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

MA[T.]HAVYA.

How can you say so, when I see your Majesty before me at this moment?

KING.

It is very natural that every one should consider his own friend perfect; but I was alluding to [S’]akoontala, the brightest ornament of these hallowed groves.

MA[T.]HAVYA. [Aside.

I understand well enough, but I am not going to humour him.

[Aloud.

If, as you intimate, she is a hermit’s daughter, you cannot lawfully ask her in marriage.  You may as well then dismiss her from your mind, for any good the mere sight of her can do.

KING.

Think you that a descendant of the mighty Puru could fix his affections on an unlawful object?

  Though, as men say, the offspring of the sage,
  The maiden to a nymph celestial owes
  Her being, and by her mother left on earth,
  Was found and nurtured by the holy man
  As his own daughter, in this hermitage. 
  So, when dissevered from its parent stalk,
  Some falling blossom of the jasmine[36], wafted
  Upon the sturdy sun-flower, is preserved
  By its support from premature decay.

MA[T.]HAVYA. [Smiling.

This passion of yours for a rustic maiden, when you have so many gems of women at home in your palace, seems to me very like the fancy of a man who is tired of sweet dates, and longs for sour tamarinds as a variety.

KING.

You have not seen her, or you would not talk in this fashion.

MA[T.]HAVYA.

I can quite understand it must require something surpassingly attractive to excite the admiration of such a great man as you.

KING.

I will describe her, my dear friend, in a few words,

  Man’s all-wise Maker, wishing to create
  A faultless form, whose matchless symmetry
  Should far transcend Creation’s choicest works,
  Did call together by his mighty will,
  And garner up in his eternal mind,
  A bright assemblage of all lovely things;
  And then, as in a picture, fashion them
  Into one perfect and ideal form—­
  Such the divine, the wondrous prototype,
  Whence her fair shape was moulded into being.

MA[T.]HAVYA.

If that’s the case, she must indeed throw all other beauties into the shade.

KING.

To my mind she really does.

  This peerless maid is like a fragrant flower,
  Whose perfumed breath has never been diffused;
  A tender bud, that no profaning hand
  Has dared to sever from its parent stalk;
  A gem of priceless water, just released
  Pure and unblemished from its glittering bed. 
  Or may the maiden haply be compared
  To sweetest honey, that no mortal lip
  Has sipped; or, rather, to the mellowed fruit
  Of virtuous actions in some former birth[37],
  Now brought to full perfection?  Lives the man
  Whom bounteous heaven has destined to espouse her?

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