The Curse of Kehama
May 28th 1806
Midnight, & not an eye
Thro all the Imperial City closed in sleep,
Her multitudes abroad, her streets ablaze!
In vain, ye stars of Heaven
Ye shed your feeble beams
Quenched in the unnatural light, more broad than day –
And thou, O Queen of Night
Thine ineffectual ray.
Ten thousand torches flame & flare
Upon the midnight gloom
Blotting the lights of Heaven
The fragrant smoke in many a surging fold
Upward & still upward rolld
Ascendeth thro the yellow sky
And hangeth visible on high
A dark & waving canopy.
Hark! tis the funeral trumpets tone!
Hark! tis the dirge of death
At once ten thousand drums
Set up their thunder peal;
At once ten thousand voices in one cry
Pour their wild wailing. In the deafening sound
The ring of praise is drownd;
You hear no more the trumpets tone
You hear no more the mourners moan,
Tho the trumpets breath & the song of death
Mingle & swell the funeral yell.
But rising over all in one acclaim
Is heard the echoing name
It rings distinctly thro the dizzy din
It peals from house to house from tower to tower
The death procession moves along
Their bare heads shining to the torches ray
The Bramins lead the way
Chaunting the funeral song.
And now at once they shout
With quick rebound of sound
In one accordant cry
The universal multitude reply.
In vain ye thunder on his car
The ineffectual name,
Would ye awake the dead?
Borne upright in his palanquin
Lo! Arvalan is seen!
A glow is on his face a lifelike red; –
It is the crimson canopy
Which oer his cheek the reddening shade hath shed
He moves, he nods his head,
It is the bearers tread
The body borne in state
Swaying obedient to its own dead weight.
Close following his dead son Kehama came
Nor joining in the funeral song
Nor calling the dear name,
Silent he only of that countless throng.
King of the world, his slaves
Unenvying now behold their wretched lord;
With self-consoling joy they see
That Nature in his pride hath smitten him
That now the Master of Mankind
Is made to feel that he himself is man.
Woe..woe! the wives of Arvalan!
Young Azla, young Nealline!
Their widow robes of white
With gold & jewels bright
As on a bridal day,
Woe, woe! around their palanquin
With symphony & dance & song
Their kindred & their friends come on
The funeral song, the dance of sacrifice
And next the victim slaves in long array
Richly bedight to grace the fatal day;
Move onward to their death.
The trumpets stirring breath
Lifts their thin robes in every flowing fold
And swells the woven gold
Tremulous & glittering to the torches flame.
A man & maid of aspect wan & wild
Then side by side, by bowyers guarded, came
Oh wretched father! oh unhappy child!
Then were all eyes of all the throng exploring
Is this the daring man
Who raised his vengeful hand at Arvalan?
Is this the wretched man condemned to feel
Kehama’s dreadful wrath?
Then were all hearts of all the throng deploring;
For not in that innumerable throng
Was one who loved the dead; for who could know
What aggravated wrong
Provoked the desperate blow.
Far.. far behind, beyond all reach of sight
In ordered files the torches flow along
One ever-lengthening line of moving light.
Far.. far behind, tambour & trump & horn
Roll on their undistinguishable sounds,
Incessant as the din
Of mountain cataracts,
And louder than the wrathful elements
When the winds rage over the waves
And Ocean roars to the storm.
And now upon the rivers brink they pause
The funeral place is here
There hath the trench been delved
And here with myrrh & aubergines
The sandal-pile bestrewn.
Gently they rest the bier
They wet the face of Arvalan.
No sign of life the sprinkled drops excite;
They feel his breast, no motion there,
They feel his lips, no breath,
For not with feeble nor with erring hand
Had that avenger driven the blow of death.
Then with a doubled peal & deeper blast
The tambours & the trumpets sound on high,
And with a last & loudest cry
They call on Arvalan –
Woe.. woe.. for Azla takes her seat
Upon the funeral pile!
Calmly she takes her seat
And calmly on her lap
She lets the head of Arvalan be laid
Woe.. woe.. Nealline!
The young Nealline!
They strip her ornaments away,
Bracelet & anklet, ring & chain & zone;
Around her neck they leave
The marriage knot alone,
That marriage band that when
Yon waning moon was young,
Around her virgin neck
With bridal joy was hung.
Then with white flowers, the coronal of death
Her jetty looks they crown.
Oh, sight of misery!
You cannot hear her cries
In that mild dissonance; –
But in her face you see
The supplication & the agony, –
The ineffectual prayer, the frantic shriek, –
You see her straining arms
And in her swelling throat the desperate strength
That with vain effort struggles yet for life
They force her on,.. they bind her to the dead.
Then all drew back; around
The circling Bramins stand
Each lifting in his hand the ready torch.
Alone the Father of the Dead advanced
And lit the funeral pile
At once on every side
The circling torches fall
At once on every side
The fragrant oil is poured
At once on every side
The torrent flames rush up.
Then hand in hand the victim slaves
Roll in the dance around the funeral fire,
Their garments flying folds
Float inward to the flame.
In drunken whirl they wheel around
One drops,.. another plunges now, –
And still overwhelming din
The tambours & the trumpets sound,..
And still with shout & clap of hand
The admiring multitude applaud
And round & round intoxicate
The victims reel till all are fallen
That moment all was still
The drums & clarions ceased
The multitude were hush’d,
Only the roaring of the flame was heard
Alone towards the Table of the Dead
Kehama moved; there on the altar stone
Honey & rice he spread,
There with effort of collected voice
Calld the dead Arvalan.
Lo! Arvalan appears.
Only Kehama’s powerful eye beheld
The thin etherial form,
Only the Rajah’s ear
Received his feeble voice.
And is this all my father nought but this
For thy dear Arvalan!..
This unavailing pomp,
These empty rates of death!
In bitterness the Rajah heard,
And groand, & bowed his head, & oer his face.
Cowled the white mourning robe.
‘Art thou not powerful,.. even like a God?
And must I thro my years of wandering
Shivering & naked to the Elements,
In wretchedness await
The hour of Yamens wrath?
I thought thou wouldst embody me anew,
Undying as I am,
Yea re create me!.. Father is this all,.
And thou all mighty!
That upbraiding tone
Aroused Kehama’s soul,
Reproach not me! he cried,
As grief half yielded to his rising wrath,
Had I not spell secured thee from disease,
Fire sword, all common accidents of man,..
And thou! fool! fool! & by a stake
And by a peasants arm. –
Even now when from reluctant heaven
Forcing new gifts & mightier attributes,
So soon I should have quelld the Death Gods power!
Waste not thy rage on me, quoth Arvalan,
I am in misery, Father! other souls,
Predoomd to Indras Heaven, enjoy the dawn
Of bliss; to them the tempered Elements
Minister joy; genial delight the Sun
Sheds on their happy being, & the Stars
Effuse on them benignant influences.
And thus oer earth & air they roam at will
And when the number of their days is full
Go fearlessly before the aweful throne
But I… all naked feeling & raw life …
What worse than this hath Yamen’s Hell in store!
If ever thou didst love me, mercy Father!
Save me, – for thou canst save! the Elements
Know & obey thy voice
Shall torture thee no more;.. even while I speak
Already dost thou feel their power is gone.
Fear not! I cannot call again the past.
Fate hath made that its own, but Fate shall yield
To me the future, & thy doom be fixed
By mine, not Yamen’s will. Meantime all power
Whereof thy feeble spirit can be made
Participant, I give. Is there aught else
To mitigate thy lot?
Only the sight of vengeance;.. give me that!
Vengeance, full worthy vengeance! not the stroke
Of sudden punishment,.. no agony
That spends itself & leaves the wretch at rest
But lasting long revenge
What boy? is that cup sweet? Then take thy fill
So as he spake, a glow of dreadful pride
Inflamed his cheek; with quick & angry stride
He moved toward the pile,
And raisd his hand to hush the crowd, & cried
Bring forth the Murderer! at the Rajahs voice
Calmly & like a man whom fear had stunn’d
Ladurlad came, obedient to the call.
But Kalyal started at the sound
And shrieking with a womans fear turnd back
And roll’d her eyes around,
As if she lookd for aid, yet knew
No aid could there be found
It chanced that near her on the river-brink
The sculptured form of Mariatale stood;
It was an Idol roughly hewn in wood
Artless & poor & rude
The Goddess of the Poor was she
None else regarded her with piety.
But when that holy Image Kalyal view’d
To that she sprung, to that she clung,
On her own Goddess with close-clasping arms
For life the Maiden hung.
They seized the Maid with unrelenting grasp
Then bruised her tender limbs.
She nothing yielding, to that only hope
Clings with the strength of frenzy & despair;
She screams not now, she breathes not now
She sends not up one vow.
She forms not in her soul one silent prayer
All thought, all feeling & all powers of life
In that one effort centered. Wrathful they
With tug & strain would force the Maid away;
Didst thou, O Mariatale, see their strife,
In pity didst thou see the suffering Maid?
Or was thine anger kindled that rude hands
Assailed thy holy Image,.. for behold
The holy Image shakes!
Irreverently bold they deem the Maid
Relaxed her stubborn hold.
And now with force redoubled drag their prey
And now the rooted Idol to their sway
Bends,.. yields, & now it falls. But now they scream
For lo! they feel the crumbling bank give way
And all together plunge into the stream.
She hath escaped my power Kehama cried
She hath escaped but thou art here
The worser criminal!
And on Ladurlad full he fixd
The terrors of his frown.
The strong reflection of the flame
Lit his dark lineaments.
Lit the protruded brow, the gathered front
The steady eye of wrath.
But while the dreadful silence yet endured
Ladurlad summoned up his soul:
Ere yet the voice of destiny
That trembled on the Rajahs lips was loos’d
Eager he interposed
As if despair had wakened him to hope;
Mercy! oh mercy!.. only in defence,
Only to save my child I smote the Prince!
King of the World be merciful,
Crush me,.. but torture not!
The Man almighty deigned him no reply;
Still he was silent;.. in no human mood
Of mercy, in no hesitating thoughts
Of right or justice. At the length his brow
Relax’d, his lips unclosed
And uttered from his heart.
With the whole feeling of his soul enforced
The gathered vengeance came.
I charm thy life
From the weapons of strife
From stone & from wood
From fire & from flood
From sickness I charm thee
And Time shall not harm thee
But this Earth which is mine
Its fruits shall deny thee
And Water shall hear me
And know thee & fly thee
And the Winds shall not touch thee
When they pass by thee
And the Dews shall not cool thee
When they fall nigh thee;
And thou shall seek Death
To release thee in vain
And live in thy pain
While Kehama shall reign.
With a fire in thy heart
And a fire in thy brain
And Sleep shall obey me
And visit thee never
And the curse shall be on thee
For ever & ever –
There where the curse had stricken him
There stood the miserable man
There stood Ladurlad with loose hanging arms
And eyes of idiot wandering.
Was it a dream? alas,
He heard the river flow;
He heard the crumbling of the pile.
He heard the wind which showered
The thin white ashes round.
There motionless he stood
As if he hoped it were a dream
And feared to move lest he should know
The actual misery,
And still at times he met Kehama’s eye
Kehama’s eye that fastened on him still
The rites proceed again
The Rajah turns toward the pile
Anew the murmurs of the crowd arise.
Ladurlad starts,.. he looks around.
What see’st thou wretched man?
Ministrant Bramins, the long soldier train,
The empty palanquins
The dimly fading fire!
And where is now his child
His best beloved Kalyal;.. where is she
The solace & the joy
Of years of widowhood?
Hath she too perish’d? is he left alone
So utterly alone to bear his curse!
He staggers from the place
The throng give way before him
They shun him as a man
Smitten with pestilence
He wanders on, he feels,
A comfort in the change of circumstance
And speeds with quickened step along the shore.
By this the day had dawnd
Lo! what is yonder in the stream
Down the slow river floating slow
In distance indistinct?
The eye of the childless is there
Following its motion thoughtlessly he gazed,
Unknowing why gazed he
Nor conscious that he watched its way.
Belike it is a tree
Uprooted by some sudden tempests sway
Or from the hollow bank
By undermining currents swept away.
But when he saw beside it swelling out
A womans robe he started
As one who in his grave
Had heard an Angel’s call.
Yea Mariatale! thou hast deigned to save,
Yea, it is Kalyal, clinging senselessly
To the good Image & upborne
By her preser<v>ing power.
Headlong in hope & in joy
Ladurlad dashed in the river.
The Water knew Kehama’s curse
The Water shrunk before him.
