Then is added a secret which, as it could not possibly be known to a third person, assures her that the cloud is a true messenger.
And one thing more: thou
layest once asleep,
Clasping my neck, then wakening with a scream;
And when I wondered why, thou couldst but weep
A while, and then a smile began to beam:
“Rogue! Rogue! I saw thee with another girl in dream.”
This memory shows me cheerful,
Then let no gossip thy suspicions move:
They say the affections strangely forfeit life
In separation, but in truth they prove
Toward the absent dear, a growing bulk of tenderest love.’”
The Yaksha then begs the cloud to return
with a message of comfort.
Console her patient heart,
to breaking full
In our first separation; having spoken,
Fly from the mountain ploughed by Shiva’s bull;
Make strong with message and with tender token
My life, so easily, like morning jasmines, broken.
I hope, sweet friend, thou
grantest all my suit,
Nor read refusal in thy solemn air;
When thirsty birds complain, thou givest mute
The rain from heaven: such simple hearts are rare,
Whose only answer is fulfilment of the prayer.
and dismisses him, with a prayer for
Thus, though I pray unworthy,
For friendship’s sake, or pity’s, magnified
By the sight of my distress; then wander free
In rainy loveliness, and ne’er abide
One moment’s separation from thy lightning bride.
* * * * *
The Seasons is an unpretentious poem, describing in six short cantos the six seasons into which the Hindus divide the year. The title is perhaps a little misleading, as the description is not objective, but deals with the feelings awakened by each season in a pair of young lovers. Indeed, the poem might be called a Lover’s Calendar. Kalidasa’s authorship has been doubted, without very cogent argument. The question is not of much interest, as The Seasons would neither add greatly to his reputation nor subtract from it.
The whole poem contains one hundred and forty-four stanzas, or something less than six hundred lines of verse. There follow a few stanzas selected from each canto.
Pitiless heat from heaven pours
By day, but nights are cool;
Continual bathing gently lowers
The water in the pool;
The evening brings a charming peace:
For summer-time is here
When love that never knows surcease,
Is less imperious, dear.
Yet love can never fall asleep;
For he is waked to-day
By songs that all their sweetness keep
And lutes that softly play,
By fans with sandal-water wet
That bring us drowsy rest,
By strings of pearls that gently fret
Full many a lovely breast.