moment; silent stood the forest trees,
Conscious of a deed of darkness fell the fragrant forest breeze,
Godavari’s troubled waters trembled’ neath his lurid glance,
And his red eve’s fiery lustre sparkled in the wavelets’ dance!
Mute and still were forest creatures when in guise of anchorite,
Unto Sita’s lonely cottage pressed the Raksha in his might,
Mute and voiceless was the jungle as he cast on her his eye,
As across the star of Chitra, planet Sani walks the sky!
Ravan stood in hermit’s vestments,-vengeful purpose unrevealed,-
As a deep and darksome cavern is by grass and leaf concealed,
Ravan stood sedate and silent, and he gazed on Rama’s queen,
Ivory brow and lip of coral, sparkling teeth of pearly sheen!
Lighting up the lonely cottage, Sita sat in radiance high,
As the Moon with streaks of silver fills the lonely midnight sky,
Lighting up the gloomy woodlands with her eyes serenely fair,
With her bark-clad shape of beauty mantled by her raven hair!
Ravan fired by impure passion fixed on her his lustful eye,
And the light that lit his glances gave his holy texts the lie,
Ravan in his flattering accents, with a soft and soothing art,
Praised the woman’s peerless beauty to subdue the woman’s heart:
‘Beaming in thy golden beauty, robed in sylvan russet drew,
Wearing wreath of fragrant lotus like a nymph of wilderness,
Art thou Sri or radiant Gauri, maid of Fortune or of Fame,
Nymph of Love or sweet Fruition, what may be thy sacred name!
On thy lips of ruddy coral teeth of tender jasmine shine,
In thy eyes of limpid lustre dwclls a light of love divine,
Tall and slender, softly rounded, are thy limbs of beauty rare,
Like the swelling fruit of tala leaves thy bosom sweetly fair!
Smiling lips that tempt and ravish, lustre that thy dark eyes beam,
Crush my heart, as rolling waters crush the margin of the stream.
And thy wealth of waving tresses mantles o’er thy budding charms,
And thy waist of slender beauty courts a lover’s circling arms!
Goddess or Gandharva maiden wears no brighter form or face,
Woman seen by eyes of mortals owns not such transcendent grace.
Wherefore then, in lonesome forest, nymph or maiden, make thy stay,
Where the jungle creatures wander and the Rakshas hold their sway?
Royal balls and stately mansions were for thee a meeter home,
And thy steps should grace a palace, not in pathless forest roam,
Blossoms rich, not thorn of jungle, decorate a lady’s bower,
Silken robes, not sylvan garments, heighten Beauty’s potent power!
Lady of the sylvan forest! other destiny is thine,
As a bride beloved and courted in thy bridal garments shine,
Choose a loved and lordly suitor who shall wait on thee in pride,
Choose a hero worth thy beauty, be a monarch’s queenly bride!
Speak thy lineage, heaven-descended! who may be thy parents high,
Rudras or the radiant Maruts, Vassus leaders of the sky,
All unworthy is this forest for a nymph or heavenly maid,
Beast’s of prey infest the jungle, Rakshas haunt its gloomy shade,
Lions dwell in lovely caverns, tuskers ford the silent lake,
Monkeys sport on pendant branches, tigers steal beneath the brake,
Wherefore then this dismal forest doth thy fairy face adorn,
Who art thou and whence descended, nymph or maid or goddess-born?