Blind to the miracle
He rushes to his daughter,
And treads the river-depths
And now he clasps his child.
A shore of sand beyond
Sloped gently from the stream.
Thither Ladurlad bore her clasping still
The saving Goddess, there upon the sand
He laid the senseless maid
And clasped her chilly breast.
Soon did his touch perceive, –
Perceive or fancy there,
The first faint motion of returning life.
He chafes her feet, he bares them to the sun;
And now again upon her breast
Lays his hot hand & feels the stronger throb.
And her lips tremble now,
The breath comes palpably;
Her quivering lids unclose
Feebly, & feebly fall.
So in her fathers arms
Languid & motionless
Even as the dead she lay;
And painfully & slowly writhed at fits
At fits to short convulsive starts was stung.
Till when the struggle & strong agony
Had left her, quietly she lay
Her eyes now resting on Ladurlads face,
Relapsing now, & now again unclosed.
The look she fixed upon her fathers face
Had neither thought nor feeling,
Senselessly composed she lies
Like one who sleeps with open eyes.
Long he leant over her
In silence & in fear.
Kalyal! at length he cried,
Kalyal! in such a voice
As a poor mother ventures fearfully
Beside her child’s sick bed,
Half hoping that the sufferer still may sleep.
My father! cried the Maid
Awakening then to life,
Thou here my father? the past recurred
Which dimly like a dream till now
Confused her troubled brain.
But hope revived her. Hath he spared us then?
Half rising she exclaimed
Hath the Almighty Man been merciful,
That yet thou livest?.. Then Ladurlad groaned; –
Oh! he hath laid a Curse upon my life,
Hath sent a fire into my heart & brain,
A burning & consuming fire!
Air must not cool me, Water must not touch me
Earth must withhold its fruits
Sleep never visit me, nor Death
Release me from his power.
This is a dream! quoth she,.. but with a fear
Which in her larger eye was visible..
A dream!.. she rose & laid her hand
Upon her fathers brow.
He could not bear the pressure there,.. he shrunk
He warded off her arm;
As tho it were an enemy’s blow, he smote
His daughters arm away.
Her eye glanced down, she caught his robe
Oh misery! cried the Maiden, all is true!
He bore me from the river-depths & yet
His garment is not wet.
Under a Cocoas feathery shade
Reclined Ladurlad lies.
And Kalyal on his lap her head hath laid
To hide her streaming eyes.
The boatman sailing on his easy way
With envious eye beheld them where they lay,
For every herb & flower
Was fresh & fragrant with the morning dew
Sweet sung the birds in that delicious hour.
And the cool gale of morn
Ruffling the silver waters as it blew
Swept oer the moistened sand & raised no shower.
Telling their tale of love he thought they lay
At that lone hour, & who so blest as they!
But now the Sun in heaven is high,
The little songsters of the sky
Sit silently in the sultry hour,
They pant & palpitate with pain;
Their bills are open languidly
To catch the passing air
They hear it not, they feel it not
The boatman as he sails along
Admires what man so mad to linger there
For yonder Cocoas shade behind them falls
A single spot upon the burning sand.
There all the morning hours Ladurlad lay
Silent & motionless;
There motionless upon her fathers knees
The silent Maid reclined.
The man was still, pondering in steady thought
As tho it were anothers curse
His own mysterious doom;
As tho it were a last nights tale,
Before the cottage door –
By some old beldam sung.
While young & old assembled round
Listened, as if by witchery bound,
In fearful pleasure to her wonderous tongue.
All seemed a dream at length
A monstrous dream of things which could not be
That throbbing forehead,.. was it not full noon?
And he was lying there
All bare to the broad sun!
What if he felt no wind?
Why all the winds were hushd.
Yonder tall rows of rice
Erect & silent stood;
The shadow of the Cocoas lightest plume
Was steady on the sand
He rose, he ran impatient to the bank,
He stopt to break the visionary spell,
He plunged his hand amid the stream.
Kalyal with fearful eye pursued;
She saw the start & shudder,
She heard the half-uttered groan,..
For the Water knew Kehama’s curse,
The Water shrunk before him;
His dry hand moved unmoistened thro the stream;
As easily might that dry hand
Have clenched the winds of heaven.
He is almighty then!
The desperate wretch exclaimed.
Air knows him,.. Water knows him,.. Sleep & Death
Will do his dreadful will;
And Veeshnoo has no power to save
Nor Seeva to destroy!
Oh! wrong not them! quoth Kalyal
Our hope is all in them!
For lighter wrongs than ours
And lighter crimes than his
Have drawn the Incarnate down.
Already on their mercy
The Immortals have beheld us!..
And then she clasped the Idol
And calld on Mariatale,..
Twas Thou, exclaimed the Maiden
Twas my own Goddess saved me.
Here there my father
Raise the Preserver!
The Mighty of the Earth
Despise her holy rites,..
She loves the poor who serve her.
Set up her Image here
For jealously would she resent
Neglect & thanklessness, -
So saying on her knees the Maid
Began the pious toil.
Soon their joint labour scoops the easy soil,
They raise the Image up with reverent hand
And heap around its rooted base the sand.
O Mariatale! cried the Maid,
My Goddess, pardon thou
The unwilling wrong that I no more
Can do thy daily service as of yore.
The flowers which last I wreathed around thy brow,
Are withering there, & never now
Shall I at eve adore thee,
And swimming round with arms outspread
Poise the full pitcher on my head
In dextrous dance before thee;
While underneath the reedy shed at rest
My father sate the evening rites to view
And blest thy name & blest
His daughter too!
Then heaving from her heart a heavy sigh,
O Goddess from that happy home, cried she
The Almighty Man hath forced us,
And homeward with the thought unconsciously
She turned her dizzy eye, but there on high
With many a dome & pinnacle & spire
The summits of the Golden Palaces
Blazed in the dark blue sky aloft, like fire.
Father away! she cried, away!
Why linger we so near?
For not to him hath nature given
The thousand eyes of Deity,
Always & every where with open sight
To persecute our flight.
Away.. Away! she said
And seized her fathers hand, & like a child
He followed where she led
Evening comes on; arising from the stream
Homeward the tall flamingo wings his flight,
And where he sails athwart the setting beam
His scarlet plumage glows with deeper light –
The watchman at the wished approach of night
Gladly forsakes the field, where he all day
To scare the winged plunderers from their prey
With shout & sling, on yonder clay built height
Hath borne the sultry ray.
Hark! at the Golden Palaces
The Bramin strikes the hour.
For leagues & leagues around the brazen sound
Rolls thro the stillness of departing day
Like thunder, far away.
The Moon is up, still pale
Amid the lingering light.
One little cloud ascending in the East
Sails slowly on & spreads & darkens round.
No hospitable house no travellers home
Invites the wanderers; weary with long toil
The wretched father & the wretched child
Lie down amid the wild.
And there beneath the woodland shade
On Kalyals lap his head Ladurlad laid,
And never word he spake
Nor heaved he one complaining sigh
Nor groaned he with his misery,
But silently for her dear sake
Endured the raging pain
And now the Moon was hid on high
No stars were glimmering in the sky,
She could not see her fathers eye
How red with burning agony;
She did not feel his throbbing brains..
Perhaps it may be cooler now
She hoped,.. & longd to touch his brow
With gentle hand, yet did not dare
To lay the painful pressure there.
Now forward from the tree she bent,
And anxiously her head she leant
And listened to his breath;
Ladurlads breath was short & quick
Not regular it came –
And like the slumber of the sick
In pantings still the same.
Oh! if he sleeps!.. her lips unclose
Intently listening to the sound,
That equal sound so like repose.
Still quietly the sufferer lies.
He neither moves, nor groans, nor sighs,
Doth satiate cruelty bestow
This little respite to his woe
Or are there Gods who look below?
Perchance thought Kalyal, willingly deceived
The dreadful Rajah hath relaxed his wrath
Or Mariatale’s power divine
Assuaged the anguish agony.
That was a hope which filled her gushing eye
And made her heart in silent thanks & prayer
Yearn to the Goddess. In that joyful thought
Against the tree her weary head reclining
She to her fathers breath
Still hearkened, at first with an effort
Soon in forgetful fits
With starts of sudden remembrance.
Worn with long watching at length
She closed her heavy eyes & fell asleep.
Vain was her hope,.. he did not rest from pain
The Curse was burning in his brain.
She thought he slept.. alas
Sleep did not visit him
Sleep knew Kehama’s curse.
The dews of night fell round;
They never bathed Ladurlads brow
They knew Kehamas curse.
The night breeze is abroad
Aloft it moves among the stirring leaves;
He only heard the wind
It never fann’d his cheek
It knew Kehamas curse.
He lay & listened if his daughter slept
For wherefore should that dear one see & share
His hopeless misery? why should he endure
Better alone to suffer,.. he could bear
Better the burthen of his curse alone;
So happy too might she as one deemed dead
Escape the Rajahs wrath
Gently he lifts his head,.. she does not move;
Gently he rises up,.. she slumbers still;
Gently he steals on silent feet away:
But then she started, then
She felt him gone; she called
And heard no answer save his step in flight.
A moment doubtful of the sound
She listened till the step was heard no more
Then with a thrilling shriek she rushes on,..
The darkness & the mood impede her way,..
She lifts he voice again
Ladurlad! & again
Straining its tone to hoarseness,.. far away
Selfish in misery
He heard the call & faster sped his flight.
She leans against the tree whose jutting bough
Smote her so rudely. Her poor heart
How audibly it pants!
Her breath how short xxx <&> painful!
Hark! all is still around her
And the night so utterly dark!
She opened her eyes & she closed them
And the blackness & blank were the same.
The howl of the tyger wakened her
From that strange & deathy dreariness, –
She starts & her head instinctively
Turnd to the dreadful sound.
Far off the tyger howld,
A nearer horror met the maidens view;
There stood before her a dim form,
A human form, amid the darkness shaped,
Dim-lighted like the haze
That sweeps athwart the sky
When the red moon looks ominous in heaven.
That spectre form had fixd
His eyes upon her full
The light which shone in them
Was like a light from Hell
And it grew deeper, kindling as they gazed.
She could not turn her looks
From that infernal gaze;
It fixed & fastened them,
It palsied every power,
Sense, memory, thought were gone.
She heard not now the tygers louder howl,
She thought not on her father now,
Her cold hearts-blood ran back;
Her hand lay senseless on the bough it claspd
Her feet were motionless,
Her fascinated eyes
Like the stone eyeballs of a statue fixd,
Yet conscious of the sight that blasted them.
The wind is abroad,
It scatters the clouds,
The darkness is driven before it,
The stars shine out in their beauty
And the moon is bright & full.
Distinct & darkening in her beams
That spectre form appears.
The moonlight gives to view his form & face
The living face of Arvalan!
His hands are spread to clasp her.
As if a lightning stroke
Had burst the spell of fear
All franticly she fled.
By the way-side there stood an open fane
Of Pollear, gentle God, the travellers friend;
With elephantine head
There stood his Image, such as when he seized
The rebel Giant, & with mighty trunk
Wreathed round his impotent bulk, & on his tusks
Impaled, upheld him between earth & heaven.
Thither she sped her flight,
And now upon the holy ground,
Yea.. even before the altar,
Hath Arvalan with arm of flesh
Seized her. That instant the insulted God
Caught him aloft, & from his sinuous grasp
As if from some tort catapult let loose
Over the forest hurled with shattering fall.
She tarried not to see what power had saved;
Breathless & faint she flies;
She stumbles at the root
Of yonder manchineel,
And falls beneath the tree whose shade is death.
Her face upon the ground
Her arms at length extended,
Pale as the dead & senseless as the dead,
There Kalyal lies beneath the machineel.
What if the prowling tyger now should snuff
The scent of human flesh?
Alas Death needs not now his ministry,..
The balefull boughs hang over her,
The poison dews descend.
It was a night so beautiful
It might have calmed the gay to thoughtlessness
And given the wretched a delight in tears.
One of the Glendoveers
The loveliest race of all the tribes of heaven
Was floating in the moonlight sky.
He saw the Maid where like a corpse she lay,
And stoopt his flight, descending
To lift her from the earth.
Her cheeks are pale & livid,
Her heavy lids half-closed,
Down hang her loose arms lifelessly.
With timely pity touchd for one so young,
The gentle Glendoveer
Close holds her to his breast,
And bounds aloft & flies his sinewy wings.
He bears her there where Hernakoot
The Holy Mountain rising from mid earth
Shines like the throne of Evening in mid heaven.
