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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Sakoontala or the Lost Ring.

STAGE-MANAGER.

Lady, I will tell you the exact state of the case,

  No skill in acting can I deem complete,
  Till from the wise the actor gain applause;
  Know that the heart e’en of the truly skilful,
  Shrinks from too boastful confidence in self.

ACTRESS. [Modestly.]

You judge correctly And now, what are your commands?

STAGE-MANAGER.

What can you do better than engage the attention of the audience by some captivating melody?

ACTRESS.

Which among the seasons shall I select as the subject of my song?

STAGE-MANAGER.

You surely ought to give the preference to the present Summer season[5] that has but recently commenced, a season so rich in enjoyment.  For now

  Unceasing are the charms of halcyon days,
  When the cool bath exhilarates the frame;
  When sylvan gales are laden with the scent
  Of fragrant Patalas[6]; when soothing sleep
  Creeps softly on beneath the deepening shade;
  And when, at last, the dulcet calm of eve
  Entrancing steals o’er every yielding sense.

ACTRESS.

I will:—­

[Sings.]

  Fond maids, the chosen of their hearts to please,
  Entwine their ears with sweet [S’]irisha flowers[7],
  Whose fragrant lips attract the kiss of bees
  That softly murmur through the summer hours.

STAGE-MANAGER.

Charmingly sung!  The audience are motionless as statues, their souls riveted by the enchanting strain.  What subject shall we select for representation, that we may ensure a continuance of their favour?

ACTRESS.

Why not the same, Sir, announced by you at first?  Let the drama called ‘[S’]akoontala; or, the Lost Ring,’ be the subject of our dramatic performance.

STAGE-MANAGER.

Rightly reminded!  For the moment I had forgotten it.

  Your song’s transporting melody decoyed
  My thoughts, and rapt with ecstasy my soul;
  As now the bounding antelope allures
  The King Dushyanta[8] on the chase intent.

[Exeunt.

ACT I.

SCENE-A Forest.

Enter King DUSHYANTA, armed with a bow and arrow, in a chariot, chasing an antelope, attended by his CHARIOTEER.

CHARIOTEER.

[Looking at the deer, and then at the KING.

Great Prince,

  When on the antelope I bend my gaze,
  And on your Majesty, whose mighty bow
  Has its string firmly braced; before my eyes
  The god that wields the trident[9] seems revealed. 
  Chasing the deer that flies from him in vain.

KING.

Charioteer, this fleet antelope has drawn us far from my attendants.  See! there he runs: 

Aye and anon his graceful neck he bends
To cast a glance at the pursuing car;
And dreading now the swift-descending shaft,
Contracts into itself his slender frame;
About his path, in scattered fragments strewn,
The half-chewed grass falls from his panting mouth;
See! in his airy bounds he seems to fly,
And leaves no trace upon th’ elastic turf.

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