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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Sakoontala or the Lost Ring.

KING.

Go, go; you can disarm her wrath by a civil speech; but give her my message.

MA[T.]HAVYA.

What must be must be, I suppose.

[Exit.

KING. [Aside.

Strange! that song has filled me with a most peculiar sensation.  A melancholy feeling has come over me, and I seem to yearn after some long-forgotten object of affection.  Singular, indeed! but

Not seldom In our happy hours of ease,
When thought is still, the sight of some fair form,
Or mournful fall of music breathing low,
Will stir strange fancies, thrilling all the soul
With a mysterious sadness, and a sense
Of vague yet earnest longing.  Can it be
That the dim memory of events long past,
Or friendships formed in other states of being[74],
Flits like a passing shadow o’er the spirit?

[Remains pensive and sad.

Enter the CHAMBERLAIN[75], named VATAYANA.

CHAMBERLAIN.

Alas! to what an advanced period of life have I attained!

Even this wand betrays the lapse of years;
In youthful days ’twas but a useless badge
And symbol of my office; now it serves
As a support to prop my tottering steps.

Ah me!  I feel very unwilling to announce to the King that a deputation of young hermits from the sage Kanwa has arrived, and craves an immediate audience.  Certainly, his Majesty ought not to neglect a matter of sacred duty, yet I hardly like to trouble him when he has just risen from the judgment-seat.  Well, well; a monarch’s business is to sustain the world, and he must not expect much repose; because—­

  Onward, for ever onward, in his car
  The unwearied Sun pursues his daily course,
  Nor tarries to unyoke his glittering steeds. 
  And, ever moving, speeds the rushing Wind
  Through boundless space, filling the universe
  With his life-giving breezes.  Day and night,
  The King of Serpents on his thousand heads[76]
  Upholds the incumbent earth; and even so,
  Unceasing toil is aye the lot of kings,
  Who, in return, draw nurture from their subjects.

I will therefore deliver my message.

[Walking on and looking about.]

Ah! here comes the King.

  His subjects are his children; through the day,
  Like a fond father, to supply their wants,
  Incessantly he labours; wearied now,
  The monarch seeks seclusion and repose;
  E’en as the prince of elephants defies
  The sun’s fierce heat, and leads the fainting herd
  To verdant pastures, ere his wayworn limbs
  He yields to rest beneath the cooling shade.

[Approaching.]

Victory to the King!  So please your Majesty, some hermits who live in a forest near the Snowy Mountains have arrived here, bringing certain women with them.  They have a message to deliver from the sage Kanwa and desire an audience.  I await your Majesty’s commands.

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