He bears her to the blessed grove
Where dwells old Casyapa, the sire of Gods
The Father of the Immortals sate
Where underneath his Tree of Life
The fountain of the Sacred River rose
The Father of the Immortals smiled
Benignant on his son.
Knowest thou Ereenia whom thou bringest here
A Mortal to thex blessed Grove?
I found her in the groves of earth
Beneath a poison-tree
Thus lifeless as thou seest her
In pity have I brought her to these bowers,
Not erring, Father, by that smile!
By that benignant eye!
What if the Maid be sinful? if her ways
Were ways of darkness, & her death predoomd
To that black hour of midnight when the Moon
Hath turnd her face away:
Unwilling to behold
The unhappy end of guilt?
Then what a lie my Sire, were written here
In these fair characters! but she had died
Now in the moonlight, in the eye of heaven,
If I had left so fair a flower to fade.
But thou, All-knowing as thou art,
Why asketh thou of me?
Knowest thou Kehama?
The Almighty Man!
Who knows him & his tremendous power
The Tyrant of the Earth:
The Enemy of Heaven!
Fearest thou the Rajah?
He is terrible.
Yea he is terrible! such power hath he
That Hope hath entered Hell
The Asuras & the Spirits of the Damn’d
Acclaim their Hero. Yamen with the might
Of Godhead scarce can quell
The rebel race accurst.
Half from their beds of torture they uprise
And half uproot their chains:
Is there not fear in Heaven?
The Souls that are in bliss suspend their joy.
The danger hath disturbd
The calm of Deity.
And Brama fears, & Veeshnoo turns his face
In doubt to Seeva’s throne
I have seen Indra a tremble at his prayers
And dreadful penances,
Which claim & wrest from Seeva power so vast
Even Seeva cannot grant & be secure
And darest thou Ereenia, brave
The Almighty Tyrants power?
Take her else again to Earth!
Cast her in the tygers path;
Or where the death-dew dropping Tree
May work Kehama’s will.
Then meet his wrath! for he, even he
Hath set his wanton foot upon this worm!
I knew her not how wretched or how fair,
When here I wafted her; poor Child of Earth
Shall I forsake thee, seeing thee so fair,
So wretched? O my father, let the Maid
Dwell in the sacred grove!
That must not be
For Force & Evil then would enter here
Ganges the holy stream which cleanses sin
Would flow from hence polluted in its springs
And they who gasp upon its banks in death
Feel no salvation… Pity & peace
And wisdom these are mine; but not the power
Which could protect her from the Almighty Man,
Nor when the spirit of dead Arvalan,
Should persecute her here to glut his rage,
To heap upon her yet more agony,
And ripen more damnation for himself
He hath his fathers power
To rule the Elements, until his days
Of wandering shall be numbered.
Look! she drinks
The gale of healing from the blessed groves!
She stirs! & lo! her hand
Hath touched the Holy River in its source
Who would have shrunk if aught impure were nigh
The Maiden of a truth, is pure from sin.
The Waters of the Holy Spring
Round the hand of Kalyal rise.
The Tree of Life hangs oer her
Dropping dews of healing;
She breathes the unpolluted gale
That never yet hath swept the earth,
And her hearts-blood at every breath
Freer flows & purer.
A life-bloom reddens now her dark-brown cheek
And lo! her eyes unclose,
Dark as the depths of Ganges spring profound
When night hangs over it.
Bright as the moon beams where they fall.
And quiver on its clear up-sparkling wave.
Soon she let fall her lids
As one who waking from a dream of joy
Would fain return to sleep & dream again
She moves not,.. fearful to disturb
The deep & full delight.
The feeling & the flow of life & health
That lived in every limb
Anon in wonder fixed
She gazes silently
Thinking her mortal pilgrimage was past
And these were Gods before her
Or Spirits of the blest.
Behold at Ereenia’s command
A bark of the Swans comes down.
Where wouldst thou bear her? quoth the Sire of Gods
To Indras Paradise
To my own bower of bliss.
Foe of her foe the Sorgon King
Will shield her in his realm.
Should Indra fail thro fear,
Weak as I am even I
Stand forth in Seevas sight!
Trust thou in him, & stand thou fearless forth
My blessing be upon thee. O my son.
Then in the Ship of Heaven Ereenia laid
The waking wonderous Maid.
The Ship of Heaven instinct with thought displayd
It’s living sail & glides along the sky.
On either side in wavy tide
The clouds of morn along its path divide,
The winds who swept in wild career on high
Before its presence check their charmed force;
The winds that loitering laggd along their course
Around the living Bark enamourd play,
Swell underneath the sail & sing before its way.
That Bark in shape was like the furrowed shell
Wherein the Sea Nymphs to their parent-King
On festal day, their duteous offerings bring.
Its hue? – go watch the last green light
Ere Evening yields the western sky to Night,
Or fix upon the Sun thy strenuous sight
Till thou hast reach’d its orb of chrysolite.
The sail from end to end display’d
Bent like a rainbow oer the Maid.
An Angels head with visual eye
Thro trackless space directs its chosen way,
Nor aid of wing, nor feet, nor fin
Requires to voyage oer the obedient sky.
Smooth as the swan when not a breeze at even
Disturbs the surface of the silver stream.
Thro air & sunshine sails the Ship of Heaven.
Recumbent there the Maiden glides along,
How swift she feels not, tho the swiftest wind
Had flaggd in flight behind.
She felt no fear, for that etherial air
With such new life & joyaunce filld her heart
Fear could not enter there;
For sure she deemd her mortal part was oer,
And she was sailing to his heavenly shore,
And that angelic form who moved beside,
Was some good Spirit come <sent> to be her guide
Eye hath not seen, nor Painters hand pourtrayd
Form so divine as floats beside the Maid.
His wings were plumeless, from the neck displayd
Down to the ankle spread their long expanse.
Their colour like the winters moonless sky
When all the stars of midnights canopy
Shine forth, or like the azure deep of morn
Reflecting back to heaven a brighter blue.
Thro the broad-membrane branchd a pliant bone,
Whose veins like interwoven silver shone,
Or like shells of lovelier pearly hue
Now with strong stroke he smites the buoyant air,
Now on still wing expanded shoots along,
Careering on his rapid way
Swift as the chariot wheels of Day.
Thro air & sunshine sails the Ship of Heaven
Far far beneath them lies
The gross & heavy atmosphere of Earth.
Kalyal inhales the Swerga gales
And every breath infuses new delight
And now toward its port the Ship of Heaven
Swift as a falling meteor slopes its flight,
Yet gently on the dews of night that gem
And do not bend the hair-bells slenderest stem:
Daughter of Earth, Ereenia cried, alight!
Lo this thy place of rest
Lo here my Bower of Bliss!
He furld his azure wings
The happy Kalyal knew not where to gaze.
Her eyes around in wondering pleasure roam
Now turnd upon the lovely Glendoveer,
Now on his heavenly home
Here rest in peace, Ereenia cried,
And I will guard thee feeble as I am,
I trust the Rajah shall not harm thee here.
Alas thou fearest him!
Immortal as thou art, thou fearest him!
I thought that Death had saved me from his power
Not even the dead are safe!
Long years of life & happiness
O Maiden, yet be thine!
From death I saved thee, from all enemies
Will save thee, while the Swerga is secure
Not me alone O gentle Deveta!
I have a father suffering upon Earth
A persecuted, wretched, poor, good man,
For whose strange misery
There is no human help
And none but I dare comfort him
Beneath Kehamas curse
O gentle Deveta protect him too!
Didst thou not say beneath Kehamas curse?
Come plead thyself to Indra! words like thine
May win their way, reinvigorate his heart,
And make him yet put forth his arm & wield
The thunder, while the thunder is his own.
Then to the Garden of the Deity
Ereenia led the Maid.
In the mid garden towered a giant tree,
Rock-rooted on a mountain there it grew,
Reard its unrivalled head on high
And stretched a thousand branches on the sky,
Drinking with all its leaves celestial dew.
Adown the mountain sides
A thousand torrents pour their glittering tides
And form an ample <spacious> lake which spread below.
That great Tree it was the living Well
From whence the torrents flow.
For still in one perpetual shower,
From every leaf of all its ample bower
Like diamond drops etherial waters fell
Forth winding from the Lake below
A thousand rivers watered Paradise.
Full to the trunk yet never overflowing
They coold the amorous gales which ever blowing
Oer their melodious surface loved to stray,
Then winging back their way
Their load of vapour to the Tree convey,
And ending thus where they began,
And feeding thus the source from whence they came,
The eternal rivers of the Swerga ran
For ever renovate, yet still the same.
On that etherial Lake whose waters lie
Blue & transpicuous, like another sky,
The Elements had reard their Kings abode.
A strong controlling power their strife suspended
And there their hostile essences they blended
To form a Palace worthy of the God,
Built on the Lake the waters were its floor,
And here its walls were water archd with fire,
And here were fire with water vaulted oer.
And here were lucid cloud with both embraced,
And here of rainbow interlaced
With water, cloud & flame.
And towers & pinnacles of fire
Round watery cupolas aspire,
And fiery domes on towers of rainbow rest,
And roofs of cloud are turretted around
With flame, & shafts of cloud with flame are bound
And domes of water here with cloud are crownd
And flamey tongues on spires of water quiver.
Here too the Elements for ever change.
Fire climbs the watry cupolas & round
The courts of cloud meanders like a river,
The watry cupolas descend
To bear on liquid wells the cope of fire,
And clouds roll down the flaming halls to floor
And water rises up the rainbow tower.
Pursued in love & thus in love pursuing
In endless revolutions here they roll,
For ever thus their wonderous work renewing
The parts all shifting, still unchanged the whole
Even we on earth at intervals descry
Gleams of the glory, streaks of glowing light
Opening of heaven, & streams that flash at night
Along the northern sky.
Impatient of delay Ereenia caught
The Maid aloft, & spread his wings abroad,
And bore her to the presence of the God
There Indra sate upon his throne reclind
Where Devetas adore him,
The lute of Nared warbling in the wind
All tones of magic harmony combind
To settle his troubled mind,
While the dark eyed Asparas danced before
In vain the God Musician playd,
In vain the dark-eyed Nymphs of Heaven
To charm him with their beauties in the dance
And when he saw the mortal Maid appear
Led by the heroic Glendoveer,
A deeper trouble filld his countenance.
What hast thou done Ereenia said the God,
Bringing a mortal here! –
And while he spake his eye was on the Maid
No hope to Kalyal it convey’d
And yet it struck no fear,
There was a sad displeasure in the air,
But pity too was there.
Hear me O Indra! On the lower earth
I found this child of man, by which mishap
I know not, lying in the lap of death.
Aloft I bore her to our Fathers grove,
Not having other thought than when the gale
Of bliss had heald her, upon earth again
To leave its lovely daughter. Other thoughts
Rose when from Casyapa I learnt her doom
For she is one who groans beneath the power
Of the dread Rajah, terrible alike
To men & Gods. His son dead Arvalan,
Armd with that portion Indra of thy power
Already wrested from thee, persecutes
The Maid, the helpless one – the innocent.
What then behoved me but to waft her here
To my own Bower of Bliss? what other choice?
The accursed spirit of dead Arvalan
Who rules the lower elements, not yet
Hath power to enter here, – here thou art yet
Supreme, & yet the Swerga is thine own.
No child of man, Ereenia, in the Bower
Of Bliss may sojourn, till he hath put off
His mortal part, for on mortality
Time & Infirmity & Death attend
Close followers they, & in their mournful train
Sorrow & Pain & Mutability.
Did they find entrance here, we should behold
Our joys, like earthly summers, pass away
Those joys perchance may pass, another hand
May seize my sceptre, & unparadise
The Swerga, – but Ereenia if we fall
Let it be irresistible Destiny
That lays us prostrate; let us not invite
The blow, nor bring ourselves the ruin on.
Fear courts the blow, Fear brings the ruin on.
Needs must the chariot-wheels of Destiny
Crush him who lays him down before their track
Patient & prostrate.
All may yet be well.
Who knows but Veeshnoo will descend & save,
Once more incarnate?
Hope not thou for that
Our father Casyapa has said he looks
In doubt to Seeva, even as thou toward him.
Strive for thyself & thou mayst rightly look
To higher Powers for aid. Oh that mine arm
Could wield yon lightnings which play idly there,
In inoffensive radiance oer thy head:
The Swerga should not need a champion now,
Nor Earth implore deliverance still in vain.
