The sage who would this form of artless
Inure to penance, thoughtlessly attempts
To cleave in twain the hard acacia’s stem
With the soft edge of a blue lotus-leaf.
Well! concealed behind this tree, I will watch her without raising her suspicions.
Good Anasuya, Priyamvada has drawn this bark-dress too tightly about my chest. I pray thee, loosen it a little.
I will. [Loosens it.
Why do you lay the blame on me? Blame rather your own blooming youthfulness which imparts fulness to your bosom.
A most just observation!
This youthful form, whose bosom’s
By the bark’s knotted tissue are concealed,
Like some fair bud close folded in its sheath,
Gives not to view the blooming of its beauty.
But what am I saying? In real truth this bark-dress,
though ill-suited to her figure, sets it off like an ornament.
The lotus with the [S’]aivala
Is not a whit less brilliant; dusky spots
Heighten the lustre of the cold-rayed moon;
This lovely maiden in her dress of bark
Seems all the lovelier. E’en the meanest garb
Gives to true beauty fresh attractiveness.
[S’]AKOONTALA. [Looking before her.
Yon Ke[S’]ara-tree beckons to me with its young shoots, which, as the breeze waves them to and fro, appear like slender fingers. I will go and attend to it.
[Walks towards it.
Dear [S’]akoontala, prithee, rest in that attitude one moment.
The Ke[S’]ara-tree, whilst your graceful form bends about its stem, appears as if it were wedded to some lovely twining creeper.
Ah! saucy girl, you are most appropriately named Priyamvada
(’Speaker of flattering things’).
What Priyamvada says, though complimentary, is nevertheless
Her ruddy lip vies with the opening bud;
Her graceful arms are as the twining stalks;
And her whole form is radiant with the glow
Of youthful beauty, as the tree with bloom.
See, dear [S’]akoontala, here is the young jasmine, which you named ‘the Moonlight of the Grove,’ the self-elected wife of the mango-tree. Have you forgotten it?
Rather will I forget myself.
[Approaching the plant and looking at it.]
How delightful is the season when the jasmine-creeper and the mango-tree seem thus to unite in mutual embraces! The fresh blossoms of the jasmine resemble the bloom of a young bride, and the newly-formed shoots of the mango appear to make it her natural protector.