What Say you?—that [S’]akoontala is suffering from fever produced by exposure to the sun, and that this ointment is to cool her burning frame? Nurse her with care, then, Priyamvada, for she is cherished by our reverend Superior as the very breath of his nostrils. I, for my part, will contrive that soothing waters, hallowed in the sacrifice, he administered to her by the hands of Gautami.
SCENE.—The Sacred Grove.
Enter KING DUSHYANTA, with the air of one in love.
KING. [Sighing thoughtfully.
The holy sage possesses magic power
In virtue of his penance; she, his ward,
Under the shadow of his tutelage,
Rests in security, I know it well;
Yet sooner shall the rushing cataract
In foaming eddies re-ascend the steep,
Than my fond heart turn back from its pursuit.
God of love! God of the flowery shafts ! we lovers are cruelly deceived by thee, and by the Moon, however deserving of confidence you may both appear.
For not to us do these thine arrows seem
Pointed with tender flowerets; not to us
Doth the pale Moon irradiate the earth
With beams of silver fraught with cooling dews;
But on our fevered frames the moon-beams fall
Like darts of fire, and every flower-tipt shaft
Of Kama, as it probes our throbbing hearts,
Seems to be barbed with hardest adamant.
Adorable god of love! hast thou no pity for me?
[In a tone of anguish.]
How can thy arrows be so sharp when they are pointed with flowers? Ah! I know the reason:
E’en now in thine unbodied essence
The fire of [S’]iva’s anger, like the flame
That ever hidden in the secret depths
Of ocean, smoulders there unseen. How else
Could’st thou, all immaterial as thou art,
Inflame our hearts thus fiercely?—thou, whose form
Was scorched to ashes by a sudden flash
From the offended god’s terrific eye.
Welcome this anguish, welcome to my heart
These rankling wounds inflicted by the god,
Who on his scutcheon bears the monster-fish
Slain by his prowess; welcome death itself,
So that, commissioned by the lord of love,
This fair one be my executioner.
Adorable divinity! Can I by no reproaches excite your commiseration?
Have I not daily offered at thy shrine
Innumerable vows, the only food
Of thine ethereal essence? Are my prayers
Thus to be slighted? Is it meet that thou
Should’st aim thy shafts at thy true votary’s heart,
Drawing thy bow-string even to thy ear?
[Pacing up and down in a melancholy manner.]
Now that the holy men have completed their rites, and have no more need of my services, how shall I dispel my melancholy?