Thinkest thou I want the will? rash son of Heaven
What if my arm be feeble as thy own
Against the dread Kehama? – He went on
Triumphant in his wide career of war,
Till his victorious car had measured earth
In its career, & all the Kings of men
Bowd to his yoke. No worse ambition yet
Possessd him, then to ride upon their necks,
And crown his conquests with the sacrifice
Which should proclaim him Master of the World
Sole Rajah, the Omnipresent below.
The steam of that portentous sacrifice
Arose to Heaven, then was to strike,
Then in the consummation of his pride,
His height of glory, then the thunder bolt
Should have gone forth & hurld him from his throne
Down to the fiery floor of Padalon
To everlasting burnings, agony
Eternal, & remorse that knows no end
The hour went by, grown impious with success
By prayer & penances he wrested now
Such power from Fate, that soon if Seeva turn not
His eyes on earth, & no Avatar save,
Soon will he seize the Swerga for his own,
Roll on thro Padalon his chariot wheels,
Tear up the adamantine bolts which locks
The accurst Asuras to its burning floor.
And force the drink of Immortality
From Yamens charge. Vain were it now to strive,
My thunder cannot pierce the sphere of power
Wherewith as with a girdle, he is bound.
Take me to Earth, O gentle Deveta!
Take me again to Earth! – there is no hope
In Heaven for me! – my father still must bear
His curse, he shall not bear it all alone.
Take me to earth that I may follow him –
I do not fear the Almighty Man! – the Gods
Are feeble here, – but there are other Powers
Who will not turn their eyes from wrongs like ours
Take me to Earth O gentle Deveta!
Saying thus she knelt & to his knees she clung,
And bowd her head, in tears & silence praying.
Rising anon around his neck she flung
Her arms, & there with folded hands she hung,
And fixing on the guardian Glendoveer
Her eyes, more eloquent than Angels tongue,
Again she cried there is no comfort here!
I must be with my father in his pain –
Take me to earth O Deveta again!
Indra with admiration heard the Maid
O Child of Earth, he cried,
Already in thy spirit thus divine
Whatever weal or woe betide
Be that high sense of duty still thy guide
And all Good Powers will aid a soul like thine
Then turning to Ereenia thus he said,
Take her where Ganges hath its second birth
Below our sphere & yet above the earth
There may Ladurlad rest beyond the power
Of the dread Rajah, till the fated hour.
Dost thou tremble O Indra – O God of the Sky
Dost thou tremble on high for thy throne?
Many a day to Seevas shrine
His daily victim hath Kehama led.
Nine & ninety days are fled
Nine & ninety steeds have bled,
One more the rite will be compleat.
This victim more, the dreadful day.
Then will the impious Rajah seize thy seat.
And wrest thy thunder-sceptre from thy sway.
Along the mead the hallowed steed
Yet bends at liberty his way, –
Noon shall see the victim bleed,
His consummating blood at noon will flow
O day of woe! above, below,
That blood confirms the Almighty Tyrants power.
Thou tremblest O Indra, O God of the Sky,
Thou, tremblest on high for thy throne!
But where is xx Veeshnoo at this hour,
But where is Seeva’s eye?
Is then the Destroyer blind,
Is the Preserver careless for mankind!
Along the meed the hallowed steed
Still wanders wheresoever it will
Oer hill or dale or plain; –
No human hand hath trickd that mane
From which he shakes the morning dew,
His mouth has never felt the rein,
His lips have never frothd the chain,
For pure of blemish & of stain,
His neck unbroken to mortal yoke
Like Nature free the steed must be
Fit offering for the Immortals he.
A year & day the steed must stray
Wherever chance may guide his way
Before he bleed at Seevas shrine; –
The year & day hath past away
Nor touch of man hath marrd the rite divine.
And now at noon the steed must bleed
The perfect rite to day must force the meed
Which Fate reluctant shudders to bestow –
Then must the Swerga God
Yield to the Tyrant of the world below
Then must the Devetas obey
The Rajahs rod & groan beneath his hateful sway.
The Sun rides high, the hour is nigh
The multitude who long,
Lest night should mar the rite,
In circle wide on every side
Have kept the steed in sight,
Contract the circle now & draw him on,
Drawn in long files before the temple court
The Rajahs arches flank an ample space,
Here moving him onward still they drive him near,
Then opening give him way to enter here.
Behold him how he starts & flings his head!
On either side in glittering order spread
The archers ranged in narrowing lines appear.
The multitude behind close-in the rear
With moonlike bend, & silently await
The rite that shall from Indra wrest his power.
In front with far-stretched walls, & many a tower
Turret & dome & pinnacle elate,
The huge Pagoda seems to load the land;
And there before the gate
The Bramin band expectant stand,
The axe is ready for Kehama’s hand
Hark! from the Golden Palaces
The Bramin strikes the hour.
One – two – three – four – thrice told he struck
One – two – again, – one more
Is wanting yet, twill soon be due;
The Sun rides high, the moon is nigh,
And silently as if spell-bound
The multitude expect await the sound.
Lo how the steed with sudden start
Turns his quick head to every part, –
Long files of men on every side appear
A sight might well his heart affright,
And yet the silence that is here
Inspires a stronger fear, –
For not a murmur, not a sound
Of voice, or motion, rises round,
No stir is heard in all that mighty crowd.
He neighs & from the temple wall
The neigh reechoes loud,
Loud & distinct as from a hill
Across a lonely vale when all is still.
Within the temple on his golden throne
Reclined Kehama lies,
Watching with steady eyes
The perfumd light which burns before his sight
And measures out the hours.
On either hand his eunuchs stand,
Freshening with fans of peacock-plumes the air
Which redolent of all rich gums & flowers,
Seems overcharged with sweets to stagnate there
Lo the time-tapers flame ascending slow
Creeps up its coil toward the fated line,
Kehama rises & goes forth,
And from the altar ready where it lies
He takes the axe of sacrifice.
That instant from the crowd a man sprang out
To lay upon the steed his hand profane.
A thousand archers draw at him their bows
And with their shower of arrows fill the sky
In vain they fall upon him fast as rain,
He bears a charmed life which may defy
All weapons, & the darts which round him fly,
As from an adamantine panoply
Repelled & blunted, fall & strew the ground
Kehama claspd his hands in agony,
And saw him grasp the hallowed coursers mane
Spring up with sudden bound,
And with a frantic cry
And madmans gesture gallop round & round
They seize, they drag him to the Rajahs feet.
What doom will now be his? what vengeance meet
Will he who knows no mercy now require?
The obsequious guards around with blood-hound eye
Look for the word, in slow-consuming fire
By piece-meal death to make the wretch expire,
Or hoist his living carcase, hookd on high,
To feed the fowls & insects of the sky;
Or if aught worse inventive cruelty
To the remorseless heart of royalty
Might prompt, accursed instruments they stand
To work the wicked will with wicked hand.
Far other thoughts were in the multitude,
Pity & human feelings held them still;
And stiffled sighs & groans supprest were there,
And many a secret curse & inward prayer
Calld on the insulted Gods to save mankind.
Expecting some new crime in fear they stood,
Some horror which would make the natural blood
Start, with cold shudderings thrill the shrinking heart,
Whiten the lips, & make the abhorrent eye
Roll back & close, prest in for agony.
How then fared he for whom the mighty crowd
Suffered in spirit thus? how then fared he?
A ghastly smile was on his lip, his eye
Glard with a ghastly hope as he drew nigh
And cried aloud – yes Rajah it is I!
And wilt thou kill me now? –
The countenance of the Almighty Man
Fell when he knew Ladurlad, & his brow
Was clouded with despite, as one asham’d.
That wretch again! indignant he exclaim’d,
And smote his forehead, & stood silently
Awhile in wrath. Then with a savage smile –
Let him go free, he cried – he hath his Curse
And vengeance upon him can wreck no worse, –
But ye who let him smite, – tremble ye!
He bade the archers pile their weapons there,
No manly courage filld the slavish band,
No sweetening vengeance rous’d a brave despair.
He calld his horsemen then & gave command
To hem the offenders in & hew them down.
Ten thousand scymetars at once uprear’d
Flash up, like waters glowing to the sun.
A second time the fatal brands appeard
Lifted aloft, they glittered then no more,
Their light was gone, their splendour quenchd in gore,
At noon the massacre begun
And night closed in before the work of death was done
The steam of slaughter from that place of blood
Spread oer the xxx tainted sky.
Vultures for whom the Rajahs tyranny
So oft had furnished food, from far & nigh
Sped to the lure, aloft with joyful cry
Wheeling around they hovered over head,
Or on the temple perchd with greedy eye
Impatient watchd the dead.
Far off the tygers in the inmost inmost wood
Heard the death shriek, & snuffd the scent of blood
They rose & thro the covert went their way,
Couchd round the forest edge & waited for their prey.
He who had sought for death went wandering on,
The hope which had inspird his heart was gone,
Yet a wild joyaunce still inflamd his face,
A smile of vengeance, a triumphant glow
Where goes he? – whither should Ladurlad go?
Unwittingly the wretches footsteps trace
Their wonted path toward his dwelling-place,
And wandering on unknowing where
He starts at finding he is there.
Behold his lowly home,
By yonder broad-boughd plane oershaded.
There Mariatales image stands,
And there the garland twind by Kalyals hands
Around its brow hath faded.
The peacocks at their masters sight
Quick from the leafy thatch alight,
And hurry round & search the ground,
And veer their glancing necks from side to side
Expecting from his hand
Their daily dole which erst the Maid supplied,
Now all too long denied.
But as he gazed around
How strange did all accustomed sights appear,
How differently did each familiar sound
Come to his altered ear.
Here stood the marriage bower
Reard in that happy hour
When he with festal joy & youthful pride
Had brought Yedillian home, his beauteous bride
Leaves not its own & many a borrowed flower
Had then bedeckd it, withering ere the night
But he who lookd from that auspicious day
For years of long delight,
And would not see the marriage bower decay,
There planted & nurst up with daily care
The sweetest herbs that scent the ambient air,
And traind them round to live & flourish there
Nor when dread Yemens will
Had calld Yedillian from his arms away.
Ceasd he to tend the marriage bower, but still
Sorrowing had drest it, like a pious rite
Due to the monument of past delight.
He took his wonted seat before the door,
All here was as yore,
Here were the flowers which Kalyal wont to rear
For Mariatales brow
Drooping their heads overblown, untended now.
This was the plane his noontide seat oerbowering,
Yonder the tank, & there
The large-leaved lotus on the waters flowering.
There from the intolerable heat
The buffaloes retreat,
Only their nostrils rais’d to meet the air,
Amid the sheltering element they rest.
Impatient of the sight he closed his eyes,
And bowd his burning head, & in despair
Calling on Indra, – Thunder-God, he cries,
Thou owest to me alone, this day thy throne,
Be grateful, & in mercy strike me dead.
Despair had rousd him to that hopeless prayer,
Yet thinking on the heavenly Powers, his mind
Drew comfort; & he rose & gathered flowers,
And twind a crown for Mariatales brow,
And taking then her withered garland down
Replaced it with the blooming coronal
Not for my self, the unhappy father cried,
Not for my self, O mighty one, I pray
Accursed as I am beyond thy aid.
But oh be gracious to that dear Maid
Who crownd thee with these garlands day by day,
And danced before thee aye at eventide,
In beauty & in pride,
O Mariatale, wheresoeer she stray
Alone & wretched, still be thou her guide
A loud & fiendish laugh replied
Scoffing his prayer. Aloft as from the air
The sound of insult came, – he looked & there
The visage of dead Arvalan was seen.
Only his face amid the clear blue sky,
With long-drawn lips of insolent mockery,
And eyes whose lurid glare
Was like a sulphur fire
Mingling with darkness ere its flames expire.
Ladurlad knew the face, enraged to see
The cause of all his misery,
He stopt & lifted from the ground
A stake, whose fatal point was black with blood,
The same wherewith his hand had dealt the wound
When Arvalan in hour with evil fraught
For violation seized the shrieking Maid.
Thus armd in act to strike again he stood
And twice with inefficient rage essayd
To smite the impassive shade.
The lips of scorn their mockery laugh renewd,
And Arvalan put forth a hand, & caught
The sunbeam, & condensing there its light
Upon Ladurlad turnd the burning stream.
Vain cruelty! the stake
Fell in white ashes from his hold, – but he
Endurd no added pain, his agony
Was full & at the height,
The burning stream of radiance nothing harmd him
A fire was in his heart & brain;
And from all other pain
Kehama’s curse had charmd him.
Anon the Spirit waved a second hand
Down rushd the obedient whirlwind from the sky,
Scoopd up the sand like smoke, & from on high
Shed the hot shower upon Ladurlads head.
