Soon shall thy lord prefer thee to the
Of his own consort; and unnumbered cares
Befitting his imperial dignity
Shall constantly engross thee. Then the bliss
Of bearing him a son—a noble boy,
Bright as the day-star, shall transport thy soul
With new delights, and little shalt thou reck
Of the light sorrow that afflicts thee now
At parting from thy father and thy friends.
[[S’]AKOONTALA throws herself at her foster-father’s feet.
Blessings on thee, my child! May all my hopes of thee be realized!
[S’]AKOONTALA [Approaching her friends.
Come, my two loved companions, embrace me both of you together.
PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA. [Embracing her.
Dear [S’]akoontala, remember, if the King should by any chance be slow in recognizing you, you have only to show him this ring, on which his own name is engraved.
The bare thought of it puts me in a tremor.
PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA.
There is no real cause for fear, dearest. Excessive affection is too apt to suspect evil where none exists.
Come, lady, we must hasten on. The sun is rising in the heavens.
[S’]AKOONTALA. [Looking towards the hermitage.
Dear father, when shall I ever see this hallowed grove again?
I will tell thee; listen:—
When thou hast passed a long and blissful
As King Dushyanta’s queen, and jointly shared
With all the earth his ever-watchful care;
And hast beheld thine own heroic son,
Matchless in arms, united to a bride
In happy wedlock; when his aged sire,
Thy faithful husband, hath to him resigned
The helm of state; then, weary of the world,
Together with Dushyanta thou shalt seek
The calm seclusion of thy former home;
There amid holy scenes to be at peace,
Till thy pure spirit gain its last release.
Come, my child, the favourable time for our journey is fast passing. Let thy father return. Venerable Sire, be thou the first to move homewards, or these last words will never end.
Daughter, detain me no longer. My religious duties must not be interrupted.
[S’]AKOONTALA. [Again embracing her foster-father.
Beloved father, thy frame is much enfeebled by penitential exercises. Do not, oh! do not, allow thyself to sorrow too much on my account.
How, O my child, shall my bereaved heart
Forget its bitterness, when, day by day,
Full in my sight shall grow the tender plants
Reared by thy care, or sprang from hallowed grain
Which thy loved hands have strewn around the door—
A frequent offering to our household gods?