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Voice of woe and lamentation and the cry of woman's wail,
Issuing from the homes of Lanka did the monarch's ears awail,
And a mighty thought of vengeance waked within the monarch's heart,
And he heaved a sigh of anguish as he grasped his bow and dart:
"Arm each chief and gallant Raksha! be our sacred duty done,
Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance for his brave and noble son,
Mahodar and Virupaksha, Mahaparshwa warrior tall,
Arm! this fated day will witness Lakshman's or your monarch's fall
Call to mind each slaughtered hero,--Khara, Dushan, slain in fight,
Kumbha-kama giant warrior, Indrajit of magic might,
Earth nor sky shall hide my foemen nor the ocean's heaving swell,
Scattered ranks of Rama's forces shall my speedy vengeance tell,
Be the red-earth strewn and covered with our countless foemen slain,
Hungry wolves and blood-beaked vultures feed upon the ghastly plain,
For his great and gallant brother, for his brave and beauteous son,
Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance, Rakshas be your duty done!"
House to house, in Lanka's city, Ravan's royal best was heard,
Street and lane poured forth their warriors by a mighty passion stirred,
With the javelin and sabre, mace and club and axe and pike,
Sataghni and bhindipala, quoit and discus quick to strike.
And they formed the line of tuskers and the line of battle car,
Mule and camel fit for burden and the fiery steed of war,
Serried ranks of arméd soldiers shook the earth beneath their tread,
Horsemen that on wings of lightning o'er the field of battle spread.
Drum and conch and sounding trumpet waked the echoes of the sky,
Pataha and loud mridanga and the people's maddening cry,
Thundering through the gates of Lanka, Ravan's lofty chariot passed
Destined by his fortune, Ravan ne'er again those portals crost!
And the sun was dim and clouded and a sudden darkness fell,
Birds gave forth their boding voices and the earth confessed a spell,
Gouts of blood in rain descended, startled coursers turned to fly,
Vultures swooped upon the banner, jackals yelled their doleful cry,
Omens of a dark disaster mantled o'er the vale and rock,
And the ocean heaved in billows, nations felt the earthquake shock!
Darkly closed the fatal battle, sturdy Vanars fell in fight,
Warlike leaders of the Rakshas perished neath the foeman's might,
Mahodhar and Virupaksha were by bold Sugriva slain,
Crushed by Angad, Mahaparshwa. slumbered lifeless on the plain.
But with more than mortal valour Ravan swept the ranks of war,
Warriors fell beneath his prowess, fled before his mighty car,
Cleaving through the Vanar forces, filled with vengeance deep and dire,
Ravan marked the gallant Lakshman flaming like a crimson fire!
Like the tempest cloud of summer Ravan's wingéd courses flew,
But Bibhishan in his prowess soon the gallant charges slew,
Dashina from his useless chariot Ravan leaped upon the ground,
And his false and traitor brother by his dearest foeman found!
Wrathful Ravan marked Bibhishan battling by the foeman's side,
And he hurled his pond'rous weapon for to slay him in his pride,
Lakshman marked the mighty jav'lin as it winged its whizzing flight,
Cleft it in its onward passage, saved Bibhishan by his might!
Grimly smiled the angry Ravan gloating in his vengeful wrath,
Spake to young and dauntless Laksliman daring thus to cross his path:
Welcome, Lakshman! thee I battle for thy deed of darkness done,
Face the anger of a father, cruel slayer of the son,
By thy skill and by thy valour, false Bibhishan thou hast saved,
Save thyself! Deep in this bosom is a cruel grief engraved!"
Father's grief and sad remembrance urged the lightning-wingéd dart,
Ravan's Sakti fell resistless on the senseless Lakshman's heart,
Wrathful Rama saw the combat and arose in godlike might,
Carless, steedless, wounded Ravan sought his safety in his flight.