Whereer he turns, the Hand accurst is there,
East –West, & North & South, on every side
The Hand accursed waves in air to guide
The dizzying storm, ears, nostrils, eyes & mouth
It fills & cloaks, & cloying every pore
Taught him new torments might be yet in store
Where shall he turn to fly? – behold his house
In flames! uprooted lies the marriage tower,
The Goddess buried by the sandy shower.
Blindly with staggering step he reels about,
And still the accursed Hand pursued
And still the lips of scorn their mockery laugh renewd.
What Arvalan! hast thou so soon forgot
The grasp of Pollear? wilt thou still defy
The righteous Powers of Heaven, or knowst thou not
That there are yet superior Powers on high,
Son of the Wicked? – Lo in rapid flight
Ereenia hastens from the etherial height.
Bright is the sword celestial in his hand,
Like lightning athwart the sky,
He comes & drives with angel arm the blow,
Oft have the Asurias in the wars of Heaven,
Felt that keen sword by arm angelic driven
And fled before it from the fields of light
Twice through the vulnerable shade
Ereenia drives the griding blade.
The wicked shade flies howling from his foe.
So let him fly & howl for agony,
And oer his wounds deplore
Far worse hath Arvalan deservd
And worse is yet in store.
Not now the Glendoveer pursued his flight,
He bade the Ship of Heaven alight,
And gently there he laid
The astonished Father by the happy Maid
The Maid now shedding tears of deep delight,
Beholding all things with incredulous eyes,
Still dizzy with the sand-storm there he lay,
While sailing up the skies the living Bark
Thro air & sunshine held its heavenly way.
Swift thro the sky the Vessel of the Suras
Sails up the fields of ether like an Angel, –
Rich is the freight O Vessel! that thou bearest, –
Beauty & Virtue,
Fatherly Cares and Filial Veneration,
Hearts which are prov’d & strengthened by affliction,
Manly Resentment, Fortitude & Action,
All with which Nature halloweth her daughters,
Tenderness, Truth & Purity & Meekness,
Pity, Patience, Faith & Resignation,
Love & Devotement.
Ship of the Gods, how richly art thou laden!
Proud of the charge thou voyagest rejoicing,
Clouds float around to honour thee, & Evening
Lingers in heaven.
A stream descends on Meru mountain,
None hath seen its secret fountain,
It had its birth, so sages say
Upon the memorable day
When Parvati amid her play,
Too venturous then in her mirth,
Presumd her hands to lay
On Seevas eyes, the light & life of Earth
Thereat the heart of the Universe stood still,
The Elements ceasd their influences, the Hours
Stopt on the eternal round; Motion & Breath
Time, Change & Life & Death
In sudden trance opprest forgot their powers,
A moment, & the dread eclipse was ended.
But at the thought of Nature thus suspended,
The sweat on Seeva’s forehead stood,
And Ganges thence upon the world descended,
The Holy River, the Redeeming Flood.
None hath seen its secret fountain,
But on the top of Meru-mountain
Which rises oer the hills of earth,
In light & clouds it hath its mortal birth,
Earth seems that pinnacle to rear
Sublime above this worldly sphere,
Its cradle, & its altar & its throne.
And there the newborn River lies
Outspread beneath its native skies,
As if it there would love to dwell
Alone & unapproachable.
Soon flowing forward & resigned
To the will of the creating Mind,
It springs at once with sudden leap
Down from the immeasurable steep
From rock to rock with shivering force abounding
The mighty cataract rushes, Heaven around
Like thunder with the incessant roar resounding,
And Meru’s summit shaking with the sound
Wide spreads the snowy foam, the sparkling spring
River aloft, & ever there at morning
The earliest sunbeams haste to wing their way,
With rainbow wreaths the holy flood adorning.
And duly the adoring Moon at night
Sheds her white glory there
And in the watry air,
Suspends her halo-crowns of silver light.
A mountain valley in its blessed breast
Receives the stream, which there delights to lie
Untroubled <xxx> & at rest.
Beneath the untainted sky.
There is a lovely lake it seems to sleep,
And thence thro many a channel dark & deep
Their secret way the holy waters wind,
Till raising underneath the root
Of the Tree of Life on Himakoot,
Majestic forth they flow to purify mankind.
Toward the Lake above the nether sphere
The Living Bark with Angel eye
Directs its course along the obedient sky.
Kehama hath not yet dominion here,
And till the dreaded hour
When Indra by the Rajah shall be driven
Dethrond from Heaven,
Here may Ladurlad rest beyond his power.
The Living Bark alights, the Glendoveer
Then lays Ladurlad by the blessed Lake, –
Oh happy sire & yet more happy daughter!
The etherial gales his agony aslake,
His daughters tears are on his cheek
His hand is in the water.
The innocent man, the man opprest
Oh joy! hath found a place of rest
Beyond Kehama’s sway,
His Curse extends not here
His pains have past away.
O happy Sire & happy Daughter
Ye on the banks of that celestial-Water
Your resting place & sanctuary have found
What – hath not then their mortal taint defiled
This sacred solitary ground?
Vain thought, the holy Valley smild
Receiving such a sire & child,
Ganges who seemd asleep to lie
Beheld them with benignant eye,
And rippled round melodiously,
And rolld his little waves to meet
And welcome their beloved feet.
The gales of Swerga thither fled,
And heavenly odours there were shed
About, below, & overhead,
And Earth, rejoicing in their tread,
Hath built them up a blooming bower
Where every amaranthine flower
Its deathless blossom interweaves
With bright & undecaying leaves.
Three happy beings are there here,
The Sire, the Maid, the Glendoveer;
A fourth approaches, – who is this
That enters in the Bower of Bliss?
No form so fair might painter find
Among the daughters of mankind,
For Death her beauties hath refin’d
And unto her a form hath given
Framd of the elements of heaven.
Pure dwelling place for perfect mind
She stood & gazed on sire & child
Her tongue had not yet power to speak
The tears were streaming down her cheek,
And when those tears her sight beguild,
And still her faltering accents faild
The Spirit mute & motionless
Held out her arms for the caress,
Made still & silent with excess
Of joy <love> & painful happiness.
The Maid that lovely form surveyd,
Wistful she gazd & knew her not,
But Nature to her heart conveyd
A sudden thrill, a startling thought,
A feeling many a year forgot,
Now like a dream anew recurring,
As if again in every vein
Her mothers milk was stirring.
With straining neck & earnest eye
And She stretchd her arms imploringly,
As if she fain would have her nigh
Yet feard to meet the wishd embrace,
As one with love & awe opprest.
Not so Ladurlad, he could trace
Tho brightend with angelic grace
His own Yedillians human face,
He ran & held her to his breast.
Oh joy above all joys of Heaven,
By Death alone to others given,
This moment hath to him restor’d
The early lost, the long deplor’d.
They err who tell us Love can die
With life all other passions fly,
All others are but vanity.
In Heaven Ambition cannot dwell,
Nor Avarice in the vaults of Hell,
Earthly these passions, as of earth.
They perish where they have their birth
But Love is indestructible
The holy flame for ever burneth
From Heaven it came, to Heaven returneth
For oft on earth a troubled guest,
At times deceivd at times opprest,
It here is tried & purified,
And hath in Heaven its perfect rest,
It soweth here with toil of care,
But the harvest time of Love is there.
Oh when a Mother meets on high
The Babe she lost in infancy,
Hath she not then for pains & fears,
The day of woe, the watchful night,
For all her sorrow, all her tears,
An overpayment of delight!
A blessed family is this
Assembled in the Bower of Bliss.
Strange woe Ladurlad hath been thine
And pangs beyond all human measure,
And thy reward is now divine,
A foretaste of eternal pleasure.
He knew indeed there was a day
When all these joys would pass away,
And he must quit the blest abode.
And taking up again the spell,
Groan underneath its baleful load,
And wander oer the world again
Most wretched of the sons of man.
Yet was this brief repose as when
A traveller in the Arabian sands,
Half fainting on his sultry road,
Hath reachd the water-place at last,
And resting there beside the well
Thinks of the perils he has past,
And gazes oer the unbounded plain,
The plain which must be traversd still
And drinks, yet cannot drink his fill
Then girds his patient loins again
So to Ladurlad now was given
New strength & confidence in Heaven
And hope & faith invincible.
For often would Ereenia tell
Of what in elder days befell
When other tyrants in their might
Usurpd dominion oer the earth,
And Veeshnoo took a human birth
Deliverer of the sons of man;
And slew the huge Ermacasen,
And piece-meal rent with lion force
Errenens accursed corse,
And humbled Bali in his pride,
And when the Giant Ravanen
Had borne triumphant from his side
Seeda his beloved bride,
And from afar his force defied.
How to her rescue swift he hied,
And met the hundred-headed foe,
And dealt him the unerring blow –
By Bramas hand the lance was given,
And by that arm resistless driven
It laid the mighty Tyrant low,
And Earth & Ocean & high Heaven,
Rejoiced to see his overthrow.
Oh doubt not thou, Ereenia cried
Such fate Kehama will betide,
For there are Gods who look below.
Seeva the Avenger is not blind,
Nor Veeshnoo careless for mankind.
Thus was Ladurlads soul imbued
With strength & holy fortitude,
And child & sire with pious mind
Alike resolved, alike resigned,
Lookd onward to the evil day;
Faith was their comfort, Faith their stay,
They trusted woe would pass away,
And tyranny would sink subdued,
And Evil yield at length to Good.
Lovely wert thou, O Flower of Earth
Above all flowers of mortal birth.
But fosterd in this blissful Bower,
From day to day & hour to hour
Lovelier grew the lovely flower.
O blessed Mother from thy sphere
Of heaven, permitted to defeat
And strengthen thus thy offsprings heart!
And thou O gentle Glendoveer
Happy wert thou amid the groves
Of Swerga with these angel loves.
But happier is Ereenia here,
O blessed blessed company!
When men & heavenly sports greet;
And they whom Death has severed meet
And hold again communion sweet –
O blessed blessed company!
The Sun careering round the sky
Beheld them with rejoicing eye
And bade his willing charioteer
Relax their speed as they drew near.
Arounin checkd his rainbow reins,
The seven green coursers shook their manes
And brighter rays around them threw.
The car of glory in their view
More radiant, more resplendent grew,
And Surya thro his veil of light
Beheld the Bower & blest the sight.
The Lord of Night as he saild by
Stayd his pearly car on high,
And while around the blessed Bower
He bade the softest moonlight flow,
Lingerd to see that earthly Flower
Forgetful of his dragon foe,
Who mindful of their ancient feud
With open jaws of rage pursued.
There all good Spirits of the air,
Suras & Devetas, repair,
Aloft they love to hover there,
And view the Flower of mortal birth
Here for her innocence & worth
Transplanted from the fields of earth.
And him who on the dreadful day
When Heaven was filld with consternation
And Indra troubled with dismay,
And for the sounds of joy & mirth
Woe was heard & lamention,
Defied the Rajah in his pride,
Tho all in Heaven & Earth beside
Stood mute in dolorous expectation,
And rushing forward in that hour
Saved the Swerga from his power.
Grateful for this they hover nigh
And bless the blessed Company.
One God alone with wanton eye
Beheld them in the blissful Bower.
O ye, he cried, who have defied
The Rajah, will ye mock my power?
Twas Camdeo riding on his lory,
Twas the immortal Youth of Love.
Men below & Gods above,
He pursued, have felt my darts,
Shall ye alone of all in story
Boast impenetrable hearts?
Hover here my gentle lory.
Gently hover, while I see
To whom hath Fate decreed the glory
To the Glendoveer, or me.
Then in the dewy evening sky
The Bird of gorgeous plumery
Poisd his wings & hovered nigh.
It chanced that in that delightful hour
Kalyal sat before the Bower,
On the green bank with amaranths sweet
Where Ganges murmured at her feet.
Ereenia there before the Maid
Had sails of ocean blue displayd.
And oer the Lake in sportive flight
Glided slowly in her sight
Now glanced with rapid sweep along,
Then rose & soard aloft again,
And shook the waters off like rain,
Now oer the silver surface hung
At him young Camdeo bent the bow,
With living Bees the bow was strung,
The fatal bow of sugar cane,
And flowers which would inflame the heart
With their petals barbed the dart.
The shaft unerringly addrest
Unerring flew & struck his breast.
Ah wanton! cried the Glendoveer,
No power hast thou for mischief here!
The love I bear that Maid divine
Springs from a higher will than thine.
