Enter GAUTAMI with a vase in her hand, preceded by two attendants.
This way, most venerable Gautami.
GAUTAMI. [Approaching [S’]AKOONTALA.
My child, is the fever of thy limbs allayed?
Venerable mother, there is certainly a change for the better.
Let me sprinkle you with this holy water, and all
your ailments will depart.
[Sprinkling [S’]AKOONTALA on the head_.]
The day is closing, my child; come, let us go to the cottage.
[They all move away.
Oh my heart! thou didst fear to taste of happiness when it was within thy reach. Now that the object of thy desires is torn from thee, how bitter will be thy remorse, how distracting thine anguish!
[Moving on a few steps and stopping. Aloud.]
Farewell! bower of creepers, sweet soother of my sufferings, farewell! may I soon again be happy under thy shade.
[Exit reluctantly with the others.
[Returning to his former seat in the arbour. Sighing.
Alas! how many are the obstacles to the accomplishment of our wishes!
Albeit she did coyly turn away
Her glowing cheek, and with her fingers guard
Her pouting lips, that murmured a denial
In faltering accents, she did yield herself
A sweet reluctant captive to my will.
As eagerly I raised her lovely face;
But ere with gentle force I stole the kiss,
Too envious Fate did mar my daring purpose.
Whither now shall I betake myself? I will tarry for a brief space in this bower of creepers, so endeared to me by the presence of my beloved [S’]akoontala.
Here printed on the flowery couch I see
The fair impression of her slender limbs;
Here is the sweet confession of her love,
Traced with her nail upon the lotus-leaf;
And yonder are the withered lily-stalks
That graced her wrist. While all around I view
Things that recall her image, can I quit
This bower, e’en though its living be fled?
A VOICE IN THE AIR.
Scarce is our evening sacrifice begun,
When evil demons, lurid as the clouds
That gather round the dying orb of day,
Cluster in hideous troops, obscene and dread,
About our altars, casting far and near
Terrific shadows, while the sacred fire
Sheds a pale lustre o’er their ghostly shapes.
I come to the rescue, I come.
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