Go, my daughter, and may thy journey be prosperous.
[Exit [S’]AKOONTALA with her escort.
PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA. [Gazing after [S’]AKOONTALA.
Alas! alas! she is gone, and now the trees hide our darling from our view.
Well, Anasuya, your sister has departed. Moderate your grief, both of you, and follow me, I go back to the hermitage.
PRIYAMVADA AND ANASUYA.
Holy father, the sacred grove will be a desert without
[S’]akoontala. How can we ever return to it?
It is natural enough that your affection should make you view it in this light.
[Walking pensively on.]
As for me, I am quite surprised at myself. Now that I have fairly dismissed her to her husband’s house, my mind is easy; for, indeed,
A daughter is a loan—a precious
Lent to a parent till her husband claim her.
And now that to her rightful lord and master
I have delivered her, my burdened soul
Is lightened, and I seem to breathe more freely.
* * * * *
SCENE.—A Room in the Palace.
The King DUSHYANTA and the Jester MA[T.]HAVYA are discovered seated.
Hark! my dear friend, listen a minute, and you will hear sweet sounds proceeding from the music-room. Some one is singing a charming air. Who can it be? Oh! I know. The queen Hansapadika is practising her notes, that she may greet you with a new song.
Hush! Let me listen.
A VOICE SINGS BEHIND THE SCENES.
How often hither didst thou rove,
Sweet bee, to kiss the mango’s cheek;
Oh! leave not, then, thy early love,
The lily’s honeyed lip to seek.
A most impassioned strain, truly!
Do you understand the meaning of the words?
She means to reprove me, because I once paid her great attention, and have lately deserted her for the queen Vasumati. Go, my dear fellow, and tell Hansapadika from me that I take her delicate reproof as it is intended.
[Rising from his seat.]
But stay—I don’t much relish being sent to bear the brunt of her jealousy. The chances are that she will have me seized by the hair of the head and beaten to a jelly. I would as soon expose myself, after a vow of celibacy, to the seductions of a lovely nymph, as encounter the fury of a jealous woman.