A second shaft while thus Ereenia cried
Had Camdeo aimed at Kalyals side.
But lo the Bees which strung the bow
Broke off, & suddenly took flight,
By her attracted wing their way,
Over her raven tresses play,
And buzz around her with delight,
As if they strove to pay their duty
To mortal purity & beauty.
Ah wanton! cried the Glendoveer.
No power hast thou for mischief here.
That heart devoted none to move,
Already filld with deeper love!
Go to thy Plains of Matra go,
And string again thy broken Bow!
Rightly Ereenia spake, & ill had thoughts
Of earthly love beseemd the sanctuary
Where Kalyal had been wafted that the Soul
Of her dead Mother there might strengthen her,
Feeding her with the milk of heavenly lore.
And influxes of heaven imbue her heart
With hope & faith & holy fortitude
Against the evil day. Here rest awhile
In peace, O Father marked for misery
Above all sons of men, O Daughter doomd
For sufferings & for trials above all else
Of women, yet both favourd; both belovd
By all good Powers, here rest while in peace
When from the sword by arm angelic driven
Foul Arvalan fled howling, wild with pain,
His thin essential spirit rent & riven
With wounds, united soon & heald again.
Backward the accursed turnd his eye in flight
Remindful of revengeful thoughts even then,
And saw where gliding thro the evening light
The Ship of Heaven saild upward thro the sky,
Then like a meteor vanished from his sight.
Where he follow? vainly might he try
To trace thro rapid <trackless> air its rapid course,
Nor dared he that angelic arm defy
Still sore & writhing from its dreaded force.
Should he the lust of vengeance lay aside?
Too long had Arvalan in ill been traind,
His spirit nurst in tyranny & pride
And wrong, the ignominious thought disdaind.
Or to his mighty father should he go,
Complaining of defeature twice sustaind,
And ask new powers to meet the immortal foe?
Repulse he feard not, but he feard rebuke
And shamed to tell him of his overthrow.
There dwelt an old a dread Enchantress in a nook
Obscure, old help mate she to him had been,
Lending her aid in many a secret sin,
And there for counsel now his way he took.
She was a Woman whose unlovely youth,
Even like a cankered rose which none will cull
Had withered on the stalk. Her heart was full
Of passions which had found no natural scope,
Feelings which there had grown but ripened not.
Desires unsatisfied, abortive hope.
Repinings which provoked vindictive thought, –
These restless elements for ever wrought
Fermenting in her with perpetual stir,
And thus her spirit to all evil mov’d,
She hated men because they lovd not her,
And hated women because they were lov’d.
And thus in wrath & hatred & despair
She tempted Hell to tempt her, & resigned
Her body to the Demons of the Air,
Wicked & wanton fiends, who where they will
Wander abroad, still seeking to do ill,
And take whatever vacant form they find,
Carcase of man or beast that life hath left.
Foul instrument for them of fouler mind,
To these the witch her wretched body gave,
So they would wreck her vengeance on makind,
She thus at once their mistress & their slave,
And they, to do such service nothing loth,
Obeyd her bidding, slaves & masters both
So from such cursed intercourse she caught
Contagious power of mischief, & was taught
Such secrets as are damnable to guess
Breathd she her silent spell upon a bride, –
Vainly the Bramins that sad bridal bless
Her breath was palsying, & the knot she tied
Blasted the marriage bed with barrenness
Is there a child whose little lovely ways
Might win all hearts, – on whom his parents gaze
Till they shed tears of joy & tenderness, –
Oh hide him from that Witches withering sight!
Oh hide him from the eye of Lorrinite!
Her look hath crippling in it, & her curse
All plagues which on mortality can light!
Death is his doom if she behold, or worse,
Diseases lothsome & incurable
And inward sufferings that no tongue can tell,
The wine which from the wounded palm on high,
Fills yonder gourd as slowly it distils, –
Grows sour at once if Lorrinite pass by.
The deadliest worm from which all creatures fly,
Fled from the deadlier venom of her eye;
The babe unborn within its mothers womb
Started & trembled when the Witch came nigh,
And in the silent chambers of the tomb
Death shuddered her unholy tread to hear,
And from the dry & mouldering bones did fear
Force cold sweat when Lorrinite was near.
Power made her haughty; by ambition fird
Ere long to mightier mischiefs she aspird,
The Calis who oer cities rule unseen,
Each in her own domain a Demon Queen,
And worshippd there with blood & human life,
They knew her, & in their accurst employ
She stirrd up neighbouring states to mortal strife
Sani the dreadful God who rides abroad
Upon the King of the Ravens, to destroy
The offending sons of man, when his four hands
Were weary with their toil, would let her do
His work of vengeance upon guilty lands.
And Lorrinite at his commandment knew
When the ripe earthquake should be loosd, & where
To point its course; & in the baneful air
The pregnant seeds of death he bade her strew
All deadly plagues & pestilence to brew;
The Locusts were her army, & their bands
Whereer she turned her skinny finger flew,
The floods in ruin rolld at her commands,
And when in time of drought the husbandmen
Beheld the gathered rain about to fall,
Her breath would drive it to the dearest sands,
While the rice-roots in the dusty marsh were dried
And in lean groupes assembled by the side
Of the empty tank, the cattle dropt & died,
And Famine at her bidding wasted wide
The wretched land, till in the market-place
Promiscuous where the dead & dying lay
Dogs fed on human bones in the open light of day.
Her secret cell the accursed Arvalan
In quest of vengeance sought, & thus began
Mother mighty, Mother wise,
Revenge me on mine enemies.
Com’st thou son for aid to me?
Tell me who have injurd thee,
Where they are & who they be,
Of the Earth, or of the Sea,
Or of the aerial company?
Earth nor Sea nor Air is free
From the powers who wait on me
And my tremendous witchery,
Woe to them who injure thee!
She for whom so ill I sped
Whom my Father deemeth dead,
Lives, for Mariatales aid
From the water saved the Maid.
In hatred I desire her still,
And in revenge would have my will.
A Deveta with wings of blue
And sword whose edge even now I rue,
In a Ship of Heaven on high
Pilots her along the sky
Where they voyage thou canst tell
Mistress of the mighty spell.
At this the Witch thro shrivelled lips & thin,
Sent forth a sound half whistle, & half hiss
Two winged hands came in
Armless & bodyless,
Bearing a Globe of liquid crystal, set
In frame as diamond bright, yet black as jet
A thousand eyes were quenchd in endless night
To form the magic globe, for Lorrinite
Had from their sockets drawn the liquid sight
And kneaded it with re-creating skill
Into this organ of her mighty will.
Look in yonder orb, she cried
Tell me what is there descried.
A mountain top, in clouds of light
Envelopd, rises on my sight.
Thence a cataract rushes down
Hung with many a rainbow crown
Light & clouds conceal its head
Below, a silver Lake is spread,
Upon its shore a Bower I see
Fit home for blessed company.
See – they come forward, – one, two – three
The last a maiden, – it is she!
The foremost shakes his wings of blue
Tis he whose sword even yet I rue
And in that other one I know
The visage of my deadliest foe
Mother, let thy magic might
Arm me for the mortal fight.
Helm & shield & mail afford
Proof against his dreaded sword,
Then will I invade their seat,
Then shall vengeance be compleat
Spirits who obey my will,
Hear him, & his wish fulfill.
So spake the Mighty One, nor farther spell
Needed, – anon a sound like smotherd thunder
Was heard slow rolling under,
The solid pavement of the cell
Quakd, heard, & cleft assunder
And at the feet of Arvalan displayd
Helmet & mail & shield & scymetar were laid
The Asuras often put to flight
And scatterd in the fields of light
By their foes celestial might
Forgd this armour for the fight
Mid fires intense did they anneal
In Padalan the quivering steel,
Till trembling thro each deepening hue
It settled in a midnight blue.
Then they cast it to aslake
In the penal icey Lake.
Next with many a spell imbued
Gave it to the Giant brood,
And they with all their strength & charms
Forged the impenetrable arms.
Foul Arvalan with joy surveyd
The crescent sabres cloudy blade,
With deeper joy the impervious mail,
The shield & helmet of avail,
Soon did he himself array,
And bade her speed him on his way.
Then she led him to the den
Where her chariot night & day
Stood harnessd ready for the way.
Two Dragons yoked in adamant convey
The magic car, from either collar sprung
An adamantine rib, which met in air
Oer archd, & crost, & bent diverging there,
And firmly in its arc upbore,
Upon their brazen necks the seat of power.
Arvalan mounts the car, & in his hand
Receives the magic reins from Lorrinite,
The Dragons long obedient to command
Their ample sails expand,
Like steeds well-broken to fair Ladys hand
They feel the reins of might
And up the northern sky begin their flight.
Son of the Wicked, doth thy soul delight
To think its hour of vengeance now is nigh?
Lo where the far off light
Of Indra’s Palace flashes on his sight,
And Merus heavenly summit shines on high
With clouds of glory bright
Amid the dark blue sky.
Already in his hope doth he espy,
Himself secure in mail of tenfold charms;
Ereenia writhing from the magic blade,
The father sent to bear his curse; the Maid
Resisting vainly in his impious arms.
Ah sinner, whose anticipating soul
Incurs the guilt even when the crime is spard!
Joyous toward Meru’s summit on he fared
While the twin Dragons rising as he guides
With steady flight steer northward for the pole
Anon with irresistible controul
Force mightier far than his arrests their course;
It wrought as tho a power unseen had caught
Their adamantine yokes to drag them on.
Straight on they bend their way, & now in vain
Upward doth Arvalan direct the rein,
The rein of magic might avails not now
That power unseen each moment mightier grew
And now hath seized him too.
With hands resisting, & down-pressing feet
Upon their hold insisting,
Scarce can he maintain his seat.
In vain with doubled speed the Dragons fly,
Caught in a current whence was no retreat
Strong as they are behold them whirld along
Headlong with useless pinions thro the sky.
What power was this which with resistless might
Foils the dread magic thus of Lorrinite?
Twas all commanding Nature, they were here
Within the sphere of the Adamantine Rocks
Which guard Mount Meru round, as far below
That heavenly height where Ganges hath its birth
Involved in clouds & light,
So far above, its roots of ice & snow.
On – on – they roll, drawn headlong in their flight
The lost canoe less rapidly than this
Down the resistless stream is rapt along
To the brink of Niagaras dread abyss.
On – on – they roll, & now with shivering shock
Are dashd against the rock that girds the Pole.
Down from his shatterd mail the unhappy Soul
Is dropt, ten thousand fathoms down –
Till in an ice-rift mid the eternal snows
Foul Arvalan is stopt. There let him howl,
Groan there, & there with unavailing moan
For aid on his almighty father call.
Amid those deserts of perpetual frost
All human sounds are lost.
Of utterance & of motion soon bereft
Frozen in the ice-rift behold him lie
Only the painful sense of being left
A Spirit who must feel & cannot die,
Bleaching & bare beneath the polar sky.
O ye who by the Lake
Of heavenly source partake
The joys which Heaven hath destind for the blest,
Swift swift the moments fly,
The silent hours go by,
And ye must leave your dear abode of rest
O wretched man prepare
Again thy curse to bear
Prepare O wretched Maid for farther woe!
The fatal hour draw near
When Indra’s heavenly sphere
Must own the Tyrant of the World below.
To day the hundredth Steed
At Seevas shrine must bleed,
The dreadful Sacrifice is full to day.
Nor man, nor God, hath power
At this momentous hour
Again to save the Swerga from his sway.
Fresh woes O Maid divine,
Fresh trials must be thine,
And what must thou Ladurlad yet endure,
But let your hearts be strong,
And bear ye bravely on,
The Gods are good, & Virtue is secure.
They – little deeming that the fatal day
Was come, beheld where thro the morning sky
A Ship of Heaven drew nigh.
Onward they watch it steer its steady flight
Till wondering they espy
Old Casyapa, the Sire of Gods, alight
But when Ereenia saw the Sire appear,
At that unwonted & unwelcome sight
His heart received a sudden shock of fear
Thy presence doth its doleful tidings tell,
O Father, cried the startled Glendoveer.
The dreadful hour is nigh, – I know it well,
Not for less import would the Sire of Gods
Forsake his ancient & august abodes
Even so, serene the immortal Sire replies,
Soon like an earthquake, will ye feel the blow
Which consummates the mighty sacrifice,
And this world, & its Heaven, & all therein
Are then Kehamas. To the second ring
Of these Seven Spheres, the Swerga King
Even now prepares for flight,
Beyond the circle of this inmost orb,
Beyond the Rajahs might.
