O Hapless Queen! Illfated child of Fame!
Thy husband's love, his dotage-born obsession!
How well thy life illumes the dreadful lesson
That fleshbound love is one consuming flame!
O dauntless soul in woman's fragile frame,
In days of yore thy love for lord did burn
Thine inborn fears, thy sex to ashes turn
The while thy daring snatch'd the Gods from shame
Of dire defeat; anew, thy love for son,
Thy love to see him all Ayodhya's king,
Did burn the Queen the Wife in thee! How brief
Is joy in fleshbound love! How fraught with grief
This luring flamce, this soul-consuming thing!
How grave its toll, how dire the havoc done!
A righteous monarch's death of broken heart:
A woman's anguish lorn of lord and child:
A kingdom's mourn and yearn for their heir exil'd:
All these thou wrought! And yet were these no part
Of plan of thy devise: The ruthless art
That rain'd red ruin o'er the Raghu land
Was work of Fate whose woeful vengeful hand
Sent e'en thy dream to crown thy son athwart!
Thy wiles brought gall to all and joy to none.
Misguided queen, Ambition's thoughtless fool,
The Hunch thy mentor, Hell's vile myrmidon
that fann'd a mother's 'spiring spark to flame,
That fiend in guise and guile, thy friend in name
Was imp of Fate, nonelse and thou her tool!!
Relentless Fate, when she did turn her face
In wrath upon the Raghu clan and land,
Her blackest look she cast, her gravest hand
She laid on him thy son, whose prowess, grace
And wisdom mark'd him noblest of his race:
Ador'd of parent, brother, kin and spouse,
Admir'd of friend, afear'd of foe, his House
Ne'er gender'd greater son! Yet fast apace
Did fate's dire darts descend his sinless head.
Fate's femine freaks, alack, were ever so:
The guilty left unscath'd, the guileless bled
Of heart or burnt of soul! At one fell blow
Was he bereft of sire and kin, and thou
His best-lov'd mother loosen'd this flood of woe!
Calamity's touchstone to assay
Tru worth of humankind. Whilst craven hearts
Do rage and rave, the brave their nobler parts
Convoke and calmly brunt their woe. The sway
Of grief or vengeful ire unveils the way
Of churls: thy son, has he been base of breed
Or faint of heart or mean of soul, thy deed
Had surely charg'd his relling brain to slay,
Nay, tear thee limb from limb, to vent his ire
And venge a widow'd mother's broken heart,
A people's mourn and death of godly sire!
But e'en a madden'd woman's monster crime
Could scarcely ruffle his soul serene, sublime:
Sore pity 'twas replac'd Revenge's part!
In Pity's light it is that God doth view
All human sins. And Pity's light doth shed
No purple rays of Pride: nor Ire's blood-red
Nor Envy's green nor Fear's jaundice hue
Mars Pity's flame whose lambent limpid blue
Reveals the God in Man! The burden grave
Prince Bharatha in Pity bore to save
His mother's burning soul in kindly dew
Of Chaste Kausalya's forgiveness, did start
A wail of woe for all eternity!
And cleft in twain to con thy life, my heart,
Like marg'ret-shell athirst for Swaathee's rain
Did gasp agape and froze my tears of pain
Into this song of soul-deep sympathy!