Most venerable father, she accepts your benediction as if she already possessed the boon it confers.
Now come this way, my child, and walk reverently
round these sacrificial fires.
[They all walk round.
[Repeats a prayer in the metre of the Rig-veda.
Holy flames, that gleam around
Every altar’s hallowed ground;
Holy flames, whose frequent food
Is the consecrated wood,
And for whose encircling bed,
Sacred Ku[s’]a-grass is spread ;
Holy flames, that waft to heaven
Sweet oblations daily given,
Mortal guilt to purge away,
Hear, oh hear me, when I pray—
Purify my child this day!
Now then, my daughter, set out on thy journey.
[Looking on one side.]
Where are thy attendants. [S’]arngarava and the others?
YOUNG HERMIT. [Entering.
Here we are, most venerable father.
Lead the way for thy sister.
Come, [S’]akoontala, let us proceed.
[All move away.
Hear me, ye trees that surround our hermitage! [S’]akoontala ne’er moistened in the stream Her own parched lips, till she had fondly poured Its purest water on your thirsty roots; And oft, when she would fain have decked her hair With your thick-clustering blossoms, in her love She robbed you not e’en of a single flower. Her highest joy was ever to behold The early glory of your opening buds; Oh, then, dismiss her with a kind farewell. This very day she quits her father’s home, To seek the palace of her wedded lord.
[The note of a Koil is heard.
Hark! heard’st thou not the answer
of the trees,
Our sylvan sisters, warbled in the note
Of the melodious Koil? they dismiss
Their dear [S’]akoontala with loving wishes.
VOICES IN THE AIR.
Fare thee well, journey pleasantly on amid streams
Where the lotuses bloom, and the sun’s glowing beams
Never pierce the deep shade of the wide-spreading trees,
While gently around thee shall sport the cool breeze;
Then light be thy footsteps and easy thy tread,
Beneath thee shall carpets of lilies be spread;
Journey on to thy lord, let thy spirit be gay,
For the smiles of all Nature shall gladden thy way.
[All listen with astonishment.
Daughter! the nymphs of the wood, who love thee with the affection of a sister, dismiss thee with kind wishes for thy happiness. Take thou leave of them reverentially.
[Bowing respectfully and walking on. Aside to her friend.
Eager as I am, dear Priyamvada, to see my husband once more, yet my feet refuse to move, now that I am quitting for ever the home of my girlhood.