Ocean that clasps this inmost of the spheres –
And girds it round with everlasting roar,
Set like a gem appears
Within that bending shore.
Thither fly all of heavenly race,
I too forsake mine ancient dwelling-place.
Now O Child & Father ye must go,
Take up the burthen of your woe,
And wander once again below.
With patient heart hold onward to the end,
Be true unto yourselves, & bear in mind,
That every God is still the good mans friend
And they who suffer bravely save mankind.
Oh tell me cried Ereenia, for from thee
Nought can be hidden, when the end will be!
Seek not to know, old Casyapa replied
What pleaseth Heaven to hide.
Dark is the abyss of Time,
But light enough to guide your steps is given,
Whatever weal or woe betide
Turn never from the way of truth aside
And leave the event in holy faith to Heaven
The moment is at hand, no more delay,
Ascend the etherial Bark, & go your way,
And ye of heavenly nature follow me!
The will of Heaven be done! Ladurlad cried
Nor more the man replied
But placed his daughter in the Living Bark,
Then took his seat beside
There was no word at parting, no adieu
Swift as a meteor thro the air they flew –
One groan Ladurlad breathd yet uttered not
When to his heart & brain
The fiery curse again like lightning shot
And now the sire & child on earth alight
Up roard the Ship of Heaven, & saild away from sight
O Ye immortal Bowers
Where hitherto the Hours
Have led their dance of happiness for aye
With what a sense of woe
Do ye expect the blow
And see your heavenly dwellers driven away
Lo where the Aunnay-birds of graceful mien
Whose milk-white forms were seen,
Lovely as Nymphs, your ancient trees between
And by your silent springs,
With melancholy cry
Now spread unwilling wings;
Their stately necks reluctant they protend
And thro the sullen sky
To other worlds their mournful progress bend
The affrighted gales to-day
Oer their beloved streams no longer play,
The streams of Paradise have ceasd to flow
The Fountain-Tree withholds its diamond shower
In the portentous hour,
This dolorous hour, this universal woe.
Where is the Palace whose far-flashing beams
With streaks & streams of ever varying light
Brightend the polar night
Even to the frozen Norths extremest shore
Gone like a morning rainbow, like a dream
A star that shoots & falls & then is seen no more.
Now – now – ! – Before the Golden Palaces
The Bramin strikes the hour
The fatal blow is given
That over Earth & Heaven
Confirms the Almighty Rajah in his power
All Evil Spirits then
That roam the world about,
Or wander thro the sky,
Set up a joyful shout.
The Asuras & the Giants join the cry –
The damnd in Padalon acclaim
Their hoped Deliverers name.
Heaven trembles with the thunder-drowning sound,
Back starts affrighted Ocean from the shore,
And the adamantine vaults & brazen floor
Of Hell are shaken with the roar.
Up rose the Rajah thro the obedient Sky
To seize the Swerga for his proud abode –
Myriads of Evil Dæmons round him fly,
As royally on wings of winds he rode
And scald high Heaven triumphant like a God.
Around her fathers neck the Maiden lockd
Her arms when that portentous blow was given.
Clinging to him she heard the dread uproar
And felt the shuddering shock which ran thro Heaven.
Earth underneath them rockd,
Her strong foundations heaving in commotion
Such as wild winds upraise in raving ocean,
As tho the solid base were rent asunder.
And lo! where storming the astonishd Sky
Kehama & his Evil Host ascend!
Before them rolls the thunder, –
Ten thousand thousand lightnings round them fly,
Upward the lengthening pageantries aspire
Leaving from Earth to Heaven a widening wake of fire.
When the dread uproar was at length allay’d
And Earth recovering from the shock was still,
Thus to her father spake the imploring Maid.
Oh – by the love which we so long have borne
Each other, & we neer shall cease to bear –
Oh – by the sufferings we have shard,
And must not cease to share, –
One boon I supplicate in this dread hour,
One consolation in this hour of woe.
Thou hast it in thy power, – refuse me not
The only comfort my poor heart can know.
Thou dearest dear, my Kalyal, with a smile
Of tenderness & sorrow, he replied,
O best belovd, & to be lovd the best
Best worthy – set thy duteous heart at rest.
I know thy wish, & let what will betide
Neer will I leave thee wilfully again
My soul is strengthened now to bear its pain.
Be thou in all my wanderings still my guide,
Be thou in all my sufferings at my side.
The Maiden at these welcome words imprest
An earnest kiss upon her fathers cheek.
They lookd around them then as if to seek
Where they should turn, – North, South or East or West
Wherever to their vagrant feet seemd best.
But turning from the view her mournful eyes
Oh whither shall we wander Kalyal cries,
Or wherefore seek in vain a place of rest? –
Have we not here the Earth beneath our tread
A brook that winds thro this sequestered glade
And yonder woods to yield us fruit & shade
The little all our wants require is nighx.
Hope we have none; – why travel on in fear?
We cannot fly from Fate, & Fate will find us here
They built them up a Bower of jointed cane
Strong for the needful use & light & long
Was the slight framework reard with little pain
Little creepers then the wicker-sides supply
And the tall jungle-grass fit roofing gave
Beneath that genial sky.
And here did Kalyal each returning day
Pour forth libations from the brook, to pay
The Spirits of her Sires their grateful rite,
In such libations found in open glades
Besides clear streams & solitary shades.
The Spirits of the virtuous dead delight
Nor did the Maiden here neglect to weave
Her garlands still for Mariatales brow,
And hang them in her name on bush or bough
Which overhung their hut; & aye at eve
Graceful with gliding movement, to her praise
Swim in the dance along
And with an angels voice of song
To her the harmonious hymn of glory raise.
Thus ever in her Fathers doting sight
The Maid performed the customary rite,
He patient of his burning pain the while
Beheld her with delight,
And sometimes with a melancholy smile
Approved her pious toil.
He too by day & night & every hour
Paid to a higher Power his sacrifice;
An offering not of ghee, or fruit, or rice,
Flower-crown, or blood, but of a heart subdued,
A resolute, unconquered fortitude,
An agony represt, a will resignd,
To her who on her secret throne reclin’d;
Amid the Milky Sea by Veeshnoos side
Looks with an eye of mercy on mankind.
By the Preserver with his power endued,
There Boomdavee beholds the lower clime,
And marks the silent sufferings of the Good
To recompense them in her own good time.
Hope we have none, said Kalyal to her sire:
Said she aright, & had the mortal Maid
No thoughts of heavenly aid?
No secret hopes her inmost heart to move
With language of such deep & pure desire
As vestal maids, whose piety is love,
Feel in their exstasies, when rapt above,
Their souls unto their heavenly spouse aspire.
Why else so often doth that searching eye
Roam thro the scope of the sky?
Why if she sees a distant speck on high
Starts there that quick suffusion to her cheek?
Tis but the Eagle in his heavenly height, –
Reluctant to believe she hears his cry
And marks his circling flight
There languidly asserts her mournful sight.
Why ever else at morn ‘that waking sigh’,
Because the lovely form no more is nigh
Which hath been present to her soul all night!
And that injurious fear
Which ever as it riseth is represt,
Yet riseth still within her troubled breast
That she no more shall see the Glendoveer?
Hath he forgotten me? the wrongful thought
Would stir within her, & still repelld
With shame & self-reproaches, would recur.
Days after days unvarying come & go,
And neither friend nor foe
Approaches them in their sequestered glade.
Maid of strange destiny, but deem not thou
Thou art forgotten now,
And hast no more cause for farther hope or fear, –
High-fated Maid, thou dost know
What eyes watch over thee for weal & woe!
The Glendoveer from his far sphere
With love that never sleeps beholds thee here
And in the hour of danger will be near
Dark Lorrinite on thee hath fixd her sight
And laid her wiles to aid
Foul Arvalan when he shall next appear;
For well she weend his Spirit would renew
Old vengeance now with unremitting hate,
The Enchantress, well his evil nature knew,
The Accursed Spirit hath his prey in view
And thus while all their seperate hopes puruse
All work unconsciously to the will of Fate.
Fate workd its own the while; a band
Of Fakeers as they searchd the land
Seeking a spouse for Jagrenaut their God
Strayd to this solitary glade
And reachd the bower wherein the Maid abode
Wondering at form so fair, they deemd the Power
Divine, had led them to his chosen Bride
And seizd & bore her from her Fathers side.
Joy in the city of great Jagrenaut!
Joy in the seven-headed Idols shrine!
A virgin bride his ministers have brought
A mortal maid in form & face divine.
Peerless among all daughters of mankind
Searchd they the world again from East to West
In endless quest
Seeking the fairest & the best,
No Maid so lovely might they hope to find
For she hath breathd celestial air,
And heavenly food hath been her fare
And heavenly thoughts & feelings given her face
That heavenly grace.
Joy in the city of great Jagrenaut!
Joy in the seven headed Idols shrine!
The fairest Maid his Fakeers sought,
A fairer than fairest had they brought
A maid of charms surpassing human thought
A maid divine
Now bring ye forth the Chariot of the God
Bring him abroad,
That thro the swarming city he may ride
And by his side
Place ye the Maid of more than mortal grace
The Maid of perfect form & heavenly face
Set her aloft in triumph like a bride
Upon the bridal car,
And spread the joyful tidings wide & far
Spread it with trump & voice
That all may hear, & all who hear rejoice
The Mighty one hath found his mate!
Will ride abroad!
To night he will go forth from his abode, –
Ye myriads who adore him
Prepare his way before him!
Upreard on twenty wheels elate
Huge as a ship the bridal car appeard,
Loud creak the ponderous wheels as thro the gate
A thousand Bramins drag the enormous load.
Throned aloft in state
The Image of the seven-headed God
Came forth from his abode, & at his side
Sate Kalyal like a bride.
A bridal statue rather might she seem,
For she regarded all things like a dream,
Having no thought, nor fear, nor will, nor aught
Save hope & faith that livd within her still.
O silent Night, how they have startled thee
With the brazen trumpets blare!
Queen of the sky, whose quiet light serene
Filleth wide Heaven, & bathing hill & wood
Spreads oer the peaceful valley like a flood.
How have they dimmd thee with tireless glare
Which round yon moving pageant flame & flare,
As the wild rout with deafening song & shout
Fling their long flashes out,
That like infernal lightnings fire the air.
A thousand pilgrims strain
Arm, shoulder, thigh, with might & main
To drag that ponderous wain,
And slowly drag along the enormous load.
Prone fall the frantic votaries in its road,
And calling on the God
Their self-devoted bodies there they lay
To pave his chariot way.
On Jagrenaut they call,
The mighty car rolls on & crushes all.
Thro blood & brains it ploughs its dreadful path,
Groans rise unheard, drownd in the dying cry,
And death & agony.
Are trodden underfoot by yon mad throng
Who follow close & thrust the deadly wheels along.
Pale grows the Maid at this accurst sight,
The yells which round her rise
Have rous’d her with affright,
And fear hath given to her dilated eyes
A wilder light.
Where shall those eyes be turnd? – She knows not where!
Downward they dare not look, for there
Is death, & horror, & despair,
Nor can her patient looks to Heaven repair,
For the huge Idol over her in air
Spreads his seven hideous heads, & wide
Extends their snakey he necks on every side.
And all around, behind, before
The bridal car, is the raging rout,
With frantic shout & deafening roar
Tossing the torches flames about.
And the double double peals of the drum are there,
And the startling burst of the trumpets blare;
And the gong that seems with its thunderous dread
To stun the living & waken the dead,
The ear-strings tremble as if they were broke
And the eyelids drop at the weight of its stroke
Fain would the Maid have kept them fast
But open they start at the crack of the blast.
Where art thou Son of Heaven, Ereenia, where
In this dread hour of horror & despair!
Thinking on how she strove her fear to quell.
If he be near me then will all be well,
And if he reck not for my misery,
Let come the worst, – it matters not to me.
O Maid repell that wrongful thought!
Thou feelest, but believest it not.
It is thine own imperfect natures fault
That lets one doubt of him arise within,
And this she knew, & like a sin
Repelld the doubt, & still believed him true,
And summoned up her soul to endue
All forms of fear, in that firm trust secure.
She needs that faith, she needs that consolation,
For now the Car hath measurd back its track
Of death, & hath reentered now its station
There in the temple-court with song & dance
A harlot band to meet the Maid advance,
The drum hath ceasd its peals; the trump & gong
Are still, the frantic crowd forbear their yells
And sweet it was to hear the voice of song
And the sweet music of their girdle bells
Armlets & anklets; that with chearful sound
Symphonious tinkled as they wheeld around.
