Scene.—The Neighbourhood of the Hermitage.
Enter one of_ Kanwa’s Pupils just arisen from his couch at the dawn of day.
My master, the venerable Kanwa, who is but lately returned from his pilgrimage, has ordered me to ascertain how the time goes. I have therefore come into the open air to see if it be still dark.
[Walking and looking about.]
Oh! the dawn has already broken.
Lo! in one quarter of the sky, the Moon,
Lord of the herbs and night-expanding flowers,
Sinks towards his bed behind the western hills;
While in the east, preceded by the Dawn,
His blushing charioteer, the glorious Sun
Begins his course, and far into the gloom
Casts the first radiance of his orient beams.
Hail! co-eternal orbs, that rise to set,
And set to rise again; symbols divine
Of man’s reverses, life’s vicissitudes.
While the round Moon withdraws his looming
Beneath the western sky, the full-blown flower
Of the night-loving lotus sheds her leave
In sorrow for his loss, bequeathing nought
But the sweet memory of her loveliness
To my bereaved sight; e’en as the bride
Disconsolately mourns her absent lord,
And yields her heart a prey to anxious grief.
ANASUYA. [Entering abruptly.
Little as I know of the ways of the world, I cannot help thinking that King Dushyanta is treating [S’]akoontala very improperly.
Well, I must let my revered preceptor know that it is time to offer the burnt oblation.
I am broad awake, but what shall I do? I have no energy to go about my usual occupations. My hands and feet seem to have lost their power. Well, Love has gained his object; and Love only is to blame for having induced our dear friend, in the innocence of her heart, to confide in such a perfidious man. Possibly, however, the imprecation of Durvasas may he already taking effect. Indeed, I cannot otherwise account for the King’s strange conduct, in allowing so long a time to elapse without even a letter; and that, too, after so many promises and protestations. I cannot think what to do unless we send him the ring which was to be the token of recognition. But which of these austere hermits could we ask to be the bearer of it? Then, again, Father Kanwa has just returned from his pilgrimage; and how am I to inform him of [S’]akoontala’s marriage to King Dushyanta, and her expectation of becoming soon a mother? I never could bring myself to tell him, even if I felt that [S’]akoontala had been in fault, which she certainly has not. What is to be done?
PRIYAMVADA. [Entering; joyfully.