They sung a bridal measure,
A song of pleasure,
A hymn of joyaunce & congratulation.
Go chosen one, they cried
Go happy bride!
For the God descends in expectation,
For thy dear sake
He leaves his Heaven, O Maid of matchless charms!
Go happy one, the bed divine partake
And fill his longing arms.
Thus to the inner fane,
With circling dance & hymeneal strain
The astonished Maid they led,
And there they laid her on the bridal bed.
Then forth they went, & closd the temple-gate
And left the wretched Kalyal to her fate.
Where art thou Son of Heaven, Ereenia, where?
From the loathed bed she starts, & in the air
Looks up, as if she thought to find him there.
Then in despair
Anguish & agony & hopeless prayer,
Prostrate she laid herself upon the floor.
There trembling as she lay,
A lustful Bramin from the inner door
Entered to seize the xxx Virgin for his prey.
A curse be on your heads, ye juggling clan, –
A killing curse, – the curse of God & Man!
Is it for this in quest of virgin charms
That ye have searchd the country far & wide?
F For your own impious arms
That ye have brought her like the Idols bride?
The pomp, the pageantry, the acclamation
The mad procession & the chariot path
Of blood & death,
End they in this, deceit & profanation
And lust & violation!
Son of perdition who hast seized the Maid
The curse is on thee! not in vain for aid
With the sudden shriek of fear
She calls Ereenia now, – the Glendoveer
Is here! Upon the guilty sight he burst
Like lightning from a cloud, & caught the accurst,
Bore him to the roof aloft, then on the floor
With vengeance dashd him down.
The shattered body quivered there in gore,
The guilty spirit sunk to Padalon.
He hath done our work, a voice unseen replies,
And on the Maidens eyes
From the pregnant air two other forms arise,
Foul Arvalan the one, heart-withering sight.
The other was the dread Lorrinite.
Now seize him, Spirits! the Enchantress cried.
A host of Demons at her word appear,
And like tornado winds from every side
At once, they rush upon the Glendoveer.
Alone against a legion, little here
Avails his single might.
Nor that celestial falchion which in fight
So oft hath put the rebel race to flight.
No Gods are now on earth to give him aid,
Hemmd round, he is overpowered, beat down, & [bound]
And at the feet of Lorrinite is laid.
Lo here, to Arvalan she said, thy foe!
Him in the Ancient Sepulchres, below
The roaring oceans billows, will I lay.
Gods are there none to help him now, & there
For man there is no way,
To that dread scene of durance & despair,
Asuras, bear your enemy! I go
To chain him in the tombs, safe now from fear
Son of Kehama, take thy pleasure here.
Her words the accursed race obey’d
Forth with a sound like rushing winds they
And of aid from Earth or Heaven bereft
Alone with Arvalan the Maid is left.
But in that hour of agony the Maid
Deserted not herself; – her very dread
Had calmd her, & her heart
Knew the whole horror, & its only part.
Yemen! receive me undefiled! she said,
And seized a torch & fird the bridal bed
Up ran the rapid flames, on every side
They find their fuel wheresoeer they spread
Thin hangings, fragrant gums, & odorous wood
That piled like sacrificial altars stood
Around they run, & upward they aspire,
And lo! the huge Pagoda lined with fire
The wicked soul who had assumed again
A form of sensible flesh for his foul will
Still bent on base revenge, & baffled still
Felt that corporeal shape alike to pain
Obnoxious as to pleasure, forth he flew
Howling & scorchd by the devouring flame
Accursed spirit, still condemned to rue
The cost of sin & punishment the same.
Freed from his loathsome touch, a natural dread
Came on the self-devoted, & she drew
Back from the flames which now toward her spread
And like a living monster seemed to dart
Their hungry tongues toward their shrinking prey
Soon she subdued her heart.
O Father she exclaimd, there was no way
But this! & thou Ereenia, who for me
Sufferest, my soul shall bear thee company!
So having said, she knit
Her body up to work her souls desire
And rush at once amid the thickest fire,
A sudden cry witheld her. – Kalyal – stay –
Child – daughter – I am here! the voice exclaims
And from the gate unharmed thro smoke & flames
Like as a God Ladurlad made his way,
Wrapt his preserving arms around, & bore
His child uninjured oer the burning floor.
Nay! let no reproachful thought
Wrong his heroic heart! the Evil Powers
Have the dominion oer this wretched world,
And no good Spirit now must venture here.
Alas my father, he hath ventured here,
And saved me from one horror, – but the Powers
Of Evil beat him down, & bore away
To some dread scene of durance & despair, –
The Ancient Tombs, methought their Mistress said
Which lie beneath the Ocean Waves; – for there
There was no way for man, & Gods, she said,
Were none to help him now.
Is that her boast?
And hath she laid him in the Ancient Tombs
Relying that the Waves will guard him there?
Short-sighted are the eyes of Wickedness,
And all its ways are folly. O my Child,
The Curses of the wicked are upon me,
And the immortal Deities, who see
And suffer all things for their own wise end
Have made them blessings to us!
Then thou knowest
Where they have borne him! –
To the Sepluchres
Of the Ancient Kings, which Bali in his power
Made in the times of old, & built above them
A city like the city of the Gods,
Being like a God himself. For many an age
Hath Ocean warrd against his Palaces,
Till overwhelmd they lie beneath the waves,
Not overthrown, so well the Mighty One
Had laid their deep foundations. Rightly said
The accursed, thither was no way for man;
But not like man am I!
Up from the ground the Maid exultant sprung
And clapt her happy hands in attitude
Of thanks to Heaven, & flung
Her arms around her fathers neck, & stood
Struggling awhile for utterance, with excess
Of hope & pious thankfulness.
Come – come – she cried, Oh let us not delay, –
He is in torments there – away – away –
Long time they travelled on, at dawn of day
Still setting forward with the earliest light,
Nor ceasing from their way
Till darkness closd the night
Short refuge from the noontide heat,
Reluctantly compelld, the Maiden took
And ill her indefatiguable feet
Could that brief respite brook.
Hope kept her up, & her intense desire
Supports that heart which neer at danger quails,
Those feet which never tire,
That frame which never fails.
Their talk was of the City of the days
Of old, Earths wonder once, & of the fame
Of Bali, its great founder, he whose name
In ancient story, & in poets praise
Liveth & flourisheth, because his might
Put down the wrong & aye upheld the right.
How for ambition, as old Sages tell,
The mighty monarch fell,
For he too having made the Earth his own.
Then in his power <pride> had driven
The Devetas from Heaven,
And seized triumphantly the Swerga throne.
The Incarnate came before the Mighty One,
In dwarfish stature & in mien obscure,
The sacred cord he bore,
And askd, for Bramas sake, a little boon
Three steps of Balis ample reign, – no more
Poor was the boon required, & poor was he
Who begg’d, – a little wretch it seemd to be,
But Bali neer refused a suppliants prayer
A glance of pity in contemptuous mood
He on the Dwarf cast down,
And bade him take the boon –
And measure where he would.
Lo, Son of giant birth
I take the grant, the Incarnate Power replies
With his first step he measured out the earth,
The second spannd the skies
Three paces thou hast granted,
Twice have I set my footstep, Veeshnoo cries,
Where shall the third be planted?
Then Bali knew the God, & at his feet
In homage due he laid his humbled head.
Mighty art thou O Lord of Earth & Heaven,
Mighty art thou, he said,
Be merciful! & let me be forgiven,
He askd for mercy of the merciful,
And mercy for his virtues sake was shewn.
For tho he was sent down to Padalon,
Yet there by Yamens throne
Doth Bali sit in majesty & might
To judge the dead & sentence them aright.
And foresomuch as he was still the friend
Of righteousness, it is permitted him
Yearly from those drear regions to ascend
And walk the earth, that he may hear his name
Still hymnd & honourd by the grateful voice
Of human kind, & in his fame rejoice.
Such was the talk they held upon their way
Of him to whose old City they were bound.
And now upon their journey many a day
Had risen & closed, & many a week gone round,
And many a realm & region had they past,
When now the Ancient Towers appeard at last
Their golden summits in the noon-day light
Shone oer the dark green deep that rolld between;
For domes & pinnacles xxx & spires were seen
Peering above the sea, a mournful sight.
Well might the sad beholder ween from thence
What works of wonder the devouring wave
Had swallowd there, when monuments so brave
Bore record of their old magnificence.
And on the sandy shore, beside the verge
Of Ocean, here & there a rock-hewn fane
Resisted in its strength the surf & surge
That on its deep foundations beat in vain.
In solitude the Ancient Temples stood,
Once resonant with instrument & song
And solemn dance of festive multitude,
Now as the weary ages pass along
Hearing no voice save of the Ocean flood
Which roars for ever on the restless shores,
Or visiting their solitary caves
The lonely sound of winds that moan around,
Accordant to the melancholy waves.
With reverence did the Travellers see
The works of ancient days, & silently
Approach the shore. Now on the yellow sand
Where round their feet the rising surges part
They stand. Ladurlads heart
Exulted in his wonderous destiny,
To heaven he raisd his hand
In attitude of stern heroic pride,
Oh what a power, he cried
Thou dreadful Rajah! doth thy curse impart
I thank thee now! – Then turning to the Maid
Thou seest far & wide
Yon Towers extend, he said,
My search must needs be long. Meantime the flood
Will cast thee up thy food,
And in the chambers of the rock by night
Take thou thy safe abode.
No prowling beast to harm thee, or affright
Can enter there; – but wrap thyself with care
From the foul birds obscene that thirsts for blood
For in such caverns doth the Bat delight
To have its haunts. Do thou with stone & shout
Ere thou liest down at evening, scare them out
And in this robe of mine involve thy feet.
Duly commend us both to Heaven in prayer
Be of good heart, & let thy sleep be sweet.
So saying he put back his broad arm, & gave
The cloth which girt his loins, & prest her hand
With farewell earnestness, then from the sand
Advanced into the sea. The coming wave
Knew the dread Rajahs Curse, & from his way
Started, & on he went as on dry land,
And still before his path the waters parted.
She stands upon the shore where sea-weeds play
Around her polishd ankles, & the spray
Which from <off> her father like a rainbow fled
Falls on her like a shower, – there Kalyal stands
And sees the billows rise above his head
She at the startling sight forgot the power
The Curse had given him, & held forth her hands
Imploringly, – her voice was on the wind
And the deep Ocean oer Ladurlad closd
Soon she recalld his destiny to mind,
And shaking off that natural fear composd
Her soul with prayer, to wait the event resignd
Alone upon the solitary strand
The lovely one is left. Behold her go
Pacing with patient footsteps to & fro
Along the bending sand.
Save her, ye Gods, from Evil Powers, & here,
From man she need not fear.
For never Traveller comes near
These aweful ruins of the days of yore;
Nor fishers bark, nor venturous mariner
Approach the sacred shore.
All day she walkd the beach, at night she sought
The chambers of the rock; with stone & shout
Assaild the bats obscene & drove them out,
Then in her fathers robe involvd her feet
And wrapt her mantle round to guard her head,
And laid her down. The rock was Kalyals bed
Her chamber lamps were in the starry sky,
The winds & waters were her lullaby.
Be of good heart & let thy sleep be sweet,
Ladurlad said – Alas that cannot be
To one whose days are days of misery!
How often did she stretch her hands to greet
Ereenia rescued in the dreams of night,
How oft amid the vision of delight
Fear in her heart all is not as it seems! –
Then from unsettled slumber start & hear
The winds that moan above, the waves below,
Thou hast been calld O Sleep, the friend of woe,
But tis the happy who have calld thee so.
Another day, another night is gone,
A second passes, & a third comes wanes on..
So long she paced the shore,
So often by the beach she took her stand,
That the wild sea-birds knew her, & no more
Fled when she past beside them on the strand.
Bright shine the golden summits in the light
Of the noon sun, & lovelier far by night
Their moonlight glories oer the sea they shed.
Fair is the dark green deep, by night & day
Unvex’d with storms the peaceful billows play,
As when they closd upon Ladurlads head –
The firmament above is bright & clear,
The sea-fowl, lords of water, air & land,
Joyous alike upon the wing appear
Or when they ride the waves, or walk the sand;
Beauty & light & joy are every where, –
There is no sorrow & no sadness there here,
Save what that single heart contains!
But oh what hopes & fears & pains are there!
Seven miserable days the expectant Maid
From earliest dawn till evening watchd the shore,
Hope left her then, & in her heart she said
Never should she behold her father more 
Dec. 14. 1808.